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Curly Nikki

Out With the Old…

By January 27th, 202126 Comments

Out With the Old...
Shayla writes:

My mom and mother-in-law do not understand co-washing or using natural oils instead of hair grease or any of the “new to me” methods of hair care. When I was little my mom washed my hair once a week, greased my scalp, kept my hair in braids or twists, didn’t use “natural” products, and my hair was thick healthy and strong. Thick, healthy, strong hair is what I want for my daughter, and while I embrace the “because she’s my daughter and that’s the way its going to go approach”, I’d rather find a nice way to tell them that there is nothing wrong with they did it, but I’d like to embrace the new. Suggestions?

For the record, I can totally relate to Shayla! My hair was long, strong, and happy thanks to regular scalp greasings, and bi-monthly washings. The Blue Ultra Sheen in all it’s mineral oil glory, was my holy grail product– not any of the organic products I live by now. But it got the job done, right?!

What do ya’ll think? How should she approach this?


  • Dava says:

    My issue with my mom is the mentality in front of my six year old daughter who is struggling with trying to fit in with the permed and weaved girls in her first grade class. My mother will say, in front of her, "I dont blame her! I wouldnt want to have nappy hair in school either!" I am struggling with trying to instill a air of pride in my daughters spirit related to who and what she is. These comments doent help. Mommy lives out of town tho so it is not a constant issue but I have anxiety when I know we will see her and she will say something about my daughters afro puffs or two strand twists.

  • Anonymous says:

    It sounds to me like natural vs "un-natural" product use is about preference and what your hair can take.

    I am ever so new to this (transitioning for about 3 months and won't be doing BC for oh let's see, NEVER haha) and am still trying to figure out what products to use and how they will help me achieve long strong healthy hair.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Some lady here was kind enough to give us some updated research that shows that good ole hair grease is fine to use from a health standpoint. If your hair was long healthy and strong in its natural state as a child, maybe it'll be the same as an adult.

    But then, maybe you want to go all natural and use natural products and that's what works for you, your hair, and your consciousness.

    Seems to me that the only thing that matters is to have facts to support your perspective and if it's a battle between mom's, grams, and mil's, to give them help so they don't have to use good ole grease if you don't want that for your child. Be prepared: do the child's hair in a style that will stay, provide the loving caregiver with products that YOU want used, talk about what you would like and why.

    Communication and preparation are the key. This doesn't have to be WW3…after all, it's only hair.

  • Ranelle Tulloch says:

    This makes alot of sense I have the same problem with my mom, since I am only 13; it's kinda hard to say mom co-wash or forget the grease. I'm still convincing her to use the natural products and I'm getting there. But it is very hard to change habits that have been passed on.

  • HauteHairGurl says:

    OMG! This post is right on time! I'm having the exact same issue with my mom. Her retort is always "well I used it/fed it to you and you turned out fine." I tried hiding the grease and the other non natural products but it's becoming an uphill battle and it's so frustrating. Like today she told me she greased her scalp and her hair wasn't dry all day. What do you say to that? I've all but given up, it's 2:1 and even though she's MY child, I don't feel like having that argument every day so they can be mad at me since they feel like I'm attacking them. Sorry for the book but I really needed to vent about this.

  • Anonymous says:


    I'm glad that you took my comments in a positive light. I wasn't attacking you or anyone else. I was just trying to provide you with a more 'verifiable' perspective.

    There is nothing wrong with using natural products just as there is nothing wrong with using hair grease or whatever. I alternate between the two types of products and I notice no difference in hair growth, moisture, etc. etc. I encourage anyone to use whatever they like, but you should always question the validity of claims.

  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    *omit the second "not" in the first paragraph

    it's … *but taking the time to offer…

    sheesh, im the typo queen (there's more in there but eff it)! lol

    Thanks Girl Friday

  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    thank u first Anonymous for clearing it up for your girl 😉

    I appreciate u for not attacking me but not taking the time to offer what you've found as well as provide sources. I first read about the mineral oil on one my fave natural hair blogs to date and I didn't want to put her 'out there' on here. What I've read in the past made sense to me b/c I had not so good experiences with mineral oil and not so much petroleum. Even one of my many hair idols swears by it. But I do find that I feel better off (skin, hair, and conscious) going as natural as possible. & no, Im not a "Natural Nazi" (just to be clear). I do believe in not fixing what's not broken. Clearly, your research is more updated. Solid petroleum, I'll give a break to… Mineral oil (in it's "liquidy" form): not doing it because of my bad experiences with it. Again, I do thank you for not taking advantage of your anonymity and being rude to me. I know how catty and nasty disagreements can get when we don't see each other's faces (cowards. ugh! can't stand em)

    Here it goes: I offer my apologies. I never mean to misguide. I am clearly learning myself and am a beautiful work in progress!

