Relaxers: Abuse Continues

From age 10 through 23, I continued to press my hair. It never gained any length, I’m guessing, greater than 7 or 8 inches long, but it was thick and always fairly healthy. For the most part, I liked my hair. Back then, most girls wore a press and curl because most mamas in my neighborhood were single parents and couldn’t afford to maintain a relaxer. In the early to mid 70s, I was in junior high and would occasionally sport an afro. Many of my friends did the same and alternated between press ’n curls and fros. I’m sure at that point my hair wasn’t in the best condition, but it wasn’t in extremely horrible condition either. By high school however, I was strictly doing press ‘n curls, and in fact, I wore my hair like that until the age of 23 — that’s when I let my friend put a relaxer in my hair.

At the time, I was in college. It wasn’t that I hated my nappy hair or anything like that; it’s just that all the girls had relaxers by then. Also, we all had part-time jobs, and were perfectly capable of affording the maintenance a perm required. In my case, I thought that entailed simply getting a touch up every six weeks; shampooing and conditioning my hair every week; blowing drying it bone straight; and using a hot curling iron to curl my hair every single day. How hard could that be?

So I purchased an extra-strength Dark n’ Lovely relaxer kit, invited Cynthia over to put it in my hair. Cynthia had beautiful relaxed hair, and so did all of her sisters. Heck, they all had pretty hair when they were just getting it pressed. Now they all had perms. And they were doing each other’s relaxers, so I figured she knew what she was doing, and I wanted my hair to look like hers. When we were finished, it did look like hers. It was shiny and sleek and bouncin’ and behaving. And best of all, I wouldn’t have to go through the wash, plait, dry, press ‘n curl ritual that I had done all my life. Yep, now I had pretty much wash ‘n go hair. And from that point on, unbeknownst to me, I was setting myself up for 20 years of constant breakage, heartache and countless relaxer hair horror stories. Here are the most significant ones.

Breakage: Story 1

While still in college, with my newly relaxed hair, I resorted to parting my hair down the middle and wearing two big french braids. That started breaking my hair off at the front of my hair line. I remember having to let that grow out and looking really raggedy about the head for a while but really not much else.

Breakage: Story 2
After wearing my hair really short for several years, I decided to let it grow out. I went away to graduate school and came back home for a visit. I let my friend Brigette put an extra-strength Revlon relaxer in my hair. That’s what she always used on her hair, and it was always gorgeous. I, however, suffered major breakage right in one of the parts down the back of my head.

Breakage: Story 3
While still in graduate school, I put a box perm, probably Dark ‘n Lovely in my hair. My hair promptly broke off from ear-to-ear starting at my crown all the way down to my kitchens. At the time I was doing an on air internship for a TV station and had to wear a wig. My hair was still fairly long in the top, so I pushed the wig back a little and combed my own hair over the wig. No one knew the difference.

Breakage: Story 4 (Short stint with a Jheri Curl)
I moved back home and decided to pursue corporate communications as a career. This time, I grew my hair out and was putting a dark brown permanent color in my hair with no intent on changing my own shade, just trying to enhance my own natural color. Then I decided to get a jheri curl. The curl chemicals lightened my hair to the color of my skin. For a while it was very pretty. Then the double-process started making my hair crunchy and hard. It broke off. So I grew it out again. Once I had about four inches of natural hair I put another relaxer in.

Breakage: Story 5
With a job offer firmly in hand, moved to Columbus, Ohio. One Christmas, I was planning a trip back home, but after buying presents, my plane ticket and paying for a rental car that left no money for getting a professional relaxer touch up. So, I decided for the first time in a long time to put a box perm in my hair. I was apprehensive so I paid very close attention to the timing. I started off on my right side of my head, applying as carefully as possible to only the new growth. Worked that through fairly quickly, waited for the timer to go off while smooth my hair with the back of a comb.
When the timer went off, I began washing my hair with neutralizing shampoo. As I was finger combing my hair under running water, I started noticing that I had these long strands of hair wrapped around my hands…like a cocoon. My hair was coming out at the scalp! My heart started racing so badly. I washed out all the relaxer and piled conditioner on my hair hoping that would stop the breakage. When I washed the conditioner out, my sink was full of hair. I was just sick. I blow dried it. Curled it and got on the plane the next day to visit my family. By the time I got back from my trip, I had a three-inch diameter bald spot on the right side of my hair about two inches in from my hairline.
There’s a whole lot more to this nightmare—but I’ll spare you the details.

Breakage Story 6
Decided to try a Vigorol Liquid Hair Relaxer — the perm you can press. Whenever I washed my hair, it was always soft and spongy. When it dried, it was brittle and hard. And yes, I still tried to press my hair. Lawd have mercy.

Breakage Story 7: My last Relaxer
After that, I started going to a beautician on a regular basis. I reasoned that doing my own relaxers was why my I suffered constant damage and why my hair never seemed to thrive. But beauticians, I found intimidated me. They never seemed to do what I wanted done. So I decided to put my journalism skills to work. I had a list of salons around the city, formulated a list of questions and decided to interview them. I settled on three. Gave each of them a chance and then finally settled on one. I liked her. But after a while, I could see that my hair still would not thrive even under professional care. No matter what, I’d still have breakage somewhere…along the hair line or in my crown or my kitchen area. Plus, my hair would never seem to grow no more than 7 or 8 inches long. Why beauticians subscribe to the notion that “triming” your hair makes it grow, I’ll never know. Cause after five years of professional care, with expensive products, twice a week conditioning and regular trims…my hair should have been down my back! But it wasn’t. At times, it was cute, but it was never thick again…not like it was when I was just doing regular press ‘n curls. But I continued to get relaxers anyway.

In 2000, a wonderful job opportunity materialized for me in Cleveland. So I sold my condo,  and moved to Northeast Ohio. I started going to various beauticians, but they were working my ever-lovin’ last nerve. By 2001, I finally settled on a one who I thought was doing a good job but. But by early 2002, something was wrong. I started noticing that there seemed to be a lot of hair going down the drain when I shampooed. Plus, when I blow dried my hair once a week, my bathroom floor was always covered with broken off hair; it was just getting thinner and thinner — and I was getting very self conscious. So I decided to stop putting heat on it and started pulling my hair into a ponytail and wearing a phony pony. But one day, I wanted to see what the back of my hair looked like with my phony pony in and to my horror, when I turned around and held a mirror up to look at the back of my head in the big mirror, my kitchens were so badly eaten out I was almost bald. Once again, I was just sick to my stomach about my hair. And shortly after that, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted healthy hair, I needed to stop the chemical dependency and end the madness. That’s when I decided to never get a relaxer again. Once I made up my mind, I never went back.
 
And so, my journey towards nappturality unknowingly begins.

