Natural Hair Products and Organic Foods?

This topic was submitted by Brandiss:


I know that most women with natural hair are aware of the "bad list" of product ingredients that we should stay away from. The bad list contains mineral oil, parabens and the list goes on. From what we hear and read online, we know that these substances can absorb into our bloodstreams. BUT, my problem is with the folks who obsess over ingredients in their hair products, but turn right around and stuff Big Macs and Ball Park franks down their throats on a regular basis. I think some people really have their priorities mixed up. Granted large amounts of these "bad list" ingredients may cause some type of effect, but I think we should be more concerned about what we put INSIDE of our bodies. Everyone wants beautiful hair, but I think that involves more than just hair products. That's what really counts. If you put good in, good will come out.

Weigh in ladies!

52 Weigh in!:
puff said...

I 100% think that people should be cautious about not only what they apply to their outsides, but what they take into their insides. I feel like the dangers associated with cosmetics are more publicised because their effects are automatically easy to see (hair loss, burns etc.), whereas the damage that comes from eating a Big Mac a day takes a lot longer to see, which may be why people pay less attention to their health than their looks. We're vain creatures, after all. Since becoming natural I've become a lot more cautious about what I put on my head/skin, but I've always been conscious about what I eat as my mother is a nutritionist and always encouraged us to eat well (buying organic in particular), so these two aspects have never been at odds for me.

And ughhhhhh McDonalds is gross =/

Alicia said...

You are so right, even though I am guilty of stuffing myself with a burger occasionally, I have found a better alternative, I make it myself, I buy my burger patties at Whole foods and prepare it with whole wheat buns, load it up with lots of veggies, and voila, I have a wholesome treat that at least I know what goes into it, sometimes I buy my freshly cut meat and grind in my Kitchen Aid and make my own patties, even more yummy, and no preservatives or fillers. Don't think of it as a diet, it's a lifestyle change, I've lost 30lbs so far just from cooking more. I am now able to monitor what goes into my body, I even take lunch to work. So when an occasion calls for eating out at a restaurant I am not worried cause I know it's not the norm. We should always be aware of what is going into our bodies, (GIGO:garbage in-garbage out).

InTransition_RN said...

Once I began my natural journey in January, I made a conscious effort to change my intake as well... and I notice a true difference!!! My skin and hair and even the whites of my eyes looks healthy!!! Every once in a while I partake of the fatty goodies... but as always... everything should be done in moderation!!!

Michelle said...

CurlyNikki thank you for this post. Sometimes I get really tired of people talking about all the products in the world that are 'supposed' to do XYZ great thing for the hair, but what most people fail to realize is that hair is DEAD. It's that simple. Anything we do to our hair once it grows out of our scalp is to maintain its state, but the actual nourishment for the hair (skin, and body) should start from the inside. I have always been an active person, but from time to time will slip of the wagon and eat out because it seemed 'faster/more convenient' for me. Well once I got tired of being broke and not actually being satisfied with what I was eating (it seemed everything lacked flavor lol) I decided to start cooking. About two weeks later I noticed my skin was glowing, I could breathe better, and I was satisfied eating less food because it just tasted better. People would stop me (and still do) asking what I'm using on my skin to make it glow, what I'm using to make my hair grow and the truth is, I do nothing. I try my hardest to east plenty vegetables (especially green ones), to work out often, and to drink LOTS of water. All of these things together have left me feeling better than ever! I don't breakout, I'm not tired and I just feel like I have energy. Its all pretty cliche, but I feel its cliche for a reason-it works!

curliitommii said...

What really got me was how the person who was video taping said America's Funniest Home Videos....if they honestly sent that in I think they would have been arrested for child abuse, honestly.

Miss Marche said...

Ditto @InTransition_RN.... It's so backwards, but it wasn't until I started being picky about what I put in my hair that I realized, "Hey... I should be taking the same care of my body!" On some level, I think that it's easier to change your hair habits, especially if the person has been natural for a short time. Eating habits, however, have been around for a lifetime! So it's probably a harder adjustment.

Anonymous said...

Very true. Your hair/skin/nails are normally an accurate reflection of what you consume. Since becoming vegetarian and eating more whole, raw, and organic there has been a significant difference in the overrall health of hair/skin/nails for the better.

A. Spence said...

I agree with you. I think it's easier to watch what we put on our hair than what we eat.

Ms. Silky Coils said...

