Hair Products for Black Women Go Green

African American women looking for an eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals to straighten their , might have a new option. Care Oasis Green-Wonders. The hair line, which was created by a former employee of the maker of Ultra Sheen , offers a natural organic, non-toxic, chemical-free straightener for black hair.

The creator, Angela de Joseph, who worked for years at Johnson Products and as associate editor at Essence, created Naturalaxer Kit-In-A-Jar, the first multi-ethnic hair relaxer out of a growing concern over the harsh and toxic chemicals African-American women use to straighten their hair, she told Black Voices. She also is a founding editor of ‘Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styling and Care Guide,’ and uses the products on her long, luxurious tresses. The product — which de Joseph developed 15 years ago — hit the online market this summer.

The Green-Wonders line is available at Natural Hair Care Oasis. It is comprised of 30 products. The straightener costs $29.99 and users can receive a $10 discount if they join a club for auto-shipping for six-week touch-ups.

“The skin absorbs hair topically via the scalp, which then enters the blood stream,” said de Joseph, who grew up at the knee of her mother who owned a salon and beauty school in Trinidad. “The scalp is very sensitive and because of its proximity to the brain, it is important to avoid putting harsh chemicals in your hair.”

More and more, some medical experts are warning consumers to pay attention to man-made chemicals — such as parabens — found in hair-care products, moisturizers, makeup and shaving creams.

While studies are inconclusive about the health effects of parabens, a report published in 2004 detected the chemical in breast tumors, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Some medical experts also warn against the use of products that contain sodium laureth sulfate, a foaming agent found in hair-care products, soaps and toothpaste. The ingredient has been found to contain low levels of a carcinogen, which the Food and Drug Administration recommends that levels be monitored. de Joseph developed the line with a Food and Drug Administration licensed laboratory and cosmetology chemist. Green-Wonders contains 100 percent natural oils, jojoba and rosemary.

“They have a variety of natural ingredients, no sodium laureth sulfate or parabens,” said de Joseph. “I developed the line so we could have quality hair products so we could make our hair healthier. Without the toxins and the chemicals, it allows us to alter our hair texture without breaking the bonds inside the hair or damaging the scalp. It softens and loosens the natural hair texture and allows you to still wear your hair in natural styles as well as curly, wavy or straight. You have more versatility with styling your hair.”

Houston Resident Joyce Wright, who is a member of the popular 1960s and 1970s American vocal group ‘5th Dimension’, was sold on the product as soon as she tried it six weeks ago. After growing out a perm for four years, Wright was finally ready for a change. She discovered de Joseph’s Green Wonders during a conversation with her friend and decided to give it try.

“It made my hair soft and manageable,” said Wright. “I can comb through it and not experience any breakage. When I put it in, I don’t experience a burning sensation or irritation. Even the odor is pleasant. There was no strong chemical smell. I’m going to put it in my son’s hair. He’s got his little look going and I think this will add to it.”

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