Sunday, 6 July 2014

Are Natural Products Residue Free?

Hello there,

Products are generally a big discussion in the hair community; whether to use natural or chemicalised products; what natural product to use; what the products claim to do for your hair and scalp, what products make your hair grow, what products make your hair shine and so on and so forth.

The thought for this post came when I was interviewing Bassey Ikpi for Hair Story in Locitude Magazine (available online soon); she said her loctician wouldn't recommend coconut oil for daily use because it is too heavy for locs. I'm there thinking but it is natural, why not? I have also gotten a few questions about what I use on my hair; I've helped to start out locs for a couple of locs heads and I'm beginning to think a lot about PRODUCTS! There's already a million and one things we already battle from not getting into our loc strands and this really got me thinking if natural products leave residue in locs.

Do you know your products?
For the most part of my hair journey, I've gone along with whatever hair products the salon I go to uses. I started out with a very oily product mixture in an unlabeled green bottle, no idea what it was made of. Then moved to some form of wax that literally left my hair falling out and then to beeswax and in the last year it has been shea butter mostly. Only a few weeks ago I started mixing my own sprays with oils and water (mission moisturise and seal), I have now moved on to sharing my olive oil for the kitchen with my locs. Only God knows what I'll be doing next.

I'm a big fan of natural products for natural hair 'cos it's a no brainer, however are all natural products really good for our locs?

This post will focus more on residue and it would be from a very logical point of view. I'm hoping it would help others logically figure out what natural products to use on their scalps, when and why.

Ok, I'm probably not the best case study as my list of natural products is very limited.

1. Shea butter
2. Coconut Oil
3. Olive Oil
4. Avocado Oil
5. Water

I have never tried Argan Oil, Castor Oil, Peppermint Oil, Rosemary Oil and a host of other oils, but I'm sure the logic I'm about to propose would help you decide which of these natural products are likely to leave residue. 

Shea butter.
The natural state of this product screams residue. Started Helen's locs a few weeks ago with shea butter and water. The shea butter won't all come off her baby locs despite the lukewarm water and shampoo after her first wash. I immediately realised how much gunk I have in my strands. This doesn't mean we should strike shea butter off the list of products we use. It still has it's benefits, and would be great for deep conditioning dry strands with some heat so that they properly melt into strands. So yes, shea butter will leave residue in your locs. Do not overuse.

Shea Butter
Coconut Oil.
The wonder oil, the oil that literally solves all the world's problems. I'm serious. No one has anything bad to say about coconut oil. I have personally used it on my hair and skin and I have absolutely no bad review. But wait, let's talk about the natural state of the oil, at slightly lower temperatures coconut oil freezes up, but melts very quickly once the temperature increases. If you have coconut oil you can testify to this. There's no need having coconut oil in a spray bottle and in an airconditioned room. It would be as solid as gold and un-sprayable. So maybe that's why it isn't recommended for daily use. Too much of it will definitely clog up your strands and will likely leave residue. Nonetheless, I love coconut oil for the smell and they say it has antibacterial properties that can help fight infections and keep your hair/Scalp healthy.

Coconut Oil
Olive Oil.
Always thought of olive oil as the rich man's alternative to vegetable oil for cooking, not knowing that it has several impressive benefits for the hair, this link has a good summary. Quickly moving on to it's state. It never ever freezes or becomes solid at room temperature. I read an article that said pure olive oil freezes when refrigerated for 24 hours. So except you are planning to put your head in a fridge for 24hours I do not expect Olive oil to leave residue in your hair. I think we've found a residue free winner natural product.

Avocado Oil
Avocado Oil.
Not very popular and quite expensive, bought a very tiny bottle for 2,300 Nigerian Naira. I guess it was one of those things I bought for the love of the pear and so it would seem like I have products on my bathroom shelf. Anyway, my little bottle doesn't freeze up with room temperature and I just read that it is a better oil to use for hair as it contains monounsaturated fatty acids as much as 72% more than other oils. Read more here. Another residue free oil for the shelf and an alternative for daily moisturising.

Avocado Oil

As long as you are using clean water, I don't expect you can get residue.

So there you have it. Logically thinking through how a product reacts when left in it's natural state can help you determine whether or not it is residue free, when and why you should use it in your hair. Also a little research goes along way. Google is still free :)!

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

I'll be keeping it loc'd with an Attitude, till my next post where I'll be sharing Why I got my Hair Loc'd.

Your Loc Head,