Ethnic Specific: Which White Products are Good for Black Hair?

October 25, 2011  |  
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TV and print advertisements are loaded with product promotion in the beauty industry as it has to be – how else are we going to learn about the latest and greatest mascara and dark spot corrector? Because hair is our greatest accessory, hair products are equally important, each promising to do something great for our coifs like provide better nourishment, shiny hair and prevention of split ends.

We can pretty much gauge which make- up products complement our deeper hued skin tone, but hair products can take a bit more research. Gone are the days when we relied solely on Ultra Sheen and Luster’s Pink Oil Moisturizer. Today’s hair care market is saturated with styling tools and remedies guaranteed to revitalize dull, lifeless hair; and interestingly enough the products offering and delivering some of the best results are products made by and for our European brothers and sisters. There is no doubt that some of my best-tressed sister girls rely on some of these hair care staples:


This tried and true product is sensitive to the needs of African-American hair, so much so, they introduced the Relaxed & Natural line just for us. A leader in the industry for promotion of strong, healthy hair, this shower stall staple has delivered the best in at home hair care for all ethnicities.


That’s no typo. The WEN hair care system is creating quite a buzz in the African American community. Their approach is simple: take away the extra; the perfumes, dyes and all the other harsh ingredients that can strip hair of its natural oils and moisture – and you’re left with frizz-free, soft and shiny hair. Stylist Sherry Miles says this: “One of my every week clients went away on vacation for three weeks, and to be honest with you, I was really worried about what kind of condition her hair would be in when she returned; but it was if she never left! I was convinced that she had her hair done while she was away, until I used the product on my own hair. I now use it in my salon.”


Once, when she was low on color and her favorite beauty supply space was closed, my mother and veteran hair stylist Brenda Forrest had to make a mad dash to the local drug store to find a replacement and now, four years later, Garnier Nutrisse has become her brand of choice. “The conditioners are so rich and I was so impressed with how well it covered my client’s gray.” Apparently the grapeseed and avocado oil really sets this product apart, because not only does it deliver amazing coverage and true tonal value, but women have actually seen hair texture and overall hair condition dramatically improve.


Aveda does everything well. From skin care to hair care and everything in between, the Aveda brand has staying power and has proven to be a leader in the industry. Using only plant-derived ingredients, this brand was built on an environment conscious platform, creating products that had zero impact on the Earth’s climate. As one of the first sustainable hair care companies, Aveda maintains is commitment to provide exceptional hair care using cutting edge, all natural methods. We love the Shampure, Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair, Smooth Infusion Style Prep and Smoother and of course, the Brilliance Emollient Finishing Gloss.


Known for his anti-frizz products, John Frieda has a serum, pomade and crème for every type of hair. His products repel humidity, define curl and add tremendous volume. Many naturalistas use his line to keep their fros fresh while others swear by it for the ultimate in weave care maintenance. “I tell all of my weave clients that John Frieda is the best product to use in between hair appointments,” says weaveologist Lisa McKasey.

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  • Carolina Sander

    You can go natural if you like, But you can also follow the style. Any style you want. I love my natural hair But I also do my hair treated sometimes. I like the new style for gifts for gags and parties. this one sounds very funny. I love this fake Sonogram videos from fake ababy. It is very funny.

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  • Beautifully Black

    What exactly is . . . Ethnic???

  • Nicole Jazzette Johnson

    I’m not adverse to supporting Black owned companies but they’re pricing themselves out of the market for average and below income brackets. I mean really $20+ dollars for less than 8 oz of curl puddings, hair cream etc… a bit ridiculous and hard to choose them when something equitable can be found for less and works well.

  • Nicole Jazzette Johnson

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone regarding Pantene. It made my hair hard, dry and brittle which was soo far from normal that I tossed it immediately and went back to a different store further away to get what I normally use. So much for saving myself time and gas. SMH

  • Jane

    Now I lost trust from the very beginning in this article the moment they put Pantene first because everyone I have ever talked to about washing my hair have said-NO to PANTENE. It has sulfates which are harsh and strip your hair’s nutrients, protein, and moisture and ultimately weaken your hair. My aunt, cousin, every hair dresser I ever had, multiple online forums, and actual research into the affects of sulfates on the hair have made me realize that PANTENE was not great for black hair.

  • Nadegeous

    Last time I used Pantene, I looked like a Barbie that’s been carried around in dirt for 7 years…My hair were all dried up and so lifeless they had a tint of grey. They were hard as plastic. Never again.

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  • Ira

    Support Naturalista Cosmetics. Their haircare line is formulated with only natural and organic ingredients. Their Juicy Leave In Conditioner keeps my natural hair moist for several days at a time. This company is awesome and I love supporting black owned businesses.

  • Sistergirlintx

    I’m just started using WEN.  I love it.  It makes my natural hair so soft and easy to comb.  Excellent product I have all my friends and family using it now.

  • I love JOHN FRIEDA products. I’m using the straight fixation smoothing creme on my  hair and it’s awesome. No white flakes and no breakouts along the hair line. #hair

  • NinaE27

    Whatever happened to being entitled to your opinion…good gracious and I'm assuming that all of us here are black women? Wow! So much for the encourgement….

  • Leslove 21

    Wow! Alot of these comments are so negative!!! I don't think that the writer was trying to "push" any product on anyone – just expressing an opinion of perhaps what she herself or stylists or other consumers may have used. If you don't like the products and they don't work for you, that's okay. There are a few products in this list I agree with, a few I don't. But c'mon, don't be mean and the majority of these comments are mean.