  • Girl Friday says:

    This is all so confusing! I'm transitioning now and I don't really know up from down right now. Thanks for all of the research that went into these posts, and while I wouldn't say anyone is "perpetuating ignorance", it's still neat to hear peoples opinions just so if there is something false out there, one of you lovlies can step in and let us know! Teach!

  • Anonymous says:

    Preach on 10:42!!! I saddens me how much people perpetuate ingnorance by never actually checking thier facts. Thank you.

  • KyaDiva says:

    To be honest what you are doing now is not that different from what they did then, you are just using different products…All you have to say to avoid hurt feelings/confrontation/aggravation is say we use X brand over Y because I read it penetrates the hair better and it is better for the environment… You don't have to get on your soapbox about why. If your parents/in-laws keep your daughter for weekends or summer vacations, etc., just bring her products for them to use on her, or do her hair right before she visits so it is a non issue. It isn't that you need to be ashamed of your choice but sometimes it easier to not have certain conversations. As long as they respect your choice to not relax her hair…an occasional dose of Blue Magic won't hurt…they even make a coconut oil formula. I actually use that for travel just because it comes in a convenient size and stays solid.

  • Divafied Mama says:

    I am having this same issue with my MIL who will add any product possible that I tell her not to. I write up instructions for what and what not to use on her hair, even how to comb my daughter's hair. It never fails there's always some product that I do not use, and her hair looking dry. My daughter has ash brown hair like her mother (mine's is a dark ash), and I try to use products that go hand in hand with each other so it won't dry her hair. I think she got the picture when I sat down, did my daughter's hair in front her, using the products. If you haven't, try sneaking the products in her play/overnight bag.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello NappySince10/01/08:

    (mineral oil) Clear, odorless oil derived from petroleum that is widely used in cosmetics because it rarely causes allergic reactions and it cannot become a solid and clog pores. Despite mineral oil’s association with petroleum and the hype that it is bad for skin, keep in mind that petroleum is a natural ingredient derived from the earth and that once it becomes mineral oil USP (cosmetics- and pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil), it has no resemblance to the original petroleum. Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most nonirritating moisturizing ingredients ever found (Sources: Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79; and Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44–46). Yes, they can keep air off the skin to some extent, but that’s what a good antioxidant is supposed to do; they don’t suffocate skin! Moreover, mineral oil and petrolatum are known to be efficacious in wound healing, and are also among the most effective moisturizing ingredients available (Source: Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33–40).

    (petrolatum). Vaseline is pure petrolatum. For some unknown and unsubstantiated reason, petrolatum has attained a negative image in regard to skin care, despite solid research to the contrary. Topical application of petrolatum can help the skin’s outer layer recover from damage, reduce inflammation, and generally heal the skin (Source: Acta Dermato-Venereologica, November–December 2000, pages 412–415). See also mineral oil.

    I got both definitions from, and I am inclined to believe her statements because she actually cites reputable sources instead of just throwing something out there like a lot of people tend to do. Here are more links I think you should read before I make my final argument (made by actual scientists):

    Now, I hear a lot of people say bad things about mineral oil and petroleum, and all of those comments tend to be incredibly unnerving. The reason why is because while people can make all the claims they want about it, NO PERSON I'VE COME ACROSS HAS EVER BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE A REPUTABLE SOURCE JUSTIFYING THEIR CLAIM. THAT LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT WHAT THEY ARE SAYING JUST ISN'T TRUE.

    Have you ever actually heard of a person developing cancer from using products that contain mineral oil and/or petroleum? (If this was the case my paternal Grandmother-who sadly STILL wears a curl-would be dead right now^_^.) I know I haven't read about it or seen a single study that justifies this claim. It's just a scare tactic surrounded by a ton of misinformation. Seriously, if mineral oil caused cancer, we would all be deader than a doorknob.

