It wasn’t until I represented Norfolk, Virginia as a contestant in the Miss Virginia Teen USA pageant. Mother had me use a shampoo sample and conditioner she purchased from a reputable hair dresser. She blow-dried and styled my hair. Then, she took several photographs. At that time, Norfolk did not have an actual pageant and I was selected by submitting these photographs. It was her way of showing me that I was not unattractive. I was elated to represent my city!
While at the pageant, I made several friends. One took the time to share with me her knowledge about various hair care products on the market. I learned more about the condition of one’s scalp and how to effectively wash one’s hair. The condition of one’s hair depends on the oil glands. Since I was young, the oil glands on my scalp should be quite active, as compared to my mother, my father, my grandmother and my grandfather. These glands tend to become less active as woman go through menopause, which explains ‘why’ my mother and grandmother have thinning hair. As with time, men begin to lose their hair, which explains ‘why’ my grandfather was bald. As for my dad, he still has a head of hair; but it is much thinner.
It’s interesting in how often one should wash their hair. Mother washes her hair once a week. For her, since her hair is thinning, maybe she should consider washing it more often and using a scalp oil treatment. For years, I washed my hair once-a-week or when I felt like it. Now, one may ask, why didn’t I follow the advice from what I learned at the pageant? Well, the answer is I was given advice that worked for a short fix and that the chemicals in these expensive products would not prevent one from losing their hair. One can’t style one’s hair when one doesn’t have much to work with!
Chemicals such as sulfates found in many hair products are a strong detergent that can strip one’s hair of its natural oil. Another, is synthetic fragrances. A product that has “fragrance” on their label can contain thousands of hidden chemicals. This is allowed because of a loophole in the law that allows companies to not disclose all of the ingredients of a product in order to avoid copycats. Therefore, manufacturers can just put some ingredients under “fragrance” and get away with it. Some ingredients in fragranced cosmetic products can disrupt the reproductive systems. They can also cause cancer, asthma, and make their way into women’s breast milk. These ingredients can also irritate the skin and scalp, which leads to hair loss. Shockingly, one of the more common ingredients listed in the category of “fragrance” is phthalates. This ingredient is illegal in many countries, including Canada, the EU and parts of Asia, but not in the United States. Other current chemicals to watch out for when selecting a shampoo product are: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), parabens, sodium chloride, polyethylene glycols (PEG), diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), formaldehyde, alcohol, dimethicone, cocamidopropyl betaine, triclosan, and retinyl palmitate.

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Former Miss Teen Norfolk USA, advocate for natural hair care and beauty, graduate from Radford University.
Adminstrator for Beautiful, Healthy, Strong Hair