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Image: @efikzara

The Universe works in some pretty remarkable ways, boy. When I decided in 2019 that 2020 was gonna be the year when I gained more inches than ever, I actually smiled to myself when a YouTuber by the name of EfikZara popped up in my suggestions. First of all, this Nigerian naturalista is absolutely stunning. Secondly, look at her hair. All of that beautiful, healthy, type 4 hair! Geeze. And third, guess what she heavily attributes to getting her locks that way. Are you ready? It’s hair grease. I’m dead serious. Two of her videos that especially caught my attention was The TRUTH About GREASE + How I Use It to GROW Low Porosity 4c/4b/4a Hair and 5 BIG LIES The Natural Hair Community LIED About GREASE!!. I must admit that both videos brought up some pretty valid points (more on that in a sec).

After checking out both videos in their totality and thinking back to when I used hair grease as a child and recalling that it was longer back then than it ever has been using all of these popular commercial natural hair products, I decided to do even more digging around. Low and behold, even more YouTubers were singing grease’s—especially Blue Magic Hair Grease—praises (you can check out a few more here, here, here and here). So yeah—rather than telling myself to not give grease (another) try, simply because that’s what the natural hair commercial community has said to do, I took myself to a beauty supply store, picked up a couple of jars of Blue Magic, and applied them on my following wash day. When I tell you that it was one of the best things that I’ve ever done? Words cannot express. Here’s why.

Hair grease is cheap.

Although I’ve had my moments of buying more natural hair products than I would ever need (or be able to use in one lifetime), I’m not the biggest product junkie in the world. The main reason is because, while there are some good hair product lines out here, a lot of them are very much so on the pricey side and a sistah is on a budget. And honestly, that is probably the top selling point for why I was willing to try grease again. Even if you’ve never used Blue Magic before, I’m pretty sure you know what a jar of it looks like; it’s big (12 oz, to be exact) and mine only cost $3.99. Name me one product that is that size, that’s about to do all that I’m about to talk about, that is that cheap. So yeah, the fact that I don’t have to eat Ramen noodles for a month in order to keep my natural hair looking and feeling amazing is definitely a major selling point.

Image: @limitlessbloom

It seals in moisture.

Something that I had to learn the hard way about my hair is that it is high porosity. This means that although it easily absorbs moisture, it also has the tendency to act like I never put any water on it about a day after applying a conditioner, cream or oil of some sort. Dry hair is one of the main causes of hair breakage. But after watching the videos that I listed and applying the tips, my hair has been able to hold moisture, pretty much from wash day to wash day (which is weekly for me). I simply wash my hair, deep condition it, apply the hair grease (as my sealant) and dry it on low heat (my hair does better when it’s dried and stretched than moisturized on a daily basis). You might think that it would make my hair feel greasy, but it actually doesn’t. By the time I wake up the following day, it feels amazingly soft—from root to tip. And, it stays feeling that way for days on end. So, why do some people say that grease dries out your hair? It’s because they apply it once their hair is already dry. The problem with that is, since grease not only keeps moisture from getting out of your hair, but it also prevents any from getting in, you must apply it to wet hair. Otherwise, a brittle greasy mess is exactly what you’ll be dealing with.

It (can) protect your scalp.

Personally, I don’t use grease to oil my scalp; I use Jamaican Black Castor Oil instead. But I do see why ErikZara is a fan. Sometimes we forget that our scalp is made up of skin, just like the skin that covers up the rest of our body. If you’re someone who suffers from dry scalp, applying a little bit of grease (again, while your hair is damp) can seal in moisture there too so that you end up with less itchy, scaling and flakes.

It’s a great wash ‘n go ingredient.

One way that I haven’t tried grease, but a lot of naturalistas are big fans of, is using it as the “base” for their wash ‘n gos. Basically, what they do is wash and condition their tresses and then apply the grease before braiding their hair up and allowing it to air dry. It really is something how, once they take their braids apart, not only do they end up with hella definition, but their hair also looks super soft and shiny. Listen, if you don’t want to take a chance on hair grease for any other reason, at least consider it as the prime ingredient to get your wash ‘n gos looking on-point. If you’re worried that it will be hard to get the grease out once you put it in, that’s a fair concern. I use a black soap shampoo bar. Others use castile soap as an alternative to another way to easily remove grease—sulfate shampoo.

It helps to retain length.

I’m telling you—if you look at the ladies in the YouTube video links that I provided, you’ll see that, when it comes to at least considering adding hair grease to your hair care routine, the proof is in the pudding. When your hair is soft and manageable, that means less breakage, less fairy knots, less ripping when you’re combing, brushing and styling your hair. And that ultimately means more length retention.

It’s only been a good month or so since I’ve been using hair grease again. But I must admit that I’ve seen much less shedding, my ends feel much smoother, and I haven’t been losing nearly as much moisture. So yeah, despite how many natural hair care professionals may be rolling their eyes while reading this, I’m gonna stick with what had my long hair as a little girl—good ole’ grease. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Yeah, my point exactly.