Comments 7

Death in a Jar: Seperating Fact from Fiction – Haircare by Debola

Hello my Sacred Gods & Goddesses

Now that we’ve covered a bit of the basics on Black/African hair, I want to get into some of the nitty gritty of some hair care errors that we’ve been programmed to believe, basically from birth, to ritualize. In my short time here in Lagos, this has been one of the most challenging topics I’ve encountered in trying to convince my clients that its just plain wrong! I mean I just get fought left, right and center. So lets get down and dirty…

Hair Care Error #1: SAY NO TO GREASE aka POMADE aka “DEATH IN A JAR”

I have yet to visit a salon or household in Lagos that does not house a plethora of hair grease/cream options. And every time I see it being used on someone’s scalp/hair, it literally pains me! (We’ll talk about other things that pain me in the weeks to come).

I mean, globs of grease /cream are slabbed onto the scalps and hair strands of endless amounts of black women and we think it’s okay because, after all, that’s what we’ve grown up accustomed to. But just because that’s what we are use to, doesn’t negate the fact that we’ve been brought up on the wrong information. Well, folks it’s time to set the record straight. There are loads of problems that using hair grease comes along with and we’ll cover those as time goes forth, however today, we’ll just talk about the science of it.

A lot of hair products made specifically for Black hair include petroleum-based ingredients. These have historically been used to add shine, and they have been known to make the hair appear soft, smooth and healthy. However, using petroleum-based hair products is not advised, in fact, it’s down right dangerous!

Mineral oil as well as Petrolatum are common ingredients used in hair grease, creams and loads of products targeted at Black/African consumers. According to information found on, mineral oil, which is derived from crude oil, prevents the hair from “breathing.” Are you getting this folks? This product is made up of the same stuff that petroleum/gas/fuel is made of, which means, in essence, you are coating your hair and scalp with car petroleum or Diesel! The thought of it just makes me cringe. And we wonder why our hair doesn’t grow as it should…

These products actually accumulate on the scalp, which in turn blocks the hair follicles, slowing hair growth. If it builds up on the hair itself, it attracts and holds dirt and residue, which make the hair appear dull and unhealthy. Because it shields the hair’s surface, moisture can’t penetrate into the hair and with continued use the hair will eventually dry out, making it even more prone to breakage and damage. Mineral oil only coats the hair and serves as a temporary solution for making the hair look slick and shiny.

What you have to realize is that most of the manufacturing companies that supply products aimed for Black/African hair use these ingredients as cheap fillers for the purpose of mass production. The marketers are hired to present these products in the best light, in order to turn a hefty profit, so they will market them as such. It doesn’t make it right but just like we all go to work every day to make a living, they too have a business to run, and whatever sells the product is what they’re going to do. I mean think about some of these cigarette ads on TV, looking at the ads, it makes smoking cigarettes look luxurious and appealing, right? But that doesn’t take away from the fact that cigarettes can eventually kill! Harsh reality?! Yes, using products that don’t contain these ingredients are more expensive, but this is where you hit the fork in the road and decide whether you want healthy hair and scalps or what you currently have! (now laughing out loud). No, but seriously, stop with the grease people!

If you absolutely feel the need to oil your hair/scalp, natural oils are your best bet. You should be able to get any of these at your local market. Shea Butter is an excellent moisturizer. Jojoba and Coconut oil are great conditioning oils. Pomegranate Seed oil is great, it has excellent moisturizing and nourishing properties and is rich in lipids and essential nutrients. Olive Oil and Castor Oil and of course the  Moroccan Argan Oil will work great as well!

Next week we’ll cover the difference between dandruff and dry scalp…yes these are two totally different things folks! SMH!

Until then, this is Debola signing off!

This entry was posted in: Hair


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  1. Olivia says

    This is very nice. Shea butter aka ori is my hair conditioner. Since I’m on my natural hair, I moisturise with mixture of water and olive oil. It’s the best. I let my hair stay in with shea butter n olive oil n I slp with it. In the morning I wash off. It leaves my hair shinning n soft. Nice work Debola. I’m happy


  2. omegie says

    i had natural hair for a year so i understand why *pomade * does not work for our hair. i use shea butter and olive oil and my hair is the best it has been


  3. Debola says

    Thanks for the comments guys. In reference to Barbara’s question about Natures Gentle Touch. I’m not too familiar with the brand, however, my best advice is for you to check the ingredients of whatever product you want to use and avoid the ingredients discussed in the article. Your best bet is to go with natural products that’s safe enough to use on your skin or to eat…I know it sounds weird but it works…


  4. it is sad that so many people don’t know about this. i discovered this lie about a year ago and no turning back for me. more black women need to be educated.. thanks for sharing.

    first time here. will be back. hope to see more posts on hair care.


  5. Pingback: Death in a Jar: Separating Fact from Fiction | Healthy Locs Blog

  6. Funto Oni says

    wow! this is the very first time i’m hearing of this.. thanks for the exposure!


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