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“White” Products Are Great On “Black” Hair

Shampoos conditioners brushesI’m sure I’m not the first person to have the race conversation. You know, the one where a family member or close friend asks what you’ve been using on your hair because it’s looking great! Once you start mentioning Herbal Essence or Aussie Moist, the conversation comes to a grinding halt. “You use those white folks products on your hair?!” I’ve had to stifle an eye roll and politely respond that hair is hair. Period.

I know as well as anyone that race truly matters and is not, by any means, a dead issue. One place it does not play a legitimate role, however, is in the hair care aisle. Apart from Oriental Black and Heather Gray rinses, “black hair products” and “white hair products ” are simply marketing constructs.

As we know, all hair is comprised of the same basic parts: the cortex, medulla and cuticle. All hair needs moisture, proper conditioning and cleansing. This is not to say that every hair type will use the same products but purchasing a product based on your skin color as opposed to your hair’s needs is a sure-fire way to stunt progress.

Ladies with tighter curl patterns often battle drier hair because sebum can’t make it all the way down the hair strand. This translates into frizziness or even brittle strand for curlies of all races. It’s no wonder then that when we see “black” products that claim to impart moisture, it’s understandable that we leap at the chance. So, why is it that “our” moisturizers are lanolin and petrolatum laden without a stitch of moisturizing agents to them? It’s almost as if these products that are marketed towards us were created to do the extreme opposite of what they claim!

For instance, Blue Magic Coconut Oil Hair Conditioner seems to be a staple at beauty supply stores across the nation. I’m sure many a hair care newbie has been lured into the product’s claim that it’s “made with all natural coconut oil” and, thusly, is perfect for our hair. A review of the label, however, reveals that coconut oil is second to petrolatum. In and of itself, petrolatum isn’t horrible and actually makes an excellent sealant. The issue is that this product claims to condition and prevent dryness, but doesn’t have a stitch of moisture!

One of my favorite conditioners is Herbal Essence Hello Hydration. While you may not see this product in your local BSS or women of color all over their ads, it contains quality ingredients. It provides slip, imparts moisture and doesn’t weigh my hair down. I can’t remember the last black woman I saw in an Herbal Essence commercial but that doesn’t discourage me from using their products because my hair benefits from it.

This article isn’t to imply that companies aren’t creating amazing products that cater to our specific needs because Shea Moisture, Shea Radiance and Giovanni definitely measure up. Treat this as more of a cautionary tale not to be fooled into buying sub-par products simply because a face like yours is shown on the packaging.



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Ms. Tai Nycole

About Ms. Tai Nycole


I’ve always admired women with the, what I thought, good fortune to have long, healthy hair. Now that I’ve embarked on a healthy hair journey of my own, I’m excited to share my successes and setbacks. Between long stretches, protective styling, and consistent cleansing and conditioning stretches, I've attained a fair amount of length. I’m currently relaxed but don’t subscribe to the natural versus relaxed division; I’m a proud member of Team Healthy Hair!



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243 Comments

  1. 1
    lady_mystikal says:

    But doesn’t this product contain sulfates which is reportedly bad for our hair??

    • 2

      People are always looking for a scapegoat as to why our hair doesn’t grow. Sulfates are only as bad as the person using them! Naturally it’s best to use a non sulfate shampoo because you won’t strip your hair as much but to be honest you can get the same results if you prepoo with oil before using a normal sulfate shampoo.

      • 3

        Thanks Alma. I threw away all my sulfates shampoos because of the advice on the net! At least I know you can reach a middle ground with using them

      • 4

        very true. the once or twice a month that i use shampoo, I always do a prepoo with a mixture of olive/jojoba/avocado oils. Then i detangle and twist before I wash. that way the shampoo only gets on the scalp, which is the only place shampoo is really needed.

    • 5
      Ms. Tai Nycole Tai Nycole @ StrandedHHJ says:

      I agree with Alma. The use of sulfates are as much a personal choice as using products with mineral oil. My concern is making sure that we’re being conscious of labels and not blindly embracing products that are shamelessly marketed to “us.”

