Healthy Hair Care From A Professional Hairstylist

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are Certain Hair Care Products Made For Specific Races?

When recommending products for my clients, I sometimes get asked all kinds of questions.  I remember telling one of my clients about some different products that she should try and she looked at me confused and asked "Isn't that for white hair?"  Another scenario is when I had a client in my chair and a Caucasian woman that was getting her hair done by another stylist was watching me sew in some hair on my African American client.  She leaned over and asked "Can white people have that done also?"  So I would like to clarify the question that I believe few ask, but many are thinking.

Are certain hair care products for specific races? No!  Hair products are not based on race, but instead are based on hair type.  If your hair tends to be dry, there are products marketed directly towards you.  If your hair is curly, there are products marketed directly towards you. And so on.  There are, however, lots of similarities as far as hair is concerned, that are more common in certain races than others.  For instance, Caucasian hair tends to be oilier than African-American hair due to Caucasian hair tends to produce more sebum.  That is why most Caucasians shampoo their hair a lot more frequently, like every day to every other day.  African-American hair on the other hand tends to be more dry, due to our hair does not produce as much sebum.  So many African-Americans shampoo their hair every week, sometimes even every two weeks.  For this reason a Caucasian person could use a clarifying shampoo every day and it will not cause their hair to dry out.  This is also a reason why a lot of Caucasians prefer not to use conditioners.  They feel like the extra moisture combined with their own natural sebum is too much added weight to the hair.  On the other hand, most African-American hair would be as dry as the Sahara desert if we used a clarifying shampoo daily on the hair! But, they are great for black hair when used weekly.  And not using any conditioner on black hair is a NO-NO! We need that moisture to quench our hair strands.

Some hair products are also based on texture.  Black hair tends to be very curly in its natural state, and Caucasian hair tends to be straight in its natural state.  And since we all want what we can't have, that is why African-Americans get relaxers (notice I did not say perms).  Relaxers relax our natural curls and allow us to have that straight hair.  And a lot of Caucasian women think that their hair is too straight, so they get perms aka permanent waves to make their hair curly and have more body.  Since majority of women getting relaxers are indeed black, companies that actually make different brands of relaxers are black companies.  That doesn't mean that the product is only intended for black people, anyone with textured hair can get a relaxer.  As a matter of fact, while I was still in cosmetology school, I performed a relaxer on a Russian girl!  Her hair was naturally curly and coarse (I always joked with her that she had black hair) and she wanted her hair to be permanently straight. We did the relaxer and presto, she had straight hair! And at one point in time, every black person either wanted or had a perm.  Remember the Jheri Curl?? Yeah, this is what a perm aka permanent wave looks like on black hair! (Don't forget the juice!)

Products are also marketed to people based on if the hair is chemically treated or not.  Putting any chemical in the hair, whether its a relaxer, perm, or color, adds stress to the hair.  Therefore certain products are made specifically for chemically treated hair.  These products tend to be more gentle to the hair and aid in keeping the hair healthy.

So your see, when picking a certain hair care product, read what the benefits are and base your purchase on that.  Don't assume that certain products are only for certain races.  Hair is hair!

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