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.