Beware of Curl Softening Nightmare

There are so many products in the market that specifically target the manageability of ethnic afro-curly-kinky-coily type hair. We are no stranger to relaxers and even texturizers. They have been an every 4-8 week “must have” for many of us growing up. This is during a time when new growth was the enemy. Now that we are natural, there is a new enemy and it’s luring Naturals into thinking that her curls need to be softer and texture needs to be more manageable, but in some cases it’s leaving her with unhappy results.

Savvy Natural You: Dark & LovelySNY spoke with Savannah about her experience and she submitted a statement.

 Hello All you natural beauties, My name is Savannah Sharpe. I would have been a natural for it would have been eight years in December. I have worn chemicals on my hair since the age of eleven. My mom would straighten my hair every Sunday and it would take about two to three hours. Once I decided to go natural I felt it was one of the best decisions that I made. I did it because my hair has never responded well to chemicals and it does so much better without it. I wanted to share my most recent experience with my hair and a product that I have recently used.  I have 4c with a mixture of 4b hair. It is high maintenance and I wanted to look for some alternatives to help make it easier to tackle. I have tried many different brands that suggest anti shrinkage and I have even gone as far as putting a Kertin kit on my head (this lasted all but a day). Recently I purchased a Dark & Lovely Beautiful Beginnings Curl Softener Kit. I was under the impression that it would loosen my natural curls so that it would become more manageable. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. My hair is now completely straight and I am heart broken. I love my natural curls and everything that I could do with my hair. Now I am battling the temptation on whether or not I will do a big chop or just go through the transition and trim it off little by little.

Savvy Natural You Sales of relaxers are extremely low. Initially natural hair products were a rare find. When I become natural more than 5 years ago, I had to search high and low for natural hair products. The lack of product choice, introduced a lot of underground product makers; many who have become leading brands within the natural hair community. With my background as a Beauty Supply Store owner, I pay attention to hair trends and that includes products used for hair as well. I began to watch as big brands slowly started catering to the natural hair community. Now every major brand that we all grew up with, has a natural hair line. It took the success of the underground product makers to cater exclusively to naturals before commercial; in some cases, inferior and less expensive products hit the market. I knew that it wouldn’t be soon before they try to lure us back in to the concept that straight hair more manageable or making Naturals feel that their hair’s texture suddenly needs to be more tamed.

Here is what is part of the kit that Savannah used:

Hair and Scalp Protective Gel [1] No-Mistake® Conditioning Curl Softener Cream [2] No-Mistake® Cream Activator [3] Color Signal Neutralizing Shampoo [4] Deep Conditioner [5] Curl Cream [6] wooden spatula plastic gloves instruction sheet

YOU NEED TO PROVIDE A wide-toothed comb (Don’t use metal combs) A towel or cape A clock or a timer

Photo Credit: Dark and Lovely

Photo Credit: Dark and Lovely

As if the words, Cream Activator, Neutralizing Shampoo and do not use metal comb don’t scream chemicals. The kit even has a safety warning that tells you to do a stand test and mentions the word “relaxer” and “relaxing” several times.

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On February 1st. I posted to our natural hair support group

Beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing: “relaxers” disguising themselves as “texture manageability systems.” They come in many packages and titles and are always featuring beautiful curly hair. The chemical world is trying every trick in the book get us back addicted to the creamy crack…DO NOT FALL FOR IT…

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The Texture Manageability Kit is completely different. It comes with shampoo and leave-in Conditioner that contain Keratin Amino Acids and is complete in four steps. These acids are actually extracted from Keratin and must have heat applied to it within a specific time frame in order to work properly.  This system is designed leave hair straight and frizz free for up to 6 weeks because the product sticks to the hair. It must be washed out with a clarifying shampoo. This is not expected to be a permanent process. There is also an anti – reversion shampoo the help prolong the treatment,  so that you don’t wash it out within the 6 weeks. I’ve heard complaints about this system too. Further more it is extremely important that you read and follow the instructions.
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It’s very easy for consumers to confuse the difference between all the systems. The thing is, there are naturals who are loyal to those underground brands, especially the one who have become mainstream names. There are also naturals that concoct their own natural hair potions in addition to buying products. So, in my opinion; big brands are going to try everything to win back that customer base and what better way to do it, than to get them back addicted to the creamy crack. Newer Naturals are often an easy target because they haven’t learned how to manage their hair,  but I’m also seeing veteran Naturals like Savannah that are also seeing curl softeners, texture manageability kits and keratin treatments as a solution.
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I am Pro-be-happy-with-your-hair, regardless if it’s natural, relaxed or in the case of this post; somewhere in between. It’s your choice. Your hair is a big part of who you are. Our hair tells a story of our strong history and culture. Your hair is a direct reflection of you and it’s important that you’re happy with it. Do your research on any product that you choose to put on your beautiful mane so that you can get maximum enjoyment from your hair.

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