2006-02-10

The Rio Product Tragedy of 1994 and my mother

I was frequenting the black hair care sites online trying to get a review of Curve Salons curly buttercreme and someone in their blog mentioned Rio. For those who don't know Rio was going to be the answer to all black women's dreams in regards to straight silky hair naturally. This product was touted at being so safe you could eat it. I remember the infomercial where the man actually ate the mixture. I think Debbie Allen was a spokesperson for it (as well as COPA, another scary ass product to save black women from "kinky" hair). Well thousands of black women bought this stuff, including my mother for me, since I have such sensitive skin that at home relaxer kits were a strict no no for my head. The product turned out to be bogus, there were hundreds and thousands of bald black women everywhere as a result.

Thankfully I was able to keep the hair on my head even after using it once. I remember the lawsuits and the stories and exposes on Inside Edition and A Current Affair, and my mother still having the gall to put that scary ass stuff on my head, and mad that I was refusing to use it anymore because she had paid the $75 dollars for the three month supply and had only been able to use it once. The FDA stepped in and pulled Rio off the shelves, and my mother knowing this didn't give a damn because $75 was way more important than safety. God forbid we put aside money and look at the aspect of hair altering chemicals and how they can permanently scar and burn you for life. Love my momma. My cheap, cheap momma.

Going to a salon to have my hair done was something me and my mother just didn't do. Hell I think I was 20 before I realized they had black hair salons since my mother was a lover of the Revlon Lye at home Relaxer maximum strength for my hair (I think I still have 3rd degree burns on my head from that ish).

I have been natural for over five years and I am still sporting the pony tail when not using the ceramic hot iron for that sexy silky straight look so worshipped by many black women. I am looking for hair styles people. Natural hair styles that done take six hours to fix. Thankfully my investigation on the curly buttercreme has allowed me to find a cheaper alternative to the curly buttercreme and I plan to use it, because the ingredients used are safe and cheap!!! Plus the thought of Rio part III (COPA was Rio part II) is not fun, at all.

I wonder if COPA is still around? I wonder if COPA and RIO are the exact same things, since they had the same spokesperson. A mystery we may never have the answer to.