Just like there are trends that come and go in the fashion world, there are trends (or bandwagons) in the hair care world that are here today and gone tomorrow. The Brazilian Keratin Treatment for long‐lasting straight hair. The Inversion method for hair growth. Supplements (MSM, biotin, you name it) for increased hair growth. The list is endless.
Though I am not a big fan of trends and tend to do my own thing, I have fallen head first into some hair care bandwagons during this journey. Over the years, I’ve permanently stayed on some of these bandwagons (e.g., pre‐pooing, protective styling) while others have been abandoned after interesting experiences, to say the least. Here are just a few of those bandwagons that were a fail for me:
1. Co‐washing only (no‐poo routine)
I jumped on this bandwagon near the beginning of my natural hair journey because it seemed so… well, the “natural” thing to do. Shampoos received disapproval because they were considered harsh, stripping and “bad” for our natural curls, coils and kinks. Conditioners, on the other hand, were considered to be the perfect moisturizing substitute – hence the term, conditioner washing, or co‐washing.
The idea behind this no‐poo lifestyle was to do away with shampoos and to strictly co‐wash for “clean,” but non‐stripped hair. I tried this routine on and off for a few years. No matter how hard I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t deny that it was a pure fail; I would experience buildup on my hair and scalp within days. The longer I went without a shampoo session, the less effective co‐washing became in restoring moisture to my strands. My hair would eventually become dry and crispy. Consequently, I rarely co‐wash these days, but I will use a cleansing conditioner (conditioners that are formulated to cleanse) when I get the itch to cut back on the shampoo.
2. Castor oil craze
With so many castor oil challenges going on, I thought I had to be missing something amazing. For many naturals, castor oil is the “it” oil for ‘thickening’ the hair, re‐growing the edges/hair and sealing the ends. After a long period of avoiding this craze, I eventually broke down and bought one bottle of castor oil for myself and one to use on my baby niece. What were the results? No noticeable improvement in my niece’s hair growth, and no real difference in my own edges and ends, especially compared to my staple oils. Additionally, I found the oil’s consistency to be unappealing; it was sticky, messy, a magnet for lint, and just too thick for my liking. I’m currently trying to finish my bottle and have no plans to purchase castor oil again.
3. Pineapple method for twist out preservation
The pineapple method is a technique used by many curly naturals to help preserve a wash‐n‐go past day one. Basically, you gather your hair on top of your head, tie a scarf around it leaving the top out (hence, the name ‘pineapple’), go to bed, and just refresh your style with a quick shake or fluff the next morning. The method works well on curly hair with natural hang but not so much on hair with tighter curls and coils.
That being said, I knew right away jumping on this bandwagon for my own wash‐n‐go would be futile. However, since some tighter‐curled naturals were using this technique to preserve twist‐outs and other “curly” sets, I thought I would give it a shot for my own twist‐outs and braid‐outs. Well, my results demonstrated otherwise. The next morning, after removing my scarf, my hair was lopsided and refused to return to its previous shape.
4. Cayenne pepper for hair growth
This was a bandwagon I first saw some years ago, and it has recently been making its way onto the road again. The method with which I am familiar involves creating a mixture of cayenne pepper, water and/or oil, applying it to the scalp, waiting for several minutes to overnight (with a shower cap), and then shampooing and proceeding with your usual wash routine. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is what makes the pepper hot and is said to stimulate hair growth via a sensation on the scalp.
So what was my experience? I hopped onto this bandwagon back when I was transitioning, and I could only manage doing it daily for just a few weeks. The burning sensation was bearable on some days and not so much on other days. In addition to that, the process was messy and smelly. In those few weeks, I didn’t gain any noticeable growth, but I did gain a bit of scalp sensitivity that thankfully went away in time. (Now, there was a study discussing capsaicin – in combination with isoflavones – administered to alopecia patients orally over five months for hair growth. If you go and read this study, you can probably catch a couple things wrong with the particular bandwagon I jumped on. The paper: Harada N, Okajima K, Arai M, Kurihara H, Nakagata N.Administration of capsaicin and isoflavone promotes hair growth by increasing insulin‐like growth factor‐I production in mice and in humans with alopecia. Growth Horm IGF Res. 2007 Oct;17(5):408–15. Epub 2007 Jun 13.).
What bandwagons have you jumped on? Share your experiences below!