Comments
64 Responses to “Relaxers: Abuse Continues”
  1. Myrna says:

    Girl, this is good stuff. I feel like you have written my story from beginning to end. After my fifth attempt at getting my hair relaxed I have sworn off too. Now, may I ask what your age is, because I ran into one of my former beauticians (grew my hair down my back) who said, “you’re coming out of your relaxer now, uhh umm, you better wait cause what you’re about to go through……..” One of the beautiful things about me is that I never listen. I just left the shop as a matter of fact three hours ago (press n’ curl) and depending on how many hot flashes I have tonight maybe at least the top will be pretty in the morning. I felt I couldn’t wait anymore and had to come out of my last relaxer because one of my cats had more hair than I did. (Why is it that we always have to hear about us no longer having any hair from our friends instead of our hairdressers?) That’s another story! But here I am two years later, with hair almost to my shoulders and thinking about going back to the Vigorol. Finding it is like searching for gold on Mars. Just like the Miss Cool, (Soft Sheen – best setting lotion in the world), you can’t find it for a million dollars. Women are coming out of these relaxers but finding the stuff to beautify that press n’ curl cannot be found anywhere. But that’s when I had hair, in my press n’ curl. It does so well and gets so long and thick (well I’m older now so I don’t know about getting that thick again ) that I eventually end up back in a chemical because people don’t want to deal with the time and effort it takes to do it. Vigorol was the ticket for me back then but I was going to Lillian every two weeks and she kept it up. They use to call me Farrah my hair was so long and pretty. But like mom says, I had better get that hair back on my head cause I’ll be 50 before I know it and when everything else is falling down around me I should at least have some hair to fall with it.

     Hi Myrna…in case you don’t make it back to view my reply, I’ve also sent you the same message via email. However, I’m posting my response to you here as well so that hopefully it may help the next person considering the use of a Vigorol or is still dependent on heat to style their hair to take that last step and embrace being nappy.

    Thanks for visiting Nappturology 101, and leaving your message. I don’t usually respond to folks directly, but the fact that you’re contemplating a Vigorol prompted me to send you an email, rather than only responding here.

    If didn’t have the chance, I hope you come back and browse my journal, particularly the hair styles. You’ll discover there are just so many beautiful ways to wear your hear that does not involve the application of heat and chemicals…and that includes using that dreaded Vigorol liquid relaxer. It’s just as bad as having a cream relaxer put in your hair. If you’ve had no chemicals for two years, and you start putting that stuff in your hair now, soon, you’ll have NO hair…and I’m quite sure that’s not your goal.

    Sounds to me you’re looking for a ways to manager your hair. It’ sounds like it’s getting fairly long, you sweat in the head and you don’t hold a press. Been there! That’s why I chose to go fully natural and totally embrace wearing my hair the way it was meant to be worn…no heat and chemical free. Now, I don’t worry about all that stuff you worry about when you have a relaxer or pressed hair. Wearing my hair naturally allows my hair to do what it wants to do…and that’s be nappy.

    If you’re ready, there are tons of resources that can help you learn how to manage, style and ultimately learn to love and accept your nappy hair. Here are just a few…

    *Nappturality.com – Affectionately known as NP to its members, we’re an online organization of more than 50,000 women who wear our hear naturally without the aid of heat and chemicals. You’ll find nothing but LOVE for nappy hair on this site, and it has helped countless women realize that our hair does not have to be worn straight to be beautiful. On NP, I’m NappymeHappyme. Come on over, look around and see what life on the nappy side of the fence is like. We love it!

    *Motowngirl.com – A smaller web site devoted to black women who want to learn how to care for and style natural hair or all types.

    These two can get you started. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I’ll continue to try to get you pointed to resources that can help you transition out of using heat and the desire to use chemicals and begin helping you to rock your natural hair in all its glory!

    Take Care,

    Deb aka Nappyme 

  2. wilson says:

    how do i get my fro to be soft and puffy without using a relaxer. do i blow dry after washing or what

  3. nappyme says:

    Hi Wilson,

    If you are natural, absolutely do not go back to relaxing your hair. If you want a soft fluffy fro, you’ll need to experiement to find out what type of products your hair likes. However, here are some basic thing you need to know about caring for nappy hair:

    *Don’t use petroleum or mineral oil based products…they lead to dry hair. Instead opt for oil extracts. My favorite is jojoba oil.
    *Use non-sulfate shampoos. They’re less drying. Try Jason or Aubrey brand shampoos and conditioners
    *Don’t use heat on your hair. Heat can really dry out and permanently damage our hair.
    *Use water/glycerin based moisturizers in the summer months. In the winter you can substitute glycerine with a natural oil of your choice such as jojoba oil
    *At night put about five big twists in your hair (or as many as it takes) and cover your hair with a scarf at nigh. In the morning untwist, finger fluff and pat to shape up your fro.

    Works for me. Hope it can work for you. Thanks for visiting Nappturology 101.

  4. stephanie says:

    Hello, thanks for all the info. Hope you can help a sista out hear, cause I’v been almost completely relaxer free for about a year, and I couldn’t take not being able to comb through my hair daily. I didn’t want a relaxer so I put in a vigorol last month. I am sick over what you’ve said about losing hair due to using vigorol. My hair is past my shoulders now, and I’ve noticed that a bit too much hair has come out daily. We lose anywhere from 75-150 strands of hair daily. I could be just paranoid at this time because I am petrified of losing my gorgeous crown and glory! It’s nearly a month now, and I don’t want to continue using vigorol, can I grow it out without causing damage to my hair? HELP!!! THNX…
    Steph!

  5. nappyme says:

    Hi Stephanie.

    Yep, you basically put a relaxer in your hair. I had bigger issues with a Vigoral then I did with a cream-based relaxer because it’s liquid and you absolutely cannot control where you put it when you have to do a touch up. As a result, my hair was jacked up fairly quickly.

    Since I was already pressing my hair, I just discontinued the Vigorol and pressed my new growth while gradually cutting off the relaxed ends.

    Steph are you pressing your hair or are you treating it totally like a regular relaxer i.e., shampoo, condition, blow dry, hot curling etc?

    The reason I ask is, I know that I initially transitioned by pressing my roots and cutting off my ends. However, at this point in my life, I am totally against applying heat to natural hair in anyway shape or form because the potential to damage is it is so great. However, you sound as if you didn’t have a good natural experience the last time. Well, I’m here to tell you managing nappy hair doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it just take education, patience and a willingness to let go of the notion that being able to get a comb through nappy hair is the epitome of manageability.

    Nappy hair is extremely manageable…just not in the same manner that you’d take care of straight hair. It’s also very versatile. There are soooo many cute ways to wear natural hair that don’t involve wearing it straight. Double-strand twists, flat twists, twist outs, bantu knots, knot outs, fros, puffs, shrunken fros, loose fros, and a combination of these styles and more. Plus, if you’re like me, I love being able to put my hair in twists and go at least a week with the same style before I ever have to touch my hair again.

    So, this time out, you’ll need to re-examine what it is that you want to get out of going natural. If you intend to press your hair, just know that you risk damaging it especially if you’d like to wear natural styles too. I honestly think that natural hair and heat don’t mix cause the damage that heat can cause will eventually catch up to you.

    Soooo, what do I recommend to save your hair? You could try various protein treatments like Emergencee by Nexxus or Aphogee or something like that. That can help strengthen your hair during your transition. As your new growth comes in, you can try doing some of the style that I mentioned that cater to your new growth. So for instance, you could put bantu knots in your hair at night, take them down and have the cutest little twistie curls.

    You could also wear braided extensions. This is how I transtitioned. I think I finally chopped my relaxed ends off after I had about three or four inches of hair. But I kept wearing braids for about 3.5 years.

    For more tips on transitioning, check out Nappturality.com and go to the transitioner’s forum. You can so check out Transitioning tips on Motowngirl’s web site as well.

    I hope this helps. Good luck on your natural journey anew. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask.

  6. Patience says:

    I have transitioned form relaxers to natural I loved it for a while only because my hands hurt washing and combing my hair.So i put the new just for me t exurizer and my hair feels thin and i hate it. i was told that your natural hair comes back in 2 months. what can i do to keep the natural look. I have very very naaappy hair. please help me!!

