Friday, April 27, 2018

That Time I Had To Eat My Words

In between clients, we would rehearse Beyonce choreography.
Ok. Maybe we would just pause in the middle of a client.
One of the reasons for cosmetology education is to train stylists how to use chemicals safely with minimal damage to the hair shaft. I think my natural hair clients loved me because I essentially did what the client told me worked for their hair. Mainly because I didn't know any better, I had a relaxer at the time. LOL! If they brought their own products, I used them. From aloe vera gel and squeezing real lemons to S-curl activator. Yes, jheri curl juice. She liked the results so who was I to say no?

So, when I cut the last of my relaxed ends off of my curly roots, I was on the internet like everyone else looking to see what were the best products. The first product I bought was TRASH. Everyone was raving about so I couldn't wait to try it. My curls were popping but the next day, I had a head full of flakes. I looked at the ingredients and the first ingredient on the product was mineral oil. I clutched my pearls.
"Isn't mineral oil one of the big product no-no's?"
"Someone said that this product was different after they started mass production."
"This product says "natural" but is mineral oil considered natural?"
As a scientist, I had a ton of questions. As a disappointed customer, I was going directly to the source. So I called the company's headquarters. I asked how this product is legally labeled natural but the first ingredient is mineral oil. The person on the other end of the line tried to explain to me that it was "organic" mineral oil. FIRST OF ALL!!!!
1. Mineral oil is not from a plant source so it's not FDA approved organic.
2. If you are referring to it as organic because it has a "carbon" in the molecule structure, I doubt that the average person would consider a derivative of crude oil "organic" in the way that products are labeled as such.
If you knew the 30 y.o. me, you know I went off, running down my credentials and telling them that they should be ashamed of themselves for misleading uninformed consumers in this manner. Then I hung up and promptly returned that product to target for a full refund.

My very first pitch competition!
Seven years later, I've made a business of manufacturing quality products for hair and skin using organic ingredients. We are in exponential growth phase and applying to every opportunity for funding that we qualify for. With that comes finding a way to present your business information to a group of investors that grabs their attention. You have to entertain and spark emotions all while giving boring statistics. iFundWomen hired a coach to help the Maryland Cohort prepare for the Innovation Labs Pitch Competition at Baltimore's Light City Festival. I also read a plethora of books on how to give great business pitches. In short, tell stories that include the data to keep the investors interested. Of course, my story that communicated the "problem" with the current state of products for natural hair care was going to include my personal experience with the trash, mineral oil product.
But you can't just say, mineral oil is bad, you have to give the facts on why, just like we do with aluminum in deodorant causing breast cancer. So, as a scientist, I did the research and do you know what I came up with? Crickets. There was nothing that said mineral oil in hair products was bad for you. No causing cancer. No flaring up of existing skin conditions. No causing of skin conditions. Nothing. I began to dig deeper, as a member of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, I looked into the studies of mineral oil and petroleum in hair and skin care products. Studies show that it is more effective and longer lasting at "clumping" hair, what we all want for our wash and go days, than most other oils commonly used in hair products.

2 day old vaseline Wash and Go

Of course, I gave it a try. My 2 year old son wears a wash and go, so, after shampooing his hair. I applied a little Free Shea Pomade then worked some good ole vaseline through his hair. And voila! It worked....even better than the flax seed gel I had been experimenting with. 🙈
Disclaimer: Any product that is mainly oil must be applied to wet or damp hair and skin to be effective. The purpose is the seal the moisture, aka water, in. Otherwise, the product will sit on top of your dry skin and you will have oily but dry skin or hair. LOL!

One of the things I take into account when developing new products is that I choose ingredients that are of the earth and can be eaten. And mineral oil can, in fact, be consumed. It's often used as a laxative, an old school solution if you don't have Miralax. Do not worry, I will not be to using mineral oil or petroleum as an ingredient in any of Fancy Free products but I just wanted to let you know, just in case you found a product that you love with mineral oil as a main ingredient. It's ok. You may proceed. LOL!

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


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