    Personally I ignore the debate about oils moisturizing or conditioning because, IMO, when you condition your hair it just means that you are restoring moisture to your hair specifically after you wash it (meaning you are moisturizing it). That wasn't the basis of my post. I was challenging the hype behind using natural oils and their inabilities (which people tend to ignore or be ignorant of because it's a natural product-so it should work in any way that you want it to…right?…Not really…).
    fyi evoo, coconut, and avocado CAN actually penetrate into your hair, not just your scalp:

    There are other sources, but I just don't feel like looking right now. ^_^

  • Carlotta says:

    This is a very interesting subject. My mother-in-law would be the first to combat my decision for the children being natural and not wanting to use the traditional hair products my husband and I grew up on. I wil try to remeber what the anonymous poster at 4:03 pm said when trying to explain my decision. This topic also helped me understand why the products I'm using on our transitioning hair is not working so well to keep my step-daughter's permed hair as moisturized as her mother can. I can't seem to get her ponytails slick enough to stay put pass one day. But her mom can put a pony in her hair and it won't mess up for days. Just a side thought. Anyway, good discussion, and good luck. Our elders can be unyielding at times.

  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    Hi Anonymous @ 6:22 p. In the past, I've read from a couple places that mineral oil is a carcinogen. Perhaps I should look into it again? Oils may not neccesarily moisturize hair but oils such as evoo, coconut oil, and avocado does penetrate into the *scalp. & Im aware of the debate of whether oils actually do moisturize or whether they're just "conditioning." I've read and know from experience that coconut can be quite clogging (as Im prone to buildup) but nonetheless, they are not just coating my skin. I'll be sure to look into mineral oil. If I find that I've been misinformed, I'll be back to apologize…

  • Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the ingredients were different "back then"? And/or does it matter if it's not put on the scalp, only the hair? From what I was taught, once hair comes out of your scalp, that's pretty much it as far as making that strand "healthy"…so maybe (stay with me now…) all the stuff we do for our strands only help keep it from drying out and "blue majic" keeps strands protected also but by shielding it instead of penetrating?? Hmmmm….

  • Anonymous says:

    my mom still uses the blue majic and her hair is long thick healthy and natural and she is 58

  • Cygnet says:

    Respond respectfully. Listen to what they have to say, thank them, then explain that, with all the "new" product options available to you for the way you and your daughter wear your hair, you've done your research and have found products you think do better on your hair than grease, and that's why you're using them. Then, quietly and without arguing, go on about your business.

    If your elders are like my mom, it may take other people spontaneously giving you and your daughter positive feedback in your elders' hearing before they lighten up on you.

    It's important for both sides to understand that they have the right to express their concerns; and you have the right to do for you and your daughter what you believe is best for you, as long as good, not harm, is being done, even if it's not what they would choose.

  • Anonymous says:


    Mineral oil is *not* a carcinogen, and not all oils have the ability to penetrate your hair.

  • KristytheDAWN says:

    I'm going out on a limb here. I tried to explain to my hubby about the unhealthiness of mineral oil, petroleum etc., for our hair and he in return said to me "Well, I can remember growing up and having female friends that had beautiful hair all the way down their backs and their moms and and grandmas would use Blue Magic and Crown Royal".

    When he said that, all I had to come back with was "I know, I was one of those girls with that hair and my mom used it on me, too, but it is still not good for your hair". But the more I pondered on it, I came to the thought that when we are younger we continue to grow and mature into adults. Our hair is still 'young' too. In our youth we could sleep all day, eat what we wanted, stay up all hours of the night and still run circles around our elders. But we reach a time where we peek and start to decline and have to do extra things to maintain the figure, eat to sustain energy needed to function properly throughout the day and so forth. I think to some degree it is the same with our hair. There is no way my hair would survive now using the methods that I grew up on. Just like I know there is no way being 36 years old that I could keep a nice figure or healthy mind/body by sleeping all day, staying up all night and eating whatever I want and function properly. I know my hair, as well as my body, would be in it's most optimal state if the proper knowledge and care would have been taught and implemented when I was a little-bitty girl. We are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. It is time we put a stop to ignorance. And when I say ignorance, I mean 'lack of knowledge'.

