For the most part, we can all relate to once sitting on the floor, between mom’s legs, anxiously waiting for our hair to get done, dying for the combing process to be over. Some of us, can remember even more, that tried and true, staple hair product that mom couldn’t live without—hair grease.
Hair grease, a hairdressing/pomade often used to coat the scalp and hair, is a product that has been used over and over throughout the Afro community. Unfortunately, despite its long-time presence in our generations and in our bathroom cabinets, it has been proven to do more harm than good.
Most hair greases include either one of two (or sometimes both) of the following ingredients: petroleum and mineral oil. As a note to any girl looking to maintain a healthy hair regimen, these ingredients should be avoided at all costs. Why? Simple. These cheap, heavy, large moleculed oils cannot easily be absorbed into the hair shaft. Instead of completely penetrating into our strands like most other vegetable derived oils such as olive and coconut, petroleum and mineral oil sit on the surface of the hair shaft and/or scalp like bumps on a log; creating an impenetrable, moisture-blocking barrier making it extremely difficult for necessary moisture to enter back in. This of course, leads to a frustrating cycle of Sahara Desert-like, chronic dryness; along with an itchy scalp leaving unsightly dandruff flakes.
Now certain die-hard hair grease fans will beg to differ. Here are a few common rebuttals: “Well my mom used to use it,” or my favorite, “my grandma used it for years and her hair is down her back.” My answer: Hair grease does not stop your hair from growing, in fact it will still continue to grow. But because it so heavily clogs our pores, it does stunt or hinder the development of hair growth. Now, hair grease does do a great job of locking in moisture that is already present on the hair shaft. By coating hair grease onto hair that has already been moisturized with water or products containing water as the first ingredient, we can ensure that the hair stays moisturized for longer. However, the issue with locking moisture into our hair strands with hair grease is that moisture can only stay present in the hair shaft for a short time. This means that dryness will be inevitable without needing to thoroughly cleanse the hair with a shampoo containing sulfate, starting the process over again. This process of utilizing hair grease, then cleansing it away is drying to the hair and will result in unnecessary breakage. So, yes, you may have used hair grease in the past and managed to maintain a head full of hair. But has it reached its full potential health and growth potential? Most likely, not.
To brighten things up a bit, there are many healthier, more beneficial options. Instead of using petroleum or mineral oil based products, try vegetable derived oils like Extra Virgin olive oil, Extra Virgin coconut oil, or cold pressed castor oil instead. These all-natural oils, among many others not only lock moisture in, but help to strengthen and nourish the hair and scalp as well with their rich levels of vitamin E and more! Replace hair grease on the scalp, with olive oil on the scalp for 3 months straight and reap the full, visible benefits in hair growth!
Happy Hair Growing, and put down the grease!