Thursday, 10 June 2010

Confessions of an Ingredient Junkie!

Interestingly, it was only after 'going natural' that I even considered what was in the products that I used on my hair. The ironic thing is that I am so concerned about what goes in our mouths yet, when it came to our hair,  I regularly fed it crisps instead of potatoes! On a daily basis, I would load my hair with grease, spritz, leave-in conditioner, gel, hold spray and sometimes more.  What's worse is that I was (through complete ignorance and miseducation) doing the same to Little Miss O's hair...

Determined to bring more 'green' to our hair regimes, I sought more natural products from our local black hair shop of choice - ummm this was interesting. When I actually read the ingredients list they were full of chemicals that I couldn't even pronounce! They were laden with parabens, liquid paraffin (vaseline essentially) and water! These products hid behind the lines 'contains olive oil' - umm yeah, 20%! Or 'nourishing coconut oil' - umm does 10% count! I was a bit annoyed as it made it so difficult to choose good, nutritious products..but I eventually (after spending about 45 minutes reading ingredients lists) settled on a brand - Kid's Organics by Africa Best. The advertised ingredient was always much higher on the ingredients list and I could see fragments of ingredients in most of the products - a quality I look for. I used the whole range on my own hair and Little Miss Os. It was all going well. I still think there are some very good hair products on the market - but most are not so great.

One day I thought,

"this natural stuff is so good, what would happen if I used ONLY the nutritious ingredients and cut out the fillers"

.... and so I became an ingredients junkie! I headed straight for the internet - there's a such a wealth of information and I'd noticed that there was a great online community of 'mixtresses' discussing homemade products and hair! It was fantastic.

After the internet came holland and barrett and then the greengrocer (for things like avocado, eggs and lemons)! I really enjoy making my own products now and am slowly phasing out store-bought products that are either unethically produced, bad for the environment or have the potential to be bad for my family's health.  

So far, it's going well - I make my own exfoliators, scrubs, cleansers, toners, scalp oils, hair moisturisers, body souffles, hair spray and face masks! Our whole family uses them - including Mr O! Sometimes I use recipes found in books or online but mostly I love to experiment! Sometimes the result is as desired, other times its not (lol) - but that's part of the learning process and adds to the fun!

If you're interested in natural hair and skincare but aren't sure where to start - check these sites out. These are just some of my personal favourites:

For Blogs and Community
black girl long hair - this is like the GodMother of hair blogs! God Mother of hair blogs!
nappturality - this blog has a forum! It's great for swapping tips on haircare and products!
afroniquely you -  also has a forum. I really like this blog too!

For Products:
akoma skincare - I absolutely love this site, especially how it shows its engagement with the people that make our products!
carol's daughter - i suppose the God Mother of natural products for black hair!
anita grant - this a bit like a UK version of carol's daughter!

For Ingredients:
from nature with love - this is pretty much a one-stop-shop for mixtresses or people who want to learn about the properties of different ingredients.

No matter what your hair/skin type, I've learnt that there's definitely a mix out there for you...

Happy Mixing!

Mrs O

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