      The other brands I listed (Giovanni, Shea Moisture, Shea Radiance) ARE sulfate free and provide great results, too. It’s all about listening to your hair and its unique needs.

  2. 8
    Jodie Samuel says:

    This is so interesting. I always thought that products for European hair wouldn’t be rich enough in moisture for relaxed hair. I tried Dove once but my hair didn’t feel soft enough. I will definately pay more attention to labels and will try the Herbal Essence Hello Hydration range. We get this in the UK and it is so much cheaper than traditonal products for relaxed hair. Thanks! http://missladyglamour.blogspot.co.uk/

    • 9

      HH is great! You must also try VO5 and tressemme, cheap, cheerful and works a charm!

      • 10
        Husseenah Abdul Jabbar says:

        It’s a little off topic alma but I wanted to ask you what your opinion was on products that use canola and vegetable oils used as sealants, one of my fab products I’ve recently found to contain canola oil and have it as the second ingredient

        • 11

          I like them actually, no problem there. Love sunflower oil too coz of all the ceramides!

  3. 12
    Miss Chameleon says:

    ITA, I live for the 99c VO5 strawberry for my moisturizing cowashes. For my protein i go for the more established brand names.

  4. 13

    Love this post. I think that the true race issue in hair care really does come down to the assumption that as black women we’re A: not going to research products before using them and B: aren’t willing to pay top dollar for products that actually work.

  5. 14
    WhatEver7891000 . says:

    Hi, I have a question. I’m transitioning right now can you please give me your links for transtioning tips post please. thank you.

  6. 17

    Some have much too much alcohol. Read the label and avoid them.

  7. 18

    I like dove and pentene

  8. 19

    really!?

  9. 20

    Some not all.

  10. 21

    PANTENE

  11. 22

    I love herbal essences and dove hair products…Some work better for my hair than products that are made for black women’s hair

    • 23

      love Herbal Essence long term relationship…did big chop 2 yrs ago, hair now back to shoulder…my theory, take tips from people who have long healthy hair

  12. 24

    For sure!

  13. 25

    I disagree

    • 26

      I do too! Her Most women on here hair isn’t longer than a roman noodle and want choose to down their own sellers before whites that don’t even notice they exist. Some of these black women just need to put dip themselves into white paint. It’s appalling that our people are this colored struct.

  14. 27

    I found this very useful, my daughter is mix race and I have been reading up so much about what I should or should not use on her hair.

    • 28

      There’s a product line in Walmart/Target called Mixed Chics that’s good for her luscious hair- yay you for being a mom that researched the likes…

  15. 29

    True. I read the label first but l’oreal n deep conditioners from organix work well for me

  16. 30

    I would agree they work and often are cheaper.

  17. 31

    They make “my” hair “too clean” to where it feels dry

  18. 32

    Organix is good too, I like the coconut milk shampoo and conditioner.

  19. 33

    Tresemme does wonders for my natural hair.

  20. 36

    Really

  21. 37

    Patene is NOT good for our hair either is Dove…. WoWoWoW! ! !

    • 38

      How do u know that every1 has different hair

    • 39

      Her Most women on here hair isn’t longer than a roman noodle and want choose to down their own sellers before whites that don’t even notice they exist. Some of these black women just need to put dip themselves into white paint. It’s appalling that our people are this colored struct.

    • 40

      A lot of companies that market black products aren’t owned by black people. So in terms of institutions you know who you can blame for some hair problems over the years

    • 41

      @Shanice Goodridge-Flemming, we know this and that wasn’t the point. Do your rear he bc majority of black own sellers were bought out. They still exist an making a comeback. Support your own.

  22. 42

    YES!!!! Dove, Herbal Essence, & Garnier Fructis are the BEST!!!! Also, when I WAS dying my hair, John Freida worked best as far as pigments. The color took better and lasted longer.

