Ich Don’t Think So

I got a comment on my site recently that made me feel like I was in a glass case of emotions.

I really enjoy your blog but lately it seems like it has turned into a product blog. It seems like every week some company sends you some product in exchange for you ooohing and awwwing over it and recommending that your readers try it. Don’t get me wrong, I love hair stuff but it just seems like the blog has lost some of that “organic” straight from the hip type thing. It seems that everything you review is your new “best thing ever/holy grail!” product. So much hair stuff is marketed to black women to “fix” our tresses, that sometimes it gets to be too much. Of course, I’m sure most people here will disagree with me but I wanted to put it out there.”

Here are the four stages I went through upon reading that comment.

1. Shock and anger — “I think the last thing Afrobella is, is just another product blog! I work hard to make this site different from all the other beauty sites. I don’t agree with her at all!”

2. Doubt and insecurity — “OMG, what if she’s right? I have done a lot of positive reviews recently, and I’ve tried to be less mean and make my criticism a lot more constructive in recent months. And I do get sent products for review more often than I did when I first started. Good Lord, have I sold out already? My site isn’t even a year old yet, how can that be? Doesn’t selling out mean that you’re making money?”

3. A sense of urgency – “Well, I better do a negative beauty product review right away to prove her wrong! Quick, to the drawer of abandoned products!”

4. Acceptance and dismissal — “Y’know, not everyone’s going to love me 100% of the time, so whatevs. My real life has been eating away my Afrobella time these days, so I’ll just get around to this when I get around to it.”

It’s been over a week now, and just like I’ve come to terms with the conclusion of the Sopranos (click here if you feel me), I am finally ready to deal with this comment like a grown up afrobella should.

You are somewhat correct, my fellow bella, and thanks for speaking your piece. When I started Afrobella back in August of last year, I was just an assistant at my job. I had a backlog of crappy hair products I was itching to vent about, and an idealistic vision of a blogazine that was personal but about beauty products, somehow. But since I started Afrobella, I got a promotion. Now my job keeps me insanely busy. My morning routine — wake up, stretch, dream up a topic to write before I go to work — has changed completely. Now I spend my weekend doing most of my Afrobella stuff, and I pretty much plan out a week’s worth of posts in advance. Because if I don’t, I’ll wind up not writing something every day because I barely have the time right now. So the “straight-from-the-hip” feeling may have vanished because of my schedule, and sadly, there’s nothing I can do about that right now.

Also, my stock has risen in the beauty product-producing community. Whereas before I couldn’t convince someone to mail me a free sample of anything, somewhere along the line, companies started getting my address and sending me stuff. As a product junkie, of course I love that! My response has been to rave about the stuff I really really love, while also mentioning that not all of the products worked well for me. (a perfect example is my recent Elasta QP giveaway. Love the Mango Butter and the DPR-11, but if I let that Intense Conditioner touch my tresses, I come out of the shower looking like Buckwheat). Or I’ll do a very constructive negative review, as I did for Carol’s Daughter Khoret Amen, which made my hair smell funky like an old batch of collard greens. But I need to find a happy balance.

I think part of Afrobella’s unique charm is that I try to write the kinds of very honest product reviews that you don’t usually see in magazines or on other beauty blogs. But somewhere along my path, I’ve struggled to balance music and culture with beauty stuff, which is the genesis and the central focus of this site. I apologize for that. It’s time to stop being polite, and start getting real. I haven’t done a Never Again post in a long time, so I’ll rectify that now. Here are some hair moisturizing products I’ve avoided reviewing because of the high TBS factor.

Ellin LaVar Textures NourishOil Intense Dry Oil Care for Hair and Scalp. I was so psyched when the Ellin Lavar display first hit store shelves at my local CVS. An entire line of high end drugstore products for naturally curly, wavy, or kinky hair? Sign me up! The ingredients even looked alright — Brazil Nut Oil, Pequi Oil, Capuacu Seed Butter, and Maracuja Passion Fruit stand among the exotic additions. The recommended use of this product also attracted me — it’s advised to use it as a nighttime leave-in. From the Ellin LaVar website, “Simply apply to any problem areas of your hair or scalp and cover in plastic wrap while you rest. When you wake, apply OptiMoist before you wet your hair, rinse and follow up with ReconstructMasque and SatinSoft. Your hair has never been softer or shinier!” Upon multiple attempts with this stuff, all it’s made softer and shinier is my pillowcase. Yes, I put on plastic wrap over my head as I slept (and of course the husband just loves that), but inevitably, sleepy tossing and turning + plastic cap + big naturally curly hair = sometime in the night, my plastic cap will slip off. And then I’m left with a pillowcase that looks like a reject from the Soul Glo commercial. Or like Billy Ocean slept over.

