Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chemical VS Natural

Time for a new post again.

Like I said in my introductory post I've been natural for almost 2 years now. Before I decided to go back natural I had chemical perms in my hair, like most of all black women do or did.
In this post I would like to put my opinion about how I experienced my chemical time and how I am experiencing my natural time now.

Chemical; from Jheri Curl to Relaxer
I was 12 when I first starting treating my hair chemically. Back then it was like a must for black women who had kinky hair to treat their hair chemically. The kinky hair was difficult to handle, there wasn't enough things you could do with it except braiding or twisting it  and it wasn't as beautiful as straight hair.
But where as many girls and women choose for a relaxer I chose for a Jheri Curl. Why? My mom had one and maintaining a Jheri Curl was less work then maintaining relaxed hair, mostly a wash and go and that's it.
So I got one, but soon after my hair started breaking, apparently maintaining it wasn't that easy after all and  I wasn't doing it good. So I had to cut quite a lot of my hair, kind of like a big chop.
After that I kept my jheri curl for about 7 more years and my hair started growing again, but still with now and then some cases of breakage.
It was after I moved to the Netherlands (I'm originally from CuraƧao) when I started thinking about a relaxer. The reason was that I couldn't get someone who could do my hair the way I wanted, applying a good jheri curl is more difficult then applying a good relaxer.
So I transitioned for about 8 months and then I got a relaxer. At that point my hair was at its longest, over my shoulders, around my scapulae. And so I kept relaxing my hair for like 3 years until I decided to go natural and had my big chop.

The pro's and the cons of being chemical
The pro's of having chemical treated hair: Since the hair is mostly straight (even when you have a Jheri, they start by relaxing your hair and after that they curl it), your hair is way easier to handle then when it's in its natural state. That is I think for now the only real pro I can mention of chemically treated hair.
I can mention that it's more beautiful, but I really don't think like that anymore, since I'm embracing the real beauty of natural hair now.
The con's of having chemical treated hair: the chemicals you put in your hair are just bad for you hair. I am not gonna make a list now of all the junk you put in you hair, but believe me it is just bad. Even when they say that a relaxer is made from more natural products, it is still bad because the main ingredient you need to straighten the hair, the Lye in a Sodium Hydroxide relaxer is just bad, period!
Another con is the financial part; once you start you will get hooked on it and this will only cost you money.
And of course you can experience breakage, but that is the case with natural hair too, if not treated well. Even though I think that the chance for breakage is a bit higher with chemical treated hair then with natural hair.

And what about being Natural?
I have been natural for most part of my life now I think. Or let's say for now it's like 50/50.
So you might think that when I decided to go back natural it was a really easy step. Well it wasn't. At first it was quite easy, since my hair was short. Mostly wash and go's and that was it.
But as your hair started growing it will start asking more and more attention from you, and there is how it can go wrong.
And for me it did go kind off wrong. My hair wasn't really growing the way I wanted. The front and the back were growing nicely, but in the middle it wasn't really growing that good. And this was all my fault because I was mistreating my hair, and because of this it was breaking. That is why I said that breakage can also happen to natural hair if not treated well.

Now what about the pro's and the cons?
Let's start with the pro's: The biggest pro is of course that your hair is in it's natural state and doesn't contain chemicals that can harm it. And as another pro I, myself think that you can do way more with natural hair than when you have for example a relaxer.
If I want curls I can do a braid out or a twist out or just a wash and go with a curling styling product. If I want my hair straight I can always straighten it using a blow dryer and a flat iron. And if I just want to rock braids, of course I can do that.
Now the cons: Like I said before natural hair is not always that easy to handle. And on tops of this natural hair needs a lot of care and here is where a lot of people (including myself) can go wrong. I think natural hair might even need a bit more of care then chemically treated hair. And it's all about how you take care of you hair. Which products do you use, how do you use them etc etc. You can be natural and still use a lot of chemical styling products which may still harm your hair anyway. 
I mentioned that chemically treated hair will cost you money, well I guess it is the same for natural hair. I guess after all having healthy and beautiful hair will cost you money.

This was a short ( I really tried to keep it short) description of how I experienced both natural as chemically treated hair. I am not saying that everybody should go natural, absolutely NO. Everyone should do what they feel comfortable with, but just take good care of you hair in order to have beautiful and healthy hair.

Just feel free to leave your opinion on how you experience your hair.

Take care and until the next post....

Friday, March 9, 2012

What is my hair type? The Classification

For a long time I thought you could classify hair in 3 types:
1-White hair, straight or curly
2-Mixed hair
3-Black hair

This was until I went natural and started doing some research on internet how to take care of my hair. All of a sudden I would read about and hear people talking about type 4, type 3 hair and stuff in their articles or on YouTube.
So I decided to use my great friend Google to find more about hair type classification and I ran across the hair type classification system Andre Walker, Oprah's stylist, came up with.
Apparently he wrote all about this in a book named "Andre talks hair" (if one of you read this book, feel free to leave your opinion about it).
When I discovered this hair type classification it was like a whole new world opened up for me and it became clear to me that the type of hair you have on your head, was not all about the color of your skin.
So let's get to the point and let's work out this classification system.

Type 1 hair: Straight hair
Type 1 hair can be divided into a, b and c.
Type 1A: Fine, thin straight hair. Tends to be very soft and shiny and also oily. It's difficult for this hair to hold a curl and the hair is difficult to damage.

