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 Curaçao) 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....