Saturated bed linens aside, I had other issues with this product. First of all, the way this bottle is designed leaves A LOT to be desired. I guess the intention was to give the consumer options — there’s actually a caution on the back of the bottle, “product dispenses quickly.” You can either remove the cap completely, which reveals a weird pointy tip with three available holes for this stuff to pour through. Or you can poke a hole in the cap. After spilling oil all down my neck, I opted to poke a hole in the cap. Besides all of THAT, it didn’t do what it promised. The oil just sat on the surface of my hair, but didn’t penetrate the hair itself, so my tresses were shiny, stringy, and overslick but not truly moisturized. I’m thinking this probably works great for straightened hairstyles, moreso than natural curls. At $7.99 it won’t break the bank, but I was disappointed and won’t repurchase.

Maryam’s Soap Nook Japanese Camelia Botanical Hair Oil. I notice on the website this is being called “body and bath oil,” but my bottle is labeled “hair oil.” I haven’t tried it for body oil yet, and here’s why. I just can’t get with the smell. It’s funky and a bit musty and sweet, like an old lady’s bedroom. It just lingers on my hair after I use it, and I actually had to wash it out of my hair the last time I gave this a try. It’s not like, the funk of 40,000 years, but scent is very important to me when it comes to hair products — I don’t need an unpleasant cloud following me around all day. I’ve loved many of Maryam’s other products — her soaps, body washes, and whipped shea butter are amazing. But for this stuff as hair oil, I gotta say the nay-no.

On the opposite end of the hair oil spectrum, there’s Oscar Blandi olio de jasmine. The smell is heaven sent. It’s just incredible. I love jasmine ANYTHING, so I was really expecting this to be the most incredible hair oil ever. (did I mention that it costs $35 for a teeny 1.69 oz bottle?) I came to this product with high expectations, and I was left with a lasting disappointment. This stuff is clearly meant for bellas with straightened hair, or naturally straight hair. It felt gloppy, and did nothing for my hair beyond making it smell amazing. It actually made my hair feel coarser, if that’s even possible. Didn’t like it, can’t recommend it. But if you’ve got chemically treated locks that are straight and need some glamorous shine, this could work wonders for you.

Want a bonus review? Here’s a quickie. Harlem is filled with street entrepreneurs, each hawking a remarkably similar display of products. Incense, shea butter, and a variety of natural soaps are readily available along 125th St. When I was there in March, I absolutely had to stock up on these soaps. I got the Nubian Heritage Coconut & Papaya soap with Vanilla Beans. I opened it right there on the street, and it smelled amazing! I noticed the soap was studded with what looked like natural coconut extracts, but that didn’t bother me. I enjoy a mildly exfoliating soap, and the price was right. But let me warn you — that coconut soap probably shouldn’t be used as an all-over body soap. I have never seen such big chunks of stuff in a beauty product before. I’m talking big pointy pieces of coconut bark that just scratched me, instead of gently exfoliating my skin. So if you’d rather avoid splinters in your most tender areas, avoid this soap like the plague, or use as a hand soap only. The Ivorian Cocoa Butter soap with Milk Chocolate and Hazelnuts also smells amazing, and will be less likely to hurt you in the shower.

Have you tried a product that just left you cold, bellas? Tell me all about it! And if you want to offer criticism, or give me advice on keeping it real, e mail me at bella@afrobella.com.

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Comments

  1. Bella,

    While it is always nice and easy for others to share their opinion, it is also easy for those people to go elsewhere if they are dissatisfied. One of the reasons I love your blog so much is the fact that you keep up to date with relevant news AND you provide product reviews for things I have never heard or even thought about.

    It was because of your blog I have been able to find great products and recommend them to family and friends.

    Keep up the good work! I enjoy you daily!

  2. Wow reading that instantly makes me want to have your back and say the nerve of her! But just found your jewel like 4 months ago and therefore perhaps I can’t relate. Maybe she’s going thru what I did when Honey mag switched from the original publishers (or was it editors?) to what seemed to be the norm for all the other black girl/woman mags that were out during the time. That frustration of finally someone got it and now they’re just like the rest of em.

    Whatever the case may be, it’s as thope stated it’s the readers option to go elsewhere when not satisfied so you have to write about that which you chose, and as you stated not everyone will love it.

  3. I found your blog a few months ago and have been enjyoing ever since. I like your mix of news events, beauty products and afrobellas (new and old school). I appreciate your beauty and hair reviews, since it gives me an idea on how a product may work for me without me having to spend money on it first.

    I’ve noticed the Nubian Heritage soaps at my beauty supplt store before and have been tempted to try one. But with so many different types and scent, I was not sure which would be the best bet… I think I may try the Ivorian Cocoa butter soap. Have you tried any of their Shea Butter soaps?

    Keep up the great work!!!

  4. I love your site. Keep on doing you and “To thine Own Self be True!”

  5. Sisreese says:

    Healthy criticism can lead to growth. It’s all good!

