Addendum, July 5, 2012: This post was originally written in March 2010. Since that time, Miss Jessie’s has made some changes for the better, including adding the ingredients to their site, changing their tagline (to “The Best Darn Products…Period” – which is still a giggle but fair enough), and concentrating less on turning kinks into curls, although I still feel as if their main focus is curl definition. That’s not my hair journey, but as it is the priority for several women, I can’t be mad at them for capitalizing on that marketing angle. They have also opened a salon called CurlBar, where they only do curly styles (no chemicals). Now…the prices at CurlBar may leave some of you throwing up in a corner (based on previous convos I have had with fellow curlies), but I won’t comment on that – companies charge what they charge, and people pay what they want to pay. Anyhow, while I commend Miss Jessie’s for the changes they have made over the past couple of years, they are certainly still far from being one of my stellar choices when it comes to caring for my hair (although the Super Sweetback Treatment is okay and I use it before I straighten b/c of the cones). Will I take down this post? Nope. But admittedly, they don’t annoy me *as much.* Again, if you love the products, sexy legumes and and may the force of the curl be with you. Personally, products that contain mineral oil do not generally work for me (not just MJ’s products), but it’s up to you. I am not your curl messiah and I don’t tell people what to do.
Disclaimer: Before I write this post, I want you to know that if you use Miss Jessie’s products and they work for you, good for you! I am not knocking anyone who uses Miss Jessie’s and likes it in any way. Do you – I’m sure there are some things that work for my hair that do not work for you hair, so you wouldn’t use my products. And that’s cool. Have I tried Miss Jessie’s? Nope! And don’t plan to (UPDATE – I actually did try them to form an educated and final opinion on the company due to some of the comments left on this blog that wanted to call me names like natural nazi and hater…and no, I didn’t like them…but that really isn’t even the point. I’m not even that opposed to them anymore, there are some other companies that make natural products that are just as shadester, I guess that’s how you make money in this day and age. Points still stand.). My thoughts on them has nothing to do with their products. I won’t lie, they leave a bad taste in my mouth. And it’s sad too, because I love their advertising and the design of their website. Also, that “Curly…” shirt is too cute! But alas, we can never be. Here’s why:
When I decided to go natural, I was looking for a product that would help my relaxed hair curl (ie, not look like a wavy, stringy mess), but still work on my natural hair as it grew. An acquaintance suggested Miss Jessie’s, and told me it totally “stepped her curl game up.” I’m all about upgrading, so I was very intrigued. I checked out their site and was about to order some Curly Pudding, or Meringue, I can’t really remember which, but was so excited about the new found hope for my natural journey that I wanted to see if I could get something on the ground (did I mention Miss Jessie’s does not list the ingredients by their products on the website – yea, okay). So, I Googled “Miss Jessie’s alternatives” and came across Kinky Curly products, which were sold at my Whole Foods. And they were less expensive – obviously, a no brainer. I picked up some KC stuff, but was still curious about Miss Jessie’s. As I continued my research (I was looking to see if someplace sold it for a cheaper price), I found that it contained mineral oil, petroleum, and cones (note – the Curly Pudding contains a water soluble cone, but their other products contain them – oh, and some have parabens too). On top of that, I found that the ingredients used to be way better, but when they became more mainstream they changed the formula without informing anyone. Hmmm. Now, these ingredients are not bad for the hair per se, but uhhhh, isn’t that the same stuff that was in my $3 grease from Sally’s (that I had just thrown away)? So, why does Miss Jessie’s stuff cost $38-$58 for 16oz? I mean, some of the ingredients looked good, but please don’t act like Blue Magic Coconut Hair Grease doesn’t contain coconut oil. Well, so that already annoyed me, and I was pretty much done with them. I jumped right into the world of product junkieism and found a ton (lol, literally) of products that contain yummy stuff for my hair.
Then…I found out that Miss Jessie’s does chemical treatments (for $600, so I’ve been told). Ummmm…why are you doing chemical treatments if you boast that your products are the “best darn products for natural hair period”? So they do this “silkener” thing…which is basically a texturizer with some conditioners to lessen the effect and moisturize your hair while they are stripping it with lye. FUN! And yes, to me texturizers are the same thing as relaxers. Same way that no-lye relaxers are basically the same thing as lye relaxers. Full of ish, I tell ya. So fine, some women get texturizers b/c they don’t know how to care for their natural hair. FINE! But, at the same time, don’t tout your company as being a thought leader in natural hair care and hand out lye like candy. I was even more annoyed.
