The curly hair movement is here to stay and I for one, couldn’t be happier.
I spend my teenage years freaking out over frizzy, unmanageable hair. No matter what kind of shampoo or conditioner I used, I looked like Howard Stern on a really bad day. As a young adult, shame propelled me to get my hair straightened with keratin and rebonding treatments.
But the shiny, straight hair of my dreams was temporary and new growth was frizzier than ever. Finally, I gave up and resigned myself to fluffy, shapeless hair.
Until I stumbled upon the Curly Girl Method. Turns out, my hair wasn’t frizzy. It was just thirsty and needed moistureーmore moisture than basic conditioners could offer. And I kept stripping away what little moisture my low porosity hair had with harsh sulfate-heavy shampoos.
When I began using rich moisturizing products and cutting out silicones, sulfates, and harsh alcohols, my hair revealed soft waves and curls that had been hidden away by the frizz.
Black men and women have been well aware of the need for an extra dose of moisture and use hair products laden with shea butter, coconut oil, avocado and macadamia, and almond creams.
Products made by and for black peopleー mousses, styling creams, gels, deep conditioners, masquesーhave been a boon for people everywhere with wavy, curly, coily, and kinky hair.
But this brings up a question many are wary of asking: can a white person use black hair products?
Who Can Use Black Hair Products?
The short and simple answer to whether black hair products on white hair are politically correct or accurate is yes.
White people (and anyone else for that matter) can use black hair products. Hair products are after all just things without cultural significance.
These products are designed to solve certain hair issues or meet consumer needs. If a Caucasian has dry, coarse, frizzy hair, they will benefit from these products.
While these products are primarily made and marketed towards black people, they are inclusive and can be used by everyone. The curly hair movement has created a space where people can celebrate their natural hair, which is great because beauty standards pressurize women to wear their hair straight.
So yes, it is okay for anyone to use black hair products.
With that being said, it is also important to remember that just because everyone can use these products, white people cannot co-opt hairstyles and vocabulary used by black people.
For instance, appropriating black hairstyles like Bantu knots, cornrows, or Fulani braids just because you have curly hair is wrong. Similarly, many white people use terms like ‘Big Chop’ which are exclusively used by black people and are significant to them.
There is also the issue of white and other non-black POC dominating the discourse in spaces originally created by black people to discuss natural hair, which is just as wrong. Many people also ‘gatekeep’ what is meant to have curly hair, which often excludes others.
At the end of the day, the matter is simple: use whatever hair products you prefer, but don’t appropriate black culture or push them out of the spaces they created. Give them credit for the routines, products, and techniques that they came up with.
Will Black Hair Products Suit White Hair?
There is a little anxiety that products made for black hair won’t suit white hair. Most of the time, this is a result of marketing. Any product that is claimed to be crafted for a particular race or ethnicity is just thatーclever marketing.
Instead, examine your hair and its needs. Is your hair high or low porosity? Dense and coarse or fine and thin? Wavy and curly, or kinkier and coily? Does your hair get oily quicker or does it stay dry? Is your hair prone to flakey skin and buildup?
All these features will determine the exact products that will be best for your hair. For instance, some white people with very coarse and dry curly hair will tolerate things like coconut oil and cocoa butter very well.
In cases like these, the question of using Shea Moisture for white hair is answered. People with low porosity, dense, and very frizzy coarse will do well with the heavier Shea Moisture products.
Others will find the best-selling Shea Moisture products too heavy for their locks.
So, can white people use Shea Moisture?
Shea Moisture has a whole range of products that are suited for people with different kinds of hair. Each line uses different ingredients, some of which are lighter like Manuka Honey or very heavy like Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Pure Shea Butter.
Shea Moisture products are meant for different hair types starting from Type 1A straight hair all the way to 4C kinky hair.
Not sure which product will suit you? Check out this chart to match your hair type with the Shea Moisture line which will work best for your hair!
And if you’re still confused, check out this quiz, which is basically a consultation that will help you identify the products you need.
Below you’ll find answers to questions that are often asked about black and natural hair products.
01. Is Shea Moisture Only Meant for Black Hair?
No. Shea Moisture can be used by people of different races and ethnicities with different types of hair.
02. Is Cantu Supposed to be Used for Black Hair Only?
Cantu products are meant to be used by both black and non-black people. However, Cantu products are known for being quite heavy, so people with fine, thinner hair types would do their best to avoid it.
03. What are Some Good Products for People with Natural Hair?
Products like the Miss Jessie’s Co-Wash, Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and Taliah Waajid Green Apple & Aloe Leave-In Conditioner are some of the best products for people with naturally curly or coily hair.
04. Is Cantu and Shea Moisture Bad for Hair?
When used incorrectly, Cantu, Devacurl, and Shea Moisture can cause lots of hair fall. These products contain heavy and rich ingredients which aren’t suitable for everyday use. Also, people need to clarify their scalps once in a while when using them.
In a Nutshell
After a lifetime of flat irons and heat tools, many people are relieved to find a solution to their frizzy and unruly hair. The emergence of support groups for curly and natural hair has been long due.
Asking ‘Can a white person use black hair products?’ is often the first step for many people in their journey to accepting their waves, curls, and coils.
Whichever product you choose to use, make sure you follow its instructions and take advice from other, more experienced people. Being respectful and learning to listen to others is vital.
Curly hair spaces are also known for being friendly and welcoming to newcomers, so why not give your hair a chance?