Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Hair Wars - Team Natural or Team Relaxed

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So I made a huge decision about my hair recently. I've never been a natural hair nazi, but I did have an aha moment about natural hair that made me keep mine for so long. I don't know if I've said it before but when I first cut my hair, it was because of a hair accident, and the plan was to switch back to relaxed as it grew. After about 6 months, I texturized it as a first step. It still had curls but not as tight as usual.

While in that state, we went to see my brother in law and his family. His two years old daughter who had natural hair was so excited to see my hair, and followed me around everywhere, and each time I carried her, her hands went to my hair, touching it and then hers, or just rubbing it in a soothing way.

It was such an eye-opener for me on how having an adult woman with natural hair around them would definitely affect a young girl, and how they viewed themselves, and their hair. That was also the time around when we had just started trying to concieve and I was like, if I'm going to have a daughter who will come into this world with tight curls on her head, then mine had to be the same way. When we got back from the trip, I gradually trimmed my hair till the texturized part was gone.

Well, fast forward two years, no daughter and 10 inches more of tight curls and I had to rethink my stand. My hair type is such that it shrinks up to 70%, and as it grew longer, it drove me crazy with the tangles at the ends, and how thick it got. Combing or styling it was a nightmare, and the shedding each time I managed to do that, scary. Even my stylist noted this, and she recommended some products, and weekly appointments.

I changed shampoos, deep conditioned more often, watched more Youtube videos and moisturized as often as I could. My hair improved, if not by much, but more important, I remained who I was.

I am that person who doesn't like to fuss about my looks. Whether dressing, makeup, or hair, I tilt to simplicity. The less time spent on these things, the better. So having to give so much attention to my natural hair was quite distracting. Last weekend I was at the end of my tether and knew I had to do something. I wanted my simple wash-comb-and-go back. There were two choices before me, do another big chop, or relax. Oh, Atala had a third option, get dreadlocks. But that was too permanent for me. And then there are the hair thieves.






In the end, my stylist suggested a middle ground, texlaxing - in between texturing and relaxing. In these pictures, I also flat-ironed the hair, and I'm loving it. Can you tell?

My hair is healthy, black, and long, if a bit dry and shedding more than it should, but better than it has been for a while. Being natural and free of chemicals has definitely helped it, and so I'll be more careful about the products I use. I've also learned more about hair care, and I'm sure that will continue to be useful.

So yeah, I'm team relaxed for now, and for as long as this phase lasts, I'm going to love my hair anyway.






38 comments:

  1. Woww!!! Your hair is beautiful. Natural hair requires a lot of patience and attention so I get where you are coming from. Your hair suits you both ways just that you didn't smile in the picture with your natural hair. Lol. I have also considered dreadlocks, but just like you, I also think its too permanent for me.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Atoskin, I hope you find the style that suits you :)

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  2. Awww, you relaxed your hair!!!! Well, tex-laxed (I'm still not sure what that is). I've recently started feeling funny about my hair. Like you, my choices are either to cut or relax. But for whatever reason, relaxing seems irreversible to me. I know it's not, but I just fear that after I relax, I'd want my natural hair back. Therefore, I'm leaning more towards cutting it. We'll see what happens.

    You look nice, btw

    http://berrydakara.blogspot.com

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    1. This article might help you better understand what texlaxing is and how it's different from relaxing and texturizing. Myne, your hair looks really nice either way. You look happier now (maybe cus you're smiling, lol). I'm lucky, my natural hair is only ever a problem if it's too dry or I've had it in extensions (single plaits) for long. Other than that, I'm good. I'm scared all my hair will fall out of I did any of the three in the article I've put below:

      http://www.blackhairinformation.com/by-type/relaxed-hair/relaxing-texturizing-and-texlaxing-black-hair/

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    2. Thanks Berry, I might yet cut it, but I'll revel in the length I was able to achieve. In it's curly state, I never get the chance to do that :)

      @Anon, thanks for that link!

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  3. Welcome back to the dark side, hehehe.
    I'm team relaxed. I've always been since i started making my own decisions about my hair. Wish i could say i've always taken perfect care of my hair but . . . I've chopped it off a couple of times but even while low i still relaxed it. My natural hair is so kinky and so hard, it is impossible to comb. Relaxing saves my sanity

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    1. Thanks Rayo. It was really getting crazy, lol...

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  4. ha! Natural hair is difficult to maintain oh.. your hair is still beautiful anyways.

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  5. Lovely hair. Very shiny. I am currently transitioning into natural hair and i can relate to the frustration that comes with having to tackle the under growth. I cant bring my self to do the big chop. what is tex-lax? what product is used on it?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kiky, this article might help you understand better. :)

      http://www.blackhairinformation.com/by-type/relaxed-hair/relaxing-texturizing-and-texlaxing-black-hair/

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    2. They use a relaxer product but add some oils and conditioners. Also, it is not done strand by strand like relaxer, but kind of combed into the hair, and left for half the time of relaxer.

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  6. Everybody sing: "I Am Not My Hair!" Lol. Looks good on ya Myne.

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    1. I am definitely not my hair, lol...thanks Buki :)

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  7. I love both looks Myne, but, you look happier in your ironed dark hair. It's lovely

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  8. I like the hair either way! Just don't let Chimamanda Adichie catch you with your texlaxed hair. She is a hair fundamentalist and thinks there is something "insecurr" (quoting Kanye)about not having natural hair.

