Decrystalle Williams writes:
"I'm just curious if you are going all the way natural chemical free why would you put color on your hair? Isn't that a chemical as well?"
Kurlee Belle Answers:
To back up the title of this blog post, I realized that I needed facts, because at first glance it may seem a little outrageous. The dictionary defines the adjective "Natural" as 'existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind' or to be more specific when referring to a fabric, 'having a color characteristic of the unbleached and undyed state.' Hair is defined as 'any of the fine threadlike strands growing from the skin of humans, mammals, and some other animals.'
Pairing the two definitions, Natural Hair, would be defined as 'fine threadlike strands that grow from the skin of humans, having a color characteristic of the unbleached and undyed state.' Therefore, one's hair which has been subjected to chemically processing through manmade bleaching or dying is technically not considered natural.
The main ingredient in Lye and No-Lye Relaxers, respectively, are sodium hydroxide and guanidine hydroxide. These chemicals work by raising the pH of the hair so that the structure can be altered. Relaxers destroy the peptide bonds in the hair so that the hair becomes straight. Peptide bonds create strength in hair, so essentially adding a relaxer to your hair destroys it's strength. Once the peptide bonds are destroyed, they can never be repaired or restored no matter how many conditioners or deep treatments are used. Relaxers also deplete the fatty acids found in the natural sebum produced by the scalp which attributes to hair thinning, dryness, and breakage. The pH levels (pH of 7 is neutral, pH of 0 is very acidic, pH of 14 is extremely alkaline) of lye relaxers range from 12 to 14 (Draino which is used to unclog drains has a pH of 13. Scary right?)
The main ingredients in bleaches and permanent coloring are hydrogen peroxide or ammonium hydroxide. These ingredients work at a pH of 8 or more to the lift the cuticle so that the melanin can be altered. Bleaching affects the hair's strength because it disrupts the cuticle. Semi permanent color however does not include bleach but includes ammonium to lift the cuticle. Bleaching/coloring the hair involves high pH levels that lift the cuticle and destroy melanin to add pigment.
The effects of using a relaxer or coloring the hair are irreversible, therefore the hair is no longer in it's natural state. Depending on what your reasons are for going natural, you may want to avoid coloring. If you went natural because you wanted to grow healthier hair then beware of using color because it weakens the hair. If you went natural because it is in 'trend' then coloring is not a problem.
What does natural hair mean to you?