  7. nappyme says:

    Oh I’m sorry Patience. a texturizer is just s weak relaxer… It has permanently broken some of the bonds in your hair to loosen your naps up. Unfortunately sis you’ll just have to transition all over again, but the good thing is you’ve done it once so it’s not like you’re charting unfamiliar terriroty.

    Are you a member of Nappturality.com? If you’re not, you need to join. Lurk and/or participate in the Transitioner’s forum and also on the Hair forum where you can learn how to take care of your nappy hair. Yes, I find taking care of nappy hair rather challenging at times, but it becomes easier all the time as I pick up all kinds of tips and advice on how to care for, style and maintain my hair from sistah’s that have been there and done that.

    Also, make sure you bookmark my site as well as I’m always updating it with helpful tips and information about taking care of nappy hair on a regular basis.

    If you have anymore questions, make sure you let me know.

    Good luck, take care and good luck on your nappy journey anew!.

  8. augusta says:

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!
    your last relaxer story (the seventh one) sounds just like mine to the tee! For years i relied on my cousin to do my hair, relaxers, extensions, you name it..cut the long story short, my hair wasn’t really damaged, but it wasn’t growing either (although, when i left my hair in extensions for several months at a time, it did grow, but it usually broke off when i applied a relaxer to my hair) so i chose to see professionsals. Unfortunately that didn’t help either. My ends were not as damaged as they would say, and would always cut off more than i asked them to.(they said it was for my own good..yeah right) .i’d still get scalp burns, and , to a lesser degree, small bald spots a the back of my head,and my hair still didn’t grow or show any dramatic improvement..so from then on (june 2005) i stopped relaxing my hair. I’ve wanted to go natural for a long time prior to that, but i was afraid that my hair would be extremely difficut to manage. Luckily, with sites like yours, afrokinks, motown girl, etc..this transition has been a lot easier. I really think that some women who relax do wish that they could sport their natural hair, but are not informed.. i can attest cause i was one of them.
    on another note, i do use heat on my hair only when i apply a deep conditioner, to let it really sink into my hair, i don’t use heat for styling or drying though. Anyways, Please keep us updated on the latest products tecniques etc… THANK YOU, thank, thank you!!

  9. nappyme says:

    Hi Augusta! Thanks for visiting NPP101. So glad you found the site and glad you found something to relate to. Keep coming back. I’m always adding new stuff. Also love the commetns so keep ’em coming.

    And good for you for staying away from the absolute most damaging forms of heat. I’m pretty much a nappy purist so I just slap on a plastic cap and let my body heat do the work.

    Take care!
    Nappyme

  10. Fikira3 says:

    So for the umpteenth time I have cut off my relaxer as I had a part of my head that became a regularly bald patch after each of my periodic relaxers. I’ve rarely had perms because my hair always breaks off but I have never worn my natural hair out. I’m going on a year without a relaxer but with braids and I am really tired of braiding my hair as I have been doing it since I was 10 ( I’ll be 26). I actually almost bought a Vigorol liquid relaxer today while looking for a product that releases the curl pattern. While scanning the shelves for a ph shampoo for the Vigorol I came across “Baka Beauty Natural-laxer”. It’s sort of expensive and they claim it consists only of herbs that will softener your hair (can even be used on your face as it is mixed with some kind of clay). They don’t claim to give a curl like you’d get with a texturizer. I want to try it but wanted to hear some thoughts on this product. Maybe someone else has heard of it or used it before? you can find in on the ‘net by searching for baka beauty or nautral laxer… Thanks so much.

  11. nappyme says:

    Hi Fikira3,
    Welcome to NPP101! My advice to you on the natural relaxer is DON’T DO IT! A relaxer, is a relaxer, is still a relaxer, no matter how “natural” the ingredients purport to be. If you’ve always had problems with chemicals, trust me, this product that you speak about will not be the solution you’re looking for with regards to having a healthy head of managable hair. Eventually, you’ll wish you hadn’t done it. So save yourself some grief and get the notion of wearing relaxed hair out of your head.

    Why not give natural a try. I did the same thing. I wore braids for almost 4 years before I started wearing my own hair. I started off wearning twists and later joined Nappturality.com to learn more about how to take care of and manage my hair. I have absolutely no regrets. I love taking care of my hair in it’s nappy, natural state and quite honestly can’t even fathom ever putting another chemical in my hair. And you know what? There are times that I think about putting my braids back in, but I honestly think I’d miss wearing my own hair too much.

    Really, go natural girl and let your hair do its thang. There are toooo many internet resources out there nowadays (including my site) that can give you all the information and guidance you need to wear your hair naturally and proudly. But you have to take the time to do your research and also you must have the patience to learn what your hair needs and how to care for and style it. It won’t always be easy, but you know what they say, nothing worthwhile ever is.

    So stay on my site awhile, there’s plenty of information right here. You can also join Nappturality.com, the Internet’s leading napptural hair care forum as well as Motown.com. If you take a look at the cNapp album page her on NPP101 and decide you have a similiar hair texture, please feel free to join all of us cNapps on my forum cNappymeNow. All of us have extremely tightly coiled, undefined nappy hair. If you think you’d fit in then we’d be happy to have ya.

    Girl take care and good luck!
    ~Nappyme

  12. Courtney says:

    Hey! Thanks so much for your insight! I had microbraids w/ extensions for 8 years yet left my own hair natural underneath. When the hairline started to thin and after a dramatic summer in which I lost everything in my Life, I decided to go for a whole new look. I took the braids out, and a week later relaxed my hair at home with an Olive Oil regular perm. It came out beautiful — shoulder length and healthy. Then when it was time to touch up I decided to go to a supposed professional. I told her what relaxer I had used but she insisted it wasn’t good and that we should switch to a Soft Sheen Optima Extra Strength. First time she did it it looked amazing and was healthy and springy. I continued to go to her and we added three rows of extensions to the back for length.

    It’s been nine months. However, my hair has now started to break dramatically! When I point the breakage out to her, she claims it was from the braids but I know my hair! Plus if it was the braids, hair would’ve fallen out over the years. I think it was the relaxer switch. Plus the last time she touched it up, she pulled the relaxer through the WHOLE HEAD instead of just the roots! HELP! The front is now completely wrecked with the hairline scant and the front hair that used to fall over my eyes into my face now about an inch long! What products can u suggest to grow the hairline and front hair back?

  13. nappyme says:

    Courtney, you have to know that I don’t advocate relaxers…at all. So all I can really tell you to do is to transition out of that madness and go natural. Do it with braids if you have to. When you’re comfortable with your length, come on out of those braids and do a big chop and wear your beautiful nappy hair out in all of its glory…the way God intended.

    In the meantime, you can visit sites like mine and Nappturality.com and Motowngirl.com and others to start getting a feel for learning how to care for your hair. Start finding resources that will help you learn how to style nappy hair…where you can learn to love it’s texture and embrace it instead of feeling like you HAVE to kill it with chemicals to manage it and feel beautiful.

    Bottom line…go nappy honey so you don’t ever have to deal with breakage from relaxers ever again.

  14. Kitina says:

    I just happened on your blog and I am glad I did. I am going natural after experiencing serious breakage from relaxers. The girl that braided my hair suggested that I try vigorol between braids however I am glad I looked it up before actually trying it out. Thanks for sharing your story, it has helped me!

  15. nappyme says:

    Hi Kitina,
    I’m glad you found NP101 as well.

