Elevate Difference

Baby Care Gift Set

Everyone likes good shampoo. Even though I am neither a baby nor an African American, I am delighted to use pure organic hair cleansers with a fragrant blend of rose petal, rosemary, and sage. African American Baby Care offers a full range of infant care products made from pure organics, natural botanicals, and rare herbs. Initial use indicated that the items are indeed as gentle as the labels attest, and the baby hair dress does a good job of keeping my hypercortisol frizz under control.

However, as a dedicated product tester, I must determine an item's fitness to purpose, and this obviously entailed taking care of an African American baby. With none in the immediate vicinity, I considered my options. Jacqueline is two blocks to the north and one to the east, but she and her six-month-old most likely just want to be left alone. Then there's the possibility of taking it to the streets of Chicago. I could suit up in an apron, swim mask, and cover my newly-dressed hair with a lavender bandana left over from a job costume—I have been warned that all babies are prone to leakage from any orifice without warning—and seek an African American infant.

“Excuse me, ma'am,” I'd ask, resplendent in chartreuse-lensed UVA safe goggles, wearing a terrycloth ladybug mitt, and brandishing multiple babycare bottles, “Could I wash your baby with these fine products? It's okay: I'm a feminist.” Guessing what the appropriate response would be, I went online and located the service Rent-a-Negro, but they're headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and appear to only have adults available. After some networking with Manicella, I was graciously provided access to an African American infant to wash, and showed up with the products. However, there were issues.

Nya is a delightful one-year-old child, albeit of occasionally grave demeanor. She is also of African American, European American, and Chinese ancestry. This presented a quandary. Was I to wash only one-third of the baby? And if so, which third? I was reminded of Groucho Marx's response when he was informed that he would not be allowed to go in the swimming pool at a private club because it did not admit Jews. "Well, my son is half Jewish,” Marx replied. “Can he go in up to his waist?"

Gamely, I set about my task, attempting to keep Nya at ease with an off-key rendition of "Itsy-bitsy Spider." Given her varied ethnicity, I suspected that the little girl has what would be described as "good" hair, and the use of that term makes me sad. The recent recreation of the Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark's doll studies indicates how far we have to go. And I hope that I can use 'we' as meaning humans. Sally Kempton said, “It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”

African American Baby Care products went far, sudsing liberally from moderate quantities. They include neither paraben preservatives nor pthalates. The suspicion regarding the carcinogenic or estrogenic effects of these substances has been questioned, but as long as they can be avoided, why put them on your kid? The shampoo rinsed well and the accompanying conditioner went on smoothly. The baby body butter applied evenly, and I believe it will prevent a baby from getting "ashy."

Mom took over at the hair styling stage—just as well, seeing that I don't know a box braid from a twist out—and praised the hair dress. She said she'd get back to me on the milk. Nya said, “Eeeee! Bwah!” as a parting screech of acknowledgment. Funny—the last infant I handled—white, male, blonde, blue-eyed—said almost the exact same thing.

Written by: Erika Mikkalo, September 12th 2009

Thank you, Erika, for that hilarious review! :)