Decisions, decisions- big changes aheadHello people, how body?
I'm 9 months into my transition now (hellurr my hair had a baby) and I really thought things would be going very differently at this point. I used to do 6-month stretches between relaxer touch-ups so that kind of prepared me, but I also remember thinking that any more new growth would drive me up the wall.
I thought by now I would be exclusively doing long term protective styles like braids and marley twists, or have cornrows permanently under a wig, but here I am still styling my own hair.
As I get more reacquainted with my natural texture, I'm beginning to see the need for some changes. Here are my thoughts:
On combs: I'm going comb-free. Hold on, I'm not becoming a rasta. I'm looking into finger detangling exclusively. The more I handle my new kinks, the more convinced I get that this hair type wasn't exactly meant to be really combed.
I have the most breakage when I comb. I try to be careful and patient but I hear a few snaps and see hair that broke off at the demarcation line between relaxed and natural hair. There are naturals who are comb-free and swear by it. Others say it takes too long and they just can't.
I didn't find anyone transitioning comb-free. With two different textures I think we are the most prone to tangles so this might seem like a plan to run mad. However, I'm giving it a four-wash-day trial and then I'll know if it's a keeper or if I'll run weeping back to my wide-toothed comb. This is going to alter my wash day pattern.
On wash days: I'm getting really tired of hopping in the shower twice. I've decided to start deep conditioning on dry hair and then get in the shower once to rinse+cowash or shampoo+quick condition. It has already taken effect. Once I decided on the comb-free plan, the new pattern was final. Reason: my hair has more opportunities to tangle with all of that handling when wet. This cuts down on it.
On product smells- please does this happen to anyone else? You love/like/are indifferent about a smell, and then it starts to progressively bother you until you almost can't stand it? It's happening to me with two of my staples. I am tired of the citrus smell of my ORS conditioner and my Nigerian black PKO is just driving me mad with that smoky smell that just won't wash out! It has a high amount of ash and I'm tired of my hair smelling like village firewood.
Solution: I love what it does to my hair so when this batch is used up, I'll order from Natural Nigerian. They carry PKO that isn't black and smoky.
On product ingredients: Buckle up for a lecture. In a perfect world every single thing I use would be chemical-free. My skin care routine is as natural as it gets. While I read labels of most things and try avoid ingredients that have been reported to be harmful, I can't say I have been as vigilant with my hair products. A preservative here, an artificial fragrance there- there's been compromise.
Here's why I'm concerned:
A chemical considered safe today could be carcinogenic tomorrow. Cancer rates are so high in this generation. There has to be a link.
My point is, it was considered safe a couple of years ago.
Ethanolamines :You may have seen mono-, di- or triethanolamine (MEA, DEA TEA) in stuff. TEA is in my ORS replenishing conditioner and I know I've seen Cocamide DEA in something I own but I can't find it now. They're emulsifiers- help water and oil mix- and common in everything basically. Soaps, shampoos, makeup, etc. They can react with other ingredients to form a carcinogen (NDEA) that causes liver cancers and kidney tumors in rats and mice.
Yes they say it doesn't mean it'll cause the same in humans perhaps due to quantity but here's what I think- once again it adds up.
Also, soak a rat in shea butter or olive oil daily and see if it causes cancer. DEA also affects male fertility by causing an abnormality in sperms which hinders their ability to swim.
Methylisothiazilinone (MIT) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT)- both in my ORS again. They are powerful preservatives. There has been evidence of MIT being neurotoxic ie causing death of certain brain cells. Both CMIT and MIT are allergens and can cause skin reactions.
There are many more of course so if you're concerned about any ingredient in your products, please look online. The reason some of these things are still in products is because the exposure is less in cosmetics than what is normally required to cause problems. You know my thoughts on that.
I'm just saying be aware and make an informed decision, not necessarily toss all your products in the trash instantly.
The inference after all this story is that I no longer feel at ease with even 'safe' chemicals and will from now on go for products that are all natural unless I am hard pressed. That's just me.
Whatever I do, you guys will read it here. Any thoughts? Contrary views? More info? Please drop a line below :)