For the last five years or so that I’ve been natural, one of my biggest pet peeves is that my favorite products can’t be found locally. They’re already more expensive than most drugstore products I’ve purchased and then I have to pay shipping on top of that. When you add it all up, it can be a lot; and who has time for all of that? Thank goodness for supply and demand, right?
As the natural/curly hair community grew and demanded products made for our hair, mainstream companies were happy to oblige (and take our money). I saw more and more forum threads pop up about new lines that would be available in stores like Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS. I ran to CVS after launch announcements, peered on the shelf and voila! Natural hair products.
But hold on…why is this 8oz conditioner $14 at CVS?
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that I have no issue paying higher prices for better quality products. But let’s compare two drug/beauty supply store gels ingredients lists (Pricing based on online prices).
31.2 cents per ounce: Purified Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Aloe Vera Gel, Dimethicone Copolyol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Polysorbate-20, Benzopehonoe‑4, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance.
About 67 cents per ounce: Aqua, Glycerin, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Polyvinylpyrrolidone, Polysorbate 20, Parfum, EDTA, Magnesium Nitrate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Amyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional
If you look at both product’s ingredients, neither are incredibly stellar. A couple of beneficial ingredients here and there, but mainly consisting of water, glycerin and carbomer. However, the product that’s 67 cents an ounce is marketed towards natural hair, while the other one is just a regular gel. I’ve actually used both of them, and they are very similar. And now for a comparison of two wash out conditioners.
About 26 cents per ounce: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Behentrimonium Chloride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance, Dipropylene Glycol, Potassium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, PEG 150 Distearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Lauroyl Lysine, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone
About 52 cents per ounce: Water (Aqua), Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea), Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glyceryl Stearate, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Isododecane, Panthenol, Polyester-11, Lactic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
Again, not bad with the ingredients, but the 52 cents per ounce product is the one marketed specifically towards natural hair. When I started seeing these subtle trends in the store, I wondered what the rationale was. Now, this is just my guess, but to me it seems like companies are looking at the price points of indie, more natural/organic products, then pricing them slightly less than those, but higher than “run of the mill” drugstore products. That way, paired with their overuse of natural hair buzz words, the consumer may perceive they are getting a deal on a good product along with the convenience of picking them up locally.
Don’t end up getting duped at the drugstore by natural hair marketing and pictures of gorgeous afros — check out these drugstore products that work great on natural hair.
- Fantasia IC Hair Polisher Styling Gel with Sparkle Lites (31.2 cent per ounce product)
- TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner (26 cent per ounce product): Review
- Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel
- Creme of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo: Review
For additional information on drugstore or economical products, check out my playlist: “Natural Hair Does Not Mean Expensive!” below:
What are your favorite drugstore products? Do you only use products marketed towards natural hair?