Old School Hair Products: Good or Bad?

Old School Hair Products: Good or Bad?

There are so many new and emerging hair care brands on the market now in response to the natural hair movement. Along with the new brands, there is a resurgence of some old school hair products that were popular when I was a kid. I recall attending a natural hair event, and during a panel discussion with hair stylists, someone asked about some of the old school products. She mentioned that as a child, her hair was not relaxed, and her hair was thriving – even though the shampoo had sulfates and there was a lot of Blue Magic grease involved.

It made me wonder, were the hair products we used back then all that bad? Do old school products have any use in our healthy hair regimens? Let’s talk about three products that might not be as bad as you think:

#1 – Hair Grease

Most of the hair grease brands from back in the day were petroleum based, and that’s why most people take issue. But as far as being used as a sealant, it can serve the same purpose as any other heavy butter or oil. Apply a water-based spray or leave-in conditioner first, then apply the grease as you would any other oil or butter. Since grease is heavy, be sure to use a clarifying shampoo to avoid any product buildup.

#2 – Curl Activator

I received a jar of curl activator gel in a gift bag at a natural hair event once and I laughed. I thought ‘isn’t this just for Jherri curls?’ I decided to try it out for a wash and go just for kicks and giggles, but the joke was on me. That wash and go style was amazing! Turns out that the main ingredient in most curl activators is glycerin, which is great for adding moisture to your hair. And the more moisture, the more your curls with pop without the crunch. My hair was very hydrated, and I used that entire jar.

#3 – Oil Sheen

Oil sheen is basically aerosolized hair grease and typically it contains mineral oil. The same principle applies because mineral oil and petroleum are similar in that they coat the hair heavily. Some brands have updated their formulas so they include natural oils besides mineral oil, but go easy. Use oil sheen as a finishing spray to add sheen to your hair style.

At the end of the day, at it’s core hair is hair. While textured hair has some unique properties and hair care needs, most of the basic hair care principles still apply. If you aren’t insisting on using all-natural or organic ingredients in your hair products, these oldie but goody old school products can still be a part of your healthy hair care regimen.

Are there any other old school products that you use to swear by? Why would you still use it, or why wouldn’t you use it any more?

6 thoughts on “Old School Hair Products: Good or Bad?

  1. I use curl activator and occasionally grease on my hair. They work well and give my hair great results.

  2. When I used petroleum based products like grease, vaseline and baby oil, my skin was horrible. I suffered from dry flaky irritated skin on my body, my face was extremely oily, with constant flare ups of severe, painful cyctic acne.

    In three years of being natural, focusing on using natural ingredients and DIY ing many of my hair, face and body products I have experienced a complete turnaround in the health and appearance of my hair and skin. I’ve also become more aware of whats in the food I eat and focused on clean eating and overall wellness.

    If these products work for you then continue using them. I am happy with the results I’ve gotten by using natural ingredients and avoiding unnecessarily processed items on and in my body. To me, its worth any additional expense, and I have found that it is not that expensive and can be cheaper in many cases.

  3. Queen Helene’s protein deep conditioner. I can find a tub as big as my head for $5 or less and you can’t tell me there’s a better product under $25.

  4. Thank You so much for this article. Since I always wear my hair short (by choice) I have never given up my Hawaiian Silky curl activator and the 14-1 product they carry. I try not to use a lot of products that are bad for natural hair but I focus that more on my shampoo and my conditioning regimens along with my rinses; but certain things are just perfect for my natural hair and I definitely have no problem adding them in to my regimen. Stops me from going broke for hair products.

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