Hair Shampoo-Beyond Black & White

T​extures and properties make up hair, not races. Solicitation and sale of ethnic products is a marketing tactic used to get certain people to buy certain products. If you have hair that craves moisture, try moisture restoring and conditioning shampoos and products. Products in the ethnic aisle, many of us with curly hair can’t even use because they have a lot of grease and sometime inferior ingredients. T​here are many new brands making products that really do help our moisture craving hair, like shea moisture, coconut oils and other Ayurvedic products that add moisture to hair and skin. They don’t say or put a black name or face on the package, only that it is for curly hair.

  The First Difference is their Target

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Y​ou will find that commercial hair shampoos and conditioners are made in the form of creams or gels. They are made up of emulsions or gels, water and detergent base with other added ingredients. The first difference is their target​. Hair is actually a modified type of skin. The main difference between hair and skin is that skin is basically a living organ that replaces its outermost layer . On the other hand, hair is actually dead material obtained from several living cells deep in the skin surface.

                               Basic Ethnic Hair Groups                             

O​ur hair care is much more complex than body care and will differ according to one’s hair type and depending on processes applied to hair. Hair is a manifestation of human diversity. Please note; there are three basic ethnic hair groups: Caucasian, Asian and Black­ Afro/Caribbean. ​The structure of hair varies from completely straight to tight wiry curls and from fine and flyaway to coarse and frizzy. There is also widely different behavior patterns. W​hen you shop for shampoos you must find one that will not dry out the hair like so many shampoos do.

 Hair Care is not Based on Skin Color 

U​se products that work for your hair. For instance if your hair is dry you should use a moisturizing shampoo. Base your product decisions on the ingredients not the packaging. It doesn’t matter if it’s marketed towards black people or white people.

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H​air products are to be used according to the texture, elasticity, porosity,strength, and needs of the hair and individual.

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C​ertain cultures may use some specific products more than other cultures. Women of color, native American women, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Hispanic, Asian, Pakistani, New Zealand, or Greek women all have their preferences for certain products. These are the products used to attain the look and feel they desire. However, these products are also used cross culturally as well.

Image result for 1960's women washing their hair              Image result for women in the 1950s shampooing hair

S​hampoos have a pH of between 4 and 6. Acidic shampoos are the most common type of shampoos; they do not contain soap and their pH is closer to the natural pH of hair. Due to their pH, acidic shampoos do not swell the hair shaft or strip the natural oils. The scales on a hair follicle lay flat at a slightly acidic pH, making the hair feel smooth and look shiny. Citric acid is often used to adjust the pH down to 5.5. It is a fairly weak acid, which makes the adjustment easier. It also has a small amount of preservative action.

T​here are some specialized shampoos such as anti­-dandruff, natural, baby and animal shampoo. Anti­-dandruff shampoo contains fungicides such as Ketoconazole, Zinc Pyrithione and Selenium sulfide.

Skin Care-Skin Color

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All research indicates that skin color has nothing to do with the skin-care products you need for healthy skin.  Dark, light and every color in between, need the same vitamins and nutrients to produce healthy skin. Color differences don’t impact what products you should be using. The condition of your skin is influenced by a variety of factors, including age, ethnicity, environmental factors (sun exposure, diet, personal habits), and heredity (family history).

Regardless of ethnicity healthy skin requires a healthy diet. Different skin types require their own unique regimens to maintain a beautiful glow.

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Specialized products prescribed for Black, Latina, White, Asian and Southeast Asian, weren’t specially created for any of those groups, instead the focus was directed to skin conditions those women were likely to have due to their race, as discussed below.

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Darker skin needs are the same as for everyone, there are some issues that darker skin tones are more likely to experience. For example, African-Americans may be more prone to skin issues like keloidal (raised) scarring, pronounced hyper-pigmentation and ingrown hairs. Black women should avoid harsh cleansers and exfoliators because dark skin is more prone to certain issues and need customized routines to keep it looking at its best.

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White skin is susceptible to early sun damage (freckling and wrinkles), and also to dry skin. Rich moisturizers are a must because as light skin thins, it gets drier. White women have the highest rate of getting melanoma(skin cancer) second only to white men.

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Latina skin is more likely to be oily and prone to acne and blemishes. The worst part about this is that it can last well past teenage years. Hyper-pigmentation (i.e.manchas). Latinos also get dark spots at high rates and many are usually allergic to benzoyl peroxide. Because they age slower and have oily skin, they are less likely to develop wrinkles at an early age due to sun exposure.


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Asian and Southeast Asian women have collagen-rich skin (so wrinkles come later) but it’s temperamental. Studies show that Asian skin is more sensitive than other types. Asian skin is extremely sensitive to sun, hormonal changes and harsh scrubs or peels. Any reactions, such as redness or bumps, generally take a long time to heal and can cause long-term pigment problems.

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For African American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Southern European, consider avoiding certain treatments. Those with sensitive skin should be especially cautious. If you use products with alpha-hydroxy acids, hydroquinones or tretinoin you may risk hyper-pigmentation(chemical reactions that can cause the creation of extra pigment, which could result in darker spots). If you have darker skin, plan to use a treatment that contains Kojic acid or vitamin C.

  Aging Skin

No matter who you are or what your ethnicity may be, your skin will require different care as the years go by. Chances are that as you age, you will experience increased dryness, changes in facial contour, changes in hair growth and decreased sweating. These are the impacts of the aging process.