Q: I have 2 daughters with very dry, natural hair (ages 1 and 6). I'm looking for a hair care regimen that will add moisture to the hair and promote growth. What would you suggest?
As for the hair regimen, Madame Walker’s hair care regimen is best and it is simple to do. The hair should be shampooed and conditioned regularly (at least once every week or two) with special emphasis on the scalp and scalp stimulation. Scalp stimulation should be established as a daily ritual involving gentle brushing. At least twice weekly (perhaps more depending on hair texture) Madame Walker’s hair cream should be applied to the scalp and worked through the hair with the brush or hands. Avoid excessive heat and try styling the hair in neat braids and ponytails or afro puffs but again NOT TOO TIGHT. Press and curl styles are a great alternative for special occasions using Madame Walker’s famous Glossine Pressing oil.
Q: Is it possible to have a relaxer and my hair be as healthy as natural hair?
A: It is possible to lessen the damage of relaxers by keeping the hair deep conditioned (moisturized) and abstaining from putting too much heat on the hair. Madame C.J. Walker’s Conditioning Cream Hairdress is great for deep pre-conditioning (before shampooing the hair). Roller sets are less harsh on the hair. Oiling and massaging the scalp will also help with dryness and keep the new growth soft. I’d suggest applying a small amount of Madame Walker’s Original Glossine for shine and scalp protection. If the scalp is dry, use Madame Walker’s Vitamin E Supergrow –especially if the hair is freshly relaxed. If there is dandruff use Madame Walker’s Hair and Scalp Preparation, or the Scalp Ointment for severe dandruff. Since both of these Original Madame Walker Hair Oils contain sulfur do not apply them to a freshly relaxed head.
Q: I know we are supposed to oil our scalps -my hair does much better when I do. I have not had a perm in over a year and a half. I blow dry my hair and get it pressed or I flat iron it. I like the look better when I flat iron it because it flows beautifully. When I go to oil it the next day, the flow and bounce goes away and it gets heavy. How can I keep my scalp moisturized and still have that beautiful flow? Thanks in advance.
A: You are using too much oil. A little of any of Madame C.J. Walker oils goes a long long way. Whenever I flat iron my hair I actually apply the MCJW Glossine Pressing oil while my hair is wet. Of course, I know my hair and it drinks oil and I have learned how much is too much. Dry or wet, the application of oil on the scalp is a technique of learning how much is too much. I have lots of body and bounce but then too I do not blow dry my hair; I let it air dry because it leaves more body and it means that I have placed less heat on my hair.
Place small amounts of oil on the scalp -say, 5 parts (meaning part the hair in 5 sections) and then use a brush or your fingers to distribute the oil. Fingers work well because you can massage the scalp and help spread the oil but the brush will help to stimulate the scalp and aid with nutrient uptake. Either way, the key is moderation.
Q: Why has the name of the original Madam C.J. Walker manufacturing Company been changed to Madame C.J. Walker Enterprises?
A: It was always Mr. Randolph’s intention to expand the use of the Madame Walker brand, beyond hair care products, so the name was slightly modified to reflect that intention. We also added an “e” onto the word Madam because both versions of the word had been used by the original Walker Company in various advertisements and because Madam “e” C.J. Walker signed many of her letters with the abbreviated version of Madam, “Mme”.
Q: Do you manufacture the original Mme. C. J. Walker hair care products?
A: Yes of course. The name of Madame Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower was changed in the early 1930’s to Madame Walker’s Wonderful Hair Preparation, and later, in the mid 1940’s the name was modified again to Madame Walker’s Hair and Scalp Preparation. This product is still being manufacture by our company today -using the same formula that Madam Walker herself used. The same can be said for Madame Walkers Scalp Ointment (formerly known as Madame Walker’s Tetter Salve), Madame Walker’s famous Glossine pressing oil, Madame Walker’s Temple Salve (formerly known as Wonderful Temple Salve) and Madame Walker’s Brilliantine (formerly known as Wonder Pomade).
Later, in the mid to late 1950’s a new product was added called Conditioning Cream Hairdress, and later in 1985, after purchasing the original company, Raymond Randolph added yet another hair dressing called Vitamin E Supergrow. These 7 oils have been manufactured and sold continuously by the Randolph family since the original Madame Walker Company was purchased in 1985. (Go to the “products” page at www.madamewalker.net to order the original Mme. C.J. Walker products)
Q: Did Madame C.J. Walker invent the pressing comb?