  23. 43

    I agree, I love Organix products, and Loreal advanced haircare product. Products don’t know your race, nor know if you are relaxed or natural. Use what works best for you.

  24. 44

    Actually they’re not

  25. 45

    I love the Suave shampoo & conditioner with the Keratin in it.

  26. 46

    Some of my Caucasian friends use typical products African Americans use

  27. 47

    Really

  28. 48

    I like Garnier fructis. Their leave in is the truth!

  29. 50

    V05. works the best for me. Pantine does good too. Suave does not

  30. 51

    Oh, can’t forget TRESemmè!!! ;-)

  31. 52

    Just because it does not work for one doesn’t mean it won’t work for another. Everyone’s hair is different so Pantene works wonders for my hair and it’s thick and still growing better than when I use ALL natural products. You can’t compare your hair to others people. Actually some natural hair products that are supposedly made for black hair totally ruined my hair smh so USE WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR OWN HAIR!!!!!!!!

  32. 53

    I like garnier frutis

  33. 54

    I totally agree, I’ve been saying this for the longest. In my honest opinion there are no ” Black or White ” hair products. There are only hair care products that do or do not work for a specific person’s hair type. I love the ” so called ” white products as well. Kudo’s for a great article. I’m sharing this on my personal and community pages both !!! Love It !

  34. 55

    How can some of you say which products aren’t good for someone else’s hair? Everyone’s hair isn’t the same. Just b/c it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it won’t work for others.

  35. 56

    Everything but their products for “black” hair

  36. 57

    TRESemmé works for me, and i think Pantene is good too.

  37. 58

    The conditioners for curl, that are made for African American hair do wonders with my hair. I am multi racial, including African American. So as long as I can get some hair products that are used by mixed race people, I am happy with the results.

  38. 59

    There is no such thing as a white or black product. ..products are made for hair types not skin colors and there are various hair types in all races.
    I have clients that are white and have a more course head of hair than any black person I have ever serviced and i use mizani and keracare or design essentials on them.
    You must know your hair and the texture of it to make a proper decision on what product to use in your hair.
    Im black but I only use Redken and paul Mitchell in my hair I dont like what products such as mizani or design essentials does to my hair.
    Products are made for hair types not skin colors its simply making the right choice within the product line for your hair.

    • 60

      I agree.

    • 61

      which is why the words “white” and “black” are in quotations.

    • 62

      Skaketta, you’re delusional. Marketers are not that dumb, but it seems like black women are. White products strip the natural oils from black women’s hair.

    • 63

      @Sathiyyah Tai, you do have treading comprehension as Maria and others so eloquently said. You down the ingredients in black hair products as if white products are not same in misleading chemicals. This make you ignorant and all I saw was some in that informed you if what you didn’t know. The irony is you not me or black products. I would be worried about the correct spelling in your name instead of my petty typos. You want to know whatnot matters? The black dollar matters! You spend you last penny making white folks and Korean wealthy and don’t support your own. It’s always an excuse with your type.

    • 64

      @Nadia Shelton, define racist? I love myself and people, that’s doesn’t make me racist bc I won’t support a non-black hair product. That’s prejudice, not racist. Everyone has they right. Learn the difference, child. Don’t come for me, you hair hat hooligan.

    • 65

      Lol @Chantel Monique for thinking “white hair products” are quality products. If you refer to fruity shampoos that are filled with chemicals and strips your natural oils “quality,” you’ve been misinformed. You sound ignorant. Your kinky-natural hair doesn’t look like “quality.” They lied to you. Comments like yours are a niche and monkey ranch when it come to supporting our own. I’m
      Talking about the all black own products.

    • 66

      who cares.. its their hair. let them put whatever they want in it whether its a weave or “white man” hair care products

    • 67

      well written.