Type 1B: Medium straight hair. This type hair has more volume and body then the 1A hair.

Type 1C: Coarse straight hair. Bone straight hair that is difficult to curl. We see this hair mostly on Asian women.

Type 2 hair: Wavy hair
The waves or curls of this hair type forms throughout the hair in a letter S-form. Like type 1 hair, type 2 hair can be divided in three subtypes too.
Type 2A: Fine, thin hair with a definite S-pattern and it's easy to handle. It's easily straightened or curled.

Type 2B: Has a medium texture and is a bit more resistant to styling. It has a tendency to be frizzy.

Type 2C: Coarse and tends to have thicker waves. It is very resistant to styling and it's normally very frizzy.

Type 3 hair: Curly hair
This hair type has a definite loopy S-pattern. The curls are well-defined and the hair has a lot of body. The hair is easily styled into it's naturally curly pattern or easily straightened using a blow dryer.
Type 3 hair is soft and very fine, but come in great quantity, what might may people believe that the hair is coarse.
Type 3 hair can be subdivided into two subtypes.
Type 3A: Loose, big curls. The hair can have a combination texture and tends to be frizzy.

Type 3B: Medium amount of curls and the curls are tighter then type 3A curls. Also tend to have a combined texture.

Type 3C: Curly Kinky hair
This type is not from the official classification system, it is more a creation of the users from the website www.naturallycurly.com (great website by the way if you need information about hair care).
It falls between the 3C and the 4A hair.
Type 3C hair has tight curls in corkscrews. The curls can be either kinky or very tightly curled, with lost of strand densely packed together. Blow drying this type of hair straight is challenging but it can be done. The curls usually have a fine texture.

Type 4 hair: Kinky hair
This type of hair is very wiry, very coiled and most of all very fragile. Type 4 hair can range from fine and thin to wiry and coarse and it has lots and lots of strands densely packed together.
Since type 4 hair has less cuticle layers it is has less natural protection. Type 4 hair usually shrinks up to 75% of the actual hair length. Like other hair types, type 4 hair can be divided into subtypes too.
Type 4A: Kinky soft hair. Tightly coiled hair with a more definite curls pattern. When stretched it has an S-pattern like type 3 hair. it tends to have more moisture then 4B hair.

Type 4B: Kinky wiry hair. has a less definite curl pattern, more of a Z-pattern and has a cotton-like feel.

I have to say though that on the websites I use as reference to write this blog they do not mention type 4C hair, but I hear people talk about it every now and then in their YouTube videos or write about it in their articles about hair care.

So, as you can see hair type classification is not just about the color of your skin but more about the type of you hair. Now I see that someone with mixed hair can have for example a mix of 1A and 3B too and that mixed hair is not in fact always the white/black mix a lot of us mostly think about.
I hope this classification van help you understand your hair a bit more in order to understand better how to take care of your hair.
Remember, the more you appreciate nature the way it is, the more beauty you will find everywhere.

The websites I used to find my information for this blog are:

I didn't put pictures of all the hair types because I didn't wanted to make the blog too long, but just check out the first link and you will find enough examples of the hair types.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Story of my hair

Hello Everybody, hope y'all doing alright while reading my first real post.
Like I said in my yesterday's post for the upcoming I will be blogging mostly about natural hair care. That is why I thought it would be handy to start by telling some more about my own hair.

I've been natural for almost 2 years now and these last couple of years have really been some challenging years for me and for my hair.
The reason I went natural was a mix of situations. I never really was the type that really liked straight hair, so when many kids ask their moms for a relaxer I asked my mom for a Jheri curl when I was younger.
Since my mom didn't want me to get any chemicals in my hair before I've had my first period, I decided to set for a press and curl, you know old fashioned with the heated comb and everything.
At age 12, during my first year of secondary school the time came for me to get my so wanted Jheri curl.
So I had my Jheri curl for almost 6 years when I moved to the Netherlands to follow higher education. Because it was so hard to get someone who could do me a jheri curl the way I liked it, I decided to go into transitioning in order to able to relax my hair. And so when I was around age 20 I got my first relaxer.

And so I relaxed my hair for about 3 years until I went natural.
Like I said it was a mixture of situations that made me go natural. One of the big reasons was a bad break up. Yes I've had another bad break up and I decided that it was time to become somebody else, and you know when a lot of people will start a new phase in their lives they start by cutting off their hair. So did I.
It was on a good Friday, April 2nd, 2010 and I just walked into a barbershop (!) and said to one of the guys that I wanted to cut off my hair, I wanted to cut everything that was still straight and only leave the outgrowths. And so my journey to become natural started.

So this was in a nutshell how I went from a press and curl, Jheri curl, relaxer to becoming all natural.
Stay tuned, because later on I will be posting some pictures of my hair throughout the years of becoming natural.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back; renewed and improved...

It's been almost a year now since I opened this blog and as you can see I only have 1 post until now.
Truth is I didn't know what to write about back then, but hopefully now I do.
That is why I am now officially reopening my blog. Feel free to follow, especially if you're interested in natural hair care because that is what I will be blogging about for the upcoming time.
Tips and requests are always welcome too, so just feel free to tell me what you think or feel free to ask if you wanna hear my opinion about something.
So welcome y'all and stay tuned or my next post..