Look, I already know that some people are probably gonna be all up in the comments section protesting how "irresponsible" this article is. I mean, how in the world can I promote anything that has—gasp—petroleum/mineral oil in it?! Don't I know that it clogs up hair follicles? Haven't I heard that it repels moisture? As a naturalista, how can I resort to something so low on the totem pole of hair products and then—gasp again—publicly write about it?
Uh-huh. I hear you. But before you try and cancel me, take a moment to look at the video below. That stunning Nigerian woman right there? On her socials (and YouTube channel), she goes by EfikZara and that outrageously gorgeous Afro? That is all hers, baby. Yeah, and do you see what she's holding in her hand? It ain't Aunt Jackie's or Shea Moisture; it's grease. Good old-fashioned hair grease. As I've been trying to figure out the perfect formula to get the natural hair results that I personally want, EfikZara is someone who has been influential in getting me to return back to what most of us used back in the day, thanks to her videos like "5 BIG LIES The Natural Hair Community LIED About GREASE!!" and "The TRUTH about GREASE + How I Use It To GROW Low Porosity 4c/4b/4a Hair".
Then, once I saw that there are more and more naturalista influencers who are rising up and singing grease's—more specifically, Blue Magic hair grease's—praises (you can check out a few good ones here, here and here), I was like, "Let me make a run right quick and cop me a jar" (which is more like a small tub).
The TRUTH about GREASE + How I Use It To GROW Low Porosity 4c/4b/4a Hair | EfikZarawww.youtube.com
And y'all, I can't believe I left what my hair clearly missed and loves.
Not to diss the commercial—emphasis on "commercial"—hair care community or their findings. But when something works for you, sometimes you need to buck the system and stick with that. Basically, just like Jasmine Saunders, author of "Two Reasons Why Petroleum Is Used in Hair Products", penned at the end of her piece—" If your favorite natural hair products contain mineral oil, and you are happy with the results they produce then there is no reason to stop using them. I would just keep in mind the occlusive nature of mineral oil and structure your hair regimen accordingly." Yes. That right there.
So, are you ready to read why it can't hurt to put a little Blue Magic back into your own hair care regimen? Let's do this.
It’s Inexpensive AF
Again, since I'm going to assume that at least a couple of people in the natural hair care industry are going to read this and not be too happy about this endorsement, when it comes to the (sometimes horrendous) price tag that comes on some hair products, I'll leave specific names out. What I will share is a quote from an article on the topic that stated, "It is estimated that the natural hair care industry was worth $684 million in 2012 and was projected to reach $761 million by the end of 2017." Bottom line—hair care is a business and businesses love to make as much money as possible. Therefore, it shouldn't be shocking that even natural hair care lines would want to do all that they can to put more money into their pockets.
And indeed, what a lot of people who are returning to hair grease are saying is perhaps we were convinced or even "scared" to leave grease alone because while a 12 oz jar of Blue Magic costs me $3.99, I literally have some popular natural hair care items that are $35-40 for a 6-8 oz jar. Not only that, but the latter hasn't worked nearly as well as the former.
So yeah, if there's no other reason to consider grease—or grease again—the second to none price tag would definitely be a very valid one.
If You’ve Got High Porosity Hair, It’s the ULTIMATE Moisturizer
When it comes to length retention, what my own natural hair journey continues to teach me is if you don't know your own hair's porosity, you're probably not going to get (or keep) the inches that you seek. While I will probably do a full article on this at some point, if you're wondering what the difference between low, normal and high porosity hair is, I'll give a brief breakdown. When you have low porosity hair, that means your hair's cuticles are closed which makes it hard for moisture to get into your hair. Normal porosity means your hair gets and keeps moisture fairly well. Then there's my kind of hair; the hair that drinks up moisture with the quickness but two days later will look at me like it hasn't seen water in weeks. This happens with high porosity hair because there tends to be holes in the hair cuticle; this means that those of us who fall into this category have to be hyper-vigilant about keeping our tresses moisturized.
I'm telling y'all, I've tried creams, butters, the LOC method—you name it, and nothing has kept moisture in my hair longer than grease has. I literally wash my hair, deep condition it and while it's damp, apply some Blue Magic from root to tip and style. Afterwards, my hair remains soft and manageable until the next wash day (which for me is seven days later). The reason why is because there are two things that petroleum does for your hair. First, it locks in the moisture that you already have. Second, it prevents any more from getting in. The second point is why a lot of people claim that grease is bad for you. I'll get more into that in a sec.
It’s an Amazing Sealant
If you're someone who believes deep down in your soul that Black women—particularly Black women with 4-type hair—can't grow long hair, please take a moment to watch this video, this video, this video, this video and this video. Other ethnicities (or hair textures) don't have the upper hand when it comes to gaining inches. No matter who you are, you typically grow between ½" to 1" of hair a month. The reason why a lot of us don't see the length that we want is either because 1) our shrinkage makes us think that our hair isn't as long as it actually is or 2) we aren't taking good care of our ends. This is why it is essential that you seal the ends of your hair on a consistent basis.