  6. GM Bella,
    as everyone knows we all have our own opinion(s) and to me…that’s what keeps things interesting. The person who submitted the comment is correct and that, some people will disagree w/her. I came upon your site by chance and went through all the archives( to bring me up to date) and continue to visit your site on a daily bases. I see more than a “product blog”, I feel that my opinion is welcomed on your site and I’ve learned allot about music, got some recipes, learned about what’s good for my hair and what’s not. You speak on more than products and I like that about your site. Another thing…when you get the products you do little things to get your readers involved and give them the chance to win & sample the products as well. Don’t change the way you do your reviews…..I mean if it works for you let us know and if not…let us know why… like you have in the past…the ultimate decision is still up to the individual. Bella, keep up the good work and keep the post rolling. I love handbags, can we get a tiny section on handbags(laugh)?

  7. Your site is the reason I went natural on Feb 9th 2007, ever since I’v been a loyal reader. Sometimes some of your post don’t peak my intrest , but I always come back. Your site is refreshing considering most sites ar geared to whtes. As far as product criticism. Im not feeling CURLS milkshake. It leaves this film and build up that drives me crazy. I do however love theirWhipped Cream and Curlicious Shampoo. Im having some major issues with my hair. Im starting to regret going natural because its in this weird stage. Any suggestions as far as a product that doesn’t leave too much buildup and does it’s job at the same time?

  8. You guys are amazing. But I also agree with Sisreese – I used to loathe criticism, but I think this person posted it in a spirit of honesty and I see her point. I’ll try to counterbalance my product reviews better, and I definitely need to figure out a music/culture/beauty balance. Some weeks are almost all music, and so on and so on. And because of that, sometimes that straight-from-the-hop quality gets sacrificed. I’m a work in progress, and so is this site! Thank you ALL for your kind words, and for coming along this journey with me!

  9. i love your site and i wish there were even more product reviews. i stopped going to certain sites because it stopped being about cosmetics and fashion and started being a plug for her endeavors and her lifestyle. this isnt like that at all and i appreciate especially that this site has a wordly, diasporatic, and a educational feel to it. so while that person who left the comment is entitled to her opinion i disagree. keep doing what you are doing!

  10. Has anyone used an of Ms Jessies Products? Im curious, because my hair is really dry.

  11. cool_caramel says:

    Bella,

    I see your site as more than just a product blog. You have a great mix of beauty, news, culture and music, as well as many other topics. I actually appreciate the product reviews, I’ve made a couple of purchases based from your reviews. Keep up the good work, you are one of a few sites that I find informative, entertaining and often times thought provoking. Stay positive and know that you are appreciated!

  12. I don’t think that person meant you any harm by that comment. It’s just nice to know it’s not all roses and sunshine in the world of products marketed to “us”. I know that you probably feel an obiligation to people who have sent you free samples, but obviously everything is not going to work for you, and those business people should already understand that. I know that you don’t want to venture too far off into the negative, but if something truly does stink, I want to know about it so I don’t waste my money. I think that part of going natural is becoming very opinionated about ingredients and products. As evidenced by this weekend while I was in DC, I felt compelled to haul out all my products for my transitioning friend for a little unsolicited show and tell.

  13. I definitely understand how you felt though. I am the first one to get hurt and upset by even a whiff of criticism.

  14. BlackHoney says:

    My question is who does this chick think she is to criticize the direction of YOUR blog? If she isn’t happy with the type of reviews, maybe she should take time out of her day to write her own. Blogger and WordPress are free ;-)

    Keep up the good work Bella.

  15. I love your blog! Its mix of social issues, food, beauty, fashion, and music keep me coming back every day. It’s like sitting down and having a conversation with your coolest girlfriend. You can’t pleaseeveryone and be all things to all people–you just take the criticism into consideration and then decide for yourself if you feel it is valid or not. I never get the impression that you are giving “glowing” reviews to solicit freebies. I don’t get that vibe from you at all–you honestly say what you love and what you don’t. You clearly state that while a product was wonderful on your hair, that everyone is different and it may not produce the same results for them. Just because it has the ‘Afrobella Stamp of Approval’ does not mean that it will be for eveybody. I hope people understand that you are not a haircare or makeup professional–you are just someone with a passion for these things. Certainly, if someone feels they can find better info, they are welcome to go to other sites or start up their own blogs. Keep up the good work! On a different note, I do like the Nubian Heritage body washes and lotions. A product I don’t like is the whole Mane N’ Tail proiduct line. I should’ve know better than to use products made for horses. The conditioner left my hair dry and brittle and the smell of the product is just odd.

  16. i think your site is much more than products. you talk about so many relevant issues in the beauty world. and i love your afrobellas of the week. sometimes i know them, sometimes i don’t, but i always learn something. i’m a white beauty editor, and i get so much information from your site about the unique challenges black women have with their hair and makeup, stuff that iw ouldn’t really know if i didn’t have you! i also like that you extend the beauty conversation beyond products to wellness issues, selfesteem issues, and cultural issues (which are also both beautiful and ugly). although i am sure this was probably a constructive criticism comment, i also think that person probably doesn’t realize how much thought has to go into a blog this good. i also like that most of your products get a good review. i want to hear about the ones that work, not the ones that don’t. you could always thrw in after you do a good review something like “other products like this that i liked /didn’t like” to let people know you have aw hole range of experiences, and you aren’t just pleasing the sources sending you nice products for free.

