Are you one of those women who has a relaxer or curly perm right now and are considering going natural? If you are like me, you will want to learn about hair styles for ethnic hair and how to make the right choice to go natural. Before you take this giant leap, it pays to weigh the options. There are pros and cons to going natural.
If you decide to go natural, you should be prepared for the following:
State of Your Hair: First and foremost, your natural hair is considered healthy simply for the fact that you are not using chemicals in it. Chemical-free hair is considered the healthiest hair of all. When I say “chemical-free hair,” I mean hair that does not have a relaxer in it, curly perm chemicals or dyes in it. However, your natural hair is only as healthy as how well you take care of it.
Maintenance: Natural black hair (unless you wear it in a short afro or braids) is going to require far more maintenance. If you choose to wear your natural hair in non-braided styles such as putting the hair into twists, braiding the hair and then removing the braids in a braid-out fashion, this will require a lot of time because the style does not last very long (approximately 4 days if you’re lucky). Plus, there is the added time spent twisting and braiding the hair every fourth day in order to maintain your curly style.
Products and Procedures: Natural black hair has a tendency to look short because of its texture and kinkability. Various products and procedures have been developed that allow us to utilize the natural curl we women of color were born with. There are two methods used. Silkening Procedure: Silkening procedures performed at Miss Jessie’s salons in New York actually stretch the natural kink or wave in our hair making it look longer and more like a curly perm. If you choose to have the silkening procedure done, I must warn you that the silkening procedure involves using a chemical. The process consists of using a chemical technique that relaxes some of the tightness in your hair without making it bone straight, thus, allowing us to use the natural curl God gave us, and prevent the hair from shrinking back to its original state when coming in contact with water or humidity. The process lasts about 3 months. When this is accomplished, you will be able to maintain your elongated curls a lot longer. Your hair will have the look and feel of a curly perm. Products: On the other hand, if you simply want to use hair products like Miss Jessie’s Hair Pudding and creams to achieve this result, which stretch out your natural curl, your style will last only for a few days. When you wash your hair, you will be washing the product out, and your elongated curls will kink up and shrink again. After washing, you would have to re-apply the creams and puddings all over again and braid or twist the hair to maintain your style.
Availability: It is hard to find reputable salons who perform the silkening procedure. Most of Miss Jessie’s salons are in New York. If you don’t live in New York, are you willing to travel all the way to New York 4 times a year to get this done?
Cost: The products used to support your natural style (if you choose to have it look like a curly perm with silkening) can be very costly, well over $400, and that’s not including the consultation fee of $75. Or if you instead choose not to have silkening and just use products like Miss Jessie’s Hair Pudding, it will cost you a whopping $38.00 for a 16 oz. jar! They are good products, but very expensive. Some women out there are trying to get around this cost by mixing up natural blends of clays, extracts, etc., as they cannot afford these expensive products.
Convenience: If you are a busy career-minded executive or a busy mom, going natural can be convenient and low maintenance if you wear the hair in a short afro. However, if you are short on time, do not want to wear a short afro and desire to wear your naturally hair long, going natural can have its drawbacks as there is the added time spent just trying to maintain the hair in a workable style that is neat in appearance, and that is where curly perms come into play because there is less maintenance.