A: Madame Walker did not invent the pressing comb. The pressing comb had been around for years prior to Madame Walker’s entrance onto the hair care scene. Madame Walker did purchase a patent for a specific type of pressing comb, but the trend of Black women wanting to straighten their hair had existed long before Madame Walker. Madame C.J. Walker had started –per her own words- a “HAIR GROWING business”, a business that she had cultivated into an entire system and methodology, which she had named “Beauty Culture”. In fact in an interview granted to the Indianapolis Recorder wherein she announced the introduction of five new toilet articles to her line of beauty products, Madame empathically stated the following: “Right here let me correct the erroneous impression held by some that I claim to straighten the hair. I deplore such impression because I have always held myself out as a hair culturist. I grow hair…I want the great masses of my people to take a greater pride in their personal appearance and to give their hair proper attention.” - Mme C.J. Walker
Q: I read that Madam Walker started the idea of “good hair” and that she promoted a white standard of beauty. Is this true?
A: This is completely false. Madame C.J. Walker expressly conveyed the rights to use her own photo, image, likeness and even her own signature to her business for the promotion and sale of her hair care products. In fact, Madame Walker bucked the trend of her time which was to use light-skinned and even white models to promote products to the Black community. Instead she used her own dark brown- skinned image to advertise and promote her products. Never did Madame Walker herself use the terminology of “good” or “bad” hair to describe the various textures of African-American hair. It was Madame’s money which funded an organization known as the International League of Darker Peoples. Madame was the antithesis of the ‘white standard” of beauty and she worked tirelessly until her passing to lift up her race, supporting most of the organizations of her day which had been founded for that purpose.
Q: Did Madame Walker steal Annie Pope’s (aka Annie Turnbo Malone) formula for the Wonderful Hair Grower?
A: No. Madame Walker’s competitors –specifically Annie Pope and her agents- promulgated this lie in order to harm Madame’s business. There is absolutely no proof whatsoever that Madame Walker ever made any effort to steal Annie Pope’s formula. Keep in mind, a formula is not a list of ingredients; a formula is like a recipe wherein you must have not only the ingredients, you must know how much of each ingredient to use and how to mix those ingredients. You must also know at what temperature to heat the ingredients, how long to heat, and how much stirring in needed and at what rate. Also Madame had other products besides her Wonderful Hair Grower. How did she formulate her other products? The historical letters written by Madame Walker tell a quite different story regarding her competitive relationship with Annie Pope which is detailed in the upcoming book called “The Rape of Madame C.J. Walker…Her Company’s Story.” (See the link for book at www.madamewalker.net to read an excerpt)
Q: Do you own the Madame Walker Theatre Center and did Madame Walker build it?
A: The MCJW Company at one point did own the Walker Theatre; however, it was sold in 1980 by the Trustees and MCJW company officers to the “Madame Walker Urban Life Center Corp.” which was a non-profit corporation established by the Trustees of Madame Walker’s Trust. Essentially, the Trustees sold the Walker Theatre Center to themselves, representing both buyer and seller in the deal, an act which is ethically wrong and may be technically illegal. This was done prior to the sale of the Madame Walker Company to Raymond Randolph in 1985, so Raymond Randolph did not acquire ownership of the Walker Theatre.
Q: Does the mansion built by Madame Walker still exist? If so who owns it?
A: Yes the opulent 32-room mansion known as Villa Lewaro and located in Irvington, New York does still exist! It was purchased by a man named Harold Doley and his wife Helena. The Doleys have taken great care in restoring Madame’s Villa back to its former beauty. There is an article in the December 2008 issue of Ebony Magazine which features the Doley family and Madame Walker’s famous Villa.
Q: Where can I find the most complete and accurate historical data pertaining to Madame Walker and her famous company?
A: Due to their ownership of Madame’s historical company and the historical documents and memorabilia of the company, the Randolph Family can provide the most detailed and historically sound information about Madame C.J. Walker and her company. Please contact them by calling toll free, 866-552-2838 or go to the contact us page of their web-site at www.madamewalker.net. "The Indiana Historical Society is also a great source of information about Madame Walker, Please visit their website at www.indianahistory.org"
Regarding permission to use photographs of Madame Walker or any photos related to her business, you must contact the Randolph Family. The copyrights and other intellectual property rights to said pictures/photos/memorabilia are owned by the Randolph family as the sole owners of Madame’s historical company and the name “Madame C.J. Walker” is a registered trademark of their company.