  17. JUstMYwOrD says:

    Okay Afrobella,

    Maybe I’m missing something…I took it as a given that you were posting products that most impressed you (for better or worse)…because it’s your blog site. Don’t get me wrong, I love how you objectively share with your readers about some things, but if you weren’t basing it from an individual standpoint to some degree, people wouldn’t get that same personal and authentic vibe your blog gives off. I have a right to try products or not too,–that doesn’t mean I’m going to feel exactly the way you do about it, but I appreciate you for the way you bring things to your readers. Selling out would be doing anything for a superficial reward, monetary (most obviously), but also for the less rewarding sake of pleasing others period, so make sure not to sway in either direction, stay true to yourself. You’re a very influential writer, your words are going to make an impression on your readers no matter what you write, so make sure what you’re saying is from a clear head and heart, don’t let criticism ,or praise for that matter, change your mode of operation. Be true to you so at the end of the day, you are always responsible for the things you say and do. Your veiws shouldn’t be sculpted around what others want you to say, they should be based upon your vision, insight, experiences and opinions, cause that’s all anyone can really stand by. If you don’t feel the need to post products that haven’t helped you, that is your choice. I think it’s always best to stick with what you know, and if you know why you liked a product, then it makes sense to share that info. I like the fact that you keep it positive, we black women especially, have enough reasons to rant in a day, IMO, so it’s refreshing to come someplace and read something upbeat and informative. Personally, I don’t read this blog to adopt your veiws, I read this blog to hear your veiws, mainly because you’ve earned that respect through your presentation of them. I still reserve the right to explore my own veiws about the things you present to us. You always have something or someone I’ve never heard of on here, and I love your optimisim, so please DO NOT ever change that! You have the style and tactful persuasion of a true journalist, no matter what you’re writing about, your veiws are very relavant,informative, and yet open and that leaves room for other people to derive what they want from the information you offer. Your blog is an inspiration on many levels, and your inner qualities come through in all your posts so you are definitely more than just a product blog site! I think I speak for the majority of your readers when I say, we appreciate your “realness” Afrobella, so I understand that bloggers reason for posting what she did, even if I don’t agree with her, she just wants to make sure you are still being you, I suppose. So I just wanted to take the time to say what I get from this site and that I hope you’ll be around for a while:)Constructive criticism shouldn’t bother anyone, but constructive criticism should be based on a well constructed arguement or point, hence the term “constructive”.

  18. awww c’mon people don’t be so defensive, Bella saw the comments for what it is it: constructive criticsm. There was a reason why the reader fell in love with Bella’s blog in the first place, and it’s inherent in humans to resist change. All she did was bring it to Bella’s attention that she felt Bella may be growing from the direction intended for afrobella.com! That’s it y’all…
    kudos Bella for not lashing out at her, privately or publicly and actually going back to your “old school love”

  19. I think the reason I had the first reaction I had was that classic oversensitivity I’ve had since childhood. It’s a condition I’m trying to overcome! And I wanted to highlight the comment because I always want to keep it as real as I can. Thanks for the responses, you guys. You let me know when I’m doing a good job, and you also help me to pull up my socks and stay true to the vision. I appreciate all of your feedback, even if it isn’t all “I love you.” This is how we grow!

  20. suburbanbushbabe says:

    Yes…you have become more commercial and the embedded clicks can be overwhelming. Yes, less gushing would be appreciated and I would like to see more even-handed reviews. Yes,I think the free swag may be swaying you toward the dark side. No, I don’t agree with all your product reviews…..BUT….it’s your blog. You can do WTF you want with it. We’re observers who don’t pay a darn thing for this entertainment. Keep up the good work.

  21. suburbanbushbabe says:

    Products that left me cold (I’m mostly 4a natural curly)–

    Cantu Sheabutter Leavein
    John Frieda anything
    Jamaican Mango and Lime Leave in
    Beyond The Zone Noodlehead
    Any “curl-reviving” spray
    Miss Jessies new mineral-oil laden formulas
    Miss Jessies Baby Buttercreme
    Oyin Shine and Define
    Black n’ Sassy

    And you’re right about LaVar line; the large print in front shows the natural ingredients. The small print in the back says mineral oil and silicones.

  22. I’m always pissed when people send me ideas and ‘thoughts’ about how my site should change. comments are one things, trying to change my site is another entirely…

    Products that have disappointed:
    miss jessies EVERYTHING (too gloppy & oily for my 3b)
    any john frieda product
    ALL of the carol’s daughter products (a friend actually had to RE-shampoo her hair and wrap the goods up immediately to be sent back to sephora!)
    garnier fructis ANYTHING

    suburbanbushbabe, strangely, cantu’s leave in WORKS 4 my hair if i dont use too much… that’s the beauty of all these different products, i guess.