    • 68

      @ Cooley High Once again you’ve proven that you cannot read to comprehend. If you did, you would know that we are on the same page in many ways. You’re accusing me of things I did not do or say. How the hell do you know how or where I spend my money? I spend my money on black products in more areas than just hair. I don’t need to prove that to you, Ms. Lady (or not). If I were you, I would be concerned about typos, as they don’t help sway me to believe your fallacies (that means a mistaken belief). Come talk to me when you learn how to spread your fallacies…oops…knowledge without tearing others down. I’ve already wasted too much energy on someone who wants to talk smack with no proof of anything (i.e. no profile picture of his/herself). I’ll let you continue your bullying without me. P.S. They aren’t typos if you’re consistently using the wrong words, spelling incorrectly, and acting as if punctuation doesn’t exist.

    • 70

      I could see if you had a profile picture with your long, healthy, luxurious hair…but you don’t. So to me, you’re just some troll hiding behind a Mac and some MAC.

    • 71

      Cherry picking, Sathiyyah? Smh. Not lady like and grow up.

    • 72

      Most black hair products are owned by different races. I personally love organix products. Like she said you have to do what is best for your hair type.

  39. 73

    TRESemmè shampoo and conditioner does wonders for my hair!! i love it..:.

  40. 74

    MiSonia Moore Because everything theyre naming has a bunch of chemicals and alcohol… which aren’t good for your hair no matter how u look at it white, black products whatever.. but I digress….

    • 75

      And a lot of “natural” products for black hair contain sulfate and lye, so what is the difference? Some people may say it is bad for your hair, but if it keeps your hair strong and healthy, why switch to a product that won’t give you the same results. Like I said, just b/c it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it won’t work for others…A lot of naturalist say that protein is good for your hair and doing a protein treatment at least once a month keeps hair healthy, but some people actually experience severe breakage after protein treatments. Every “black” product doesn’t work for every black person, every “white” product doesn’t work for every white person, and every “mixed” product doesn’t work for every mixed person.

    • 76

      You’re just stupid.^ your hair ain’t no longer than a noodle and you want to credit white hair products. Talk about self hatred.

    • 77

      MiSonia hair isn’t longer than a roman noodle and want choose to down their own sellers before whites that don’t even notice they exist. She also wears a hair hat. Weave! Some of these black women just need to put dip themselves into white paint. It’s appalling that our people are this colored struct.

  41. 78

    TRESemmè shampoo and conditioner does wonders for my hair!! i love it..:.

  42. 79

    I use a combination of mainstream (“white”) and specialty (“black”) hair products on my hair, mainly because I have more than one hair texture (as I found out when I big-chopped nine years ago). Use what works for you.

  43. 80

    Wow! What a stupid headline.

  44. 81

    Hair is hair! No such thing as black hair or white hair! All races have different texture

  45. 82

    Yep I use Vo5, herbal essence and Pantene and I have healthy mid back length hair…when all these natural products it was messing my hair up so I went back to what worked for me…everyone’s hair is different

  46. 83

    Hi5 Shaketta Shannel Singleton

  47. 84

    Some are good like the ones for color treated hair bc they have some moisture and can b used on all hair. Pantene, Suave, n others are not so good have wax n them n can lead to build up.

  48. 85

    We also have to remember that many products are a marketing scheme as well… I went from spending 20 minutes checking products in the natural chick aisle now til 2 hours! Everything wants to throw the word “natural” on it. That is why we educate ourselves and learn to listen to our hair. #DontBelieveTheHype Use whatever product works for your mane! #mytwocents :)

  49. 86

    If your gonna to use them should use professional products like Redkin and nexus has an awesome conditioner! Paul Mitchell is also a good one to use professional products only Is what I would use jmo

  50. 87

    My wish is that black “natural” haircare products didn’t have to cost and arm and a kidney. You splurge to try it out to see if it does what it says. Then you get lackluster results and your $6-12 (if you’ve only bought one product and not a 2-3 bottle set to get maximum benefit) is down the drain and you now have to buy another product to try. This quick to label everything “natural” is a big money craze for corporations. Everyone has a curl product now, more expensive than the next.

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