    Oh my goodness. Yes, please stay away from that evil stuff, because it’s also a relaxer. You’d totally defeat your purpose in going natural.

    Good luck on your natural journey and stay strong. Stop back sometime and let me know how it’s going.

    ~Nappyme

  16. gaynelle says:

    Hi, I’m so happy that I found this wonderful website! It will be very beneficial to all wanting to go natural. I have been natural for about a year now, but i think that I put something in my hair that may have dried it out a bit. I got ringworm from this nasty beach house that i stayed in this summer and I was so paranoid of it spreading into my hair. So, i used a medicated shampoo (selsun blue) and an apple cider vinegar rinse. Everyone says that its okay, but my hair is dry now .I know my hair! Can I replenish the natural oils that were in my hair prior to this event?

  17. Sherone says:

    i’ve had my hair natural since about 5th or 6th grae after it came out in clumps from a relaxer. now i’ve been out of high school for a year. i’m a hair stylist and at my old job my manager told me it is not professional to have nappy hair and told me i either relax it i go home. so i let her texturize it because i didn’t want to get fired. that was a month ago. i have breakage on my hairline becuz i used micro braids too much before and i love when my hair is straight because i look more my age thats y i did micros and weaves. and my hair was much more manageable with the texturizer but at the same time i still really dont’ trust them. i jus bought one today to retouch my hair since i got fired from my job anyway. but havent put it in yet becuz i’m scared. so how do i get the pretty straight and loose curly look like celebrities have with out a relaxer or texturizer? are braids and weaves good for helping my hair to grow or just harmful. i don’t now what to do. they don’t teach us about black hair in beauty school and i’m adopted into a white family so i don’t really kno how to take care of my hair i’ve always worn braids or jus experimented with my hair. PLEASE HELP thank you

  18. truddy annella says:

    I use to press my hair until I decided to get a curl. My hair grew and then I switched to a relaxer called”Botanicles” (regular). I’ve never experienced hair breakage on chemical treatments until I went to a beautician in La. My hair was midway my back and when I went to the beautician, I ended up with short hair about 1 1/2 inches. Ever since then, I’ve been doing my own hair and my hair is shoulder length at this time and no breakage. I think everyone is different. If chemicals break your hair instead of growing it, don’t use it. NATURAL IS GREAT and I’m thinking on going that way just because I’m tired of relaxers.

  19. nappyme says:

    Trudy you’re absolutely right to each her own when it comes to the use of caustic chemicals in one’s hair to create an artificial image of acceptible european beauty…for whatever the reason may be. Bottom line…the chemicals are dangerous and highly unpredictable just as you can already to attest to since your midback length hair was horribly damaged by a relaxer.

    In addition, let’s be clear, relaxers DO NOT GROW your hair; but they can burn your scalp irrepabably so causing damage to your follicles and cause hair loss that may not grow back. As a result, there are many more women walking around with broken off hair and damaged scalps due to using these chemicals than you’ll ever know.

    Also many women do not believe they have ANY other choice but to relaxer their hair or to press it for a variety of reasons and will often continue to do so to their own detriment. If it were as easy a decision to go natural as you seem to think it is , the Internet world that provides support to thousands of women everywhere would not need to exist. Hence the reason for my involvment in this movement to help women learn to embrace their nappy selves and show them that they have options that do not involve frying your hair and scalp when they don’t have to.

    I’m glad you’re thinking about going natural. Not just because you’re tired of them, but because it really is the safest, healthiest way to wear the hair that grows out of your head.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

  20. Xquisitgem says:

    Thank you so much! I stumbled on your site while googling info @Vigorol relaxers. I remember my mom using that on my head in the ’70’s because it was touted as “gentle.”

    Your story about breakage could be me, just change the names. I have soft, thick, fine hair that feels like cotton but shrinks @75%. Yep, I too believed that going to a pro would solve my problems. NOT! From 2001-2005, I went natural. Decided to go back to perms in Dec. 2005 after having my hair pressed and seeing length I’d never seen before. My stylist informed me that a texturizer was a perm left on for @half the time so the hair wouldn’t completely straighten. Hair was fine until I went back for the touch-up 2 months later. Same stylist permed my roots then combed it through the rest of my already permed hair and let me sit for @5min. When I left the shop, I could rub my hands over my head and get a palmful of hair. I knew what had happened and I was steaming (mostly at myself for being so gullible).

    Two months later, I cut it off and used wigs and extensions for the last 18months until my hair grew back. Any ideas, suggestions @dry-twisting natural hair? I’ve always done 2-strands on wet/damp hair but I was thinking I’d get more length and volume by dry-twisting. Thanks, thanks, thanks, so much for saving me from a Vigorol disaster!!

  21. aishah says:

    all that work and effort to keep good hair from false to braiding to no avail girls it is much better to stay with your locks i was just here sitting debating and i have the vigorol on my dresser with also a soft and free relaxer i havent relaxed my hair since five months yes it shribbles up when wet, and yes it is course and hard to comb boy my hands do tire but i better stop while i am ahead of myself and say no to the over processing and yes to the napps my hair is shoulder lenght thick and naturally beautiful and i am proud my husband told me the other day not to change it if he doesnt mind why should i this is what God gave me and i am pleased and thankful for you girls out there let us be happy with what we have

  22. Sunday says:

    LOL! I’m not laughing at you, but with you and at my various friends and relatives that just HAD to have a relaxer/perm/jheri curl. Lawd have mercy! My mother and grandmother pressed their hair every week even though they had what was called “good” hair, and so we (my sister and I) were subjected to the press n’ curl as well. My sister got tired of that mess and decided to go the chemical route….sometimes the results were great (when she did it herself), and sucked (when she shelled out the big bucks. I, on the other hand figured that I most certainly couldn’t exercise like I wanted with pressed hair, and didn’t feel like going through all those changes with chemicals. Granted, my hair doesn’t change much from a bun, ponytail, or french roll, but as long as I’m not a “slave” to the chemicals, I’m all right.

    Also, I have NEVER known anyone who actually used Vigorol! I bought it once, began to apply it in the bathroom, and the sulfur (?!) smell told me to just throw it in the trash. Yeah, I lost $3, but there was no way I could put rotten eggs in my hair!

  23. stacey says:

    I have two girls, 8yo & 5yo, and I am struggling with both of them — the 8yo more than the 5yo. I’ve used Vigoral on both of them, but my 8yo experienced SERIOUS breakage in the back of her hair about 1yr ago. Since then I have not used Vigoral on either of my girls. I’ve had their hair braided since then, and in the last 3 months I had the hairdresser do box braids with fake hair added in. Now that the breakage has stopped and her hair is growing back my 8yo fights and cries everytime that I need to comb her hair, let alone wash it. Do you have any advice for me in terms of managing, combing and styling her hair? Any products that you might recommend to help in combing or keeping it neat?

  24. nappyme says:

    Your 8-year-old sounds like she could be extremely tender-headed. Ask her if that’s the case. If so, my advice would be to not make her hair combing sessions long and dragged out. Shoot if you have to, do the top one day and a week later do the back. Instead of hair grease which contains petroleum and mineral oil which are extremely drying, opt for moisturizing products such as curl moisturizers and activators. Then you can rinse her hair instead of using drying shampoos because these products are water soluable and come right out just with water. (Radical thought I know…try it, it won’t hurt anything). If you get on a rinse only routine with her, you can even start skipping the conditioner. We only use condititioners to put back in what shampoos strip out. So instead, just rinse and go right for the moisturizers.