  23. Umm… Too gushy? I’m not understanding this comment. If it works for her, then it works for her. Maybe no one has sent her bad products as of late. Just b/c the products did not work for you does not mean Bella has become commerical or a sell out. Come on people. If you have been natural for any sort of time then you SHOULD know that EVERYTHING DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERYBODY. Even if you have the same so called “hair type.” For example, some people love Miss Jessie’s and some people hate it. Some people love Qhemet biologies, OYIN handmade, and some people don’t. That does not make them bad products, it that just means that they didn’t work for you. Just because your hair didn’t like these products as much as bella’s hair did, does NOT make her a sell out or commerical. I’m sorry to sound snippy, but that is the stupidest argument that I have ever heard. Do you own research instead of relying on someone else to do it for you.

    Peace and Blessings

  24. designdiva says:

    Justmyword and surburbanbushbabe took the words right out of my mouth. It’s your blog. We chose to come onto this website and we chose to continue to read it. I love your blog bella. I feel that it relates to me and it’s free. Be true to you, and thanks for what you offer to us readers.

  25. coco_fiere says:

    I just discovered you 2-3 months ago & I LOVE your blog! I tend to take all product recommendations with a grain of salt, reserving judgement until I experience the product myself. As stated by some of us, not everything works for everybody and there’s beauty in that. That means more selection, more attempts to get it right for our hair, and more products to play with. I personally have had success with Ellin Lavar’s products after finding them on sale at my local CVS. I don’t use the products as directed but I know what works for me. I use a few squirts the Penetrating leave in balm stuff (they say it’s for braids)to style my thick, highlighted, 3b hair and take some of the Nourishoil in my hands (rub them together)and glide over my hair for shine. I caught another sale Saturday and used some of the Satinsoft conditioner to style my hair (without rinsing out after shampooing with Herbal Essences break’s over)this morning. I was able to get my fingers through my hair easily and it feels soft plus it’s shiny but not greasy.
    I tried other “miracle” products like Ojon (which stinks to you-know-where) and John Frieda (some of it works & some notsomuch)without success. So, keep it up and tip us off to the new stuff and if it doesn’t work for us, we can return it. :) Also, I love the personal photos, Afrobellas of the week, and your opinions/commentary on issues that affect all of us. Peace…….

  26. sunsail says:

    Hey bella, it’s your blog, you should do as you see fit. IMO, i think there is also value in reading about what DOENSN’T work, and why you say so. While I’m all for doing my own research, there is something to be learned from “mistakes,” as it were, whether your own or someone else’s.

    I love your blog– I’ve tried some of your recommendations. Some worked, some didn’t. Such is life. On a lighter note though, you used to say “shit” back in the day!!! I know you have younguns reading your blog, but your TBS post sure cracked me up!! “The most I can say is, it soothes my armpits in the same way that rubbing a giant, mildly scented lipgloss on them would.” lol!!!

  27. ha ha, sunsail! You are too right, I did used to drop in the occasional cuss. Not anything TOO bad, but I pretty much stopped after I got an e mail from a young girl (I think she was 12) who said she read my site every day. I’ve gotten a lot of that kind of feedback, which led me to make a no-cursing rule overall. I figure there’s more than enough profanity in the world, I don’t need to add to it really. ALSO, especially after the Akon thing, I got all kinds of cussed out and I chose to delete all of that stuff. I’m like, if you can’t even spell the “f” word correctly, perhaps you shouldn’t be using it at all!
    =)

  28. I used Motions(?) pink oil moisteriser when I was natural on my twist. This stuff made my hair shine like new money but was to heavy,oily and attracted a lot of dirt.

    I was natural from 1998 up until 2004. IN the early days most of us(naturals) used aloe vera gel and shea butter. Later on Carol’s Daughter products came on the market and I started to use those. Now days women with natural hair have so many choices its amazing. I can’t wait until I am natural again. I am currently preparing for my BC.

    Bella could you do a post of trasitioing please.

  29. @ mrs 518
    BELLA HAS A link of the side bar for the napriality(SP) SITE. Go there for help with your natural hair. There are tutorials and product reviews gulor from women with all types of coils anywhere from 3a-4c. Don’t give up, it anything get some braids to give yourself a break for a while.

  30. Bella I noticed how you have given away some of the products to friends when they don’t work for you. If possible maybe you can tell us how these things work for your friends and what their is. As you know what works for a 3a does not work for a 4c.

    I’m guility of asking people to write about certian things on their blogs. NOt because I want them to change anything but because I enjoy their blogs and writing so much that I care to hear/read their opinion on a topic.
    So Bella try not to let criticism get to you. Some people are mean and very critical and other people are attempting to be helpful.