I totally agree and thanks for commenting on this. With cleaning up my hair product regimen, I've also done the same with the products I put on my skin AND the ingredients I put in my body on a regular basis. While an occasional drinker, I also cut down on this as well.

Your body is a well oiled machine and adding to much bad stuff in general will hurt you overall. Good read!

Delta Gurl said...

AMEN Sista! (from the deaconess corner)

new2locs said...

This statement is so true. I've stopped eating fast food & have lost weight and I feel so much better. I was guilty of that statement watching what I put on my skin & hair but always in a rush & never home to cook so I was always pulling in the nearest drive-thru. All it takes is a conscious effort to do better & it can be done.

Anonymous said...

ITA. It's not a good look having nice hair but bad skin and a weight problem. When I did my BC about 3 months ago I decided that I needed a whole body/lifestyle makeover. So I started making small steps- 1 at a time. I started making changes in my diet, started exercising at least 5/6 days a week, and even got rid of most of my toiletries that had harmful ingredients in them.

Anonymous said...

I truly agree. 95% of what I eat is organic or natural and my eating habits is the reason why I chose to go natural with my hair. So I guess I had the opposite effect. I was conscious of what I was putting in me but not on me!!

satin doll said...

this is so true....AMEN!

NappySince10/01/08 said...

totally agree with the writer/inquirer. im proud to say that since being natural, i've been more conscious about my diet too. never been too bad with my foods but Im slowly making my transition into veganism (plan to be totally vegan by Jan 1, 2010). Now, if I can just wean myself off of my sugar cravings. ugh! it is quite hipocritical to be a "natural Nazi" yet put junk into the body. we're all individually, a work in progress ladies/gents so hopefully this can open many minds and eyes. Thanks for voicing this...

Namun said...

Totally agree with this statement. We are what we eat and we should be more conscious of what we put in our bodies.

honeysmoke said...

I agree. Being natural is a lifestyle. But I can only worry about me, not the rest of the planet. What's that phrase? Do you! That said, I reserve the right to eat chocolate. I've got a bad, bad sweet tooth.

Anonymous said...

Love today's thought! After deciding to go natural I did become very conscious of what i was putting into my hair and with that I felt it was a very natural (no pun intended) leap for me to also begin to pay attention to what I was putting into my body. It was kinda like an Ah ha! moment. It just made sense. Since going natural with my hair, I have also gone vegan, begin to exercise regularly, get out more-- its just lead me to a more natural holistic life which I'm loving =0)

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about this a lot. I do try to put good things in my hair, and now I am working on putting better things into my body. I guess the hair part is easier because my hair doesn't crave mineral oil, but my body craves sweets.

Joy said...

The reality is that people can easily put healthy products in hair because food cravings and addictions are not involved. We are in a society that encourages help for drug/alcohol addictions, but promotes food addictions by saying "don't deprive yourself".

Anonymous said...

my husbnd and i were just discussing this issue. how it appears as if it is far easier for some to stop putting chemicals in their hair and grow it out, than it is for them to put down the junk "food" and get in shape!!! you would think it would be easy given that two a very connected!!! "garbage in, garbage out" your body has to be properly nourished before i can produce anything healthy and strong, babies,teeth,bones, hair, fingernails, etc. your hair has to first be healthy right out of the scalp, no applied product will make up for the lack of proper nourishment. and yes i understand that hair is dead, simply a "waste" product of the body, but the follicles producing the "waste" are very alive!!

SheaNavyPT said...

Love this topic and just had to add my thought to the discussion. I am a ACSM Personal Trainer and work for the U.S. Navy and as I tell all my guys and gals in uniform you don't have to go to great lengths. It's hard to know what is really healthy and what isn't with all the marketing ploys we are just assaulted with. High carb diet, low carb diet, low fat diet, high protein diet. Do I become a vegan? Is meat bad for me? This can all be so confusing and from my experience highly restrictive diets are very hard to follow. Some can do it but the majority cannot. You don't have to have highly restrictive diets to gain health benefits. Whole foods, lean meats, limited fats along with limited cholesterol and salt. Also watch your calories. Remember balance the energy in with the energy out. Get some physical activity in on most or all days of the week. Do it not just for your hair (which is dead), but do it for your overall health. Yes there are some people who are hypocritical with their thinking in terms of harmful ingredients and harmful foods, even diet and exercise for their hair versus their overall health. However, with my experience some people just don't know what is a good diet versus a bad diet. Of course everyone knows that hamburgers are not good for you, but what is something that would be? What other meat could you use instead of ground beef? These are the things that some people really struggle with and need a little help. So, yes I agree. Put as much TLC in your over all health as you do with your hair. Honestly, most natural women I know (myself included) are not in highly restrictive diets and our healthy hair is more or less a side effect of us taking care of our overall health. But, if you need help with your diet (not sure how much fruit, grains, meats, or calories you should be eating) try visiting http://www.mypyramid.gov/. This is a site put together by the USDA in partnership with physicians and registered dietitians. I refer a lot of my clients to this website. Its chucked full of helpful tools. Remember everyone, if you take care of your overall health everything else will fall into place.

