Hair Grail: Mali Safi? You don't need what they are selling you

Baby Locks and Straw set hair styles for natural hairstyles at Mofire Dreadlocks on May 3, 2016. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU

What you need to know:

  • Many styling products that sound like decadent desserts are merely heavier moisturizers
  • Hair gel often contains alcohol which is very drying thus weakening hair, they also commonly cause split ends, thinning, and discolouration of hair.
  • Hair growth and length retention is linked more to genetics and effective hair practices than to what you put onto your scalp

It is because of how effective marketing tactics are, that we all need someone to hold us back from spending money on hair items we don’t need. Now I know some of you are thinking- no one needs hair stuff, we buy them because we want to. While this is a fair point, we can’t deny that we also buy them because we were promised results.

Whether its hair growth (why can’t we all just grow 24 inches at will?), manageability, shine, breakage reduction, or more subjective things like curl definition, someone somewhere swears their product will give it to us.

Some of the items I’ve been influenced into and regret buying over the years include but are certainly not limited to:

Curl definition creams, soufflé, puddings and custards

Gasp! You should, but I said it with my chest! You do NOT need any ‘curl defining’ tub of disappointment. It’s tempting to believe that you can ‘enhance’ or ‘change’ your curl pattern with the help of an often amazingly scented cream, but the reality is a lot less straightforward than anticipated.

Many styling products that sound like decadent desserts are merely heavier moisturizers. Once you know this then you know that you can achieve your desired style with a good moisturizing routine. That popping twist-out, braid-out, bantu-knot-out, is only elusive because of your technique, not because you didn’t use one of these products.

Hair dessert

I’m not saying they are all useless, what I’m saying is, if you must put hair dessert on, then at least let it be from a product that serves multiple purposes.

Hair Gel

Whenever I see a slicked-down style I audibly sigh! If you’ve tried to find the perfect gel you know the winning combination is of great holding and no flaking- this is when gel leaves a whitish residue that dries into a dandruff-looking embarrassment.

Should you be one of God’s chosen, then you’ve probably figured out how to tame the flaking (I hear oil and sun salutations help?), you may even have the tenacity to brush your thick coils down layer after layer after layer. Heck, you’re probably those goddesses who have the impeccable time management of wrapping your hair for an hour before going anywhere so the gel can settle…

Even with all that effort hair gel is simply not worth it. It often contains alcohol which is very drying thus weakening hair, they also commonly cause split ends, thinning, and discolouration of hair. Plus the build-up will not only cause dandruff it will also clog the scalp and hinder hair growth so…

More to that point, you might lose your edges sis! The traction and manipulation that comes with gel application coupled with its effects may snatch your edges in more ways than one.

Just make your own gel. Flaxseed gel is easy to make and its omega fatty acids which will promote hair growth and maintain moisture.

Hair Growth Serums

I am one of those people who automatically gets sucked into any tomfoolery that pledges hair growth. We’ve all heard the ‘success’ stories and seen the online catfishing accounts with the before and after pictures. If mama so and so could come back from premature balding or alopecia, then surely I can get a few inches at a minimum.

Unfortunately, I had to learn the expensive lesson that hair growth and length retention is linked more to genetics and effective hair practices than to what you put onto your scalp. No miracle elixir trumps these two things. The sooner we mourn the idea of short term wild growth, the better we’ll all feel.

Even with growth oils like rosemary oil which are scientifically proven to help with shedding, breakage, and regrowth the results will not be realised outside optimal conditions.

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I could also tell you about my futile anti-frizz stage and how nothing can prevent frizz for more than a few hours but we all know I was a fool for that one so I’ll skip it.

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