The Natural Hair Epidemic

6 Nov

Myrlande “M.C” Charelus

mcharel@eagle.fgcu.edu

The Natural Hair Epidemic

The chemicals are now put aside and it is time to let the hair breathe.

It kinks, it coils, it’s 2012 and it is natural hair.  The extension is out, the relaxer is gone, and the hair can finally breathe.  Many black women have decided to re-connect to their roots by letting their hair grow all-natural without the chemicals that have been sucking the life of their hair.

The process of going natural is different for everyone. There are those who whack off their hair to feel a sense found-freedom.  This known as  big chop, (BC), which is to cut all their hair at once in order to start fresh and healthy. This process is usually helpful to anyone who is going through hair damages such as split-ends, scalp irritation, hair loss etc.  Then again, you are dealing with one hairstyle for while, until it grows back. It can be a little difficult for anyone who is not comfortable with short hair.

An alternative to BC is transitioning. It is letting the hair grow without the BC, but at the same time, it can be a little difficult. It becomes harder to manage two different textures, the new growth and the relaxer hair. It is a longer process in comparison to BC; it depends of the person’s hair. It can take up to one year or more to be fully natural.

Some people try to go natural for different reasons; the most common one is to avoid the chemical that was eating the core of their hair out. Others go natural because convenient and most likely less expensive.

China Pierrelus, a junior, majoring in public health, has been natural for seven years and decided to do this for two reasons. First, an allergy reaction caused her hair to break. Secondly, she was tired of perming her hair.  Pierrelus did the BC, because her hair was uneven. 

“The process is complicated,” said Pierrelus, “[because] the transition from having perm hair to natural hair is not easy. The perm hair’s textures allow you to do easier hair styles, whereas natural requires more experimenting.”

Going natural is not just about the transition or the BC; it requires a lot of attention and treatments. The natural hair needs to moisturize well. Because there are many different variations of hair textures, the common methods of moisturizing are leave-in conditioning, or simply water. Since everyone has a different type of hair, finding the right regimen is necessary. These include coconut oil; others Shea butter, castor oil, etc.

“To treat my hair better, I use the Shea butter products: shampoo, conditioner and leave-in conditioner. I also use virgin coconut oil and I create my own deep conditioner, which consists of banana, honey, vegetable glycerin and olive oil,” said Pierrelus.

 

However, the story is slightly different for Frances Simeon, sophomore. Simeon relaxed (perm) her hair when she was 17 years old; she is now 19 and going through the process.

“ I was tired of the natural hair. I thought perming it would have been more convenient; until I started to have split-end and my hair started to break, “said Simeon.

 Simeon said she did not really stick to any one product; but, did spend a lot of money on buying products in which she had no idea were working for her or not. She said as of right now, she is trying to finish what she has so she can focus on new products.

“Not everything people tell you to do for your hair will work. I bought the new Neutrogena, Tresemme products, I even use eggs, mayonnaise, etc.,” she said.

Clarisse Delva did the big chop three years ago and was not comfortable at first. She said she is learning to embrace her hair.

“I really thought the process was BS, because there are certain stages where I couldn’t show my hair. I had to buy a certain products to put in it to increase the growth process and I had to wear a certain style to cover it up,” said Delva.

With the headache that comes with the process of going natural, Delva, Pierrelus and Simeon all agree that the place they usually go to find hair treatments and tips is YouTube.

“ Nowadays, everything is available online and everything you need to know about     the natural process is available through YouTube,” said Simeon.

She (Simeon) also concluded going natural is a way for her to connect back to her genetic roots, and able enough embrace the freedom of being natural. The ladies’ advice for anyone who wants to go natural is to think about the decision before going through it, by researching and finding the right product; but moisturizing is a must.

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One Response to “The Natural Hair Epidemic”

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