THEN…I found out that Titi (one of the co-owners of Miss Jessie’s) has a silkener ie texturizer so she can get the “look” she wants without spending as much time on her hair. FINE! But don’t talk about how your products give women the ability to wear their natural hair, when yours isn’t even natural. I mean, don’t you use your own products? Practice what you preach. Thanks.
THEN…Titi and Miko went on Tyra, plugged their products…but NEVER mentioned the fact that they give chemical services at their salon, or that Titi has a silkener. Hmmmm….I’ll admit, you can find this information on their website, but I found it fishy that they didn’t mention it AT ALL on national TV, especially when it seems like they make so much money from them. Did I also mention that a “hair consult” at Miss Jessie’s is $75, and they charge you $50 to wash the product out of your hair so they can do an accurate assessment of your naked hair? Yeah….okay….and in case you think I’m lying, this is DIRECTLY from their FAQ on the website -
I feel a little self conscious arriving to your salon without my hair done. I’d like to come with it styled and with product in my hair. Will you still be able to determine what my curly style options will be when you consult with me?
No. We cannot give an accurate consultation based on hair that’s not in its unstyled/product free state. Wet not wash hair removing all product, twist or braid formation, and straight styles leaving your hair free form for your 1st visit. We charge $50 to prep hair for an accurate consultation.
You’re gonna charge me $50 to remove some gel from my hair, or wet my press so my hair is curly again? Absolutely ridic.
One of the ladies on NaturallyCurly contacted them about the fact that Titi didn’t say she had a texturizer, and they responded with this:
Our products do not have alternating chemicals such as Lye. Our products help those who DO NOT want Alternating chemicals such as relaxers, as said before we help people without changing their hair CHEMICALLY. Our products have a small amount of mineral oil besides the 16 ingredients, furthermore mineral oil ISNT the active ingredient, Shea Butter is the active ingredient.
Please don’t tell me that doesn’t sound like the most bollocks response ever. She didn’t ask about the products, can you read?!! Furthermore…a small amount of mineral oil? Newflash ladies, mineral oil is listed as the second ingredient on the Curly Pudding:
Ingredients: water, parafinium liquidum, glycerin, triethanolamine, fragrance, carbomer, PEG-12 dimethicone, dipropylene glycol, silk amino acids, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, avocado oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba seed oil, macademia seed oil, oleth05, ethylhexyl methoxycinnanate, disodium EDTA, DMDM hydantion, ext. violet 2
So, unless no one gave Miss Jessie’s the memo that companies list ingredients by how much is in the product (which would be stupid, because having MO as the second ingred makes them look wack), I’d say it’s a more than a little. Oh, and the active ingredient thing!? Basically to me that says, “We use fillers to mass produce our product, then charge out the ass for them because of the ‘active ingredient.’” Well you know, whatever floats your boat.
And honestly, if someone gave me some Miss Jessie’s products for free, I’d try them, and if I loved them, I still don’t think I would give them my money. All of the above is just too much marketing hype and tomfoolery for me. Yes, other companies practice the same techniques because that’s how you make money, but to me, positioning yourself as a thought leader and selling women the notion of having the “good” hair they always wanted, is just too much. Coming from me, that’s saying a lot. I’m not a natural nazi in any way – I don’t care what people do to their hair, I don’t care if people get relaxers, I don’t care if you want to put dog poop in your hair and pay $100 for it. But you won’t see ME doing it. Just sayin.
Til next time…xoxo
UPDATE: So…on Miss Jessie’s YouTube channel I was informed of the following comment regarding ingredients:
Hi, curly pudding, stretch silkening creme and quick curls do not have mineral oil. Please be aware that we are making changes regarding ingredients, this usually takes time, it can not happen overnight. Miko is all natural. Titi does have a silkener due to the volume of hair. this volume of hair without a silkener will take at least 2 hours to style and 3hours to dry. i hope this helps answer your question.
Now, unless the ingredients changed and they didn’t tell anyone, all three of these products have mineral oil. If you look on Curl Mart, it’s definitely in the ingredients for all three. Interesting, right? I left a comment asking about this; let’s see if they answer my question.
Well…it seems that they did not answer my question OR approve my comment, and also deleted their response which said they don’t contain mineral oil. HOW SHADY!