  31. Bebroma says:

    Girl I LOVE your blog. I like the variety of issues that you cover, and I agree that it’s your blog, you don’t have to tailor it for what someone else would do if THEY took time from their life (which includes job, hubby, family, etc., etc.) to have a great blog like this. Besides, you also tell about other blogs that can help…I love Motown girl, too, and I adopted her no poo routine of using baking soda and water, then a conditioner. I use Pantene, and for my girls give them a hot oil treatment of plain ole olive oil from Wal-Mart. Then I rinse that out and right now I’m loving the kinky-curly Knot Today and Curling Custard, though their customer service leaves something to be desired.

    Anyway, I enjoy your blog, it’s like dishing with a girlfriend, and like with your girlfriends, you might not alway be feeling what they’re feeling, you might not like what they like, or what smells good on them is funkatragic on you, but hey, it’s still great to get together, and you appreciate that she took out time for you. Same here with your blog, girlfriend!

  32. Thanks Afro Noir for the heads up,

  33. berrybrowne says:

    afrobella –

    keep up the good work – love your site. i am almost a slave to your product reviews. currently i’m carrying a lip gloss bag – since that post – and just received my shipment of carol’s daughter candy paint. i’m sporting grown and sexy at this minute – loves it! i love that you do you and yet respond to us – it’s above and beyond the call of duty.
    i second afronoir on the transitioning post request – every day i fight between love of my natural waves and hate of the permed ends, yet i’m not willing to chop because most of all, i’m scared of short hair! this is a major flaw on my part, but it’s hard to break brainwashing overnight…

    mrs. 518 – i’ve tried all the miss jessie’s – leave ‘em alone, imo.

  34. islandgirl550 says:

    Bella, I love your site and read it everyday. Most of the products you review are for bellas with natural hair that isn’t locked. Since I am locked most of the products don’t apply to me. But that’s cool. I did try Miss Jessie’s to see if it gave me more moisture but it turned out to be a big ol’ mess.

    I have been using Carol’s Daughter since the original store opened on South Elliot in Ft. Green, Brooklyn, the products were in glass containers and had labels printed on the computer. The Loc butter never worked for me. My hair is pretty resistant and needs more of a hold. The Tui Herbal Shampoo does nothing for my scalp which is important when you have locks. I need something that lathers. I really love Dr. Bronners Castille soaps in the bottles with the colorful labels. Peppermint is my favorite. Really cleans the scalp. Just my own thoughts… Keep up the good work and BRUSH YOUR SHOULDERS OFF!

  35. E-Fresh says:

    Interesting post today as I have followed your site from before the first post. I find the comment in question to be genuine criticism, and I think it’s good that you’re taking the opportunity to have it be constructive. I do think it’s good to listen to your readers, particularly ones that have been loyal to you for a long time. Think about it, but it the end do your own thing. Like many have said, there is no way that you can please everyone all the time. Everyone is looking for different things, and even I have chimed in before asking for a break in the beauty posts in favor of having more music and social issue posts (because I’m a dude with short hair). But just continue to come up with your material somewhat off the top of your head, your natural ebb and flow.

    Your site has definitely become more commercial with your growth. Since I know you personally, I know that you are always honest and sincere with your reviews.

    I do think the new text link advertising is a bit tacky. At first I kind of liked it, but over time I think it has some negatives. For one, I think you have little control of what gets advertised. I’ve clicked on a bunch of them, and some of the stuff is pretty random. Also, you have to be careful with where the links become activated in relation to the context of your writing. For example, in your #1 response to the user comment, you write “I think the last thing Afrobella is, is just another product blog! I work hard to make this site different from all the other BEAUTY sites. I don’t agree with her at all!” but you have the word “beauty” as an advertised link even though you do not intend those sites to be the ones you say are different. Hope that all made sense.

    I don’t think your selling out at all, but I would personally choose a different way to generate some income to keep the site going.

    I don’t think a lot of people realize how busy you are with your non-Afrobella work life. I’m constantly amazed that you’re able to continue to pump all these thoughts out. And it’s always from the bottom of your heart and you do it because you love it.

    I certainly appreciate all your work on this site, and I love visiting daily to see what’s new. You give so much. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  36. girl, you are so positive, and i LOVE LOVE LOVE this site. yes, i think as blog readers become more sophisticated we start to feel a little cheated sometimes, wondering – is this blogger just selling me products to make money herself, or am I getting her real opinions about things that she wants to talk about? We all want to know that you are more like a girlfriend that we can talk to and learn from than some sales or marketing guru hiding behind a blog. That being said, those of us who follow your posts regularly, KNOW THAT YOU ARE GENUINE + REAL. and this is why we keep coming back.

    the more popular you get, the more people will have opinions about what you do, and they will share openly. just take note and move on, also take note that you have many, many supporters. i imagine it must be hard to put a part of yourself out there day after day, and open it up for comments. i think you have to come to terms personally with how you will deal with that, and what it will mean for you….anyway, just offering my note of support and encouragement. you are wonderful, girl. stay true to yourself and keep doing what you do.