Maria said...

I have nothing to add. Just laughing at the comment "...stuff Big Macs and Ball Park franks down their throats on a regular basis." LMAO!!!

Alicia said...

I have been natural all my life and a vegetarian for about 10 years. I totally agree with the statements made. I definitely see a difference in my hair, skin, and nails when I'm eating right (vegetarians eat junk too!). I also suffer from acne, but when my diet is in control its like my skin glows. I've been back on my healthy tip for the last month or so and I'm sticking with it this time! Thanks for posting this great topic of discussion!

luvleelox said...

I agree with the topic starter wholeheartedly and as a woman who has struggled with weight all my life let us (respondents) not overlook the fact that big gurls aren’t the only demographic that may have terrible eating habits…many thin women have terrible eating habits but escape judgment because they can wear a size six.

While we all need to be good stewards of the temple God gave us my struggles may be different then yours when it comes to food and exercising regularly and I liken hair acceptance to body acceptance in some (not all) aspects…being overweight may be a lifelong struggle for me and if I never lose a pound I love my body, walk around the house naked every chance I get and consider myself one of the sexiest things walking in or out of clothes (my hubby considers my confidence an aphrodisiac) …it has taken me a long time feel good about the hair and skin I’m in and I press onward and upward! Encouraging posts!

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! Girl...how did you get inside my head?...lol...I was just thinking the exact same thing...you're hair is al naturale then you turn around and smoke a cigarette or eat a bunch of stuff you know is no good for you...go figure!!!

patricia said...

I totally agree. When I decided to go natural, I decided to attempt to do a complete lifestyle change, I'm running, trying to eat better and drinking smoothies.

Its funny my sister and I were talking about how many black women are content w/ just being "thick" instead of realizing that hey I'm out of shape and I am at risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Also I heard that there a new strain of breast cancer targeting black women. With all these disease out there I'd like to be in the best shape I can be.

Dizzietron (AKA Floella) said...

But junk food has soo many POSITIVES. Its tasty, its readily availiable and its inexpensive, did I say tasty already??? mmmmm Fries Tacos Cheeseburgers....

Mineral oils in hair don't feel good or taste good AND are bad for you

InTransition_RN said...

[email protected] Dizzietron... I came back just to ask if that is thousand island dressing on those fries in the above picture?!? If so, very interesting combo... gotta try that.

BTW, I thought of this post as I devoured my BK Original Chicken Sandwich (with tomatoes and cheese) with regular french fries and a regular orange Fanta today after my MD appointment!!! MMM MMM

Tomorrow I'll do a fruit flush!!!

Bringin' Nappy Back said...

Amen to that. Part of the reason that I am natural is because I couldn't ever work out with a perm. I saw in an Ad in Essence that 80% of Black women are overweight. We need to take care of ourselves ladies, inside and out.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Since I began to transition I've become a vegetarian.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I stopped obsessing about the hair product ingredients. It makes no sense for me to worry about my hair product ingredients, until I get my physical health in check...like taking vitamins, eating healthier and exercising regularly. It's tough, but I keep trying.

brwngirl901 said...

I am sooooo glad to see this topic being introduced! I did my big chop in June 2006. I have been a vegetarian since May 2008. I work out no less than 5 days a week. Once I went natural, it flowed over into my overall health and well-being. I was so conscious of everything that I was putting in my hair but I was steadily eating out and eating high-fat, greasy foods. By late 2007, I started really working on my physique & eating right.

Now I am almost 30 pounds lighter w/a few more pounds to lose, my hair is absolutely amazing, and the best part of all...I feel like a million dollars! The FEELING of being healthy, feeling strong(or being able to jog) is so AMAZING! Ladies it's hard, I have had alot of setbacks...BUT we have to do better. It's just food.

When you are eating right, exercising...and that beautiful hair is in the air...it radiates throughout you! And the men absolutely loooove it! I have turned more heads now w/my weight loss and being natural than I ever could imagine. Be healthy ladies!

