Carol’s Daughter: Hair Milk

hairmilk_lSo, what natural/curly head doesn’t have a story about their first time using Carol’s Daughter’s products? If you haven’t already, bets are it’s on your list for a post-BC purchase or a summer investment…I’m just guessing here.

But my own experience with Carol’s Daughter came after my second BC.  I’d just cut off my locs and was looking forward to sampling her line of goodies…a friend of mine who was natural at the time recommended and I gravitated towards their store in Fort Greene like a moth to a flame.  I was a bit timid at the time…and also a bit in awe at the scope of natural products and the sheer fact that they were all catered to women with natural hair.  What a beautiful concept!

After sampling & sniffing just about everything in the store from their cologne sprays, to the shampoos…body bars…hair balms…hair butters…Whew! I left the store with a bag full of goodies, including the infamous Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk.  This was a product I was most excited to try because let’s face it…what natural head doesn’t go gaga over the thought of your tresses being nourished by milk! It’s a bit of clever marketing, calling the product Hair Milk…but it works not just for Carol’s Daughter, but for a whole host of other lines that have come after.  I’m into the whole milky way thing….milk baths…hair milks…milk & honey soap bars. I LUV! For the most part it feels like home.

My first purchase was well over four years ago, when Ms. Price was just beginning the whirlwind tour success story that’s turned into a Sephora gig..etc. Both stores, the one in Fort Greene along with the one in Harlem were gems in my book…but there is something about making it to the halls of Sephora that lets the world know…dang it, I’m Here! If you were a fan of her line before you were either beyond thrilled to see your goodies become a bit more accessible (screw shipping costs!) or a bit disheartened at the possible commercialization of a line…their message, ‘Beauty by Nature,’ would be a bit hard to swallow.

Here’s where I take it back…waaaaay back to when I first started using this line and could count on maybe one or two hands the amount of ingredients that came in a tube of Hair Milk or Hair Smoothie.  Back then, it really did feel as if it were ‘beauty by nature,’ because most of the products required refrigeration or had to be used in a 1-4 week time frame.  I remember having images of Ms. Price and her line of natural ladies mixing potions in her home kitchen…maybe jivin to some Nina Simone in the background.  Crazy …yah. But this was the essence of Carol’s Daughter to me…a rare personalization that you experienced when walking into her store and seeing these beautiful women talk expertly about how to best nourish your hair, & how to best moisturize and cleanse your face. 

I continued to use Carol’s Daughter several months after my BC, but for one reason or another…(probably the price) stopped.  As my hair grew longer, I was drawn to more pocket-friendly products…gels and what nots that would not leave a growing hole in my wallet.  My hair is thick and requires  a heapin pile of product for styling! But I still loved the Hair Milk.  For freshly BC’d hair, it made my little twirls and kinks spiral and stay moisturized for a good day or so.  I had shine, softness and the feeling that I was on the right track as far as my hair went.

Fast forward to earlier this year…I’m much to lazy to go to Fort Greene, and Harlem seems like two worlds away, so I stop into my nearest Sephora and revisit my old friend Hair Milk.  The price….yeah, that went up.  But it wasn’t until I got home that I realized  the other changes.  The consistency was different…the ingredient list fit the entire side of my 8oz bottle…and some were a bit questionable.  Regardless, I tried it and for the most part still liked it! I used it mainly in the mornings to smooth down frizz and re-moisturize my twists.  With my hair longer this was the best use I found rather than using it as a simple wash-n-go styler.

And yeah…my hair is longer now, and for the most part is a bit more particular about what I put in it, and while the Hair Milk is okay for now…what it used to be was a bit more special.  Here’s what I do understand though… with reformulations, especially with a business that’s growing, expanding and moving in great directions…is that change is inevitable.  Ms. Price couldn’t have her products sit on the shelves of Sephora and deteriorate in front of customers.  The loss would be both hers and her customers of the natural hair community.

Yet, what I was hoping for were better alternatives to what was inevitably included in the new reformulation.  Personally I wouldn’t know how to spot an Amodimethicone in ‘nature,’ so I was surprised to see it in a lot of the now ‘new’ conditioners and moisturizers.  It’s all just hair products right…nothing to worry over.  But, I’m still sort of disappointed.  I won’t be re-purchasing my first forray into Hair Milk’s…and most likely a lot of the other products I’d wanted to sample again.  My commmitement these days is to find better alternatives and to really stick to a game plan.


Jeesh…this post is way too long so….et fin!


12 Comments to “Carol’s Daughter: Hair Milk”

  1. This is a great post, I too, jumped right on the CD bang wagon as soon as it came out and I do still use some of the products. I wasn’t aware of the new formula–that really disappoints me. I use the Healthy Hair Butter everyday and I love it. I still haven’t found a moisturizer that I like better, I will have to keep searching.

    • I agree, the butter is good and moisturizes amazingly well! Their hair oils are still great along with their sprays…the black vanilla smells fantastic, but i’m still hesitant…lol. Lately I’ve been sticking to her bath and body stuff instead…that ALmond Cookie line is AMAZING!!!

