Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Weird Product Wednesday: Lock & Twist Pudding

Many people sing the praises of Donna Marie's Lock & Twist Pudding. Indeed, owner Ayanna Henderson says it is the line's "signature" product. I bought my jar back in late October 2008, and to this day, I am still a member of the "I don't get it" club.

Maybe this is one of those "ethnic" products that really does work best on hair that is different from mine. Some people use it to set their hair in twists, which I don't do. Others just use a little of this product and get nice results (which, admittedly, I did a few times in cold weather, although my results were not consistent). With all due respect to Ayanna and all the people who groove on Lock & Twist, I find this product weird on multiple levels.

1. The smell. What is it? I can't even begin to describe it. Not exactly unpleasant but certainly not an aroma you'd caress on your pulse points prior to a night of seduction. (I just asked my boyfriend to describe it, knowing he is never at a loss for words, and he said: "Fake flowers. Like it's trying too hard.") And as with all smells that you could really live without, this one lingers.

2. The label. I guess labeling is a difficult process for smaller companies, because Lock and Twist's is not the first one I've seen that's barely legible. (Karen's Body Beautiful seems to have a similar problem.) Why choose a font that's arty or undecipherable? And why have it wrap around a wide jar so that readers need to follow the text with a finger to stay on track? The label on this jar is not easy to read and that compounds the next issue, as you will soon see.

3. The ingredients. I do understand why a company would want to experiment with ingredients in order to fine-tune a product. But when I buy a product based on what the company website says it contains and then my jar says something different, or I hear from others that their jar's listing didn't match the website, I immediately question the company's commitment to accurate labeling. I'm not accusing Donna Marie of trying to pull a fast one on its customers, but there was much discussion at for a while about whether Lock & Twist contained glycerin. My jar doesn't list any but the company website says:

Deionized water, aloe vera gel, carbomer, kokum butter, mango butter, sweet almond oil, glycerin, flax seed gel extract, hibiscus extract, carrot seed extract, burdock root extract, agave nectar extract, silver citrate, potassium sorbate and natural fragrance.

I guess I should believe my jar (if I could read it). It doesn't list glycerin. The product behaves, though, as if it there were glycerin in it. It bugs me that there's a discrepancy and that the only way I can really know for sure is to bring the product to a lab, a task that virtually never appears on my to-do list.

4. The shelf life. One of the wonders in this modern world is the miracle of preservatives. Now before you get all squirmy and/or huffy at the very thought of preservatives, please note that without them, your magic potions would grow mold and allow bacteria to multiply on your person. Mold and bacteria run counter to beauty, I'm sure you'd agree.

Lock & Twist uses "natural" preservatives and there's nothing wrong with that. It relies on silver citrate and potassium sorbate to keep little blue meanies at bay. It's important to know, however, that these particular preservatives yield a product shelf life of about a year.

I don't want to alarm anybody but although I have no evidence of mold or bacteria, the appearance of the product has most definitely changed since I bought it. This is rarely a good sign. I don't know whether you can tell from this photo, but contents have separated and it looks a little more mottled than it did when it first arrived at my house. Now, it has been sitting idle for probably two months, and maybe a good stir would bring it back to normal, but if that kind of product behavior is normal, it would behoove the company to disclose that on the label. Otherwise, as a cautious consumer, I'm thinking maybe something has gone awry in this jar and I'm not likely to continue using it.

In summary, if you meet the following criteria:

- you lock or twist your hair as a styling method
- you have excellent eyesight
- you don't need your products to smell pretty
- you use your products in less than a year

then Lock & Twist Pudding may just be the product for you.


Sarah said...

Thanks for the review! I was about to buy this product, but seeing I have similar hair to yours (fine porous) I don't think I will.

Sage Vivant said...

You are quite welcome, Sarah! And by the way, I see you have a blog now, so I have added it to my blog roll!

Alice said...

I love your weird product wednesdays! :)

I agree though, I was looking up this product and came to a conclusion that I have no idea what is or what it's supposed to do @_@

Susan said...

I agree with everything you said - the fact it does not work for me, the smell, all of it!

Adrienne said...

"a task that virtually never appears on my to-do list"

I can *hear* you saying that, and it's hard not to laugh. =]

Diana said...

I've been reading your blog for a little while (thanks for the great info!), but this article inspired me to actually post a comment. I've purchased a couple of Donna Marie products (Coco Curly Butter and Cocoa Hemp Hair Buttercream) and found that the website did not have to correct ingredients for either product. The Cocoa Hemp was at least close. But the big surprise for me was that the Coco Curly Butter has protein in it. This was not listed on their website, which I thought was a pretty big omission. Updating ingredients on a website should be a routine procedure anytime a formula changes. And it literally takes just a few minutes to make text changes to a website. I find this very offputting. It looks like they are in the process of updating their product line and their website. Hopefully they will do better in the future.