  37. you just keep doing what you do. it’s a lovely blog and if she doesn’t appreciate what you’re doing here, she should move on. it’s always the people who are never “doers” that want to complain anyway…

  38. As with EVERYTHING, what works for me may not work for you, but works for somebody else. Afrobella shares her beauty tips as suggestions, not commands so if one is inclined to try out a product based off her experiences, be reasonable. Keep up the good work Bella, you are not paid to do this, and everyone who
    really examines your work here from start knows you are a genuine person and far from being a sell-out.

  39. Thanks for the info about Ellin Lavar products. I saw them in my local CVS and almost purchased some. I think I will wait until my CD products come in before I spend more money.
    Keep sharing!

  40. In reading this, I was wondering what drives you the love of what you do? or what other people think? There are many times that I have come here and did not like what was going on and I skipped it and then came back, that is how I feel about many sites as to blogs I visit. So I am sure we all have opinions we just have to make them work for us to not make it about ourselves too much to think you are directly targeting or not reaching a certain point or we have a different expectation of you. All criticism is good,it can help us grow and evolve, take the comments evolve and know that in this world you cannot satisfy everyone, but happy and satisfy yourself.

  41. mochachoc says:

    I’m happy with the way you finally responded to that feedback, it shows maturity. As you say you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Feedback in all its guises is good. I don’t think you should be afraid of it. In fact you often learn more about feedback which isn’t so congratulatory. I think she was doing you a favour helping you to solidify in your mind the direction you want to take your blog. In the most part I really enjoy your blog. Sometimes the mix is a little confusing for me. I tune in for your beauty reviews and have enjoyed the introduction to music I wouldn’t otherwise have heard. The posts which I don’t relate to I don’t read. That’s okay because that’s how we all read magazines. So keep up the good work bella and don’t be afraid of criticism or feedback which you may not like. they can often open new doors to development.

  42. well you know i have loved this site from the giddy up. where else can i share my random thoughts and product recommendations and learn from such a cool source?i was so happy to see you included a snippet about Nubian Heritage, i have been using their soaps and lotions for years now, i had to include a few links to some of their other products enjoy, http://www.treasuredlocks.com/bodybutters.html
    http://www.treasuredlocks.com/lotions.html
    http://www.treasuredlocks.com/soapbodwas.html
    http://www.treasuredlocks.com/shbubowa.html

  43. Her criticism is contsructive and I like your honest answer and approach to deal with it. I am still new to your blog.

  44. hi afrobella,

    very grown up response!

  45. DettyGirl says:

    Anything you put on the internet is open for discussion by anybody. That being said, I love your site because it has so much information about natural bellas. It’s good to know there are other women out there trying these same products or going through the same hair scenarios. This feedback is crucial, so everybody keep up the good work!

  46. Crystal says:

    Afrobella , i will not lie to you ,I was thinking the same thing a few days ago.I was reading my new Carol’s Daughter catalog,and I recalled your opinion on there products (which do wonders for my hair)and I thought wow Afrobella really does not do many post on natural products anymore.If i did not take a chance on trying there products regardless of what your opinion on them was i would have missed out on a great product.The name Afrobella sound like a fairy godmother with a well groomed,and healthy afro who can give you the name of the best natural hair products for your natural hair problems.A lot of the products that you have been mentioning lately i would never use on my hair ,because they are for chemicaly treated hair.That is probably why 95% of the products that you try do not work for you.I think that you should give Carol’s Daughter another try ,and another post they deserve it.

  47. Hi everyone! I jumped out of this discussion because I had my big weekly work deadline, but I just had to jump back in to respond to Crystal. Hey Crystal, the only even slightly negative Carol’s Daughter review I’ve given was for Khoret Amen, and that was just because I didn’t like the smell. I have also reviewed their Hair Milk and Black Vanilla Leave in, and loved both of them. I also met and had a great interview with Lisa Price. And I’m not sure where you got the “95% of the products that you try do not work for you” idea, I’ve got an arsenal of products that work well for me, and this post was actually in response to a comment saying that I write TOO MANY positive reviews. So for the record, I am quite happy with many of the hair products I have tried and reviewed here, including Curls Milkshake, Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue, Garnier Curl and Shine, Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk, and Kinky Curly Knot Today, for starters. I also am planning a big Carol’s Daughter review soon, so keep reading for that.

  48. Crystal says:

    Afrobella,i am just saying that you should not need a whole arsenal of produccts for your hair if they are as great as Carol’s Daughter. You do not need to get your spanx in a bunch,I am just giving a comment.Maybe i was just putting some of my own thoughts in my post ,but i still agree with her comment,and I will be reading the interview with Lisa Price.

  49. Crystal, I don’t use all those products every day, I switch it up depending on what style I’m going for. And yeah, your comment did get my “spanx in a bunch” because it seemed to me you were commenting without knowledge of my prior reviews or experiences, and coming up with abritrary percentages about the kind of hair products that work for me.

    I’ve got a hair routine that I am very happy with, and Carol’s Daughter is part of that routine. I don’t use their products every day, because I enjoy having options, and there are many other products on the market that are just as great as Carol’s Daughter that I love equally. And those include Curls, Miss Jessie’s, Devacurl, and others.

