Black women know how to scout out hair products. Sometimes we become private detectives looking for hair care products that will do what we need. It isn’t always easy. Depending on where you reside their can be supply stores on every other block. The flip side is living in an area where the “ethnic” hair product aisle just isn’t up to speed. If you are like me and see other black people shopping in the same stores (whether they are beauty supply or drug store variety) it seems to reason that finding hair products for sale should not be a scavenger hunt. What’s up with the title “ethnic hair” anyway. Surely those responsible for stocking shelves know that black women spend a lot of money on hair maintenance.

ethnic-aisleMy latest rant and “I can’t believe they are trying to sell this!” song, has to do with a hair product I found on the shelf at CVS for $15.99. It is labeled as a texturizer and straightener. According to the box once you apply the “natural” treatment you can wear your locs natural and then switch up in 3-4 weeks and apply the straightener that perms your hair. What the heck?!! Seriously, how many chemicals are involved and what damage is being done for the privilege of spending $15.99?

I encourage everyone to be pro-active about what they put in and on their hair. It isn’t like the companies selling these products have a vested interest in doing anything other than making money. They are not concerned about damage that may result from placing a chemical on your head that does two jobs at once. Pretty scary. If it sounds crazy it might not be a good look for your hair. The box did it for me, the sista has one side of her hair straight, and the other is a natural and kinky.

Along the same lines, I recently read an article on a woman who went into a salon and asked for a shampoo for her natural hair. She became alarmed when she smelled something weird. The stylist had mixed in a bit of perm and it took away the natural kink this sister prided herself on. She didn’t ask, she just took it upon herself to relax the curl. Prejudice against natural hair is one thing, deciding to “fix” the problem as a service provider is a whole other matter.

The comments spanned two pages and ranged from suggestions that the sister sue, to boycotting this particular stylist and maybe the shop she’s affiliated with.

I know I would have felt some-kind-of-way about that situation. The point is, to speak up. No one should be sneaking in product while your head is under water. Trust is important in this client-provider relationship. Don’t be afraid to use your voice. Your hair is your crowing glory.
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About The Author

C. Imani Williams, is a freelance writer and social justice activist. She works to bring about awareness and positive change. Imani's writing has appeared in Black Fem Lit Magazine, Alt. Variety, Teen Girl Talk Magazine, Diva Gossip, Hello Shopper, Geleyi and various other publications. Imani, holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction writing from Antioch University. The Detroit, Michigan native resides in So. California, where she greets the sun with a smile.

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