    Another thing to try is to NOT take her hair down all at once to cleanse. If you want, you can just rinse her hair in plaits and then take them down one at a time and redo them. Or you can take several down put them in bigger plaits and then rinse each one, one at a time and then braid them back up. Keep her hair stretched out at all times to avoid tangling. Make sure you’re using a wide tooth detangling comb. You can also use a detangling spray so that the comb and brush slips right through her hair.

    I feel like I’m kinda rambling in this post but I hope some of the information helps. Good luck and take care!

    ~Nappyme

  25. Erica says:

    I think I have done the same “hair dance” as you for many years. I started relaxing my hair when I was 8 years old, much to the dismay of my mother…but she let me do it. Of course my hair was beautiful before the relaxer, but it was the 70’s and all of the “Charlie’s Angels” had their hair bone straight. Through the years my hair broke, then grew, then broke. I would say my hair never grew past my ears again. So, at the age of 30 I finally decided to give up the perms. I was told you couldn’t really grow out a perm…I would have to cut off the realxed hair. So after a few glasses of wine, for nerves 🙂 , I cut my hair so short that friends called me “baby head”. Luckily I had a nice shaped head! I was excited as my hair began to grow out. I couldn’t even remember what my natural hair was like. It took about 3 years to grow out to where I absolutely loved it. And it was all natural!! I did color it a couple times, but nothing major. I got so many compliments on my natural hair. The topper was when I was at a concert and the actor Russel Crowe walked past all the models gaping at him, walked up to me and said, “I LOVE your hair, can I touch it?” I was floored. I said “yes!” I have been so happy since I gave up relaxers and would recommend it to anyone thinking about giving up perms.

    A year later I cut all my hair off again and dyed it blond…I’m not sure what got into me ( maybe too many Eve videos) well it grew out, and I got braids. I wore braids for 18 mos. My hair has grown out again. It grew pretty fast this time. I was pregnant and taking pre-natal vitamins…I think those vitamins can really grow hair. Now I am looking for a new style. I am pressing my hair now, but I really don’t want to use any heat on my hair. So here’s my question…I have been looking into this Natural-Relaxer by Baka Beautiful. Of course there are wonderful testimonials on their site…but I want the real scoop! They tout that other “natural relaxer” are not really natural…but theirs is made up of all 100% natural ingredients, unlike “the others”. They say that there are no chemicals in their product and that (all) your hair will return to it’s original state if you don’t use it for 6-8 weeks. Have you heard of this product? It’s kind of pricey…is it worth it?
    Thanks

  26. nappyme says:

    Hi Erica,
    I’m a nappy advocate through-n-through. I’ll never say ANYTHING good about straightening hair. Never. I’ll NEVER recommend that anyone straighten their hair for any reason…I won’t recommend products that straighten hair, and if you read enough of my site, you’ll know that I am not a heat advocate either. Ah…so their goes the flat iron, pressing comb, blow driers and hooded driers. When it comes to napps, I’m aunapturale!

    However, I will give you food for thought about these “natural relaxers.” If it’s too good to be true it most likely is. Look up the press on a product called RIO. Here, I’ll give you a link… http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/ANS00620.html It was supposedly all natural as well. It was hawked on an infomercial back in the early 90s I believe. So natural you could eat it. Hundreds of women purchsed it. Some ended up bald. Others ended up with green, yes green hair. A class action lawsuit was entered on behalf of these women. The food and drug adminstration ORDERED them to shut down operations. The company lost. Not sure if the women EVER got their money (or their hair) back.

  27. Oneya says:

    Boy am I glad I never tried Vigoral..my grandmother tried to convince me to use it..but then there are alot of things she tried to convince me of…I love this saying of hers ( this is when I stopped brushing my hair) …She looks at me and claims “Brushing stimulates the scalp”..and goes on to talk about how her mother was a nurse(so I guess this makes her a hair expert) and used to do this which used to help her hair grow.She forgets that her mother had a significant amount of Native American and White..so yeah. I also love when she tried to convince me after the stove top pressing comb burned off a portion of my edges, that stove top pressing combs were as safe as electrical ones. I think i would know if my hair felt more dry from using the the stove top pressing comb than the electrical one..thanks Grandma. She also was the one that convinced me that I should go to the beauty school to get a relaxer in the 12 grade( now I am a freshman in college) So I go to the beauty school and think what the heck am i doing here..so i tell them to put relaxer only on my roots and comb it in my hair then wash it out really quickly. Even though there was no significant breakage …my hair was damaged and my grandma had the nerve to get upset when i complained about how damaged my hair was. On a more positive note..after I got 3 relaxers when i was 13 i stopped getting them..atleast she did support me..since her hair is natural also. however her natural hair is way more managemable than mines. you would be dissappointed to know that i flat iron my hair every week..but I want to start doing braidout severy two weeks.overall i still want my grandma to back off she gives horrible hair advice.

  28. nappyme says:

    Hi Oneya and welcome!
    Yeah…I’d agree that your grandma’s advice in the hair department where you’re concerned is probably not the greatest. About flat ironing…everyone has to come to their own decision about torchering their naps with heat. I didn’t stop using heat over night. It was a gradual thing. As I learned more and better ways to take care of my hair without heat it eventually became unecessary for me to use it at all.

    No in terms of manageability, if you’re comparing your natural hair to that of your grandmother’s or anyone else who has a less nappy texture than yours than you’ll always feel as if their hair is more manageable. See, I refuse to look at my hair as unmanageable because I know that my texture requires me to maintain it in a way that is differently than white hair. If you have tightly coiled hair the more your learn about caring for it, the more manageable it becomes. Please continue to read articles on my site, look at videos I have posted and check out the various cNapp hair albums. You’ll get a variety of information that will help you learn to style your hair. And believe it or not NO heat will ever have to touch your hair.

    Good luck with your natural journey and take care.
    ~Nappyme

  29. Oneya says:

    Yeah you are totally right, after I flat ironed my hair this time it was really dry which was upsetting. I’ve always loved curly or wavy hair but I just flat ironed because I didn’t know how I would wear my nappy hair( although usually I don’t like this term..not because I am ashamed of my hair ,maybe scared of racist, but the word nappy seem degrading to me). So i guess after wearing protective hairstyles for these two weeks straight, I’m going to wash my hair and then do a braidout which can define my hair a little more and try going without heat for a month. You article about the dangers of blow drying was really inspirational. I must admit though I have a lot of hair and I go to a racist school. I would love to wear my hair natural with confidence but I am still scared at the mean glares and racist looks that I will get. I don’t know how I will deal with this. Nonetheless I have to do it because I don’t want to lose the thickness in my which is different from how limp relaxers make hair . About saying my hair was unmangable, I guess I stated it wrong..most black women have had relaxers their whole life and so natural hair is like very unmangaeable to them. I have only had 3 relaxer and once tex laxed my hair so natural hair seems pretty normal..I guess I meant to say that it is time consuming, especially the process to wash my hair. To prepoo, deep condition, hours to air dry, making sure to oil the scalp and hair, moisturize hair..but I think the braid out will make doing my hair a little more simpler.

  30. stephanie says:

    I went 8months with no relaxer and decided to go back to relaxers and now my hair is shedding so bad and getting thinner than what is was before….. now i want to go back natural….. would a sew in weave benefit my natural hair growth or harm it? if benifical how often to get sew in? thanks Mrs. steph.

