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Chemicals and Hair: Tired and want out?
March 05 , 2013
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No matter what you’ve been led to believe, HAIR IS SERIOUS BUSINESS! Personally, I’ve had my fair share of “hairpisodes”…Times when I wore it all Jheried out, sometimes I had it permed. Sometimes dreadlocks were the recipe for good looks and at other times, I thought a ‘fro hawk with purple highlights was the absolute “Way to go!” Chemicals. Chemicals and more chemicals!

However, I’m happy to say that I finally went past that phase and found my rhythm: I decided to cut it all off and go natural! This was partly because, at the time, I needed a new pet project and partly because over the years, I observed that relaxing my hair was hurting my really tender scalp. These days it’s no longer a pet project, it’s my way of life so when people ask me how I’ve managed to stay natural for so long, I say as calmly as possible: COMMITMENT. 

Seriously, Ladies, when you get to that critical point where you just get tired of so many chemicals running wild on your crown of glory and you want out, you will need an open mind in large doses. 

Once you make the decision to stop the chemical destruction of your hair follicles, you need to decide how you’re going to go about it.

 There are two ways to go about this: 

Route one: Also known as the “Big Chop”. Yes. This is the route in which you chop off all your hair and start afresh. I did it and I don’t regret it. One big plus is that you finally get one texture all around. No more cases of undergrowth here and relaxed hair there. It’s all uniform and you instantly have only one texture to deal with! 

Another remarkable thing about cutting it all off is that it is easy to care for short hair! In many cases, your styling routine will be cut down to 5 minutes or less as against the usual day at the hairdressers listening to gossip unwillingly. All you will need to do is spritz your hair with a little water then apply the products of your choice (such as mousses and gels) and brush, comb or pick your hair. Shampooing and conditioning is usually quick and simple since by big chopping, you eliminate combing and detangling time.

After the big chop, you have no use for the weather forecast because come rainy day or dry harmattan, short hair will withstand it all! Remember how with relaxed hair, you’ve had to run for cover when it began to rain? Remember how you had a shower cap in every handbag you ever bought and in the glove compartment of your car as well as umbrellas to go? Once you chop it all off, you may find yourself doing your village rain dance in the rain because water won’t ruin your hair. This is not just liberating, it’s therapeutic. 

However, with short hair, you don’t have a lot of options when it comes to styling so this is a good time to experiment with makeup and accessories.

Let me say here that not everyone loves how she looks in short hair. Some women feel that their heads are too large or not "perfect" shape for a short crop. Other women simply prefer how they look with long straight hair. If you hate short hair or can’t see yourself rocking natural hair, the big chop may not be the best option if you wind up being unhappy with your appearance so I suggest you consider route two.

Route Two: Move to growing natural hair! This process can take anywhere from weeks to months. Women making this transition often have a difficult time working with two different textures, particularly if they’re distinctly different, so, now is the time to invest in a certain styling accessory: A Flat Iron. The flat iron is a very flexible styling tool. It is safe and gentle and poses no risk to your convalescing hair. It will not only straighten your hair, it will make quick stylish flips. That way, you can still rock your favourite look without running the risk of damaging your hair!

With both routes, 

1. You will sometimes need to protect your hair, just so it stays healthy. You could braid it. You could put it in a weave. Corn-rows are absolutely gorgeous so you could do that just so that your hair has always has bounce. 

2. You will need to keep moisture in all the time so leave-in conditioners are your new best friends.

Now, now, before making that decision, carefully weigh all sides. Whichever route you choose when you decide to stop relaxing your hair, it should be a way that works for you, your lifestyle and most importantly, your hair’s health. 

So let us raise our glasses…to healthy hair!

. . . . . . .

Learn more about this author, X Uzoma.
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