Don’t Limit Yourself to the Black Hair Aisle

A South African reader of mine recently mailed me this question (excerpt):

I am so frustrated. I want to try so many things with my natural hair
but I am confined. How do you go about this challenge?… I live around Johannesburg. Are there things
that you want to try out
badly but cannot because Joburg does not have?

That question was part of a longer question but it highlights the essence of her query. I thought it important to share my response to that and the overall thinking many of my readers and friends have when it comes to choosing products for their natural hair.

‘Black’ aisle

I’ve mentioned it several times before, but I think it’s key for this statement to have its own blog post. Don’t limit yourself to the Black hair aisle. In South Africa, many supermarkets etc. separate the hair care products by ethnicity. One thing I’ve learned when going natural is, just because it’s in the Black hair aisle, doesn’t mean it’s automatically great for my hair. There are many products that are marketed to White women that can work perfectly fine on our hair too. Your hair’s not going to automatically fall out when you try a ‘White’ hair product. At the end of the day, hair is hair. We all share the same main hair components.  

‘White’ aisle

I say this strongly because many fellow Black women are shocked when I say I used Garnier Nutrisse’s hair dye. ‘But that’s for White women’, ‘Will that really work on our hair?!’ or when I was regularly using Tresemme’s shampoos and conditioners ‘No ways, doesn’t your hair fall out?’. No, my hair did not fall out or smell funny or become straight. In fact, I’ve found that Garnier’s dye worked much better on my hair than a dye marketed to Black women. It’s really just that: marketing. If these same products didn’t have advertising using models with long blonde hair and were placed in the Black hair aisle, you’d probably at least give them a look instead of passing right by them and heading straight for the Black Like Me bottles. I’ve actually found that most of the products I’ve experimented with since going natural are the ‘White’ ones. 

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that many products targeted to us Black women are filled with ingredients that are cheap and ultimately bad for our hair. This keeps the costs down and allows these brands to sell them at a slightly cheaper rate. Not to say that’s all brands… but many. There’s no doubt that our American and overseas naturals have more
options when it comes to hair products and hair extensions etc. but I
wouldn’t let that bring you down or confine you too much. There are a
few products here that we South African based naturals can still
use and purchase easily. Yes, we can get American products shipped over but that’s not as accessible or as affordable as heading down to Clicks and picking up a huge bottle of Tresemme for R70. It’s a case of reading up on them, then trial and

So ladies, I’d encourage
you to research and experiment until you find your happy place. Whether it’s in the ‘Black’ or ‘White’ aisle 😉




  1. May 15, 2013 / 12:12 am

    I too have found that using 'White' products has helped my hair. I'm addictedto Tressemme's Moisturizing Conditioner and I've found that alot of the "Black"products are not for my hair. So, I totally agree with you!

    • May 31, 2013 / 1:35 pm

      I also love Tresemme, you get so much bang for your buck!

  2. Anonymous
    May 14, 2013 / 11:32 am

    My question is why is the White isle freaken four times the size of the Black isle?!? Thats messed up really. White products are formulated and priced and marketed towards their hair, who is marketing towards our hair? Anyways my mum used to wash our naturl hair with head and shoulders to fight the dandruff and the palmolive egg conditioner. I still use that and tresemme naturals conditioner for co-washing. My hair cannot deal with silicones, sulfates and too much wheat protein that most "White" products have. But Dischem really has sooo many good organic conditioners for natural hair.

    • May 31, 2013 / 1:36 pm

      I actually had a browse in Dischem the other day and was surprised with how affordable and varied their choice is!

  3. May 13, 2013 / 4:06 pm

    I live in UK I can afford to buy some organic and non organic hair products as a learner I have learnt a lot more in using what you have in your kitchen I'm using onions for deep conditioner yogurt and molasses and eggs lemon and evoo as hair wash do not limit your hair by buying things coming from bottles you can make yours it's take courage and creativity and some few coins not a fat big wallet

    • May 31, 2013 / 1:39 pm

      Yup! You read my mind, I'll also be posting a post on the wonders you can find in the grocery store too

  4. Anonymous
    May 13, 2013 / 1:25 pm

    So true, and we also shouldn't limit ourselves to the hair section. I live in Malawi which has even fewer natural hair products than SA. I find my pantry/fridge makes up for it. Olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, eggs, avocado, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda can all be used in your naps 🙂

    • May 31, 2013 / 1:40 pm

      Lol, I was just saying the same thing to Afronaturals! I love avocado oil, can't sing its praises enough!

  5. May 13, 2013 / 12:35 pm

    Could you tell more about the ingredients that are cheap and bad for our hair? That way, I can look out for 'white people'hairproducts that have the same. It would be stupid for me to fall for the same mistake twice. 😀

    • May 31, 2013 / 1:41 pm

      The main ones that a lot of Black hair products contain is mineral oil/petrolatum. Some women don't mind that but I prefer sticking to products that contain natural oils like olive/avocado etc.

  6. May 13, 2013 / 12:08 pm

    My best and favorite shampoo and conditioner is herbal essence totally twisted line. I have never been a only use black products person as everyone is unique and not all "black" products work for me.

    • May 31, 2013 / 1:34 pm

      I also like the Herbal Essences stuff but we don't get it here 🙁 A lot of 'black' products don't work on me!

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