Greasing the hair and scalp is a tradition as old as time, adding hydration, moisture and protection – as well as being a formative part of the childhood hair care regimen for those with Afro hair. Botanical recipes date back centuries, but enslaved people in America were forced to create new blends to care for their hair using whatever they could find locally, including kitchen oils and animal fats. Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C J Walker were two of the earliest Black hair care entrepreneurs in the 19th century, and greases were fundamental in both of their product lines. Walker’s Glossine and iconic Hair Grower both relied heavily on petroleum jelly, blended with ox marrow for moisture and various oils for fragrance. Modern tubs and tins of best-sellers like Dax, Blue Magic and Murray’s still rely on petroleum to seal the hair and provide that vinyl-like shine that only good old fashioned grease can provide.

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