  31. lee says:

    please contact me about what I can do to regrow my hair I am 49yrs old, and I have lost hair from chemicals very thin hair, should I cut it all off, will it grow back at my age….
    Help ..and maybe I can take pre-natal vitamins…what can I put on my hair to help it come back ..should i cut off the dead hair or just trim it up real good

  32. janine says:

    I have been getting blow outs from the dominicans, I always loved the way my hair moved when I moved, and how it would grow, but latley it doesnt seem to be getting any length and top/middle of my hair is thining. I am thinking about going natural again, this time without the #2 clipper. I have been 4 months without relaxer now any suggestions on transition products? HELP

  33. nappyme says:

    Hi Janine,
    I’m not really the best person to ask about transitioning because I just slapped some braids on my hair and wore them nonstop for almost four years. But there are other ways. Two good resources for transitioning is Nappturality.com’s transitioner’s forum and you’ll also find some good information on Motowngirl.com.

    Congrats on your decision to come back to the nappy side and if you’re proactive, you should be able to find all the information you need to help you reach your goal.

    God bless and good luck,
    ~Nappyme

  34. blue says:

    my daughter and i both wear our hair natural. she is eleven and all the kids in her class wears relaxers. she is upset about her hair and all she talks about is a relaxer. my daughter hair is super thick and average in length. i am afraid to bring her to the hair dresser. it freaks me out to think of her wearing her hair straight. i am stuck and i really dont know wht to do. i will feel like a fool walking around with natural hair and my daughter with straight hair. relax hair is against every thing i believe in.

  35. Newly Natural says:

    Hello There Nappyme 🙂

    I have gone about two years without a relaxer. However I have been using heat to transition the whole time. I currently use a GVP cermaic flat iron along with a heat protectant, and I wrap my hair at night to keep it manageable. I have two hair issues that I was hoping you could shed some light on.
    1. I realized that b/c I have been using heat it still seems like I have two different textures of hair, so I can’t just wash it and wear a natural style. After two years I still really can’t see my natural hair texture except at the roots. I can’t tell if I have the zig zag or some type of kinky curl pattern or what. Is it possible for my hair to “bounce back” so to speak if I wear braids or wigs for a while without putting heat on it? Or is it more likely that the hair that appears straight even when it’s wet has been permanently damaged and will not revert to its natural pattern?

    2. My edges have thinned out due to relaxers and things I did to try to keep them straight between relaxers when I was using them. Have you come across any products that work well to revive edges?

    Thanks So Much in Advance 🙂

  36. nappyme says:

    Hi newly natural,
    I’ma give it to you straight up. You have heat damage. If you’d like to wear your hair natural, you’ll need to give up the heat. Constant use of direct heating implements can break the bonds that make your hair nappy just as surely as a relaxer can. Damage can show up immediately, like it did in my case where I had scatters sections of completely burned straight hair. OR, it can gradually loosen those bonds permanently and leave you with a looser texture and not in any uniform fashion.

    I’ve always said that you can’t have both. When you make the decision to go natural, you’re either gonna cater to heat induced styles or your going to stay away from heat completely so that you can have the healthiest hair possible that you can then show case in all it’s nappy glory.

    So there you have it. If you want to go completely natural you’ll need to ditch the heat. You’ll also need to cut the damaged hair out as it’s beyond repair.

    Sowee 😦 and good luck!

  37. Newly Natural says:

    I was so happy to see your reply! I wasn’t sure how soon you would see this. I am not at all surprised by your response. I was afraid that it might be true that the bonds are permanently broken. And I agree with you, it does seem to be the case that natural hair is best worn natural. Thank you so much for your reply. Just one more thing if you don’t mind.

    I mentioned in the last post that I needed a remedy for thinning edges. Lots of products claim to stimulate growth and restore thickness to thining areas but there is so much garbage out there. Do you know of a product that you or someone else has tried that worked to improve their edges? I appreciate any info you have b/c other than obviously wanting my hair line to be healthy, I would like to begin using micro braids to transition but I’m a little afriad for my edges.

    Thanks Again!
    ~Newly Natural

    ps I think it is so great that you started this site. Honestly, between finding products and regimens that truly bring your natural hair to its full potential, and what the process can put you through mentally and emotionally, going natural can be so complicated! It is always wonderful when someone who has been there and done that, and understands what a struggle it can be is willing to help. As I said I’m not quite sure what my real texture is yet but I really appreciate your efforts in trying to create a place especially for the cNapps. God Bless Ya!!!

  38. nappyme says:

    ^^^Ah, I get so fired up when warning folks about the dangers/consequence of using heat, that I over looked the second part of your question.

    Yeah, microbraids can wreck havoc on your edges. I think I too suffered some thinning from wearing micros. Not enough that it’s noticeable to anyone else, and it was only apparent to me when I was still pressing my hair, however as long as I wear my hair natural, I can’t tell at all.

    Anyhoo… You might join Nappturality.com and lurk their alopecia forum to find something to try for your thinning edges. From what I gather, many times, if you stop the chemical abuse and traction (pulling from tight hair styles), the follicles, if not damaged beyond repair can start producing viable hairs again. Off the top of my head, both pepermint and basil essential oils can stimulate hair growth. For more information on essential oils, you can also go to this page http://motowngirl.com/content/Natural-Hair-Tips/Essential-Carrier-Oils-Info.html on Motowngirl.com.

    Both of these sites can get you started in the right direction.

    Again,
    Good luck, God bless and take care,
    ~Nappyme

  39. Ms.21 says:

    I’m 100% Black & I have been relaxing my hair for 13 years now. I like the results but the main problem I have is shedding AND MY HAIR GETS SUUUUPER TANGLED WHEN WET.I think I get out a lot of hair especially when I wash & set it & the day I get a relaxer in (plus wash & set), but people usually dismiss my idea because my hair is very thick (ppl ALWAYS think my hair is natural). Also, my hair is very long, a couple inches shy of my waist, and it’s GROWING EVEN MORE! I would love to go natural or at LEAST delay my relaxers but my problem is shedding. I’ve used lye for a year and that was actually the best condition my hair was in, barely anything would come out but it still wouldnt last long, I’d be doing it 2 months later, the same as if i use no lye. The days leading up to when my hair needs to be relaxed soooo much comes out & that’s without me combing from the root. Then after I get my relaxer in my hair is fine again for the most part. So it’s basically like the relaxer KEEPS hair on my scalp….I guess my hair is that dependent on the chemical. My main fear is that if I were to go natural I would have to shave off my hair as opposed to just grow it out because when it is growing out, so much comes out. Do you know any products/techniques that can delay getting relaxers and control tangles??

  40. nappyme says:

    Ms.21… my apologies for calling you tiffany. I’ll amend my response to you just a bit then.

    Everyone’s hair goes through three phases: growth, resting and shedding and then the cycle starts all over again as the shed hair is pushed out, falls out on its own or is yanked out by some type of mechanical manipulation (e.g., vigorous handling when washing, combing or brushing).

    In addition, it’s normal for most people to shed between 50 and 100 hairs PER DAY. If you’re seeing more shedding than usual during when you get closer to touch up time, it’s possible that up until that point, your shed hairs are not falling out naturally, but once you get more texture from new growth, your combing and brushing could be grabbing a hold to the hairs better and pulling out the hair that should be shedding naturally. So now, it just seems like you’re shedding more than usual, however, you’re actually able to rid your scalp of hair that’s not falling out on its own.

