First Impressions: Huetiful Hair Steamer

The Huetiful Hair Steamer caused a bit of excitement last year when it was introduced to the hair care market. The company promises that the steamer can infuse hair with moisture 5x better than conditioner alone. I was skeptical. Although I had experienced great results with a hair steamer previously, the hype surrounding this one just seemed like a bit much. Apparently, this company sent many, many hair bloggers free steamers in exchange for reviews. That is not to say that the reviews were not honest…I believe that most were; however, I do believe that many bloggers and vloggers left out crucial details about the cons of the product. Either way, it served as a great marketing scheme for the company.

A couple of years ago, I purchased a hair steamer from Salons ‘R Us, now known as LCL Beauty. I really enjoyed the steamer. It was suitable for home use, but it was salon-grade and it has a powerful steam output that really helped me maintain well-moisturized hair. I can’t remember how it died, but it did. I don’t think that I was careful enough with it. I do recall that a piece fell off here and there before it just stopped working. I was annoyed, but not pressed. I was a super-PJ at the time, so I simply moved on to the next thing!

Now that I am, again, stretching my relaxers, I have begun to notice that my hair is dry, dry, dry! I decided to look into purchasing another steamer and remembered all of the hype around Huetiful. The company offers free shipping (both ways), and a 60-day money-back guarantee. You never get that type of guarantee with salon equipment, so I decided to go for it. I plopped own the $116.95. The shipping time was really fast and I received my steamer a few days later.

The box that it came in was super-light and very well decorated. It looks like they put a pretty penny into designing the box…great marketing, once again. The first thing that I noticed was that the hood was too light. I’ve owned a number of dryers and I’ve never seen a hood so light or so shallow. There was no way that it would be deep enough for my whole head of hair to be steamed. The set up was fairly easy, but I noticed that the cup where the water is stored (which was already attached) appeared to be impossible to detach from the machine.

It took me all of three minutes to put it together and I poured water into the top to test it. It took about 2-3 minutes to produce steam. I tested the heat with my hand and noticed that it was not nearly as hot as the steam produced by my LCL beauty at-home steamer. Sigh. I tried not to get discouraged. A day later when I had time, I decided to give it a go. I washed my hair with WEN fig and 613, then lightly towel-dried with a turban towel. I applied my deep conditioner to my damp hair and added a bit oil to the conditioner. I set the steamer up, waiting for it get going and got ready for a treat.

I ended up being disappointed. There was absolutely no steam – zero, zilch, nada- getting to my nape. I mean, it was cold at the back of my head. I had my ends pinned up so that they could be steamed, but I didn’t feel the same power as I did with my previous steamer. There is no way that this steam was penetrating through my strands and I’m sure that the hair nearer to my scalp was getting zero benefit from the steaming. Another con is that the steamer height is not adjustable. I was using an adjustable-height chair, thankfully. I also noticed that the steam didn’t last long…only about 20 minutes. I usually deep condition my hair longer than that. But around the 20-minute mark, the water was boiled away and the steamer shut off.

Actually, the water was not completely boiled away. There was some still in the cup, I couldn’t figure out how to detach the cup and empty it out. The design also requires you to detach the hood to drain excess water. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s as tedious as it sounds. The bottom line is…I’m glad that they have a 60-day return policy.

I’ve had the steamer for about a week and I’ve used it twice. I had the same results both times. There was no noticeable difference in the moisture level of my hair following wash day and I basically feel like I’ve wasted $116 bucks. I’ll probably give it another few tries and if I don’t experience any noticeable improvement, then it’s going back to the company. I do plan to try the facial attachment out, also, and I will write about how that goes.

I also want to note that the steamer is overpriced. You can purchase a salon-grade steamer for $90-$140. Although the Huetiful does not fold, it can be stored pretty easily by detaching the hood and draining the water; however, the make of it is not very durable so you’d have to be careful with it. Huetiful might be a better choice than a salon-quality steamer for those who don’t have much space, but it should be priced at around $60 and no more than $75, tops. As a comparison, a table top hood dryer costs about $25-$50 and the Huetiful hair steamer is about the same quality. It is not a professional-use product, so it should not have a professional price tag.

Lastly, one thing that bothers me is that the company insinuates that they carefully developed this steamer. I believe that it is a mass-produced steamer that they simply branded, not developed. I found a steamer online that appears to be the exact same model, only offered by a different company and not marketed specifically to black women. As you read other reviews about the product, analyze them carefully. First, find out whether the reviewer received the product for free! Until next time…happy steaming.

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The Huffington Post Jumps on the Natural Hair Bandwagon

One of the country’s favorite liberal news websites has wasted little time jumping on the Natural Hair bandwagon. It was only a matter of time, considering the fact that they recently introduced a “Black Voices” section. This section includes all of the usual predictable banter – HIV rates, gay black men, and now, hair care (yawn).

A recent article, entitled YouTube’s Top 5 Natural Hair Care Vlogs, showcases 5 black women who have channels focused on natural (relaxer-free) hair care for black women. Like any and everything related to natural hair, this article has been emailed around and praised by many black women. While I was happy to see these women getting positive attention, which will  inevitably increase the value of their individual brands, I get the sinking feeling that this is one more step towards the commercialization and, to some extent, exploitation, of the natural hair movement.

I won’t get into a detailed discussion of the individual women who were profiled. I have watched videos by all of them, and I am probably subscribed to all of them. I am curious about how they chose these particular women, considering the fact that there are other natural hair vloggers with more subscribers and page views, but nevertheless, these ladies were chosen. They all make pretty good videos and, if you’re interested, you should check them out.

I’ve been watching hair care videos on YouTube since 2008. I’ve seen at least several hundred of them. I’ve learned a thing or two here and there, but what I have found is that the way YouTube works, there is a continual need to provide new content in order to make money (yes, YouTube partners make money). At some point, there is only so much that one can say about hair. What happens is that, once a hair vlogger has covered her basic hair routine, along with a few hair tutorials, she has to look elsewhere to provide new content. She also usually begins receiving product endorsement deals. She will either endorse those products or start pushing her own product lines, neither of which actually contributed to her hair’s health and/or growth. Now, I’m not knocking capitalism. I’m just explaining how it works and why I’m careful about doting too much praise on hair vloggers. Many of the ones that are most highly praised are making a lot of money. Some who just as or more dedicated to healthy hair practices and not so into making money and “branding” themselves, get little to no credit for their contributions.

I would love to see the day when “natural hair” or “black hair” is not really a topic that needs to be discussed. I would love to see “black beauty” simply labeled “beauty.” It would be great if women didn’t get pushed into buying hair products they don’t need in order to support a YouTuber’s part time income. In the meantime, these ladies are helping (some) women gain insight on how to achieve healthy hair. I just hope that viewers don’t get too caught up in buying what these ladies are selling.