A few weeks ago, I was honored to be noted and quoted by none other than Kristen from Beauty Addict. After my rave reviews about Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In Conditioner,she yearned to try it. Apparently, the last time she wrote about Carol’s Daughter, some i’gnant reader decided to tell her that Carol’s Daughter products weren’t made for “people like her.” Exsqueeze me? I know Lisa Price would strongly disagree with that!

I loved Kristen’s sassy response, “…just because my hair doesn’t look the same as Jada Pinkett Smith’s (one of CD’s poster girls) doesn’t mean I can’t use, and love, Carol’s Daughter. So there.”

Her post got me thinking about products that are “made for” a specific ethnicity. It’s a topic I’d touched on before, how clever companies will name their product “African” or “Gro” to better reach a black (and gullible) customer base.

I will admit, I am more likely to be interested in writing about a product – especially a hair product – that’s specifically targeted to me. Natural black hair care needs were overlooked for so long, I’m ecstatic that so many products are on the market today.  When I find a product made for my crazy 4a curls that works, I’ll sing it to the mountaintops. It’s not necessarily a race-specific thing, I love supporting small businesses of any kind.
But I start catching feelings about these FUBU products and I have to vent about it – like why would Miko and Titi Branch charge so much for Miss Jessie’s? Or, why can’t they sell a smaller container for less money? I would never question that of Frederic Fekkai.

I might not have felt as much disappointment as I did after reading some of the crappy customer service issues you bellas experienced with Kinky Curly, if the company wasn’t run by someone like me. (I still stand by their products, I love the Knot Today so much!)

On the other side of the coin, I’ve had people tell me that certain products are not for me. I’ve had friends ask me “why are you using that white people ish?” when they saw me using Pantene, or giving Paul Mitchell a try. That’s when I mentally recite the Desiderata,

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”

I’m perfectly willing to try any kind of beauty product, regardless of who it’s marketed to. Many of the products that are supposedly “made for me” are chemically overloaded crapola. Take for example my chosen brand of creamy crack, Just For Me!

Back in the day, the Just for Me relaxer came with an audio tape with a high-larious Eighties-era rap. (bellas, if ANY of you remember this, write and let me know!) It went something like, “I want hair that’s soft and free, I want hair that’s Just for Me! (just for me…)” oh, so ashamed that I remember that much of that.

That stuff burned the H-E-Double hockey sticks out of my scalp.

Recently some of my friends surprised me with confessions that they use products from the ethnic aisle. My friend Forrest (who is actually from Alabama) admitted his love of Blue Magic,

and my BFF Lauren tried my beloved Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk, and it quenched her Jewfro and made her waves look glossy and gorgeous.

So I say forget labels and names. Step across the ethnic product color line and treat yourself to something new. You might be pleasantly surprised!

In other news, I leave for Trinidad in about an hour. I’ll be out of the country and using sucky dial-up until January 1, but I will post my Afrobella’s Best of 2006 list on the 29th, and hopefully surprise you a few times before I get back to Miami.

Happy Holidays to all my bellas and fellas. I love you guys!

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