    Try to put yourself in my shoes: someone comes on your website and makes several statements that you know to be inaccurate. In their comment, they even allude that the very name of your website is a misnomer because of their inaccurate assumption, and then they make up figures to bolster their argument. Wouldn’t that make you want to respond, and correct them as best as you could? Sometimes I feel like I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t. And on that note, I have to get ready for work. Have a beautiful day.

  50. Auragirl says:

    Hey Afrobella!
    I just wanted to add my 2 cents, so here I go…

    First of all, I think one of the many reasons why people are drawn to your site is because you are real. You are honest and truthful. When I read your posts, I can tell there is a real person behind them. They are authentic. That being said, I don’t care if you have 100 products and love them all, hate them all or love some and hate some, as long as you are honest. I would hate for you to think that you have to have a quota for products you don’t like just because some people feel that there aren’t enough negative reviews. You are very detailed in your reviews, and you always add criticism when necessary. Anyway, I will remain a loyal reader! Stay honest and true!

  51. Bella:

    I own my own business and I get emails all the time stating things like, you should do this or you should do that. But you will NEVER make everyone happy. I’m quite sure that you have/had and idea of the direction you want/wanted this blog to move in. Overtime, you will change–it’s a part of the package and you will most likey rub some the wrong way but again, that is a part of the package. You stay true to yourself, that’s ALL that matters. I have read every single post and your “voice” has not changed. I love that about you.

  52. might I add, Anita Grant’s products are Amazing and she is an advertiser on your site. I have a former student of mine who lived in the UK this past semester. I asked her to bring me back some of her hair products and they are AMAZING! The condish is tooooooo die for! It left my hair amazingly soft. I will be ordering from her in the very near future!

  53. PrimaBella says:

    Hi Afrobella,

    Just wanted to say that I love your site and to keep up the good work! You inspire me to keep going with my natural journey (as of Nov 06). I love that you cover all different things, whether it be products, music, culture, etc…it’s always well written and something that I look forward to reading.

    Keep on doing it Afrobella style!

  54. jerseybred says:

    *waving* HI, BELLA!

  55. Eni's Girl says:

    I’m a little late with this comment but I think most of the products are just reviewed as possible choices. Our natural hair comes in a variety of textures so “one size does not fit all” with our hair care. There have been some products reviewed on this site that Afrobella has loved for her type of hair but it would not work on my type of hair. But I still like the fact that she put the goods out there. Usually I can recommend that product to a friend whose hair type is better suited to it.

    I appreciate the poster’s honest comments and for me I do think there is a reason. I believe that because of Bella’s reviews, more companies are sending her sample products and the quality of those products has gotten better (at least it seems that way to me), thus, more positive reviews. But I also trust that if there was an item that really wasn’t that great, Bella would let us know.

    One of the reasons that I love this site is because it gives me hair care information and choices.

  56. xcentricpryncess says:

    What is wrong with being positive???? What is wrong with finding goodness in things instead of negativity?? I say continue to be yourself..If something doesn’t work, that does not mean that it isn’t a good product…we all have different hair types, skin types, textures et cetera. There is so much negativity in the world and there are people who seek it out so that they can feel comfortable…be yourself Bella..

  57. WildMagnolia says:

    Bella Mia,
    I am truly new to you. Merely a few days into the mix and trying to catch up. I appreciate product reviews. I’m a bella on a budget (love that phrase, thank you) and don’t want to spend all my bella bucks on everything on the shelves making grandiose promises.

    I’m a natural, low maintenance work of art. Wash, condition and mousse. I never realized there was this “natural versus chemicals” thang going on. (You can thank the MEDIOTS for that). We have such diverse tastes, culturally. We can and do, do anything with our hair. So, I stand shoulder to shoulder with all the relaxed and weaved hair sisters always searching for something new and exciting to try. ‘Cuz we got it like that!

    Now, to throw in my requests. *smile* Please review some nail polish. I have natural nails and am always looking for a polish that doesn’t take 3 or more coats, has shine and lasting power. What do you think of Chanel’s Black Satin that’s been all the rage for almost a year now? (and their up and coming color of the season, VAMP?) And Santa, I mean Bella, *wink* I have shoe and purse fetishes too.

    Keep on truckin’!

    X

  58. I actually swear by the Nubian Heritage Coconut & Papaya soap with Vanilla Beans. I don’t use the soap directly on my skin. I lather it up on a puff and then lather on my body. I noticed that I don’t get pimples on my shoulder anymore when I use it.

  59. Hi,
    I’m new to your and I absolutely love it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but her opinions sounds a bit harsh. Maybe constructive criticism may help but at the same time if you don’t like what’s going on go somewhere else. Anyway I love your site especially beauty products for natural since my hair is natural and nappy:)!! I recently tried some products from Nubian Heritage such as the Ivorian Cocoa butter soap; an exfoliating soap which is good for my skin and it smells great!! Keep up the good work and never let these haters keep you down!!

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