Lies or Marketing? Can We Trust Natural Celebs When They Discuss Their Favorite Products?

DISCLAIMER: Before I begin this post, I want to make it very clear that I am not bashing Tracee Ellis Ross or any other company spokesperson, in any way, shape, or form. My intention is to call out the practice of masked advertising and sponsored promotion as an educated consumer.


I recall the first time I read about Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair routine and favorite products in the NY Times, calling out Kim Kimble, Bumble and Bumble, Aestelance, and Moraccanoil. Less than a year later, she was interviewed by Curly Nikki and listed Optimum Care 6-in-1 Oil and Moisturizer as her favorite products, which obviously caused a lot of discussion in the curly hair community since she is a frequently mentioned (and admired) curly idol for a lot of women. It wasn’t until I learned that she had recently become the latest spokesperson for Softsheen-Carson/Optimum Care that this made sense as it was not mentioned at all in the previous interview. Fast forward to today – Glamour released an interview with Tracee Ellis Ross last week sharing her “favorite” curly hair products, which called out Optimum Care’s Amla line.

I’m sure you’re reading this like, okay, so what? Well, here’s the thing: it’s becoming more and more difficult to identify what is an ad and what isn’t. In the social media age, celebrities are constantly posting pictures of their lives online and brands are seeking quick publicity by paying them to post their products. And while the Federal Trade Commission has attempted to regulate this type of activity, it’s nearly impossible to prove that a celeb isn’t posting or mentioning a product simply because they like it. The same goes for interviews – it’s a classic public relations tactic to “pitch” products to celebrities’ management and send them for free or flat out pay for mentions.

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If you aren’t an informed consumer (and love buying the same products as your fave celebs), you may be misled to buy products that you otherwise would have never touched. I mean, look at the Optimum Care Amla Oil‘s ingredients – the first two ingredients are cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone and actual amla oil is towards the end – hardly impressive. Their Damage Antidote Oil Moisturizer lists mineral oil as the second ingredient. Yea, I’ll pass.

But hey, they really might be Tracee’s favorite products. I know that I’ve fallen in love with products after they were sent to me. Either way, I guess we’ll never know (definitely not trying to mess up her coins, lol), so make sure you are looking at ingredients when you’re looking for new products and not flocking to products just because your fave curly claims to love them. Even if their hair is absolutely gorgeous.

How do you think transparency should be enforced with celebrities?

**This post also appears on Black Girl with Long Hair.


Empties and Mini Product Reviews Volume II

Hey all, today I’m going to do mini reviews for 5 natural hair/curly hair products that I’ve used up recently: Broo conditioners (2), Mineral Fusion Curl Care Conditioner, Nubian Heritage Honey and Black Seed Protectant Leave-In,  and Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp and Tamanu Growth and Strengthen Treatment Masque.

More details below!

Hair: 2nd day wng w/ CJ Curl Rehab + Biotera Gel, w/ Camille Rose pomade on ends. Fluffed out 2nd day hair w/ pomade.

Empty Products:

Broo Smoothing:
Ingredients: Beer, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Diheptyl Succinate, Caprylol Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid

Broo Hydrating:
Ingredients: Beer, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Diheptyl Succinate, Caprylol Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid

Pros: Smell/some slip/strengthening/rinses clean
Cons: Not really moisturizing/price
Repurchase: Maybe in a pinch

Mineral Fusion Curl Care Conditioner:
Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis (Leaf Juice/jus de feuilles)*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunower Seed Oil/l’huile de graines de tournesol)*, Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Malachite (Extract/extrait), Smithsonite (Extract/extrait), Rhodochrosite (Extract/extrait), Hematite (Extract/extrait), Argania Spinosa (Kernel Oil/kernal huile), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter/le beurre de karité)*, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Olea Europaea (Olive Leaf Extract/extrait de feuilles d’olivier), Lecithin, Astrocaryum Murumuru (Seed Butter/beurre de graine), Tocopherol, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed Seed Oil/l’huile de graine delin)*, Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Seed Oil/l’huile de graines de jojoba)*, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Natural Fragrance/Fragrance Naturelle (Parfum)

Pros: Nice slip/moisturizing/good for detangling
Cons: smell/marketing (maybe?)
Repurchase: Yes

Nubian Heritage Honey and Black Seed Protectant Leave-In:
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Oil*, Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia) Seed Oil*, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Honey, Sorbitol Esters, Castor Oil, Black Seed Oil, Centrimonium Choloride (Conditioning Salt), Keratin, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Oil, Vegetable Protein, Proprietary Essential Oil Blend

Pros: Nice slip going on/absorbs well/moisturizing/versatile/softening
Cons: smell
Repurchase: Maybe

Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp and Tamanu Growth and Strengthen Treatment Masque:
Ingredients: Deionized water, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)*, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, calophyllum (tamanu) oil, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, cetyl esters, panthenol (vitamin B-5), bambusa vulgaris (bamboo) extract, tiare (gardenia tahitensis) flower, allium sativum (garlic) extract, melia azadirachta (neem) seed oil, behentrimonium choloride (conditioning salt), proprietary essential oil blend, lonicera caprifolium (honeysuckle) flower (and) lonicera japonica (japanese honeysuckle) flower extract, keratin, tocopherol (vitamin E), hyssopus officinalis extract, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf and equisetum arvense extract, soybean oil

Pros: Ingredients/strengthening
Cons: lack of slip/lack of moisture/smell
Repurchase: No

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Quest for the Perfect Curl is a YouTube channel dedicated to healthy hair practices and products that are especially beneficial to women with naturally curly hair. I initially started blogging in order to track my own hair journey and progress, and along the way, I picked a few tips and products (okay, maybe more than a few). Hope you enjoy the channel & find some good information here. Welcome!

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FTC: This video is sponsored by long holiday breaks, snow days, and no buys. All products were purchased by me and all thoughts are my own.