Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme

Background to the Brand:

Miss Jessie’s is a company founded and previously run by the dynamic duo, the Branch sisters Miko, a hairstylist and Titi, a Maryland BA graduate from Queens, New York. The history of the brand is inspirational. The name Miss Jessie is that of their grandmother who literally modelled the DIY approach to life and haircare. The sisters later ran Curve salon in Brooklyn and continued to build a successful brand complete with a their publication “Creating a Successful Business from Scratch-Naturally”, a window into the history behind this multi-million dollar brand. In Early December of 2014 Titi, came to a tragic end in a suicide. What followed was a massive media frenzy on mental health awareness and mixed race relationships rebuff. It was the hype around how these women erected this brand and placed it on the map of the American dream that first sparked my interest in their products.

Baby Buttercreme
This product comes highly recommended by one of my favourite Naturals Geniece, a hair care writer and blogger, often featured on blackgirllonghair. She uses it for braid-outs and protective styling with some decent results which really amped my desire to try this product. I had the products brought in from DC and actually just watched them sitting there in my product pile and had fond thoughts when I passed them. Just in case you were wondering, no I don’t talk to my pile of hair products. They talk to me and I just nod. 

The Baby Buttercreme’s description is: “The sweetest baby butter creme period”. It claims to be good for most common natural hairstyles. The product promises to hydrate and moisturise, cut frizz for smooth curls, kinks and waves. I felt like a lottery winner when I read these words. 

The Packaging: 
I must mention that I do so like the retro look of the Miss Jessie’s products. The design and colours are supercool. The look of the packaging is both practical and eye catching with a unique uniform retro undertone. I also like the fact that the products are sealed with a foil to preserve the overall product. It feels better to know that the product has not been exposed before I buy it. 

At first impression: The feel of the product is a thick lotion consistency with a sweet caramel scent. 

My first use was on freshly washed and conditioned hair. It went on like a lotion. One cant use too much of this as it is heavy feeling product. So the first time I tried it was on its own to create a not so wash and go. My hair felt drenched in a lotion with an oil sheen. The second use was with the Miss Jessie “Leave in Condish” as well as the Jelly Soft Curls gel. Again, I had the heavy feeling of the lotion on my head. 

On both occasions within a few hours I had a rancid oil smell on my hair. It actually felt like the smell was following me around. Every time I turned my head I caught a whiff of stale oil. Both times I had to wash my hair the following day to get rid of the old oil smell from this lotion. It was not a good feeling. 

The ingredients: For full details on the list of ingredients see the information listed below

The ingredients in this product are: emollients, lubricants and thickeners. So, the consistency naturally (no pun intended)  is a heavy one. The products do contain petroleum derivates (petrolatum and mineral oil) which places the product on the back foot  when compared to natural haircare products. Most of the ingredients act as moisture sealants so are supposed to be good for moisture retention and to soften the hair. Some of the ingredients are not water soluble. Some can actually cause build-up so if you are going to use it be sure to use a shampoo to cleanse when you wash your hair. In this case a co-wash will not be sufficient. This product is also best used on the hair only. It may be a good product for those with very dry hair or to try and seal in moisture.  Also, a product like this may not be good to use for a scalp with a fungus such as a wet dandruff. Since in that instance you may actually need to let the skin breath and so sealing in the moisture can cause an overgrowth of the fungal bacteria and may create bigger problems. This product also contains surprising irritants such as iodine and cinnamon. If you have any sensitivity to these then do not use this product. 

The Good guys: Stearyl alcohol, panthenol, wheat germ oil, crambe seed oil and glycerin. The problem for me with the list is that the good guys are in the middle of the list as opposed to the top where they ought to be as an indication that they are in higher concentrations. 

An important note on all cosmetic products. As is the case here with coumarin, often cosmetics are made to smell like food for the simple reason that we like food food smells. Do not get the urge to taste cosmetic products for any reason because it smells like your favourite food. Cosmetics are not food, do not taste them. I often come across reviews that say: it smells good enough to eat, or I was tempted to taste it. Don’t be dom! its not meant to be eaten. 

This product felt like overkill on my hair. I felt like I had put Vaseline on my hair. The wear on my head was not a good experience due to the rancid smells. 

The price at just under R400 now feels not well spent on this product. The “leave-in condish” and “Jelly Soft Curls” at just under R200 each is more forgivable. 

