Today’s beauty industry is like one huge buzzword. Since consumers, especially those with natural hair, began educating themselves more and have taken on a DIY approach to hair care, tons of terms and techniques have been created. And if you watch TV, you’ll see several of them in commercials. I don’t even recall seeing a brand not 100% marketed towards black women even mention relaxers, let alone mimic its application in a commercial, until last week. So it’s clear to me that with the abundance of hair forums, blogs and YouTube channels, these companies are on the web doing tons of research. Now they want to capitalize on it, providing us with fairly affordable products that are readily available (and often on sale).
In the latest, Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale line has released a system based on the L (Liquid). O (Oil). C (Cream). method. If you aren’t familiar with the L.O.C. routine, it mainly focuses on moisture retention by apply products in a specific order to moisturize your hair, then keep that moisture from diminishing. Ladies in natural hair forums began sharing their L.O.C. techniques with one another, and it quickly became one of well-known methods of caring for natural hair, along with oil rinsing, cowashing, finger detangling, and deep conditioning. So now Dark and Lovely came out with an entire line for this natural hair regimen — remember when companies used to emphasize (pseudo?) science and “facts” to sell products? Their line consists of a shampoo, deep conditioner, liquid leave-in, oil blend, and sealing cream. There you have it — a complete system for your natural hair care routine.
I’m not calling it necessarily bad, because if a routine works, hey, why not make it easier for consumers to get their routines in order? Also, it’s good to see that companies are actually doing research and learning their audience. However, I’m a little bit skeptical as to how much research they do beyond the community’s surface to measure the effectiveness of the alleged healthy hair practice. Because there have been several things that we thought were good for our hair in the past (e.g. frequent washing) that turned out to be more harm than good.
Furthermore, just because a company uses a buzzword doesn’t mean they actually know the meaning or significance behind it — think of when they use models with loose curls to show “kinky” hair.
But let’s get back to the Dark and Lovely line for a second — their L.O.C. line, while claiming to maximize moisture retention, actually contains ingredients that are often seen as enemies of moisture to naturals, including simethicone, amodimethicone, isopropyl alcohol and fragrance high on ingredients lists.
So could this line (and lines like it) cause a new natural to think that they’ve found an “insta-regimen” and neglect their own research, when in fact there are better things out there? The potential is an interesting circle of events, as many of us began researching natural hair care on our own because several of the products we were taught to use on relaxed hair were not beneficial — I know more than one of you thought you were truly moisturizing with an oil, I certainly did! As mentioned above, the true effectiveness of the practice or routine being highlighted may also be debatable. Several stylists and hair care experts claim that it’s impossible to seal moisture into the hair anyway, so what’s the point? You may look to a one-size-fits-all solution when a little trial and error would be in order. And where’s the fun in that?
These product lines can potentially make a great shortcut and save you some time on product selection, but make sure you are educated as a consumer and above all else, listening to your hair to ensure it’s healthy and thriving.
Do you buy full hair care systems from companies? Do you think that companies should lurk on forums and blogs for product research?