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    1. After two years having natural hair and loving it, I guess I can teach Chimamanda somethings about insecurr :)

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    2. abi o. don't let her catch you. as if her hair is all natural. the question is what is natural and what is unnatural. my definition will be different from yours and thats okay. if i relax it, is it not still natural abi did I steal someone else's hair?

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  9. I like the relaxed hair! You're one of the fortunate few cos both hairs suit you.

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  10. First time commenting. Love love your website and books!.
    I am relaxed, always have been. My natural hair is just as you described. Mine actually cannot comb. I also do not like paying soo much attention to looks so my hair relaxed is easier to manage.
    This is what I try to explain to people. relaxing my hair doesnt mean I want to be white or that I hate my natural hair. Its just the maintanance. I an say I am more natural than the naturals even seeing as I hardly do any weaves or braid my hair.

    Anyway, I love you in both but please whatever gives less stress is where I stand. Its just hair.

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    1. Thank you, Maya, and you're welcome. It is indeed just hair, and this is so much easier :)

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  11. @Myne...your hair is so gorgeous, truly grew wow! I am so loving it. Sometimes natural hair is a pain to maintain, my natural hair is so hard, strong and l cannot comb it well without it giving me pain. I was forced to perm it the other day. Some ladies have soft natural hair, mine is tough to maintain and much easier to maintain when relaxed.

    Destiny!

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    1. Destiny, I've missed your blog! Thanks so much for coming over, and the comment. So true, to each what works for them.

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  12. Myne, did you deliberately not smile in the natural picture? Lool. Anyway, I love the relaxed or texlaxed hair better on you. I think it suits you more. And the smile is gorgeous!

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    1. I honestly didn't think about it, I was just so ready for the change, lol...but it makes for a good before and after shot, right?

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  13. Myne, I love you, I love you, I love you! You look fab.

    I hadn't retouched my hair for almost eight months as I was thinking of going natural. I bought a whole bunch of products, but was still transitioning (see how I researched enough to know the lingo?). Anyway, my hair is just impossible. While I detangled my hair with pain and curses, I would enviously watch other women on those Internet videos rocking their natural hair. Mostly African Americans whose texture is much better than most black Africans, by the way. I recently had it cut, but it wasn't quite the big chop because I texturized it almost immediately. It's tough enough that it hardly made a difference on the virgin hair, and my scalp was hurting so much I couldn't wait to wash it out. I'd always wanted to texturize my hair and decided to do that first. I can always go natural later if I want to.

    But now that I see your beautiful hair, the twinges of guilt I've been carrying around are basically gone. I watched that interview with Chika Unigwe on Rubbin Minds where Ebuka asked if it was a thing for Nigerian writers to go natural. That was when it actually struck me that Chika has dreads, Chimamanda is natural, and so was Myne! I'm also a writer so I wondered if I was unconsciously towing the same line. But you're now Team Relaxed and it suits you.

    The break going natural I bet benefitted you- volume, health, name it. You're an inspiration. I'll give the texturizer another go. Hopefully this time it won't hurt as much.

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  14. I went natural a year ago and I love it! My hair is tough too! I believe it's 4C, which is the toughest. LOL! You need to really research taking care of your hair before you decide to go natural! This one year has been a learning process but I have found the products and techniques that make my hair very manageable from oils to conditioners to deep conditioners to leave-in conditioners to styling products to protective styling etc! It's now pretty easy and you can do so much with it! You can even wear wigs and weaves when you want your hair to rest and just grow in peace! Natural hair rocks!:-*

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  15. So undecided, Myne... I like the retro look of the natural hair, but I also like how you 'clean up' with your hair relaxed. The first time I was in India and there were no chemicals suited to afro hair, I had such a looooooong bad hair day; it was a nightmare! So, I have to say, rock whatever works!

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  16. By the way, here's what Chimamanda Adichie would have to say about this hair issue: http://www.think-fa3hion.com/2013/04/chimamanda-african-women-on.html?spref=fb

    He he hee...

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  17. Its as if you said what's on my mind. So many times I've thought of cutting again or relaxing. Hmmm, one day I'll have to make that choice. Your hair looks nice...I prefer the relaxed one comparing both pics :-)

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  18. Your hair looks good either way Myne, Just do you. Although i would have preferred you smile in the picture with the natural hair..lol
    I have mentioned it on my blog, the reason i went natural was because i wanted to try something new - to know and see how my hair is, without a relaxer/in an afro. I didn't do it because some people think Africans don't love their hair or any other deep meaning like that cos i loved and enjoyed my relaxed hair, i even miss it sometimes and would "go back" if i want to but i am touched by the reaction of the little girl you said. It really says a lot about this whole natural/relaxed hair war.

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  19. the hair looks great and grown. nice one

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  20. Hair issues aren't easy! what is the difference between texlaxing and texturizing? I recently went to my dermatologist, because I was worried about my hair length retention, thin edges etc and it was interesting that this white woman said she is glad i have stopped relaxing, because that is the number one detriment to my hair. That being said a lot of women use relaxers and have healthy, long hair...so I know a lot about hair has to do with genetics in addition to hair care practices. I say enjoy each phase of your hair journey and whatever makes life easier.

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