Natural Hair: Going Green
Hey kurlies. My girl, Todra from The Healthy Beauty Project, stopped by again to share some more of her beauty knowledge with us. This time she talks about going green when it comes to our hair. Enjoy.
Natural Hair: Going Green
by Todra Payne
As a green makeup artist/Healthy Beauty Expert, I receive cosmetic industry magazines or trade emails every day. I wade through the piles of information to find what I’ll be sharing across the web, and with magazines and morning news shows. Today’s update dealt with how to market products to Black, Hispanic and multi-cultural women whose hair pattern, like mine, is deeply curled.
“Ethnic hair” is the hottest untapped cosmetics market in the US, says GCI, a beauty industry trade magazine. The article stresses the importance of using quality ingredients for beauty brands seeking to grab a piece of the curly, kinky hair care market. Pore blocking mineral oil and “hair grease” aren’t cutting it with the next generation of curly heads.
According to a 2009 study, African Americans make up only 13% of the US population, but we account for one-third of all hair care sales! That’s a lot of hair products. A growing number of hair care purchases are products to nurture natural hair.
Most of you reading this blog are at a place of decision. You’ve either done “The Big Chop” or you’re in transition. I did my BC almost 15 years ago when I learned that chemical relaxers cause permanent hair fiber loss of 40- 60%. Why was I frying my hair? For societal acceptance? Because I was uncomfortable with myself?
It was the beginning of my decision to live a healthier, more authentic lifestyle. I assessed several areas of my life – from eating to exercise. And I made some changes. But for a decade after making my decision for chemical-free hair and unprocessed foods, I was still using toxic chemicals to style my hair. And cleanse my body. And color my lips.
It took me a long time to understand what I put on my body ends up in my body. I get lots of emails (and occasionally phone calls) from women asking how to switch over to healthier products. There’s so much (mis)information out there. Learning about ingredients and regulations and toxicity levels is a lot to ask of the average consumer. But keeping ourselves in the best health possible is our responsibility.
It’s erroneous to believe “if it’s on the shelves, it must be good for me.” Have you ever read the ingredients on a frozen dinner?
So how do you move towards healthier beauty products without overwhelming yourself? How do you figure out the best ingredients or “good” brands to buy? Start small and build. Educate yourself on a few ingredients that are questionable – like parabens. And refuse to buy products that contain that ingredient. Then learn another ingredient and what conditions (like cancer) it’s linked to. And avoid products with that ingredient, too.
Seek out brands that contain ingredients you recognize – say, aloe vera, shea butter and olive oil. Even consider buying natural products that aren’t marketed for hair, but work wonderfully, like soap nuts (in the place of shampoo); or shea butter body products (instead of mineral oil and chemical based “moisturizers”).
The most passionate argument I get concerning natural products involves the cost. For some reason, it’s believed that natural or organic means outrageously expensive. That’s not true if you know where to shop. You’d be surprised how inexpensive the products are that I use. In some cases, they cost less than the mainstream products.
If you’d like to know a few recommended brands, stop by The Healthy Beauty Project and read our company profiles. If you want to check to see if an ingredient is safe, go to the Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database. If you have a question about green makeup or skincare, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Choosing to wear your hair natural is just the first step to a healthier lifestyle.