There are many truths regarding black hair, that are hidden behind decades of myths. One of the biggest has to do with hair that has been “permed”, or had the color altered by chemicals.
For decades I and many others were led by our beauticians to believe that chemical relaxers and hair dye grew out of the hair. This appeared to be true. I, myself and others I knew who colored their hair would notice the color moving seemingly down the hair until it was gone. And relaxers looked like they worked their way our from the roots.
The reason this seemed to be true is because all of our hair remained the same length. What was really happening is that new hair was growing in from the root, but our damaged ends prevented our hair from growing beyond a certain point. The new “virgin” hair did not have chemicals or color.
The fact, that 3 or 4 months after coloring or relaxing hair it needs a touch up is proof positive that the hair is growing. This debunks the myth that black hair does not grow. The problem is keeping ends strong so that the hair will lengthen.
Another so called truth is the need for hair treatments. Recently an older cousin of mine said she was going to get a treatment for her hair. She told me that her hair dresser recommend monthly treatments to repair damage from years of relaxers. I had a problem with this, but I kept it to myself. After all who would this woman believe, me or her beautician of 20 years?
My cousin had been wearing her hair in it’s natural state for at least 5 years. And kept her hair cut close to her scalp. This means that any trace of chemicals was long gone. Her beautician was treating virgin hair, that had never been relaxed, as if it were damaged by chemicals.
Obviously this hair dresser believed that the hair she was conditioning today, was the same as what she permed 5 years before.
The truth is, that as new hair grows from the scalp, the tresses with relaxer or color in them moves downward. With a healthy head growth, the hair would be as long as they new hair that is growing from the roots.
Damaged hair however will have breakage of the ends. This causes hair to remain the same length. And gives the false impression that the hair is not growing. And thus the misconception that the chemicals and or color are working their way down the length.of your hair.
It is unfortunate that so much misinformation is taken as truth regarding African American hair. If however, all a hair dresser learned from the hair academy, was how to perm and curl hair, then that is all they will be able to do for their clients. They cannot give you information that they are unaware of.
Black women have been conditioned to believe that our hair needs professional care. If truth be told however, often the “professionals” are the ones doing the damage.
My daughter had been getting a curly perm every 3 or 4 months for 3 years. On this one occasion I went to pick her up, and her hair was bone straight. It looked as if it had been relaxed. A few years later the same thing happened with a different beautician. Both stylists made excuses, but in my opinion they over processed my daughter’s hair.
I cannot even count the number of times I or others I know spent good money at a salon, for perms coloring and treatments. Only to have our hair revert just a few days later, or have our locks look better from a home perm than what we paid for in a salon.
African American women spend more than 8 billion dollars a year, on hair care products and accessories. This is 80% more money than is spent by women of other ethnicities.
As more black women embrace their natural tresses, and come to the realization that we can care for our own hair from the comfort of our homes, the hair industry will no doubt have to make adjustments. One of them will be obtaining truthful information regarding treatments, products and professional styling.
Investigate. Don’t take anyone’s word on what is best for your hair. And most definitely do not spend hundreds of dollars on something that may look better if you did it yourself. Take your time and take good care of your hair and scalp. Find what works best for you. And learn the truth behind all the misconceptions.