Supporting Black Owned Hair and Beauty businesses

Beunique Hair Care doesn’t appear to be trading anymore.

I was looking for an image to use in my wash day blog – and I got a 404.

I haven’t delved too deeply to find out why but I can only imagine that profitability and turnover came into the equation somewhere.

I started buying it about 2012/2013.

And continued to pick up some of the moisturising cream whenever I was at a hair show.  I bought it online once I had access to the paypal option.

At £18-19 a pop for~360ml it wasn’t cheap but it was a quality product worth the expenditure.

I think the bespoke product is always going to struggle with scalability and unit cost against the bigger brands.  And now that the L’Oreal’s and the Garnier’s know that there is money to be made in the natural hair business they are on that band wagon and pushing the specialist Black owned business off the road.  Their £4 per 300ml of conditioner is going to win hands down against a product that costs 3-5 times as much especially when you need to count the coins.  Even I have to be pragmatic and use a cheap conditioner before using the luxury product on clean hair sometimes.

But I try to support black owned hair businesses where I can.  I’ve bought Beunique, Root2tip, Neno Naturals, Shea moisture (before the change), Crystal  face products.  I buy my Shea butter from Shea Butter Cottage.

The holding page on the website implies that the brand will be back. Who knows how and when? But I really hope it is.

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Repurposing my Neno Naturals box

 

Second purchase of this product and I don’t need the box this time either.

But I wondered whether I could make use of it this time. It’s sturdy, it’s brightly coloured; it could be useful somewhere.

And it is. I’ve made this drawer tidy.

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Why are Neno Naturals products so cheap?

Queen of kinks, curls & coils box sets are super cheap at the moment on Amazon; £19.99 for 4 products.

A year ago they entered the market at £99.99!

I bought my box set for £49.99 the price I was willing to bear.  Middling to good results but not enough to justify a repurchase at that price.  When I reviewed the items, they were selling at £39.99 and I thought I was going to repurchase at that price but I didn’t.

So now they are marketed at such a low price it hardly begs the repurchase question at all.  But I decided to do some ingredient research before I 1-clicked on amazon.

Ideally I don’t like to use silicones.  These products are so effective at slipping and sliding that I just assumed they contained silicones.  So I did an old school look-up of all the ingredients.  The leave-in has 20 of them!  It reminds me of why I went water and Shea butter only a few years ago.

On the plus side you would recognise most of those 20 ingredients.  I looked up the others on https://www.ewg.org/

These are the ones you should recognise: Aqua, Glycerin, Jojoba seed oil, crambe abyssinica seed oil, Shea butter, Hydrolyzed soy, corn and wheat protein, citric acid and parfum.

And these are some of the ones you may not recognise:
Oleyl erucate                 conditioning agent, emollient
Cetearyl alchohol             emollient, emulsifier
Behentrimonium methoslfate    Conditioning Agent
Glyceryl caprylate            Emollient; Surfactant, Emulsifying Agent
Hydroxyethylcellulose   cellulose polymer; gelling and thickening agent
Ethylhexylglycerin           preservative and conditioning agent.
Limonene                      Scent agent
Phenoxyethanol               preservative
Citral                        scent agent, can be an irritant
Linalool                      Fragrance

The Conditioner shares many of the same ingredients as the leave-in (just in different concentrations).  Phew!  That’ll save me some work.

Here is the one additional chemical that I had to look up:

Cetylpyridinium chloride – a quaternary ammonium salt, with conditioning qualities

So not a silicone in sight!  And most of these chemicals have a high safety rating.  I’m looking to using my new box set already. 

My Essential Oil Collection

 

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I acquired all these during my uber diy hair product making days. Now I don’t feel the same enthusiasm for mixing my own products so I just about manage to add a few drops of any two of these to some Shea butter and I’m good to go. And sometimes I use the tea tree oil in a carrier oil (12-15 drops in 30ml of jojoba or argan oil) on my scalp. I can barely recall the properties of these essential oils but I probably chose most for antiseptic or growth stimulating benefits.

Lemon
Basil
Cedarwood
Ylang Ylang
Geranium
Lavender
Tea Tree Oil

Afro Hair & Leave-in Conditioners

 My Leave-in Conditioner Collection

 

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 In an ideal world I’d have a non silicone leave-in with the slip of an eel but in this imperfect world  these products are the next best thing to a get-out-of-a-4-hour-hair-detangling-session-on-wash-day card.

From left to right

Giovanni

This product is vegetarian, silicone free and has a lot of ingredients that you can actually pronounce.  It is very moisturizing but when it comes to the hair on the crown of my head (very tightly coiled) it’s not very effective at detangling.

Neno Naturals

This product is packed with ingredients you can’t pronounce but it’s good.  But there is a fine line between optimal application amount and too much which just leaves your hair sticky and clumpy the next day.

Kinky Curly Knot Today 

All natural ingredients, that’s a big plus but it really doesn’t get close to doing anything effective on the crown of my head

ORS Manoi Oil

This gives me a good braid-out under shea butter and it strengthens but it does not detangle.  When I use this I need to make sure that my conditioner has done all the work

Shea Moisture

This is mediocre; no worse than the worst performing and not better than the best.  In fact I can’t really remember how it works other than it lacks brilliance.  I would have remembered the joy of discovering it otherwise.

And this is what it cost me

Item Volume Cost
Shea Moisture: Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner 453g/16oz £9.99
 ORS: Manoi Oil Anti-Breakage Leave-in Conditioning Creme 473ml/16 fl.oz £2.47
Giovanni: Direct Leave-in Weightless Mositure Conditioner 1000ml/33.8 fl.oz £23.99
Kinky Curly Knot Today Natural Leave-in Detangler 236ml/8oz £11.84
Neno Naturals: Protect me Jealously Leave-in Conditioning Moisturizer 250ml/8.5 fl.oz £12.50

 This is what my hair is like:

Hmm - It's not meant to look like this!

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Shrinkage - Post wash

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The litmus test of any product is whether you’d re-purchase it. Honestly I’m still searching for the ideal product but I’d re-buy the Neno Naturals in the meanwhile despite the silicones and the unpronounceable ingredients.

Afro Hair Products – TRESemme Botanique Conditioner

 

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I was a little bit excited by this sight in my local Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago.  A new silicone free conditioner by TRESemme.

I’ve used TRESemme perfectly undone – nothing special, nothing to remember.  And at one stage TRESemme naturals served every need every time.

By my count this is the 3rd silicone free conditioner they’ve released and I’m happy to cough up and try it especially at an introductory price.

I’m still in search of my ‘Goldilocks’ conditioner and if it can be silicone free all the better.

Homemade Afro Hair Products – Hair Cream

The Ingredients

 

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The Process

  • Mix 1 part Mango butter to 3 parts Shea butter (or more or less depending how you like it)
  • The mango butter is fairly hard so you’ll probably need to do this in a glass bowl above a boiling pan of water
  • Add Vit E as a preservative – I added 40 drops no idea what’s the optimal level 
  • Add essential oils to your taste – less is more here. too much and if this cream gets on your scalp they’ll be irritation until wash day 

 

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Using the Product

Shea butter is my go to sealant.  I like a heavy product to get my hair to stretch.  Here I mixed it with Mango butter because it was in the cupboard and I’m trying to be dutiful and use up all the impulse/curiosity purchases before I get back out there spending my pounds.

 

 

img_4487 Two weeks post wash