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Wen Hair Care Gallon

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    Scruples Texturizing Paste Hair Care, 3.5 Fluid Ounce
    Beauty (Scruples)


    Scruples


    List Price: $12.99
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    • Established, trusted formulas
    • Professional grade product
    • Designed to handle every hair type

    Tropic Isle Living- Jamaican Black Castor Oil Hair Food-4oz
    Beauty (Tropic Isle)


    Tropic Isle


    List Price: $7.99
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    • GROWTH- Penetrates the scalp to enhance growth
    • USAGE- After conditioning, section hair, apply hair food to scalp, gently massage, then style as desired.
    • SHINE- Adds a great shine to the hair
    • PERSONAL CARE- Effectively eliminates dandruff

The Lies About 'Lye' and Other Toxic Cosmetics Marketed to Black Women

Deborah Cutkelvin, a hairstylist in Brooklyn, always keeps the contact information for her dermatologist on-hand. She does it for her clients—over the years, she’s seen more than her share of distraught women complain of hair loss, as well as scalps that need medical attention rather than a touch-up. The doctor often treats her clients for alopecia that’s a result of lifetimes of abuse—braiding, ironing and relaxing hair with gallons of lotions and creams that contain more chemicals than a plumber might use in a month of unclogging drains.

Cutkelvin’s business, Seymonnia’s Hair Salon, is one of thousands in Brooklyn that cater to the specific needs and preferences of black women. Because her salon has many local competitors, she tends to stick with products that produce the results her clients expect when they pay $50 to have their hair relaxed. These products contain lye, a chemical that seems to magically undo the curl of hair. It’s also a highly effective agent for cleaning the crud out of ovens, unclogging drains and dissolving animal carcasses, and it’s even used at some funeral homes for chemical cremation. Lye has been a mainstay in hair relaxers since the early 1970s, and many black women who want straight hair have come to view the pain and burning relaxers can cause as simply part of a routine salon experience.