    Hope this makes sense. And if that’s the case, as it most likely is, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything to worry about, cause if it was, you’d be seeing evidence of thinning and eventually balding. And how much you shed or don’t shed has NOTHING to do with the chemicals you put on your head…unless of course they’re killing your hair follicles and once again, if that were the case, then you’d be going bald. So my question to you is, after years of perming and touch ups, do you think your hair is thinner and are you going bald? If not…don’t worry about the shedding…it’s most like what’s normal for you and NOT a reason to stop you from going natural. So the rest of my response will be geared toward helping to understand what to expect during your transition to natural as well as pointing you to resources that can help you severe your dependency on relaxers and well on your way to enjoying your beautiful natural hair.

    However, breakage, as opposed to shedding, may become a concern during your transition phase. That’s because, as your hair grows out, the new, unprocessed growth will be much stronger than your relaxed hair. Where the two meet is called the point of demaration and that will be the weakest point of your hair shaft and the most prone to breakage.

    During previous transitioning phases, I used Nexxus Emergency, a pure protein treatment that stopped that breakage right in its tracks. The one thing to note is that you don’t want to use pure protein but about once every two or three weeks because it will be very drying on your hair. After you use this, make sure you do a deep condition.

    With regard to styling your hair, this will be a challenge. When I transitioned back in 2003, I was attempting to do so by pressing my roots and that proved to be too inconvenient because I sweat in the scalp badly and I was also working out on a regular basis. Soon, I couldn’t stand the two textures, and I didn’t know how to style hair in transition so I slapped microbraids in my head and wore them for the next three years. Had I know what to do with my hair during the transition phase, perhaps I’d have done so without covering it up under pounds of fake hair and then cut the permed ends off gradually.

    In any case, these are the challenges you’re likely to face. There are plenty of styles out there that will allow you to transtion gradually as you wait for your hair to grow out to a length that you’re comfortable with so that you can eventually do the big chop…you know…when you finally decide to cut all your relaxed hair off and become totally natural…once and for all!

    Now I don’t really consider myself an expert at transitioning with regard to styling two different textures of hair. But there are plenty of online resources out there that can help you through what will likely be a very challenging. You’ll need to be proactive and check the following sites, join/and or participate on the following site.

    Happycurls (Making the switch forum)
    http://www.happycurls.com/v2/smf/index.php?action=forum

    Treasured Locks (Making the Switch to Natural Hair) http://www.treasuredlocks.com/natural-hair-transition.html

    One person’s transition journey on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxYJ_lFhduw

    My Journey to Freedom: http://naturalfreedomjourney.com/photos1.htm

    Nappturality.com Transitions Forum http://www.nappturality.com/forum/index.php?showforum=4

    These are just the ones that I found or could think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there are plenty others. So congrats on your decision to go natural. Stay patience and stay strong. You can do this!

    Good luck and God bless
    ~Nappyme

  41. Ms.21 says:

    Umm, my name is not Tiffany but I’m guessing the last post was to me “Ms. 21″…and my hair does come out from the root, it doesn’t break mid strand. Does the “Hi Tiffany” post apply to me?

  42. nappyme says:

    Ms.21 see my amended response to you above. Thanks!

  43. Ms.21 says:

    Yes, you’re right. On a regular basis I usually get out around 20 something to 40 something strands (with combing). When I need a relaxer I get out like 80 (with combing). I guess it just looks like a lot because my hair is well over 12 inches. Plus throughout the day I get out loose strands. My hair has still maintained it’s thickness, I dont have any bald spots or thinning areas but I dont want it to get that way, that’s why I worry about what I get out. Over the holiday my mother in law who is a lisenced cosmetologist told me a million and one ways to manage my hair and assured me that my hair is in good condition to go back. I was just mainly afraid of “too much” shedding since that’s what my hair does when it needs to be relaxed, but she says it’s healthy/strong enough and has a lot of elasticity to go through “the changes”. Thank you for your response.

  44. Juliette says:

    I’m half egyptian and half belgian and fortunately for my sister she inherited the beautiful brown curly hair of my mother and I inherited the extremely curly blonde, kinky hair from my egyptian background.
    I just recently done a ‘soft and beautiful’ relxing treatment at home and noticed half of it has been done properly and the other half is still an afro curly texture and its STILL rough!
    I’m stuck in a dilema of whether to wait a few weeks and redo the treatment or do it again in five to six month when its almost all gone?
    I hope someone can help me out because i’m in desperate need of help right now!!
    Thank you very much,
    Juliette

  45. Bel says:

    WOW. God bless you. You have such a strong voice. I myself am I writer, and I can tell that you were very well trained and have a gift. I am so proud of you for going natural. For myself, I hope to have unshrunk hair all the way down my back. I did a big chop three years ago, as a junior in high school, but I immediately relaxed it again; I was too afraid to go natural, even though I enjoyed the short and funky style. My hair was thin and brittle, however, and like yours, never gained any length, no matter who was taking care of it: me, the hairdresser, my mother….However, on March 22, 2009, yes, just yesterday, I realized that I needed to go natural if I wanted the thick luxurious 4b hair that I was born with. We all need to accept our hair and know that it was given to us for a reason. I am still working on this. I think once I can appreciate my natural nappy hair, I will never hesitate about my decision to be natural. Indeed, I’ll be proud of the decision.

  46. mardi says:

    Why is it that you call the hair on your hair nappy. First you should change your lango and start maybe using the term overy curly hair. When the term over curly is used it puts a different perpestive on the type of hair that we have. People will start to view the texture of their hair differently. The hair used to be nappy when their werent a lot of hair products to moisturise the hair. Their are many, many products available for the over curly hair that any one could purchase over the counter or to their cosmetologist.

    • nappyme says:

      When I use the word nappy, I use it as a means to describe the texture of my hair and others who have kinky/highly textured hair.

      To me, there’s nothing bad about my nappy texture. Can someone have nappy hair that’s unkempt and unclean? Sure they can. And can someone have beautiful, clean and styled and UNSTYLED nappy hair? The answer is yes as well. The term nappy is NOT about grooming, it’s about texture. And so if you’re on board with that mindset, you take the negative out of nappy.

      With regard to product selection, as long as you’re not chemically or thermally altering its texture, no product is going to get rid of your naps.

      Now, as far as your perferred term of “overly curly” is concerned, that to me suggests an extreme of sorts and comes across as negative to me. And quite frankly, I don’t consider ink pen sized coils curls. So to me, my hair is not overly curly. And truth be told, I don’t have a lot of coils either. My strands are a combination of irregular loops, bends and some coils that all take a different route and create kinks and a lot of texture. This is true for most nappy heads that I’m familiar with.

      Hope this helps you understand why I use the word nappy,

      Take care,
      ~Nappyme

  47. BRH says:

    Is shanei promoting relaxers? I don’t understand what she is trying to promote (natural hair vs. relaxers). Is she on the correct website?

  48. Stephanie says:

    Hello,

    I have two daugthers with very kinky coarse hair. My youngest is very tinder headed and I really feel bad when i comb her hair and she cries, can you recommend a detangaling product that i can use for her hair.

    Stephanie

  49. shanice says:

    Hello I really enjoyed reading all the comments they have helped a lot. My mom has been natural for 2 years and I just started and its only been a month. I am very nervous about transitioning but I think I’m ready.
    I’m going to get micros next week and keep them for at least 5 months. My hair grows when taking care of with my aphogee products but I’ve grown interest in my natural texture and find myself touching it bc I love
    the wavy feeling of it. My question was what do did you do in between your micros to keep your natural hair under control. My hair is very thick and when the roots grow out I can’t even come it until I blow dry.

