When you debunk the urban legends surrounding African American hair, the truth will set you free, to maintain your unique hair texture properly.
1. Hereditary IS an important factor regarding black hair.
The oldest and youngest of 3 biracial sisters,( same mother and father) have type 1, or straight hair. The middle sister’s hair is type 4a . The oldest of my 3 grandchildren, (same parents),has type 4b hair. His younger brother has type 3c, while the baby sister’s, hair is type 2.
2. Hair type cannot be changed
No matter how hair is maintained, conditioned, oiled, or permed, you cannot change the texture that grows out from the root. My oldest grandson can use a texture softener or even relax his hair. His new growth however will always be a number 4a
3. Petroleum products are bad for the hair.
I grew up in an era where everyone with type 3c or 4a and b hair, applied petroleum based “hair grease” to their tresses, prior to pressing with a hot comb. Most beauticians would also massage these products into the scalp.
Everyone I know retained their same length of hair, for decades. I saw no evidence of petroleum based products causing damage. If Too much petroleum based hair grease is applied, it will clog pores in the scalp, and weigh down the hair. Used sparingly there should not be a problem.
While it is true that proper nutrition is good for our hair, hereditary trumps what we eat each and every time. I was a finicky eater for the first 20 years of my life, yet my hair was over my shoulders, and very thick. I could name 15-20 friends, who ate very healthy, and their hair was barely 2 inches long. If nutrition were the determining factor, then it is I who should have had short, problematic hair.
I know several women who have been taking expensive hair vitamin supplements, and applying costly oils and conditioners to their hair for the last 3 or 4 years. Even so their hair has not grown any longer than it’s previous longest point. On the flip side, there are black women, who routinely cut their hair, and it grows right back with ease, without doing anything specific.
5. Texturizers/texture softeners DO chemically alter hair
Texturizers and texture softeners are less harsh on hair than permanent relaxers. hey soften the curl pattern but do not fully relax. This gives the appearance of naturally curly hair, but these products are chemicals. Once you apply them, you no longer have natural, virgin hair. It may appear to others that you have a softer grade of type 4, or even type 3 hair, but it is only an illusion.
6. A natural hair style does not promote hair growth
Many of us wore Afro’s in the 1970’s, but our hair did not grow. Wearing a natural style does not in and of itself promote growth. When you cut all the permed hair out, new growth from the scalp is healthy and chemical free. As it grows however, too much combing, picking and styling will hinder hair growth.
If you lock the ends, by wearing dread locks, the hair will grow long because the ends will not split. If you apply a texture softener, or obtain a curly or wave perm, your hair will grow somewhat because of the lack of styling and handling the hair. And in addition, the conditioner used with these hair styles, keep the ends moist so they will not split.
If your hair is relaxed straight, proper conditioning and a lack of heat and appliances will help. Several years ago I noticed a number of black teenage girls hair was growing. I was told they were applying olive oil, to hair and scalp, and wrapping their heads in scarves after shampooing. By not blow drying, sitting under a dryer, or using heated appliances, the olive oil could do it’s thing, and the result was growth.