Sealing is basically one of the most effective ways to prevent the ends of your hair (which is the oldest part of your hair) from becoming dry, brittle and developing split ends (which you can't repair; you always have to cut off). Even if the thought of applying grease to your entire head seems like a no-no to you, at least consider applying it to your ends. Remember, petroleum locks—or seals—in moisture and the more protected your ends are, the easier it will be for you to see six inches of progress by the end of the year.
Grease Isn’t “Bad” for You. It’s All About Using It Properly.
So, why is it that so many people frown upon good ole' hair grease? Why do a lot of them say that all it does is weigh their hair down, leave grease stains and actually result in hair being drier than ever? Don't blame that on the grease; blame that on not applying it properly. Since grease provides a barrier, it's not really the best idea to apply it to dry hair. You will get the best results if your hair is wet, has already been conditioned and you apply a leave-in condition before putting the grease on top of it. All of this might sound like a lot at first (sometimes it feels like it too) but trust me, as your hair dries, it will go from feeling "heavy" to feeling really soft and smooth. You just always have to keep in mind that since petroleum seals, it will keep the moisture that your hair has in, but it will also keep new moisture from penetrating. That's why oiling your hair with grease every day is usually counterproductive. Since your tresses are already dry, the grease isn't doing it much good.
And what about greasing your scalp? Eh. I don't use grease for that but some naturalistas sing its praises for soothing their scalp when they apply it on wash day. My take is to remember that your scalp is skin. If your skin doesn't show out when you apply Vaseline (which is also petroleum) then your scalp probably won't either. Still, I think it would be best to not apply grease to your scalp when your scalp is dry; seems like it would leave more residue than you are bargaining for if you do.
Your Mama (or Auntie) Used It When You Were a Child…Right?
Hmph. I don't know about y'all, but I have some very distinct memories of being a little girl, sitting in front of a stove and getting my hair pressed with some good old-fashioned hair grease. You know what else I recall? My hair having some real length to it too. That's why I think the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" certainly applies here.
Listen, by no means am I saying that you should toss your natural hair products or go on a personal boycott of popular commercial brands. My point is simply that grease IS NOT the devil and if it has personally worked for you in the past, I don't see why you should stop using it now. Because, again, do you see EfikZara's hair in the feature shot? Blue Magic helped to get her there. That's enough for me to add it to my regimen. And I have. And it's been all good on the mane tip ever since. My hair thanks me. My wallet does too.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
7 Essential Oils All Naturalistas Need For Their Hair
10 Things Your Natural Hair Needs In The Winter
These Foods Will Give Your Skin & Hair The Moisture They Crave
Feature image by Getty Images
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images
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Tracee Ellis Ross On Why She Declined The Idea Of Someone Else Running Her Hair Company
Actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross recently revealed the driving force behind her desire to become the owner of her haircare brand, Pattern.
According to its site, Pattern is a haircare company that provides a wide range of products, from shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, and many more to individuals with curls, coils, and tight hair textures. Although Pattern would launch in 2019, the idea for the company first came to Ross a decade before --in 2008, when her hit show Girlfriends wrapped-- following a brief encounter at a beauty supply store and many wanting to recreate her past looks.
At the time, those individuals couldn't achieve the exact results because limited natural hair products were offered to the public. That instance became a pivotal moment in the star's life because she spent eleven years experimenting with professionals to create products that best suit those within the natural hair community.
In a May conference with Fortune's MPW Next Gen, Ross opened up about the struggles she faced early on as an entrepreneur trying to get Pattern off the ground and why she declined the offer to have the company be run by someone else.
Tracee On Past Struggles And Why She Chose To Run Her Company
During the discussion, the 50-year-old revealed that she is Pattern's "majority owner" because the company's overall mission to cater to those in the natural hair community was built from her "experiential knowledge."
"I'm a majority owner of my company. [Other celebrities with brands] aren't the founders of the company. Often, they join a company that exists," she said. "The mission [at Pattern] is born out of my experience. It's born out of my own experiential knowledge."
Further in the interview, Ross would add that she avoided partnering with an expert for Pattern because she felt she had gained enough knowledge experimenting with products in her bathroom.
"I didn't want to partner with an expert or a 'professional' because I felt—like so many—I had become my own best expert in my bathroom because the beauty industry was not catering to us," she stated.
Despite refusing to have a partner within her company, Ross found creative ways to build it. It includes paying a chemist with her own money to bring her visions of various products to life, and sending those samples to retail stores, ultimately leading to partnerships.
The final piece that helped Ross during her journey was receiving advice from business partners on ways to improve the brand, one of which came from Ulta Beauty CEO and Footlocker CEO Mary Dillon.
The black-ish star claimed that Dillon helped her realize how she could use her celebrity status and journey to promote Pattern, which she did. Because of that, Patten has now become a favorable haircare brand among many.
Tracee On How She Plans To Use Her Company To Create Opportunities For Others
Toward the end of the discussion, Ross disclosed how she plans to use the power of being Pattern's CEO to help others.
The High Note star explained that being an owner of a company has given her access to be around other CEOs interested in what appears to be becoming more profitable, and with that, she wants to expand that access to other people.
"I know that I have access to sit at a table with a CEO in a way that perhaps another founder doesn't. And when I do that, I make sure that those conversations are not only centered around Pattern," she said. "They're centered around creating and expanding the access for all of us."
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Feature image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Webby Awards