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“What The Eff?” Wednesday: Ethnic Hair Deodorizer

2 September 2009 11 Comments

Anyone who’s spent a little time in Philadelphia knows that we have a distinctive culture all our own. One of our dirtier little secrets is Jomar. This small chain of stores sells anything you can think of at a deep discount. Sure most of the stuff is off-brand, damaged, really dirty or just fell off of a truck. So what if my father, who is as notorious a bargain hunter as I am, once found a pair of pants there with a mousetrap stuck to them (you know, the glue kind). And even more of a so what if all of the signs and price tags are produced on ink jet printers in a not very glamorous Times New Roman font? There are bargains in there! A friend of mine spotted this very what-the-eff-worthy display at a Jomar in South Philadelphia.

As soon as she showed me this I hopped in the car to see for myself. What the eff is “ethnic hair deodorizer” and how can I get my hands on some before they inevitably run out? Who am I to turn my nose up at mountains and mountains of hair deodorizer just waiting to be snatched up? Because, you know, I have ethnic hair, and it has odors. When I got there, I found out what the stuff really is:


Aha! African Pride, one of the usual suspects in cheap black hair care. In case you haven’t figured it out folks, the word “African” and a strip of Kente cloth does not a healthy hair product make. I decided to get my investigative journalism on and spray some of it in the air; between Cucumber Melon, Floral, Citrus, and Sweet Amber, my idiotically adventurous decision-making process chose the Amber. As I write this post the stench of that stuff is still hanging in my nose. It’s a violently aggressive aromatic blend similar to what youd find in a church bathroom or a senior citizen’s home but with notes of burnt meat in a brown sugar glaze and straight up mud. Yes, mud has a smell, and its neither proud nor African.


  • Aminah said:

    “The word ‘African’ and a strip of Kente cloth does not a healthy hair product make.”

    Love that!

  • Dara said:

    the moment i read the title of this post, i started mumbling to myself, “please let this be from jomar…please let this be from jomar…” once again, my coworkers think i’m crazy cause of my muffled giggles in the corner. this is ridiculous thembi! LOL!

  • Jackie said:

    To be honest, I always thought African Pride was on the higher end of black hair products. I remember how as a kid in the early 90s, buying African Pride hair grease was kind of a big expense for my mother ’cause it was so much more expensive than the other brands. BUT IT WORKED ’cause it really made my hair grow. I haven’t used that stuff in forever though. Maybe the quality of the products has gone down in the last 20 years.

    Hair deoderizer that smells like an obnoxious mix of mud and amber is not cute. And why is a product like hair deodorizer even necessary anyway? Can’t you just remedy the problem of funky hair by say, I don’t know…… JUST WASHING YOUR HAIR?!!?!!

  • Tafari said:

    Wow, just fucking wow! Perhaps Febreeze can get ahold of this idea & target Negroes. I think the idea would be great especially after a night in a smokey club. Im just saying.


  • Reginald Dorsey said:

    The melange of smells you describe sound like if Celie had taken the entire Thanskgiving dinner up in the tablecloth, walked outside with it, and tossed it into the mudpath in front of the house, on some “we’re not gonna take it……..we’re not gonna take it…….oh we’re not gonna take it……anymore” stuff.
    That sounds like the Nutrients Of The Nile product Ron Johnson was hawking to the esteemed women of Hilman College.

  • Sabrina said:

    Isn’t hair deodorizer called…………..shampoo?

  • Seattle Slim said:

    LMAO!!!! Your description of African Pride products are SPOT on. When you described the odor, the smell came back to me.

    Yes, I am ashamed but I must admit that I used it in my misguided hair days.

  • Naturally Alise said:

    Oh no, not the notorious African Pride, I first (and last) tried them when I was in High School (11/12 years or so ago) and had microbraids my senior year, the “moisturizing” spray had my hair dry as a bone and broke out my scalp… it was awful…

  • lello said:

    This is investigative brilliance. Only in Philadelphia

  • Nicole J. Butler said:

    African Pride is owned by Colomer Products which is an affiliate of Revlon.

    Draw your own conclusions…

  • Lee said:

    This product is actually very nice. I was searching online for this hair deodorizer and it sells for $3-$4 for a very small bottle as pictured. Basically, you spritz it on your hair and it gives a very light, nice smell to your hair. I’ve used it and people have stopped me to ask what sort of shampoo I use. As a black female, our hair is not meant to be washed on a daily basis or it will dry out. This product gives a nice scent of newly washed w/o drying out the hair.

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