In the past, I wrote a post about how my step-daughter Kadesha transitioned from eating processed foods to eating healthy and home-cooked meals to lose weight and be a positive role-model to her daughter. (See post A Busy Mom’s Guide to Keeping Fit.) In this post she will detail how she transitioned from processed (chemically relaxed) hair to her naturally textured hair. This was not just a bold step but a big statement because in the African-American/Canadian community, long, flowing extensions or processed locks are often revered or desired (a la Beyonce Knowles.) This topic conjures up my own memories, when as a child I would put a towel on my head, pretending it was my long, straight hair and temporarily forgetting my frizzy mass of curls. I don’t recall seeing hair naturalists such as India Arie or other role models on many magazine covers, especially in my generation. The decision to go natural can be controversial, as “good hair” is often the topic of great debate and discussion in the black community. When Kadesha first emailed me a photo of her new cropped style with all the relaxer shaven off, I was a little taken aback. It was just that I was so accustomed to and have always known her with long, straight tresses. When I saw another photo, I saw how lovely she looked. She is really able to pull off her cropped “do” with a confidence that is glowing. Not only that, she can rock a pair of large chandelier earrings like nobody’s business. Here is Kadesha’s story about why and how she came to the decision to go natural:
I suffered from severe and constant headaches and after doing some research I came across an article that might suggest that the general population suffers from a lot of ailments due to the chemicals we put into our bodies. I researched ” RELAXER” found that it is very poisonous, toxic and full of very harsh chemicals that I was putting into my body. I decided that by continuing to process my hair, that I was slowly killing myself, therefore the decision to become NATURAL.
As with anything new, I was scared.. afraid of what people might think, unsure… a range of emotions but I did lots of research and found that there are a lot of cute, funky and protective styles that fit my personality.
After experimenting for a few weeks I decided that i did not want transition ( grow my perm out gradually ) so I experimented by shaving both sides of my head. This allowed me to see my texture of my natural hair, feel it and begin to embrace it. I rocked that style for a couple of weeks then cut it all off.
How I maintain and keep healthy hair :
Well there’s that saying ” you are what you eat”, and this is how I maintain healthy hair. Along with eating right I use sulphate and paraben free shampoos. No petroleum base or mineral base products. Last but not least, I moisturize and use little to no heat.
I personally have had chemically relaxed hair during my days in college, currently I am all natural. I love both looks; sleek and straight and curly rebellion. It’s all about personal preference. However, if your relaxer is creating health issues, as in Kadesha’s case, it’s great to know there are resources available to help return to your natural hair texture as well as products on the hair market to support this transition. Kadesha’s story does make me more cognizant to toxins out there and not just in the form of food, but also in the mascara I wear each day, to the type of cleanser I wash my face with. Congratulations on your decision Kadesha as you continue your journey to wellness with style (and great chandelier earrings.)