  50. Vanessa says:

    You and I have the same EXACT story just different start times. I spend more time crying over my hair than most will ever realize (literally shedding tears)!

    I am taking my last chance at hair growth today. I have an appointment to have a Coppolla Keratin Treatment applied at a repetable salon.

    I pray that this works as I will then have mo choice but to wear my hair in a quarter inch fade for the remainder of my life.

  51. gazelle says:

    Hot dog, somebody remembers the Vigarol! My mother put one of those things in my mid back length hair when I was in 2nd grade and in no time, it was a teenyweeny afro. It took years for me to grow my hair back. That thing was horrible!

  52. MG says:

    Hi, I’m interested in tryint the ProLine moisturiser you keep mentioning. Acn you review their line for me and let me know if it helps when you’re transitioning like me pls.

    many thanks, I really enjoy your site, though as I live in the UK I can’r get a lot of the products you mention.
    Have a blessed week.

  53. nappyme says:

    Hi MG,
    Glad you like Nappturology 101. I’m sorry, I’m not really, really big on trying out different products. I just do it when the fancy hits me, which isn’t really all that often.

    The only two Proline products that I’ve used is the cream moisturizer and their softener. The softener comes in a bottle. It’s probably the best thing out there for my hair. HOWEVER, and I’ve said this a million times, the stuffs smells like baby lotion. It’s the ONLY reason I refuse to use it. I’m a grown woman and smelling like baby lotion all the time is not ideal.

  54. I don't want to get old says:

    never let your cousin give you a perm I did in 2005, I used to have long thick hair, I let my cousin give me a perm using the tcb relaxer, and she burned/damaged my hairfollicles on the back of my head my kitchen is gone, I used to have a W shape back there now I have a bald no growing hair there shape, I wanted to kick my cousin’s ass, but I didn’t, I still have hair on the front and sides of my head and the middle thank God, but I am bald when it comes to wearing cute little up do’s because it’s real noticeable, so now I just wear wigs, this is dec 2010, 5 years later, and I am still pissed off with my cousin, she can never do my hair again, and the funny part of all this is that she went to school for this so she wasn’t a amature, I went to try on a wig, the lady behind the counter gave me that dr miracle sample stuff to try, it did not work for me, again never let a amature do your hair, learn how to do it yourself, or go to a real professional. My hairfollicles used to give me red little bumps where I have no growing back there so I used teatree oil to soothe my irritated scalp, let my cautionery tale help someone.

  55. P-G says:

    I’ve been natural for 7yrs. My hair is what is considered a type 4b . Over the years it has gotten softer and wavier. My 8yrs old daughter hair is also natural. The products that I use in both our hair : unrefined shea butter 100% natural, Shea Moisture products, Ellin Lavar textures liquid glass, natural coconut oil and Mane ‘n Tail detangler. These products do not contain alcohol or any other ingredients that dry out the hair natural moisture. These products don’t have a greasy built up and doesn’t make my hair feel greasy. I wear my hair in a natural fro or twists and it stays soft to touch. It also helps to have a balance diet and take fish oil vitamins.
    My daughter wears her hair in many different style( twists, braids, afro, cornbraids) she is also tender headed and I spray the detangler and it helps to make it more softer for combing.
    Now she’s gooing through that phase where she’s asking when she could get a perm like her friends. I just explain to her what the process entails and how it could burn / damage her scalp that she decides that it is not worth it. Besides, I tell her that her hair is like a halo and it’s her direct antennea to God; and that no other ethnic group could wear their hair like our hair. So stand tall and be proud because your hair is standing proud!

  56. Rei says:

    I came upon your site through Google and boy! am I glad I did. My mom has been perming my hair since……I don’t even remember when and I am 20 now. Because some of my friends told me some bad things about perms, i decided to do some research, and to my horror I learned what perms really are. But unfortunately, my mom cant accept me going natural and she and her stylist unwittingly put a texturizer in my hair after she had cut off all of the permed hair. I had no idea that a texturizer was a chemical until the moment she put it on. My head started burning like crazy and she left it in there for 2 or more minutes while it burned me. Now I have a small semi-bald spot in front of my left ear.

    That is the last time that I am allowing my mom stylist (who has been doing hair for 30 some odd years) do my hair. Now I am trying to figure out what is the best thing to use in my hair, but the sad thing is, I don’t even know about my own hair! That is how long my mom has permed my hair.

    At the moment I am using Wen Fig by Chaz Dean (whom my mom and her stylist said was for white folks when neither of them knew what it was before it told them) and I have been using it before I got the chop, and I love it, but I wonder what moisturizers should I use for my hair.

    I am going to continue wondering through the site and learn all that I can so that I can take proper care of my hair. :3

  57. Nette says:

    WOW, SOME OF THESE HAIR HORRORS SOUND LIKE THE STORY OF MY ADULT LIFE! IVE FINALLY DECIDED TO START THE TRANSITION PROCESS, BUT I STILL HAVE LOTS OF PERM IN MY SHORT, BRITTLE, BROKEN OFF HAIR. AND DID I MENTION THAT I HAVE NO EDGES?SMH! WELL IVE JUST DECIDED TO GET SOME KINKY TWISTS WHILE THE PERM GROWS OUT. I REALLY CANT THINK OF ANY OTHER SOLUTION. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS IDEA?

    • nappyme says:

      I think I mentioned in my post that I used microbraid extention hair to get through my transition. I’d have made it no other way. The only problem that I can foresee is that the longer you leave them in, the longer you delay learinging how to really care for, style and learn to love/appreciate your own hair.

      But for the interim, I say you gotta do what you gotta do. Knowing what I know now though, if I could go back and do it all over again, I’d probably have come out of the braids a whole lot sooner than I did. Probably after about four inches of new growth. I think that, for me, would have been a great length to work with.

  58. D.C. Allen says:

    Hi sisters,

    I can definetly relate after my first perm at 14 or16 my hair broke off. I wore it natural until it grew out them permed it off and on for years. In 1991 I started wearing my braided with extensions after if broke off so short I could not even roll it on tiny rollers. It grew below my shoulders. I did fine until menapause and when my hair started to thin. It was also taking me 10 – 12 hours once a month to wash condition and ubraid my hair and comb out my hair. I decieded to change to dreds Aug 2010 big mistake for me I hated the look on me and I found the up keep still time comsuming. They told me I had to cut it out but I took 6 months taking them out a little at a time each month. I lost a gallon bag of hair. Now my hair has begun to grow back and I am wearing my hair twisted. It is a little past my shoulders but the longer the length the more time I spend each month on maintanence. But I do love my long natural hair and receive quite a few complements.

  59. Ashlee says:

    Lol girl buy a wing. Damn after all then years you should have quit from time. Or you can cut it short and pull a hally berry.

  60. My hair is not liking the natural...completely confused, did my beautician screw me?? says:

    soooo…ive been going natural for five months starting this december and my hair has broke off sooo bad, I honestly do not know how to stop it. so ive decided to put in kinky twist braids in my hair untill some it grows back. I really didnt realize how much having a texturizer was destroying my hair and I miss my hair….i had bad ass fro when i last toke out my braids in the past and i thought my hair would just grow out the texturizer like before but itS taking all of my hair with it…sadface. can some one explain why exactly this is happening, I know the cliff notes version but i need details. Additionally, what can i do to grow it back….im in school, really broke, so please dont advised me to buy too many products. i just can’t lmao. i try to wash my hair atleast one a week. and put in a leave in conditioner. before i was deep conditioning following all the napptual rules ….

    help. lol

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