Brandiss said...

I enjoyed reading all the input on my topic.

@Michelle- totally agree

@Luvleelox- Although you sort of took your comment in a different direction, I do agree with you that there are small women with bad eating habits. I was one of them, up until recently. It's not easy trying to eat healthy at any size if you're not used to that type of lifstyle. I still enjoy junk food, but now I do it in moderation and not as my 3 meals for the day.

@Anonymous (last one)- Same here girl. It is a work in progress.

@Dizzietron- LOL, I have nothing against junk food. Just the people who eat lots of it, then turn around and preach about putting natural products ON their head. It's kinda bass-ackwards to me!

Suburbanbushbabe said...

From my personal experience, once I stopped putting chemicals in my hair I began to eliminate chemicals from my diet -- coffee, artificial sweeteners, sodas, and sugar. My Everest will be bread since I'm addicted to a locally made bread. Elminating almost all caffeine not only brightened my skin, I no longer have a persistent hip muscle pain -- go figure! I switched from Splenda to stevia with the occasional agave syrup which I hope will balance out my metabolism. My taste buds have certainly improved. I bought a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks recently that used to be a staple and it tasted to bland and tasteless now.

2BLESSED said...

I agree with this article. Its on point. Before I became natural I stayed in the gym, and eating healthy. Natural women would always try to call out women with perms saying how we are destroying our hair etc.. but the same women were overweight, smoking cigarettes and not living a "natural" lifestyle. Your hair is natural but what about your makeup?? What about your food?

This gave me a bad impression on natural women. To me being natural is a lifestyle choice. You can't come hard at someone about getting a perm and everything about you besides your hair is unhealthy. Everything has to work together.

Anonymous said...

I agree. PLUS: so many people take supplements and don't eat properly. Artificial supplements may sometimes lead to hypervitaminosis and other health problems, whereas eating a lot of good nutrients through food will give you long term results related to beauty and health VS short term sudden hair growth or energy boost. Eating well is probably the biggest effort but I believe it is the only real good idea. And you can't really go wrong with it.

I believe when you abandon the "want quick results no matter what", or the lack of balance between all areas of your life, you can make mistakes or you can find out you don't get results.

Valentina

Anonymous said...

Sorry, if you DON't abandon

Valentina

Anonymous said...

I completely agree and think it is about a wholistic approach to wellness. Before I went natural, I was turned off by militant natural associates that seemed to think they were better than everyone when all they did was stop perming their hair. They still had the same negativity and issues with other woman and men that the so called self-loathing girls with straight hair and weaves did, sometimes more. Now that I am both a natural and vegan (transitioning raw foodist)I also realize that in addition to my body, which will still perish; the greater, eternal part of me must be nurtured as well-my soul.

Stacye said...

Has anyone started recycling more since eating better and going natural? I have been recycling. I guess to safe money to shop at Whole Foods for food and hair products! lol

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all of the responses yet. As someone who has struggled with weight, overall health, personal issues and just plain ignorance I can attest that to make these major lifestyle changes isn't easy. When you ask someone to change their haircare you're asking a lot, but then to add on to the pressure to change their overall lifestyle and care for themselves can be overwhelming. And yes I understand this is a benefit to them. I had to do a lot of praying, meditating, self-searching before I could make the changes I've made not only to my hair, but to my overall health. Before we pass judgment on folks let's remember that in reality you're telling them that they are wrong. They're wrong in how they take care of their hair, how they eat, the decisions they make with their money and how they feel and what they desire. It took many, many and many more baby steps for me to get where I am today and I still have a long way to go for my own personal standard of what healthy is for me. I try to keep this in mind when I see someone not making the best decisions for their lives than what I would do...and then I remember its their life and they have to live it. I have enough to take care of in my own life.

...ok going to read the responses...SisterBoyd

Anonymous said...

I read all of the post and I still stand on what I said. Also, it has encouraged me to stand on my stance of minding my own business. If someone wants to become natural, but doesn't want to change their eating habits that's their business - it doesn't affect me. I've never understood why someone's personal eating habits would be of such concern to someone else. I understanding wanting the best for someone, but in reality it doesn't affect you. I guess this has always been a question of mine since I've always been that big girl that people felt they had the right to speak on. ha ha ha As a grown woman I think folks need to work on their own lives and let others attend to their lives - that was me being nice ;)

If I come to you asking advice then that is your opportunity to share your wisdom. I would hope you would speak from a place of love and not of judgment. But if you can't put down the judgment then that shows me that you still have some cleaning to do in your own life. Remember we were all judged for our decision to become natural...so why would be turn around and stand in that same unloving place and judge the next person? SisterBoyd

Madison said...

