Hellur girls and boys! (Do any boys read this blog? There must be a couple. We see you! You should say hello some time, okay?)
So by way of a disclaimer, today’s post is only going to highlight a topic that I have often wondered about. I will present you with findings from my little research. However, I have no conclusions to make. Perhaps we can reach a conclusion together?
Hair products. When you see ‘shampoo’ or ‘cleansing’ attached to the name of a product, you know exactly what that product ought to do without reading the description, right? The same goes for ‘conditioner’, ‘leave-in conditioner’, ‘detangler’, ‘gel’, and even ‘mousse’. These terms point not only to the function of a particular product but many times, also to its look and/ or feel. And then you keep going across the hair product aisle and you start to see ‘butter’, ‘souffle’, ‘smoothie’, ‘custard’, ‘pudding’.
Have these earned their names or are manufacturers just slapping names on products because they so fancy?
When I think of butter, I think stick butter; or at least a type of hardened oil, hardened being the key word. Of course, cooking/edible butter can get soft in warmer temperatures. However there is a certain consistency to the softness… there is something thick and heavy about the way it feels, right? In the same light, custards and puddings are, to me, light and fluid mixtures. So translating that to hair speak, I would expect more effort to rub a butter between my palms, than to rub a custard or a pudding. In addition, because butter is hardened, heavy oil, I would not expect it to carry water. Conversely, I would expect water to be the first ingredient of a custard or pudding.
Apart from appearance and feel, I then thought that perhaps there are certain ingredients that are common to products to earn them the suffixes of ‘butter’, ‘custard’, or ‘pudding’. So I did a little research, using the product database of CurlMart.
I used the search terms ‘butter’, ‘pudding’, and ‘custard’ individually and randomly selected 8 products from each category for this little research.
Below are the most common ingredients found in:
Custards (Obia Curl Enhancing Custard, Miss Jessie’s Coily Custard, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Mop Top Curly Custard, Design Essentials Natural Honey Curl Forming Custard, Milk + Honey Hydrating Hair Custard, Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp & Tamanu Grow & Strengthen Custard)
Water – 6
Vegetable glycerin – 5
Pectin – 3
Xantham gum – 2
Pudding (As I Am Cleansing Pudding, Carol’s daughter Hair Milk Pudding Style, Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding, Darcy’s Botanicals Organic Coconut & Aloe Moisture Pudding, EDEN Bodyworks Coconut Shea Pudding Souffle, Milk + Honey Tangle Free Pudding, Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding)
Water – 6
Ethylhexyl palmitate – 4
Glycerin – 4
Caprylyl Glycol – 3
Cetearyl alcohol – 2
Hydroxyl propyl starch phosphate – 2
Carbomer – 2
Oleth5 – 2
Butter (As I Am Double Butter Cream Rich Daily Moisturiser, Beemine Bee Hold Curly Butter, Blended Beauty Curl Styling Butter, Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter, Carol’s daughter Healthy Hair Butter, Darcy’s Botanicals Eucalyptus Mint Herbal Scalp Conditining Butter, Milk + Honey Honey Butter)
Butter (Shea/Almond/Cocoa/Other)- 7
Water – 4
Behentrimonium methosulfate – 2
Cetearyl alcohol – 2
Beeswax – 2
One thing I find really interesting in these results is the butter. Almost all the products labelled ‘butter’ had some type of butter in its ingredients. And of the 8 products sampled, only half contained water. But going by the numbers, there probably isn’t any one ingredient or combination of ingredients that confer butter status, for example, to a product. Of course only 8 products per category is hardly enough to infer anything, but at least it’s a start. However, all of the products sampled have moisturising claims (even the ones without water… You know yourselves) and herald themselves as being great all-encompassing styling aids. (While there are products that expressly say they are best used for twist-outs or braid-outs, I am yet to find a styling aid that states that it is only good for afros. If you know of any, please let me know. My theory though is that lighter products should be for the fro, while heavier (butter) products will be perfect for twist-outs and braid-outs. I am yet to test out this theory.)
So my question still remains… how are these names given? By appearance or consistency of the product? Or are they just random fancy names given to the products?
I hope I have not just rambled on and left you feeling like “What did I just read?!”
If you use or have used products with any of these three names, did the feel complement the name? Did they act differently in their styling abilities? For example, do you find you get better twists out results with a butter, and a better, fluffy fro with a custard or pudding? I’m obviously interested in this seemingly non-existent issue. Please help a sister!
– Mee Mee