    • Elise

      Um, actually these products ARE being pushed on you. Proctor and Gamble makes Pantene, Proctor and Gamble pay for advertising Tide Detergent on this site, you don’t think this isn’t advertising too?!?!?!? HELLO WAKE UP. Black people, white people, GREEN PEOPLE (anyone who has money) is susceptible to brainwashing if you don’t think for yourselves.

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    This article is one big commercial for chemicals that aren't good for anybody's hair: silicones, ammonia, waxes, etc.

    Take a tip from Grandma – wash with Prell and coconut oil, egg and honey or just VO5 conditioner. Rinse with vinegar & water. Then oil with coconut, olive or jojoba oil. Use henna, indigo and honey to adjust color.

    Plus you'll live longer.

  • lynnemery

    This article saying WEN doesn't have perfumes in them is incorrect. WEN products do contain perfume, so if you're like me and allergic to fragrance pass those up!



    • Amc

      Will support our black owned natural hair product companies if they stay true to having natural ingredients only. Why are companies such as Miss Jessies, Taliah Waajid and a few others putting harmful chemicals in their supposed natural products? And charging an arm and a leg.

      • and not to mention the cost! especially Miss Jessies. i have three daughters (thick and long hair) hair to do plus my own, i will be broke trying to support Miss Jessies.

        • Rosie

          Amen to that! My mom and I have used Miss Jesse’s crap and it dried the hell out of our hair. Same with Wen. Just tried a new company called Soultanicals and I am hooked. All Natural, leaves my hair soft, and Black owned. Shea Moisture is really good as well.

    • GIRLA

      I would love to support Black Owned companies but why are they so high though? I want my hair to be healthy but I’m balling on a college student budget. Therefore, I have to use products that fit my budget…

  • crystal

    Okay so when I saw the title of this article my first thought was “who has paid them to advertise these products?”…Only product I know to be good for my hair is WEN, the rest can kick rocks.

    • jjac401

      Crystal – I am a natural sista and you are right about WEN! WEN is the truth!

      • SimplyRessy

        Hey, can you give me more information on Wen? I’m going natural (haven’t permed in 6 months) I’m considering using wen but still indecisive. Any suggestions?

  • feri

    John Frieda is the truth. Salon quality but drug store (ok a little higher than most drug store) prices. Too bad its not all natural. I always get compliments on how shiny and bouncy my hair is. I like that their products keep my hair moisturized but not too greasy and weighed down.

    Another good product for curls/kinks is head and shoulders 2 in 1 moisturizing shampoo. I don't have dandruff but I use it because the shampoo actually has conditioner in it so it doesn't strip my hair but it leaves it feeling really clean and moisturized than I use a john freida conditioner and styling products

  • LaLaLaMeansILoveYou

    Wait a minute, I'm confused now. Since going natural, I've been reading a lot on what's good and what's not good for natural hair. Most of the things that I've read (some even on this website) say that any hair products that contain alcohol, sulfates, and petrolatum are NOT good for our hair.

    Which leads me to the question, how did Pantene (yes, even the line they created supposedly for "us") make #1 on this list? I was in the store not even a month ago with their shampoo and conditioner in my cart, because they packaged it all nice and shiny and boasted "naturals" on the front…then I read the list of ingredients and guess which product had ALL 3 of them in it? Exactly.

    Ladies, we have to stop trusting these websites and magazines (Essence had a similar rave review of Pantene's R&N products) that SUPPOSEDLY have our best interests at heart when in reality they are most likely being paid in some way from these companies to push theses harmful products on us because they know that we trust them and are too lazy to do the research for ourselves. To the author of this article, may I suggest next time doing better research on the products you push on us.

    • bbsinclair

      Some people like pantene. Some don't. My natural sister's hair thrives on pantene, my natural hair doesn't. Every natural doesn't follow the same rules and buy the same products. This site is for entertainment with basic info. You should take it as such. What's good for the goose is good may not be good for the gander. Buy what you like and let others do the same. I for one use products with mineral oils and have had better growth/moisture retention (mineral oil stops water from escaping).

      Maybe consider that the author has to write broad articles for all readers? If you don't like. Product fine. But someone else might.

      • Amen!! I for one believe that if it keeps my hair from breaking off, i’ll use it. that “B&B hair grease has mineral oil and it keeps my hair from breaking. maybe it breaks someone elses, but i haven’t had that experience.

    • Elise

      You’re right. I’ve done TONS (read:hours and hours) of research about products that are good for our hair and the crap in pantene is NOT good. Pantene is made by Proctor and Gamble- which also makes TIDE Detergent- please look to the sides of this blog and tell me you don’t see Tide detergent ads right now.


      $ is everything. the end. don’t believe everything you’re told, everyone has a motive.

      • Lyla Maroon

        I just saw a tide ad right now, if Pantene is dangerous why is it still on the market?

        more people have curls kinks and waves not straight hair but yet again most products are for fine hair.

        That is not fair

    • There leave in conditioner is great. Most products on the market have these harmful ingredients. This article does not claim to offer natural 100% healthy hair care products for our hair (hello they’re touting a box dye) but if homegirl is in her local Wal-mart with no more than $20 to spend on her hair care products and doesn’t have hours to boil, blend, and grow her own natural stuff this list would help her out.