  2. i remember my roomate using the mimosa hair butter with the dandelion in it back in 1999 when i was in college. we trekked up to brooklyn (from college park, md) and fell in love with the fort greene store. when i went natural earlier this year, sephora was my first stop for some hair milk. i, too was dismayed by the number of ingredients. but, when i ventured to the carol’s daughter store in wheaton and saw FOUR MEN working there (three were white) and one black girl with locks…i knew the evils of commercialization had hit. i thought i was dismayed when i saw her on qvc trying to convince viewers that her products were for everyone. but, when i was in the store being helped by the (obviously from corporate) men, i realized i couldnt ask them about the product and get information that was based on their knowledge, usage and experience. i mean really…what can they tell me about ‘candy paint’ lip gloss? i do love the hair souffle and the hair milk, but i definitely have my eye out for alternatives. i’m in marketing and i understand about growing a brand blahblah, but your store and employees need to reflect that brand and not so obviously reach for mass appeal. is called niche marketing.

    • Hey Tiffany,
      lol…I forgot about QVC. I remember seeing a glimpse of her while visiting my parents last year…it was definitely odd because the actual host of the segment was terribly vague while Ms. Price tried her best to smile and promote her line. Niche marketing is right though…losing track of who and what your clientele wants/needs is never a good look…

  3. I first used Carol’s Daughter a little after it was no longer considered a grass roots product, but before its huge expansion, including being put into Sephora stores. Like you, I loved the Milk but stopped using it because of the price (and my poorness!). A friend of mine expressed similar dissatisfaction in the product now that the line has become immensely popular. I wouldn’t mind seeing for myself if there is a huge difference, but with the increase in price, would you suggest even trying?

    Stephanie Taylor
    Promotions and Account Representative

    • Hi Stephanie,
      The difference in the product is not entirely huge…when I tried the milk after the reformulation I did like it…but it became more of a refresher for my hair rather than as an immediate styler as before. Similar to a lot of other hair milks on the market, I think it would work great as a leave in, and for those with a TWA it would do great as a quick styler because you wouldn’t have to use a lot. As my hair grew longer it was definitely not cost effective ….but at the same time I opted to try it because I was curious…lol! Also the good thing about Sephora is that you can ask for samples;-)

  4. I recently tried the hair milk too and was less than impressed. It smells good but the slogan beauty by nature no longer applies as there are chemical perservatives toward the end. And at twelve bucks for four ounces that’s riidiculous. I really love your review though. It’s very well written and a very well informed opinion! Keep up the good work!

  5. Wowww, yeah I just left the CD website. No longer impressed with the list of each product’s ingredients. I remember when Oprah interviewed the creator of the original line of Carol’s Daughter products. I was so pleased at finding that someone with hair like mine had decided to create something for African-American hair. Now, I feel she’s “sold out” to make the big bucks. My hair is natural, thick and getting too long to handle without natural, high quality products.

    Also, I noticed many items are “sold out” at the CD website.

    Is there anyone else on the horizon??

    • Hi Pam,

      oh my, sold out? For the holidays that’s an odd one. Granted she’s sold in some retail stores now, folks who can’t get to Sephora or Macy’s should have the option of ordering online.

      That’s a good question though, who’s on the horizon? Honestly no new brand names come to mind, because CD is all about marketability now…she’s selling so much of the brand name alone that the the hype exceeds the nature and intent of the products. I’d love for her to introduce something new to the line. Her products are still good, but alternatives are definitely out there. Personally I’m a HUGE fan of Darcy’s Botanicals. Prices are affordable & you have tons to choose, from butters, to gels, to conditioners etc. Vegan friendly, paraben, cone free products. Most importantly, the owner Lysandra has some of the best customer service;-)

  6. Thanks for all the great information. I just bought Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk after taking a break from the products because I couldn’t afford them. I remember the first time I ordered from Carol’s Daughter, I, too, was impressed because the product was truely natural. When I received this new order, I was dismayed to see the LONG list of ingredients on the side of the bottle that in no way sound “natural.” I’m growing out my hair after years of chemical use – my hair is thinning, there’s a bald spot developing and my hair is dry as the day is long, so I’m on the hunt for HELP. The Hair Milk still adds moisture and softness, but it’s disappointing to see how success and commercialism can change a great product to only a still-good product. Hopefully, the additives that add longer shelf life to her products won’t ruin them completely. I understand that a global success probably requires these changes, but still, it’s too bad.

    • Hi Sherhonda,
      I think the company is still relatively young, so maybe they’ll go back to what works? I dunno…I went into Sephora the other day and still gravitated towards the Carol’s Daughter section…I’m thinking at this point it’ just to sniff some of her body products, which I still LOVE! It’s just the hair care line that could use a bit more modification and fine tuning. Hopefully she introduces something fresh & new for the future;-)

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