I am in search for local alternatives for this type of product. Should you know of any that may work well please let me know in the comments section. 

water- the most universal ingredient in cosmetics. 

petrolatum- is an emollient. It is a derivative of the petroleum refining process. It is the basis of Vaseline. It is commonly placed in the potential risk category due to its origin. The problem: there is a potential of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)- carcinogens that may be present in the by products of raw oil. There has been no scientific backing of petrolatum as a toxin however, the approval for use are issued with a warning by cosmetics councils. Vaseline is typically used to moisturise the skin as a sealant. It is commonly used in eczema and burn wound treatment for moisture retention. If the goal is moisture retention vaseline is a go to treatment for many medical conditions. I am torn by the use of Vaseline. 

glycerin- is a sweet water soluble, humectant. Is derived from either animal or a synthetic source. On hair it adds slip and makes combing and detangling easier. In the product it gives longevity by slowing evaporation. 
Fun fact- Miss La Flesh cited a fun fact for glycerin as: “a byproduct of regular human metabolism…but i don’t recommend drinking it” she says. Here’s a local fun fact:  it is commonly used in South Africa to clean the mouths of newborn infants. 

mineral oil- is a lubricant found in many cosmetics. It is also used for moisture retention for similar reasons as petrolatum. It gives a shiny top coat when used. It is considered safe for use and an okay ingredient but is also on the hit list of ‘bad stuff’ because it is a derivative of the petroleum process. 

fragrance (parfum) I do not think perfume is a necessary ingredient in hair products. Unless it is a fragrance derived from a natural source it is in my opinion very unnecessary. Particularly for products that will stay on the hair and skin. Perfume is also typically dissolved in alcohol which can be drying to hair. Cleansing has to be done by shampoo to rid the old smells. I hate a rancid smell from a substances that cant be removed easily. This is an absolute irritation for me. 

peg 8 dilaurate- a blend of auric acid and polyethylene glycol. It is an okay ingredient. 

peg-100 stearate is an okay ingredient used to thicken the product. 

acetylated lanolin- is an emollient. Due to its concentrated base it is a sealant that prevents water retention and preserves moisture. The higher concentration of lanolin means that if you are sensitive to lanolin you are at increased risk of reaction. 

glycerin stearate- An emulsifier- a combination of glycerol and stearic acid. It is a pale waxy solid substance. A conditioning agent and lubricant; moisture retainer which acts similar to petrolatum. It is not water soluble.  

yellow 5 (ci19140) a yellow colour. its okay

cetearate-20- thickener, and binds a product. Its okay

stearyl alcohol- It is a triple purpose: lubricant, thickener and emollient. A less greasy conditioning agent that binds products. Its a solid white wax that i snot water soluble. It is a good ingredient to have in products. 

dmdm hydantoin- Preservative

acylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer- its is a film forming polymer that can build up on hair. Caution with this ingredient. 

ameinomethyl propanol- An emulsifier. is an okay ingredient. 

panthenol- a type of VitB. Is a hair conditioner. Is able to penetrate the shaft and give a soft feeling. it is a good ingredient. 

triticum vulgare (wheat germ oil)- Good 
crambe (abyssinica) seed oil- Good

caramel- heated sugar. 

theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter- an emollient. Cocoa butter is a common food ingredient. It  is a solid, yellow fat made from cocoa (chocolate) beans. Has a chocolate taste and scent. Can be an allergen. 

shea butter- an emollient. Used for its softening and moisturising properties. From the West African Shea tree. 

coumarin- is made from a combination of several plants and Tonka beans or may be synthetic. It is toxin and not safe for consumption. 

hydrolysed keratin- this description is unclear as to the source of protein it is referring to. Hydrolysed typically refers to a process where a substance has been taken from a solid into liquid form and becomes water soluble. It is done to take a complex substance to a simpler form. It is usually an okay item but I would have liked to know the origin of the protein. So a hydrolysed protein would be a protein taken through a hydrolysis process. 

disodium edta- Is a chelating substance. scientifically it is a particular process in which ions and molecules bind metal ions. In hair products it attracts minerals from the hair shaft allowing them to rinse off. For this reason it is good after swimming. It also has preservative properties and is considered harmless at low levels. Its an okay item.

iodopropynyl butylcarmate- A preservative. A whitish crystal powder that contains iodine. It is considered acceptable save for use aerosol products. In Europe this product is more strictly controlled and not used in oral, lip or lotion products. This is a caution item. If you are sensitive to iodine this may not be safe for you to use. 

linalool- fragrance, with a Lilly scent. 
limonene- a combination of natural fragrances. It can cause scalp sensitivity, so it is a caution item. 
cinnamal- derived from cinnamon. Is a fragrance and flavour.

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