    HHJ girls!!! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    kinda OT, but I can totally relate to this!!! Although my mom NEVER relaxed my hair while I was little, she washed it once a week and braided it with GOBS of that Green Blue Magic Ultra Sheen whatever it is petroleum mess and. . . my hair was SO LONG, STRONG, AND HEALTHY!!! Actually it was much longer, stronger, and healthier than it is now. . . once i stopped wearing it in braids and experimented w/ a couple of mild relaxers, it just got so damaged. . . I'm working on getting it back to where it was, but it's just interesting to me b/c i've been 100% natural for 4-5 years now & used all natural products for the past 2 and it still isn't as healthy as it was when I was using that heinous grease!!! lol but I wouldn't go back to that stuff. . .


  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    thank u Naturi Beauty. did i mention, I meant *divine, not the 'diving' way lol

  • b. says:

    I thought we used the hair grease for two reasons: the shampoos stripped our hair & scalp and grease made the press hold longer. 😉

    Maybe a kind plea for lighter products is a great starting point. When they ask for examples, lead them to options with lower price points so they see the affordability of *good* natural hair care (oxymoronic sometimes but do-able). Also show them ways to make simple kitchen concoctions — making the parallels to good cooking (if they're the cooking type).

    Maybe if you point out what petroleum is, they'll compromise on at least that one point.

  • Naturi Beauty says:

    I agree with NappySince10/01/08 that education is the best method. Our parents did the best they could with the information that they had at the time. So thank them and let them know, that you've simply discovered a healthier way.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well you don't specify if they straightened your hair, my advice is for that. And I am kinda of winging it becuase my mom hardly ever used grease in my hair becuase I always hated it, even before it became popular to hate it. I didn't understand how something that left grease spots behind wherever I sat could be "moisturizing" my hair, I didn't like the smell and it never really seemed to make the detangling process any easier.

    I understand some people used grease back in the day and it worked for their hair and scalp. BUT there are things that you may be doing differently today that are not compatible with grease (which is usally petroleum and mineral oil based).

    Back then you needed grease in your hair becuase that was the only product they could afford likely and honestly "the old days'' aren't always better. Back then grease was needed becuase our scalps would itch and many kids wore their hair straightened so they couldn't wash it whenever the scalp needed washing becuase the hair would "revert". So nothing short of the heaviness of grease would stop the itching.

    And also they would use the kind of hot tools that demanded a heavy pomade like grease to protect hair somewhat. Kind of like how silicone products are still good for people who straighten their hair to create a barrier. Unnatural ingredients for unnatural methods and natural ingredients for natural methods. Now especially, if you are going natural, not even flat ironing but wearing your natural texture, grease is the complete opposite of what your hair needs, it is so heavy it blocks moisture to hair and kinky hair needs moisture, you don't need it to stop our scalps from itching becuase we can shampoo whenever we want without fear of undoing a style, and we don't need the heaviness to keep our hair straight by keeping all moisture out becuase we aren't straightening it.

    So to answer your question. Grease probably gets a bad rap it doesn't completely deserve, many people use petroleum on their skin to keep it moisturized. The problem comes in when people don't understand the nature of petroleum, which your parents might have but many parents didn't and still don't. It SEALS in moisture, it is in no way shape or form to be used FOR moisture. And right now you have too many people trying to use grease to "moisturize" their hair and scalp. And while okay on some parts of your skin, I don't think it should be ever used on your scalp, straight, natural, whatever. Becuase petroleum completely seals the skin in, like plastic wrap, skin can't breathe. And anything that impenetrable can't be good for hair follicles. And for use on hair- it should only be used on relaxed/straightened hair but if you are trying to wear hair completely natural I firmly dissuade you from putting grease in your hair.

  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    i totally meant *divine
    ha ha. im extra corny now lol. spelling all messed up

  • NappySince10/01/08 says:

    i'd suggest making it clear that doing things the "natural way" is not an alternative but that it's "diving way". I know that sounds mad corny LOL but I meant that in aserious way. I cant think of a better phrase right now.

    while they may not have put harsh chemicals in your hair (relaxers) and did take the time to treat your hair well as a child, just explain that the "grease" simply may not have been the best option. Explain to them that mineral oil is a carcinogen and that petrolatum/petroleum/paraffin only really coats the skin/scalp and doesnt penetrate as natural oils can. Dont bombard, lol, try to take your time. It took time for us to learn. Hopefully they'll come around to understand and maybe follow suit? Good luck. hth and hope i didnt leave anything out 🙂

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