Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No more chemicals!

On my hair, that is. As a black woman, chemical relaxers have been a part of my life every two months since I was twelve, except for a few years in which I cut my hair short. (Before I was 12, it was straightening combs! Singed hair and burnt ears! Yeah, I don't miss those days). I started relaxing my own hair in college, along with my roommate, because neither of us could afford to go to the hair dresser. According to many of the cosmetic safety reports I've read, chemical relaxers are probably the worst product on the market for toxins that harm both the person using the product and the environment. Even the relaxers marketed as "natural" have natural ingredients added, such as shea butter or jojoba oil, but the basic ingredients of the product remain a toxic soup.

So it's time to go natural. Options available to black women who want to go natural include: braids (which can be expensive, if you have to pay someone who braids well); dread locks; and cutting your hair short. I've done the short hair route, and I don't want to do it again at this point; I don't think I look that good with it. (Although my sister's hair is currently very short and she looks fabulous, I must say!). My hair is sandy blond, and I think dread locks with light-colored hair look silly (IMO). And I can't afford braids.

There are women who wear their hair in longer natural styles, but you have to really learn how to care for it well. So that's where I'm at right now. The last time I relaxed my hair was in December. Normally, I'd be due for another touch-up right about now, but I'm not going to do it. I've started adding vegetable glycerin to the hair care products I make (described in my Feb. 10, 2009 post). I've read that vegetable glycerin is a humectant, which when added to a beauty care products, helps your skin or hair attract and retain moisture. I've been using my products to especially moisturize the roots and ends of my hair, and then brush my hair well, using a soft boar's hair bristle brush. So far, my hair looks pretty good, with little frizz, and has a nice wave to it.

I'd like to continue along this route. I'll see what happens as my previously relaxed hair continues to grow out.

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