Thursday, May 7, 2009

Memories from my permed days

  • Oily, Greasy hair. I would put so much pomade in my hair just to get moisturized and soft, that I would have oil all over my neck and the back of my ears. Gross.
  • Burned scalp. I hated this part of the relaxer, but always thought that it was necessary for it to work. It shouldn't burn, and this should have been a sign to me that it was bad for my hair.
  • Scabs. To go along with a burned scalp. I would pick the scabs that would form on my scalp just days after relaxing.
  • Hair breakage. When I would blowdry my hair, or even comb it, I would end up with several hairs on my counters, on my back, everywhere. I should have known that that wasn't healthy
  • Natural Hair and Transitioning. I [shamly and seriously] had no idea that I could go back to natural hair. I would marvel at women and children with natural hair and wish that my hair could look like that. I guess I was jaded to what was growing out of my scalp every time I got a touch-up.
  • Washing. I for the longest time thought that I wasn't supposed to wash my hair, more than once a week. Was I wrong. Build-up in the hair is not healthy and hair, loves moisture. I now co-wash my hair at least every other day.

What is really in your hair relaxer

All of these hair relaxers regardless of if their "lye" or "no-lye" are harmful to your hair. They are chemicals that cause our hair to permanently straighten, to go against it's natural texture, and become something it isn't.

All alkalis have a pH larger than 7, thus can be detected with litmus paper. Litmus will turn blue when it touches an alkali).

Most alkalis have a pH of 10 or greater.

They are caustic (causes chemical burns).

Alkaline solutions are slippery or soapy to the touch because the causticity dissolves the surface of your skin and your fingerprints.

Common active ingredients in hair texturizer, hair softener, 'natural relaxer', 'natural perm', 'curly perm', 'wash and wear relaxer', thermal relaxer, Japanese relaxer, kiddie perms, blowout kit are:

  • Sodium hydroxide: Is often called caustic soda, or lye. Lye is often used to decompose complex molecular bonds such as the protein of your hair. Lye is also the active ingredient in Drano drain declogger. Use gloves and eye protection when using sodium hydroxide (lye), since there is a high probability of getting chemical burns, scars, and even blindness.
Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye and caustic soda, is a caustic metallic base. Sodium hydroxide forms a strong alkaline solution when dissolved in a solvent such as water, however, only the hydroxide ion is basic. It is used in many industries, mostly as a strong chemical base in the manufacture of pulp and paper, textiles, drinking water, soaps, and detergents and as a drain cleaner.
I should also note that is it also used in the production of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and dimethltryptamine. It is also used as paint stripper and the tissue digestion of dead animal carcasses, it is commonly used in decomposing road kill dumped in landfills. Yet another shocking use for sodium hydroxide is the use of it by serial killers and other criminals to dispose of their victims bodies.
  • Potassium hydroxide: Is often called potash, caustic potash, potassa, potash lye, or potassium hydrate. Potassium hydroxide is often used to disbud the horns of cattle, dissolve scales and hair, washing detergent, and drain cleaners.
  • Calcium hydroxide: Is an alkaline used as a lye substitute in no-lye hair relaxers.
It's many uses include: flocculand in water and sewage treatment; a chemical depilatory found in Nair (the hair remover!)
  • Guanidine hydroxide: Is also used as a lye alternative. They are often a combination of calcium hydroxide cream with guanidine carbonate (activator) solution. Ammonium thioglycolate: Is also called perm salt or thio.
  • Ammonium thioglycolate contains a large amount of free ammonia.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Hair Story"


"Hump" day inspiration

We all know that wednesday is the hump that begins the end of the week. For us naturals, a hump day, may be a day when we find ourselves hating our natural hair and being frustrated with it. Well, I decided to help
brighten up your "hump days" with some natural hair inspiration to keep you going.

For the little ones

For dreadlocks

For BAA (big ass afros)

For TWA (teeny weeny afros)

A touching story

Originally from Ethiopia, Miriam Tgist Green, 4, was adopted by Emory professor Clifton Green and his wife in 2005.

His care and attention to detail show mastery of a task few white men ever contemplate.

Dad Clifton and mom Jennifer initially were uncertain what to do with Miriam's hair after bringing her home. They considered just letting it go, as a sign of freedom. They wanted others to accept her, regardless of her looks.

"They wanted others to accept her, regardless of her looks." This is so touching. Many people, even some black people would have just relaxed the hair, damaging it in the long run, just for convenience.

Clifton Green researched the best products to keep Miriam's hair from drying and breaking. He noticed and copied styles he saw on other kids. With practice, he became skilled.

This is the way many of us newly naturals and those transitioning have come to love natural hair and know how to care for our hair. I remember looking online for inspiration and information because I did not know what to do with the hair that grows out of scalp. I'm glad that he took the effort to find out how to take care of her hair.
One thing I have to ask though. Why does he have a fork in his hand? Is it for detangling?

This is the drawer in the Green's living room that holds all the tools Dad uses to care for Miriam's hair.

ohhh... the wide toothed comb. This is a must. I also see some moisturizer and what likes leave in?

A little Hair History

click on images to view larger.


Welcome to Naturally Dorothy. I decided to make a natural hair blog about the things that interest me. I recently decided to go natural, and would like to be seen as an inspiration for future and current naturals.

Remember, We need not change ourselves to accommodate someone else's pre-conceived notion of what beauty is. We must be true to ourselves and learn to love ourselves.