In March of last year, I wrote an article for Black Girl Long Hair about 6 relaxer lines with natural hair products. The article came on the heels of reports of declining relaxer sales, and I very much felt that the reason these natural hair lines even came about is to recoup some of the money lost to small business brands like these, these, and these.
Now, I’m not one to brand-bash — I believe pretty much everyone should get a fair shake. But I can’t help but feel like the motives for natural hair lines from relaxer slanging companies are a little, if not completely disingenuous. I mean, if you really supported #teamnatural…(fill in the blank).
Without further delay, here are 5 more companies that want your money back:
1. Dark and Lovely….Again
Dark and Lovely made the list last year for their Au Naturale Anti Shrinkage line. They are the first and only relaxer company to release a second collection of natural hair products. Earlier this year, Dark n Lovely launched an anti-breakage product collection featuring a Tension Release Hair Wash, Strength Restoring Conditioner, Root to Tip Mender, and Super Softening Hair Butter. If you noticed the influx of YouTubers reviewing the collection a few months ago, that was because Dark and Lovely made sure their new line made it into the hands of as many influencers as possible. They even sent me one, on behalf of BGLH. I tried out the products, but chose not to review them because there was this strange race for ratings that happened with folks trying to get their review up first, or make it the best one. Beyond that, I didn’t feel like the line offered me anything that a a small business brand I support wasn’t already better at. But I digress.
Overall, the line shows that Dark and Lovely is doing their homework on naturals, keeping prices at around $10 and paying attention to our need for products that will help prevent breakage. However, they’re still dropping the ball in a few other areas. The Tension Release Hair Wash (I didn’t know my hair was tense or needed to relax…but let’s move on for the sake of not making an entire article out of how problematic that name is) is sulfate-free, but unfortunately some of the other products still contain (drying) isopropyl alcohol, and mineral oil labeled neatly as “C13-14 isoparaffin”.
2. Creme of Nature
This one actually made my head hurt a little bit. Whenever I think of Creme of Nature and natural hair, all that comes to mind is how my blood boils a little bit every time I drive down LaCienega and see their “CURLS RULE” billboard. If you’re in L.A., it’s visible from the side going southbound, near Stocker. Creme of Nature is trying….hard. Within their Argan Oil from Morocco line, Creme of Nature has released a subset of products designed for natural hair including Pudding Perfection Curl Enhancing Creme, Butter-Licious Curl Hydrating Buttercreme, Twirling Custard Curl Styling Gel, and the Moisturizing Milk Masque Repairing Treatment — all around $9. Their products claim to contain no parabens, mineral oil, or petroleum, but unfortunately I was unable to get my hands on concrete information for the entire line. The one product I was able to find on the ground was the Twirling Custard and if the line follows the model of this one product, they are telling the truth. I actually purchased it with the intention of doing a comparison with other popular natural hair custards, but that fascination has since waned (the billboard).
While it is true that Lottabody doesn’t dish out relaxer kits, their many iterations of setting lotion have been used for years on relaxed hair for roller sets and other sculpted styles. Taking notice that their popular potion was also being used by naturals all over to replicate roller and rod sets, Lottabody launched a Coconut & Shea Oils line. This line features a Custard Gele, Curl & Shine Milk, Texturizing Setting Lotion, Foaming Mousse, and Edge Gel. Although there are some products that are aimed exclusively at textured hair, Lottabody is trying to market this line as being for natural and relaxed hair. The entire line is available for under $6 and of all the brands, I’m most inclined toward this one. I actually picked up the Shape Me Custard Gele, because it is silicone free (right?), mineral oil and petroleum free, and paraben free.
Originally posited as a salon brand for press and curls and relaxers, Mizani has rebranded themselves with the slogan “We are every color, every texture, every curl type.” Their True Textures line includes Curl Balance Shampoo, Cleansing Cream Conditioning Curl Wash, Curl Replenish Intense Moisturizing Masque, Curl Recharge, Moisture Stretch, Curl Set and Perfect Curl Cream Gel. Each product in the line is between $14 and $21, which is pretty expensive considering that some of them are patroleum/mineral oil based, and practically all of them contain isopropyl alcohol. The most useful thing to come out of the Mizani camp is the Curl Key — which is a little more in-depth than the Andre Walker system, but still fails to account for complexities like multiple textures on one head.
5. Just for Me Hair Milk Collection
Although neither product/line is all-new, Just For Me is really trying their best to double dip. With their Texture Softener, they’re shelling out kiddie perms under the guise of curl-loosening and manageability. Their Hair Milk Collection is an attempt to cater to moms with natural hair kids, promoting ease of detangling and styling. The Hair Milk Collection includes a Nourishing Cream Cleanser, Shampoo, Conditioner, Nourishing Detangler, Curl Smoother, Smoothing Edge Creme, and Curl Perfecter. The line is definitely in the affordable range, with all products hovering around $6. But unfortunately, Just For Me is up to their old antics as far as products go — with many of the products from the Hair Milk Collection including mineral oil, silicones, and isopropyl alcohol rather high on their ingredient lists. This may not go over well for many natural moms who are looking to use healthier and less harmful products on their child’s hair.
Have you noticed the shift in relaxed products to natural hair care? Do you intend on trying out the new products targeted towards naturals?