Warning: This post has been brewing in my mind for over a year, and the opinion may not be popular. As always, it is not my goal to tear anyone individual or brand down, but to edify and uplift others with kinky hair and revive appreciation for and admiration of kinky-textured hair.
This post was inspired by two things: a recent article on Madame Noire about a natural experiencing severe hair loss after about a year of keratin treatments, and one of my Customized Hair Regimen clients’ complaint about extreme breakage and dryness from a professional strengthening treatment. So if you’re in a similar boat, or were considering undergoing one of these treatments, I encourage you to read this article, and share with your friends (and even your enemies… you don’t want them bald, the fight won’t be fair lol).
Since going natural, I’ve been warily suspicious of hair treatments that promise to give you “smoother”, “silkier”, “more manageable” hair. Even before I cut my hair, I was researching natural hair salons and came across the Miss Jessie’s bandwagon. I noticed that they had a Silkener treatment, which effectively loosened your curl pattern to make it “more manageable”… I guess, silky. Aside from the over two hundred dollar price tag, I promptly crossed off Miss Jessie’s from my big chop salon options because it didn’t seem like they truly catered to what I knew would be my beloved kinky strands.
In the past three years, more and more salons, and even “natural hair friendly” product lines, have invented and promoted these kinds of treatments. Now I won’t go into what could be a long tirade on the natural hair world’s extreme “curl promotion” in general, which can make us kinky haired queens feel that our hair type is inferior and undesirable–or another tirade about the commercialization of natural hair by companies that actually don’t care about hair health–but the language, goals, and assumptions of these treatments definitely makes me feel some type of way.
Let me set the record straight real quick before I move on to other business: my COARSE, KINKY, (semi) DENSE hair has been silky, smooth, and strong–all without any chemical treatments. When I got my hair straightened at Carol’s Daughter Mirror Mirror Salon, my hair was so gosh darn silky it fluttered and twirled in the wind. Even when my hair is in it’s kinky state, my hair is quite often soft, shiny, and manageable. These seemingly desirable attributes ARE possible on kinky hair without chemical treatments, it’s all in the way YOU care for your hair and how you feed, nourish, and treat it. Don’t ever, not even for a hot second, let somebody tell you that your kinky hair is unmanageable. That is a (rude and disrespectful) lie from the pit of hell, and I hope that I, along with other kinky textured naturals who are committed to changing the stereotype against our hair, are debunking that lie one fro at a time. Who decided what unmanageable hair even meant in the first place??
Probably the same people who made up curl typing. My kinky hair stays in place, now that’s manageable. Straight hair flies every which way, to me that’s difficult to manage. Anyhew…
Now aside from the curl vs. kink hierarchy/dichotomy/preference these treatments promote and the lies they spew, part of me–without doing any formal research–had a hunch that no kind of natural substance could magically change my hair strands. I mean, it would’ve been discovered by now. To add insult to injury, a year ago (or more, I’ve lost track), a natural hair blogger who I admired underwent one of these procedures and came out with hair swanging… but after washing her hair, it was obviously a looser kink. I didn’t hit the unsubscribe button because her hair got looser, I hit the button because she acted as if nothing happened… for months! That same day I decided that as a natural hair blogger, I would share the TRUTH and nothing but the truth–so whether my hairstyle looked whack or was bomb, if a product was awesome or if it sucked–I would say so, because I honestly felt violated by the lack of honesty over this hair process. Luckily, there have been more reviews coming out about these treatments, and while most/some (I actually haven’t read that many because I don’t care) are positive, there are enough wary tales to cast a huge shadow of a doubt.
The Main Culprits
So how do I know if a treatment can potentially alter my hair texture (assuming I don’t want that to happen)?
I’d stay clear of anything that involves the following: repeat treatments (every 6-12 weeks), keeping your hair dry for a certain amount of time, sodium hydroxide, formaldehyde, anything that explicitly says it doesn’t have formaldehyde (if they are comparing themselves to formaldehyde treatments, they’re probably in the same camp), promises of curl elongation, silkening, loosening, etc. Here are a few I know of:
Miss Jessie’s Silkener Treatment
Design Essentials Strengthening Therapy System
Huetiful Nanosmoothing Treatment
Essations Naked Thermal Smoothing System
Arosci Intensive Restructuring System
With any service or treatment you get, you’ve GOT to read the fine print. And most times this isn’t on the bottle, and won’t come out of the mouth of your hair stylist if she or he is more concerned about their income than the health of your hair. It’s also a good idea not to jump onto the latest bandwagon in the natural hair world until you’ve read or heard sufficient reviews.
I’m not anti using chemicals in your hair; after all, my hair is chemically colored, and has been in some form since my big chop. My beef (or as Nigerians would say, my vex) is that these treatments purposely and specifically set out to loosen one’s hair texture. Now by all means, if that’s what you’ve decided to do to your hair, feel free, but don’t say I didn’t tell ya so. And don’t come over here pretending your texture isn’t looser. But if your hair does start to break, be brittle, or fall right out, be rest assured I’ll always be here to get you back on the right track my TEACHING proper hair care, rather than trying to perform “magic” tricks.
As a great man once said: