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Dealing with conflicting theories in your natural hair journey

Hi there,
     I'm really sorry it has taken me so long to post on my blog, God knows I try to every day but something always comes up. Today I really want to talk about something that I find sooo annoying: CONFLICTING THEORIES!! It seems to me that the world is full of them. Consider a few examples. Did you ever hear that hormonal birth control causes cancer? I did and then several studies came up refuting that theory. Then there was the one about cell phones causing brain damage and tumours followed of course by several research findings claiming that those findings were inaccurate. Several cases exist and I'm  sure you can count off 100 at the drop of a hat.
   These conflicting theories also abound in natural hair care. Since I started my journey I have tried my best to keep up with the latest research on natural hair care. I subscribe to blackhairinformation, curlynikki, hairandhealth, blackgirllonghair,blacknaps.org, kinkycurlycoilyme and many other blogs just to keep up with the latest information about how to grow my hair healthy and once in a while THEY crop up. By they I mean conflicting theories. Here are some I have encountered :

Eggs are not a good source of protein for hair
Quite a number of naturals use eggs in their regimen as a protein treatment to strengthen the hair strands and repair damaged ends and from the results they show after the treatment, it works for them. But some other "experts" claim this is an exercise in futility as the molecules in an egg are too large to penetrate the hair shaft. The question is: who should we believe?

Blow-drying now better than air-drying? 
One of the first things I learnt in my healthy hair journey was that heat was a foe. Blow-drying and flat ironing should be cut out or reduced drastically if you want healthy hair. It made a lot of sense as heat dries out the hair so imagine what would happen to our hair if we use it frequently. Air-drying was touted as the better alternative. Sure it takes longer time but your healthy strands will love you for it. I toed the line. Now I read somewhere that air-drying might be doing more harm than blow-drying. I read the title of the post in disbelief then I did what every right thinking person would do- I hissed and closed the page without reading the article. In retrospect maybe I should have read it but I just wasn't ready for bullshit that day. So who do we believe?

ACV rinses aren't really beneficial?
I didn't jump on the Apple Cider Vinegar band wagon until recently. In this post I talked about how ACV helps to remove build up, closes cuticles and relieves dry itchy scalp. I tried it and I loved it. Then I read somewhere that it is all in the mind! ACV doesn't possess the ability to do all these and I was like WHAT!?!?!?! So which is which?

Sealing with oils and butters does more harm than good?
On blackgirllonghair yesterday a discussion was up and running about how some hair care "experts" claim that oils and butters suffocate the hair. Here are the word for word quotes:  

"The first "expert" said:

'Oil coats the hair and repeals natural moisture [from the environment]. It causes dehydration, dullness, and frizziness. Our hair is like us, it needs to breathe. If we suffocate it [with oils], it dries out'

 The second "expert" said:

'Applying a light oil to hair after styling or before bed for daily moisture is great. But it is the IDEA of ‘sealing’ that I have an issue with. You SHOULD have to apply your oil or spray-on moisturizer daily, that means it is truly being absorbed. If you put oil in your hair Sunday and it is still there Wednesday, your hair is lubricated, NOT moisturized. Oil does not “seal” moisture into the hair. If you have to L.O.C., that means your L is a crap product'


So in essence all the feverish application of oils and my Shea butter mix have all been for nothing? I have been suffocating my hair all this while? To borrow the words of Wolverine in X-men "That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard"! I am no expert but I know bull crap when I hear it. A few comments on the post claimed that they believed every word and in fact they do not seal with anything. However majority of the sisters gave it right back. There were comments questioning the source of the information and pointing out that one of the experts worked for a hair care line and obviously had to speak against oils and butters since their product sales were being affected. Others pointed out that their hair is doing better since they incorporated sealing into their regimen. There was one commenter who even pointed out that Indian women( who to me have the most glorious hair in the world) use oils and herbs daily so how can anyone say sealing is bad for the hair? The elephant in the room for me was this: How can hair which is dead material be suffocated? how can something dead need air to survive? Do you see why this information is suspect?

Dealing with these issues
     I am not going to lie, when I read the sealing-suffocates-hair nonsense my heart skipped a bit. I thought about the full tub of whipped Shea butter I had just made and was judiciously applying every now and then to my hair. But as I considered the information I felt my right eyebrow inching up in disbelief. I thought about Naptural85's glorious mane and her you tube video about homemade Shea butter which she applies to her hair. I thought about India of Mynaturalsistas who seals with a mixture of oils including castor oil. I even thought about my own hair. I retain moisture much better now and my hair stays soft for days so who is this so called expert and what is she talking about?
    Same goes for the eggs. I know a lot of naturals who swear by it and even some relaxed ladies do too. Do you think they would fail to notice if the eggs were not doing anything for their hair and still go on using it?
    MY personal experience with ACV shows that it relieves itchy scalp and removes build-up. So I wonder how it is all in my mind when I cannot remember the last time I scratched my head. Why all the confusion? I think personal opinion and selfish interest are mostly responsible. If you are like me, you are here to grow long and healthy hair and not get confused. Here are some things to remember when you are faced with conflicting theories:

1. Everyone's hair is different. What works for you may not work for some other person. Do the research and try it out and see for yourself. Your personal experience trumps those of the next person so do what works for you.
2. Consider the source of the information. Be careful not to fall prey to experts who give distorted information just to sell their company's products.
3. Remember that there are no hard and fast rules. Nothing is set in stone, you have to find what works for you and not let someone else determine that for you
4. Do not jump on every band wagon. Not every new treatment or product is for you. Let your hair guide you.

Having said all that I feel a heavy load has been rolled off my chest. This journey is one of learning and growth so do not be afraid to do what you feel is right for your hair. I know I do and  my hair is the better for it...."Experts" be damned :-)


KimB








 

Comments

  1. I learn't something new as am recently going through a new hair journey
    www.fashionitazbybuiti.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well first of all, hormonal birth control as it exists today has the potential to increase your chances of breast cancer. Some people are working to fix that by taking that particular hormone responsible out of the formula in the future, but it's actually a valid concern. Just like studies about relaxers. Relaxers can be damaging to hair, to the point of permanent hair loss and maybe even worse if it's true that cosmetics enter our blood streams, but this is one theory from a certain number of studies. Some relaxer users can get very angry when you say this because they havent suffered any damage and are cancer free. There are always conflicting studies supporting different sides of an argument and I think the reason is simple- people are different.

    Many people write from what they know which is the right thing to do, but it's a problem when people write as authorities on a very personal subject like Hair, expecting their experience (and maybe that of their friends and family) to apply to everyone else.

    Knowledge is power, and I'm a hair science junkie but that's only as far as it can help me predict the effect of something, or figure out a solution to a problem. Just as you've said, I believe we should all stick to what works for us. If my hair is "lubricated" just because I seal, so be it, sealed or lubricated, it's acting the way I want it to act. ACV is beneficial to me and I don't see how air drying can ever be a bad thing.

    Certain experts be damned!

    LOL

    Super long comment, out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loool! I agree with you, just know your hair and do as it says.

      Delete

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