Saturday, 19 October 2013

Natural Hair vs. Relaxed Hair: Should they have the same hair care practice?


In response to Dabs of  Naija Hair Can Grow's post on "Hair Care is Hair Care", I have decided to come on here to give a more detailed and balanced view point on the #teamnatural vs. #teamrelaxed community and my response to her post. I suggest you head over to Dab's blog to read the post before leaving comments in the comment box. I'd also like to mention that I left TWO comments on her blog before writing this post.

So, should relaxed and natural women have the same haircare practice?
- To some extent. YES and to another extent, NO, and here is why.
YES: because at the end of the day, we both have Black hair which needs EXTRA care when compared to hair from other ethnicities. To have healthy hair, both teams have to practice the basics of healthy haircare which is regular washing, deep conditioning, moisture and protein balance, gentle protective styling, moisturizing, sealing and trying as much as possible to keep those length that's growing out of our head on our head and less on the floor, comb or in synthetic hair.

NO: Though we both have Black hair, the chemical and physical structure of relaxed and natural hair is COMPLETELY different. Please read the book "The Science of Black Hair" by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy to get a more detailed knowledge on the anatomy of Afro-Textured hair. 
Relaxed girls have to pay more attention to their hair because they have two (relaxed and natural hair new growth) different hair textures. Also, because the  majority of their hair has been chemically altered, they will have to be more diligent with deep conditioning treatments, particularly protein treatments to help strengthen the hair strands that has been weakened by relaxers.

 Also, in order to get an accurate hair assessment in terms of porosity, density and thickness, hair has to be in its natural texture. The scanty and thinning hair which many relaxed girls experience is due to the lack of protein/moisture deep conditioning treatments. And so one may be fooled into thinking that they have fine hair, when in reality, the opposite is true. This also means that someone with damaged relaxed hair will need a completely different regimen from a damaged natural hair.

Finally, when it comes to styling, we all know that a straight hair can't be morphed into an Afro or any other "natural hair friendly" hairstyles, although they can manage to pull off "out" styles with very minimum volume.
Other differences between these two teams are SSKs (single stranded knots), hair trimming techniques, shrinkage, reactions naturals get from the community, and the emotional aspects women attach to their hair, depending on their coil pattern.
Also, since curly/coily hair is more prone to breakage, it will need to be handled and manipulated with great care.

From my lengthy response on the NO side, you can tell that both team will need a different regimen and so hair care IS NOT hair care as coily haircare should be DIFFERENT from straight haircare.
So, is it possible to hold a Joint hair meet up for both teams?
If the meet up is to teach women the basics of haircare without going into the nitty gritty of Black haircare, then I believe this is possible.. This is also a great way for newbies to learn about how to take care of their hair without overwhelming them with too much detail.

However, I believe both teams should have a separate meet up so that they can get a well detailed knowledge on haircare. It wouldn't make sense for a coily haired girl with 4c hair to be getting hair advice from a relaxed girl even though she has long hair, unless she happens to be WELL EDUCATED on both textures.
I am not a natural hair Nazi but I am a realist who believes in hair type charts and a differentiation between both hair types. I'd also like to mention that I follow Facebook groups and blogs on both hair types as a way to stay educated on both sides. But I have to say that I am #teamhealthyhair, #teamnatural to be specific and #team4c to be very specific.
What are your thoughts? Do you think both teams should practice the same techniques? Did Dabs expected too much from the NATURAL HAIR meet up? Do you give/take hair advice to/from relaxed ladies?


The Mane Captain

4 comments :

  1. In my opinion, I think you have done justice to this issue.
    I am someone that has had both types of hair successfully,
    but when I was relaxed, I didn't think about hair typing, knots, porosity, shrinkage, whether I had sulphate in my shampoo, humidity, etc. and I had healthy relaxed hair.

    Once the hair is relaxed, the texture changes, and many things changes.

    Relaxed ppl don't really have issues with low porosity cos their cuticles are permanently lifted, while naturals might even battle with low, medium and high porosity on one head.

    As you said, a type 4c cannot really take for granted what a relaxed person takes for granted.

    As I am prone say, what works for naturals also works for relaxed most times, but what works for relaxed, does not really work for natural, if you get what I mean.

    Dabs has come a long way cos she takes care of her hair well, and I even enjoy reading her blog, as I tell her...
    but hair care is not really hair care, if we really look at the science of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dabs' doing a fantastic job handling her relaxed her but she needs to understand that the natural hair revolution just hit Nigeria and the industry is still in it's infancy stage. We need as much awareness as possible to correct the misconceptions and teach people that kinky hair is totally manageable thereby moving towards the overall goal of healthy hair.
    So yes IMO I think she expected too much and should have just taken notes and given a report instead. Whatever rocks her boat.

    As for TMC, spot on!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think I agree with Dabs. Hair care is truly just that - hair care. Whether relaxed or natural.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are missing Dab's point. Hair care is really just hair care. The way you care for you hair may be a tad different from the way I care for mine, true, but in the end its all healthy hair care. The basics are still thesame. If you go through her blog, you will see that she does every single thing you do as a natural, sometimes even more. That was her point. I don't know why people felt the need to strongly oppose her views when she made a lot of sense. I agree with her that the divide shouldn't be there. And who says if there's a general meet up, that natural heads wouldn't benefit as much as relaxed heads? I am natural and I attended her first salon day out where I got a henna treatment. Yes! And other people got deep conditioning treatments with natural products. Seriously people need to calm down with this team natural, team relaxed. Its not that serious. All the lady was trying to say is that the basics are thesame for everybody. And I agree, because relaxed heads who have incorporated DCs, sulphate free shampooing, moisturizing and sealing have seen huge leaps in the health of their hair. It is truly just what it is

    ReplyDelete

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