Do you consider yourself "natural" if you've stopped using hair relaxers, but still use haircolor?

I really can't believe I'm even entertaining this foolishness, but I continue to see this contradiction on so many blogs. It's the claim to be "natural" because hair relaxers aren't used, but haircolor is? Yes, I have a degree in Chemistry, and yes, I'm a licensed cosmetologist - but those qualifications aren't required to know that haircolor IS a chemical! And if you're coloring your hair, you aren't "natural".

So my question for you today is: Do you consider yourself "natural" if you've stopped using hair relaxers, but still use haircolor?



Bibah said...

I often find myself laughing at the whole natural hair debate. It seems there are degrees of natural. I am more natural then you because I do not have a relaxer. I am even more natural than you because I don’t have a relaxer or dye my hair. I am even more natural than you because I don’t, have a relaxer, dye my hair and only use hair products made from fruits and vegetables. I am more natural than you because I wear my relaxer dye free hair in a style with little to no manipulation (no heat, no twist out, no Dominican styling etc, etc, etc) and it can go on and on and on.

I find so many people who are proud to inform everyone that they do not have a relaxer but these same individuals spend excessive amounts of time and money utilizing products and services to achieve the straight or “wavy” look without necessarily using “lye” or “no-lye” based product. If people focused more on having healthy hair vs. having natural hair, then this would be a mute point. Over processing one’s hair with heat, chemicals (including relaxers, hair dye), and/or synthetic hair (including weaves, braids) all contribute to unhealthy hair. If we were more determined to reduce these things from our daily hair regiments, then there would be no need to define natural or healthy hair because they would be one in the same.

For those who don't know, the chemicals in hair dye alter the hair follicle and with excessive use will straighten the "natural" hair in due time.

March 1, 2011 at 10:39 AM
curly gurl said...

The "natural" hair topic is one that is extra hot right now. I agree with both of you that the use of any chemical-based product, perm/color/otherwise alters one's hair and means that it is no longer free of chemicals. If the basis of your stance on being Natural is being chemical-free, then if your hair is dyed, your theory is burnt up in a puff of ammonia-ridden smoke!

What I think many Af-Am or people of African Diasporic descent are really asserting with their identification as Natural, is a comfort with and belief in the beauty of the kinks and curves of their hair in its unpermed state. That kind of pride is something I support and love to see, especially given the disavowal of black beauty that still runs rampant.

Now mind you, many of the folks we see running around with gorgeous halos of supposedly natural hair, are in fact quite texturized. That is where this madness becomes just ridiculous. It is like pretending a weave is your own hair. Too much pretense and too much self-righteousness on both sides of the natural hair debate for me. The obsession with categories and labels fuels the fire.

I am with Bibah. Seek a healthy relationship with your hair and body and mental self. We are all striving to become better individuals than we currently find ourselves-none of us are perfect. I am a firm believer in making conscious, educated decisions which are based on my personal values and goals. That kind of decision will render different results for different people, and that is fine.

Of course, laissez-faire use of certain products does nothing to lighten the load of harmful chemicals that are wreaking havoc on our environments (think watersheds and air pollutants) and thus our overall health (whether we realize it or not), but that is another conversation.

Thanks for starting this conversation Kitiya. It is something people really need to think more critically about-at least on the personal level.

March 2, 2011 at 1:04 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To Bibah! Girl, all I can say is "PREACH"! You broke it ALL the way down! Ha! I must add that I tend to look at hair from a scientific perspective (blame it on my chemistry degree) and so when it comes to haircolor (specifically), it IS a chemical and it DOES change the chemical structure of the hair. So the bottom line is, you are NOT natural if you color your hair! :)

Loved your feedback!

March 8, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To curly gurl: I agree with you as well! The bottom line is as you stated "seek a healthy relationship with your hair and body and mental self" because in the end that's what really matters most!

Loved your feedback, too! :)

March 8, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Bibah said...

The Biologist in me is with the Chemist in you! What did Spelman do to us? lol

March 10, 2011 at 11:20 AM
Mischo Beauty said...

To Bibah: Right!!! I knew we were on the same page! ;)

March 10, 2011 at 12:39 PM
yummy411 said...

So.... i consider myself a natural in a sense i'm not intending to alter the natural texture or curl pattern of my hair.. not that i'm chemical free. Coloring my hair gives me options with my locs. I know that coloring the hair does straighten it a bit/over time, but in my case, you def can't tell! So it's alright with me!

March 15, 2011 at 1:42 PM
Mischo Beauty said...

To yummy411: LOL. Love your hair!

March 16, 2011 at 11:38 AM

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