Monday, November 5, 2012

Are Naturals Who Use Heat Any Less 'Natural'?

By Tenisha Mercer

Fresh from a week-old Dominican blowout, reading the comments about an article on about the benefits of heat training natural hair has got me fired up!

Especially this comment from a few posters on BGLH.

Maybe I'm taking it too personally. But what really irritates me is all the people who say that "heat trained" naturals aren't naturals. Huh? Come again? And that we should just go get a relaxer since we choose to straighten our natural hair.

What is Heat Training, Anyway?

First, I think we should ban the terms "heat trained" and "heat damaged." It's a misnomer. Just because you use heat doesn't mean that your hair is damaged. Trained means that your hair needs to be "obedient." Sure, some may see straightening as a form of obedience. It's not for me; it's another option for verstaile hair.

Using heat and "heat training" are two very different things.

Secondly, I don't see why we get our panties in a knot when it comes to who is more natural than the other. Let me be clear: I wore flat ironed hair/pressed hair exclusively from 1996 to 2006. Rarely wore it curly, with the exception of a curly ponytail. Since 2008, I've worn my hair exclusively curly -- with the occasional blowout, of course.

The Natural Po Pos Are At It Again

That doesn't make me any more natural than anyone else. I was no more "natural" then than I am now. There's this jockeying about who is more natural in the natural community that absolutely disgusts me.

Colored hair? You are not natural! You wear blow dried hair? You're not natura!  I'm so tired of the natural police with their rules and sweeping generalizations. Please, please, please! Can we all just do what works for OUR hair without making others feel like their hair is less natural because of it?

This is what relaxed women dislike about naturals,  and I can see why... it's that looking down on a fellow natural because of how they choose to wear THEIR hair.

If you want to perm your hair, go right ahead. If you want to flat iron your  hair every week, that's your perogative. Do YOU! Damn what anyone else says or thinks. Know your hair and do what works for you.

Can We All Take Several Seats?

My hair is blowdryed/flat ironed occassionally. Do I feel any less natural? No!

My curls have ALWAYS come back without any  problem. It works for MY hair, though I realize that not all  naturals can do this. I am seriously thinking about ramping up my Dominican blow outs from every three months up to once a month.

For MY hair (and yes, I realize all naturals are different) heat just isn't the devil that many naturals make it out to be. I'd venture that this many naturals have a similar experience. After all, pressed and flat ironed hair were the "natural" style of choice (though we didn't call it that back then) before twist outs, braid outs and wash and go natural hair styles became all the rage. 10 years ago, if you were natural, you more than likely wore your hair in braids or flat ironed.

Heat is Not the Devil

Why is that so bad now?

I think that most of us got along just fine with our flat ironed and pressed hair. Now, it seems as if there's this this huge backlash against naturals who choose to wear their hair straight -- and that we should just get a perm if we are going to wear our hair straight.

So not true. Naturals who use heat in moderation often have healthier hair than relaxed hair. Period. For me, straight hair is just a style. That and nothing more. Must we ALL wear our hair the same way? Just because it's working for me, why would I down someone else about THEIR style?

Naturals can be so damn hypocritical, and it's almost as if you have to "justify" wearing straight hair. Isn't this just as bad as when relaxed ladies try to have natural ladies "justify" their natural hair? Hmm ...

Why I'm Going To Blow Out My Hair More

I'm reevaluating my options. One too many SSK (single strand knot) and matting.  The longer my hair gets, the more this is an issue. I've tried not using gels (used aloe vera gel), less wetting my hair, stretched styles, the Curly Girl method (conditioner as as styler), even tried twist outs.

Same results -- tangle and matting city. Used to never have this problem, and I've lost some length as a result.

For me and MY hair, blowdrying stretches it -- enough so that my curly hair doesn't curl around itself. I'm more scared of that than I am sparingly using heat every 3-4 weeks. For me, the curly styles just ain't working.

My New Regimen

Going to do a few things:

1. Add more protein. Used to henna. Seriously considering going back to it -- or add a stronger protein condish. This will probably  help  my hair no matter what state it's in.

2. In between Dominican blowouts, I will probably blowdry or at least African thread my hair to stretch it more. For me, stretched styles are key. I won't always wear my hair bone straight, just stretched.

3. Adding heat back to my regimen. At most, a Dominican blowout every 3-4 weeks.

I will let you know the results.

Do you think that naturals who straighten their hair are any less natural than those who don't?

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