I have naturally curly hair. For most of my life, it has been kept fairly short. When I was little, that was for the sake of my mother's sanity. In high school, it stayed fairly short because I was always coming up with Radical New Ideas About 80s Asymmetrical Hair in the middle of the night. In college, it stayed fairly short because I had it cut and colored every time I went through a breakup, in dazzling displays of the chameleonic "new hair, new me, secondary benefit: ex will not recognize me in public and/or think to self, 'self, look at that stunningly gorgeous female! Omigod! That's her! I must win her back or die!'" brand of chick logic, which has surprisingly long shelf life.

I have apparently finally reached the level of maturity requisite for a woman of my temperament to grow long hair.

My dark curls, which are very fine-textured and relatively loose, have finally reached my long-coveted Andie-MacDowell-In-Four-Weddings-And-A-Funeral length. A little longer, even. But so frizzy in the summer heat! So dry! Not lush and curly, but arid and bushy. Ye gods, think I. And I hie myself off to the CVS for a consumer good/hair miracle.

It is in Aisle 8 (Hair Care) that I am struck by a stroke of lunatic and epiphanic brilliance: A) I have dry, curly hair. B)I can see from the array of products at the far right hand side of the spectrum that this would appear to be a fairly common problem for black women. Not so common with the white girls, but I can see that a great deal of time and energy is going into the development of related product for my black sisters.

Therefore, C) Never one to limit my choices in a free market based on race, sex, age, religion, or political affiliation, I reviewed the content descriptions on the packaging of these products and carefully selected a jar of African Pride Ginseng Miracle Super Gro Herbal for Hair and Scalp.

African Pride Ginseng Miracle Super Gro Herbal for Hair and Scalp Product Packaging Notes


Super Gro Herbal contains visible herbs that penetrate the hair and scalp promoting healthy, shiny hair. The Maximum Strength formula helps repair breakage and split ends as it energizes hair, scalp and spirit. These special blends of African oils, herbs and ginseng root, are absorbed by the hair and scalp providing maximum conditioning.


  • Brings out hair's natural healthy shine.
  • Revitalizes hair and scalp.
  • Helps end breakage and repair split ends.
  • Leaves hair feeling soft and manageable.

Leaving the store with what can only be described as a generously sized tub of afro goo, I am feeling rather smug. At about three bling-blingin' dollars, it is substantially less expensive than, for example, the more whitey-white-girl stuff with names like "Pantene Hair Follicle Smoothing Cream" that cost about $20 and never seem to do anything for me.

At home, I open my tub of African Pride Ginseng Miracle Super Gro Herbal for Hair and Scalp and take a whiff. Smells clean, sweet, herbal. Not perfumed, just nice. OK.

Ingredients: Petrolatum, soybean oil, castor oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, lanolin, herbs (sheep sorrell, yarrow, wheat germ, sage, slippery elm bark, henna, comfrey, burdock root, goldenseal, cherry bark, black walnut, chamomile, alfalfa, and hyssop oils). Vitamins A, D, and E.

I scoop out a poi serving of the goo, and slowly squish and smooth it into my hair while watching The Princess Bride for the nine-hundredth time. My hair seems to be slurping the stuff up, so I go ahead and treat it to another big squishy handful. Since I also want to give myself a pedicure, I pop my vintage hairdryer (one of those dealies that looks like a shower cap hooked up to a small HVAC unit) on top of my gooshy head full of African Pride Ginseng Miracle Super Gro and let it rev while I carefully paint my toenails "Preppy in Pink", a name which makes me cringe even though I think the color is sweet. I believe my reasoning around the application of the hot air cap technology in this scenario had something to do with hot oil treatments, reverse engineering of, but I'd be guessing at this point.

Some time later - about 20 minutes - I take off my hot air cap. I poke my hair. It seems to have soaked up quite a bit of the African Pride Ginseng Miracle Super Gro Herbal. What I discover as soon as I get into the shower to shampoo off the excess is that my now defrizzed and shiny locks have a distinct flipside: I look like a liberal quantity of Crisco has been basted onto my locks, which are now also completely waterproof.

I shampoo five times. The final time, do so with lemon-scented JOY (cuts grease fast!). The effect of all this shampooing barely reduced the overall level of afrological substance on my head. But I still had to go to the library today, and run a host of other errands. So I twisted sections into narrow dreads, bundled them into a rather post-apocalyptic looking chignon, applied about ten times more black eyeliner than I would normally wear these days, and dug out my old goth girl aesthetic for a quick spin through the black clothes in my closet.

It has been many years since I've taken the costume designer from Mad Max as my sartorial inspiration. And tomorrow I have seminars. And this African Pride Ginseng Miracle Super Gro Herbal doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

But you know, I think I read somewhere around here that Tang is an excellent degreaser, and is sometimes used by the Navy as such...

Time to go Krogering.

After reading arcanamundi's words about the world of the afro products, I was scared to try them. I have naturally wavy hair. Translated, that means I have what appears to most people to be straight yet frizzy hair. I've always had baby-fine hair, and I despise using any products that require time and energy on my part. I have found that I have two options with my hair: 1) wash my hair only about once a week, and at that point it looks crummy and dry for at least two days following, but limp and lifeless for the other five; or 2) spend 30 minutes with the hair straightener for special occassions when I want to look extra special. Even after using massively moisturizing conditioners and leave-in treatments like frizz-ease, trying to straighten with a hair dryer is still not enough.

After concluding that my hair care regimen needed a serious overhaul, I went on the hunt for a conditioner containing no alcohol. This turned out to be nearly impossible. At the local supermarket, I found myself hunting through the afro products. I frequently put baby oil in my hair after washing while I moisturize the rest of my wet self, so when I spotted a product which seemed like nothing more than a few oils in pomade form, I took it home.

I had purchased Kuza, which advertized itself as 100% Indian Hemp hair and scalp treatment, but as I said before, it looked mostly like brown pomade. There was a slight pleasant odor. Of course, there were no instructions on the container, so I was left with my rockabilly knowledge of pomade.

My method for use may or may not be how you're really supposed to use these products, but I've had excellent results. Here's what I do: I wash my hair using Nature's Gate herbal shampoo and conditioner which contain no alcohol. I towel dry my hair, and while it's still very wet, I scoop out a teeny tiny amount of the Kuza. By tiny, I mean think of the amount of moisturizer you pump out to put on your face. Generally, not more than what would just barely give one fingertip a thin coating. Rub the goo between your palms to warm it up and thin it out a bit. Your hands should feel a little greasy, but shouldn't feel coated in goo. Gently smooth the goo through the wet hair, doing everything possible to coat evenly, although you seem to have only a tiny amount of junk. Comb through, and style as usual.

Using the Kuza, I have now been washing my hair two or more times per week, but only smooshing on the goo once a week. It does tend to build up, since it seems that there's no way to wash it out. If you use too much, (as arcanamundi points out) you are in serious trouble as you are stuck with greasy hair til your follicles can suck up the oils (or so it seems). For this reason, I strongly suggest trying this out once or twice on days when you plan to be sitting on the couch watching movies in your pj's all day.

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