Very true. This is something that needed to be said. So many people won't even shampoo their hair because of the harmful sulfates. But, will eat McDonalds which has been proven time and time again to be genetically engineered food that does not mold! Since becoming natural I am very cautious of what I eat. Fast food, pork, certain types of beef, and processed foods are all gone! It would have been so hypocritical to only put natural products on the outside but God knows what on the inside.

Anonymous said...

The loving myself for who I am phenomenon is sometimes used as a crutch. You should love your curves but being overweight is unhealthy. Period. I think there has been such a push for self love, plus-sized models, and just overall self love that we have taken it to mean we can look however we want but as long as we love ourselves we are ok. False. While, you may (and should) love your body at any size..many preventable diseases are caused by being overweight and unhealthy eating habits. Love who your are, but accept that your neglecting your health does not show self love. JMO. Given with love.

Anonymous said...

"many thin women have terrible eating habits but escape judgment because they can wear a size six"

Going relaxer-free for me wasn't really about the health of my hair, so it's not odd that I maintained poor eating habits afterward. It's only in the last five years or so that I've started to care about both what I put in my body and on it. I am a woman who wears a size 0/2/XS and got a different/opposite kind of judgment from people (must have an ED!). Over the years I have become sedentary and the doctor judged that I have borderline high cholesterol this past August. That's all I care about. I don't care what random folk who don't love me think about how thin I am.

Anonymous said...

I love McDonalds fries!

tias_tresses said...

I guess it was the other way around for me. I was a vegetarian, and then vegan, long before I went natural. Somehow taking care of my hair was something that I could keep putting off. Now, I'm making an effort to take care of my body, not only on the inside, but on the outside too. Great topic!

Beej said...

Hear frickin' hear! I can't STAND that double standard. I read the ingredient lists on EVERYTHING, and I refuse to eat processed fast foods. We a sa people need to consider just what chemical magic makes foods avalable to be super fast, super 'delicious' (aka full of fat and salt and weird chemicals. Sometimes people complain that healthier foods just don't taste as good. What they need to consider is that chemical additives fool their tongue into thinking what's better, and a lifetime of high sodium, sugar and fat consumption can leave your tastebuds a little skewed. Clean out your pantry and give it time. Try not to eat things with a paragraph or more of words you don't even understand as ingredients. And... you know what? I'm just gonna post about this, too. Off to my blog!

Crystal said...

I totally agree with this post!! Even though I hear people say that your skin is the largest part of your body and your body absorbs everything you put on it (blah, blah, blah), I still think that what you eat is more important than what you put on your skin or in your hair. Plus it is so hard to find something that actually works for your hair. I freakin love me some Herbal Essences Coconut conditioner and do not care if it has cones. I put that conditioner in my hair and my Jilbere comb just glides through like nobody's business!! Plus I can get a gigantic bottle at BJ's wholesale. It is simply the best!! Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water is by far more important than whether or not you use cones or petroleum.

In2itive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
In2itive said...

I didn't read all the previous comments...but I agree 100%, to be honest I'm more concerned about what I put in body than what I put on my hair. I love me some products w/cons but I won't eat processed foods (bread, cheese, etc...) I'm a bit of a foodie/amauter groument so I prefer fresh ingredients (farmed raised chickens, wild caught fish, grass fed beef for hubby, in season veggies/fruits, etc...)I'm not into organic as much as I'm into local. I don't want organic strawberries from Mexico in December, I'll wait until the summer months to purchase them locally.

I think it's good to "nurture" your hair but I think it's more important to nurture your body and it will show in your hair.

Anonymous said...

Amen SisterBoyd. I agree with the premise of this article but it's these comments and this kind of judgment that makes me so sad from naturals. I first began changing my diet and with that came the decision to go natural so I understand how the two may go hand and hand but it's a process. So many of these comments ridicule others for being naturals but eating as they wish. That is their business and their struggle. Maybe if everyone took more time to concentrate on their own flaws, then we would think twice before judging others. I know that I am a work in progress and with the help of God, I am getting myself together from head to toe. And when I see beautiful naturals eating McDonalds or whatever, I don't laugh or think of what I perceive as a contradiction. Let's reserve judgment for God alone and just keep it moving.

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