Contemplating on going natural?

For the past couple of years, there has been a trend for many black, college women to go natural (Afro-textured hair or Black hair) making it the latest fad.

Yet, if you refer back to history, you’ll learn that there were many negative connotations associated with natural hair which caused African American women to turn to a more accepted look—the European look.

Afro

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The European look is essentially bone straight hair. So out came the relaxers—a cream that loosens the tight curls of the hair by chemically “relaxing” them.

Are hair relaxers safe?

Hair relaxers can be extremely dangerous if used for a prolonged period of time. Most relaxers use lye. What many people don’t know is that lye is also used in drain openers.

For those that know the dangers of lye, use no-lye relaxers which contains potassium hydroxide making it less powerful than lye.

Your hair needs protein—the key ingredient that makes hair strong.

So whether you use lye or no-lye hair relaxers, it slowly destroys your hair, eventually, leaving it broken and damaged.

This is why many women choose to go natural.

What is “the big chop” and transitioning?

The big chop, or BC, is completely cutting off all the chemically treated hair leaving behind a bald scalp. This is the easiest way if you’re considering on going natural because you don’t have to worry about having two types of hair.

Transitioning is the process for those who may be a bit skeptical about going natural. It is gradually moving from one state to another.

For this process, you’re still applying heat and flat iron to your hair, but allowing the new growth to grow. As the new growth continues to grow, you’ll gradually cut off the chemically treated parts of your hair until you’re left with you’re natural hair.

What’s your hair type?

There are women who believe that natural hair is too difficult to manage which is why they stray away from it. The key is to learn what type of natural hair you have. Once you figure that out, then you can treat it accordingly.

Type 1:

This type of hair is straight hair. That’s pretty much it.

Type 2:

Type 2 is an unusual type of hair. This type of hair is wavy taking on an S shape. 2A is very easy to manage. 2B and 2C, however, tend to frizz a lot.

Type 2 hair

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Type 3:

This hair type tends to look straight when wet and as it dries, it absorbs the water going back to its curly stage.

Type 3 also gets very curly or frizzy with humidity. The longer 3A is, the more curls it produces. 3B has a mixture of medium sized curls to tight corkscrew curls. 3C is tight curls in corkscrews.

Type 4:

If your hair falls into Type 4, then your hair is considered to be kinky.

Type 4 is generally wiry and tightly coiled. It is also extremely fragile. 4A, when stretched holds an S shape unlike 4B which holds a Z shape when stretched.

Type 4 hair

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Sites to help you manage your natural hair:

There are many websites out there that can help you take care and manage your natural hair.

If you’re looking for long natural hair, Tightly Curly, founded by Teri LaFlesh, a biracial women, is a website committed to teaching women and men how to take care of natural hair.

Though, she is biracial, her techniques appear to work on different types of natural hair.

Another good website is Carols Daughter, founded by Lisa who is ironically, Carol’s Daughter. This website is dedicated to hair products (as well as skin care products) made in Lisa’s kitchen.

Remember that every hair product and procedure doesn’t work on all types of hair.

This goes back to knowing your hair type and understanding it. So whether you decide to do the big chop or transition, to grow dreads or grow an afro,  go natural not because it’s a fad, but because you love your natural hair!

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