Recently, in an interview with Elle Magazine, I repeated my professional opinion about caring for Type 4 hair, often referred to as kinky hair. Here’s what I said in Elle:
“I always recommend embracing your natural texture. Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type that I suggest altering with professional relaxing”.
That statement is a very short version of what I also said in my book all those years ago, but almost immediately after the Elle article, the internet was abuzz with people questioning why I would recommend chemically relaxing a particular hair type Some even said my advice suggests that kinky hair is “bad” hair.
Let me first say that there is no such thing as “bad” hair, and I have long ago freed myself from being afraid to use the word “kinky” and also from being accused of not liking natural hair. We have become a multi-cultural society that embraces many different looks and styles when it comes to hair. It is my Mission to help you grow strong, healthy hair, and wear it in the style or styles that best suit your likes and particular hair type.
When it comes to curly and kinky hair (there is a difference), I leave the political correctness of “going straight” or staying natural to a woman’s personal preference. Once again, my advice is based on how to best achieve strong, healthy hair. So for those who would like to engage me in a debate about who has more racial pride and self esteem, based on hairstyle preference and use or non-use of chemical relaxers, know that I believe in personal freedom, and in the use of advanced technology when it yields positive results, which many of today’s (versus yesterday’s) chemical relaxers do deliver.
It is a fact that kinky hair (my Type 4 definition) is extremely fragile and breaks easily. Even when you are very careful, something as simple as combing can break this texture. It is very difficult to achieve a longer length when the hair breaks, even with simple combing. That being said, there is the style option of wearing braids, dreads, or twists, which allows the hair to grow longer because it is combed less often. Another style choice is to simply wear a shorter cut, which is very attractive on some women but just not right for others.
So when I say to embrace your natural texture, but consider relaxing kinky hair, am I contradicting myself? I don’t think so! You see, even relaxed hair can still be worn naturally. If you want a natural look, but find that your kinky hair is difficult to manage, breaks too easily, lacks shine and luster, and limits your preferred styling options, I say feel free to consider a mild chemical relaxer, sometimes called a texturizer, that eases your hair to a more manageable texture and allows you to Make Peace With Your Hair.
We’ve come a long way in the ability of chemical relaxers to gently relax the hair. In fact, I notice that my book is somewhat dated in that respect. When I wrote it, I was not a fan of no-lye relaxers. But now they are much improved, and I use them when I know it will help a client to maintain either a “natural” or a straight look — whichever she prefers — with more ease.
Mandatory for all hair types, and extra mandatory for curly, coarse, or kinky hair — Condition, Condition, Condition !
My Mission in the products I develop and in the professional advice I offer to Everyone of all hair types — Make Peace With Your Hair.
My Message for everyone who questions the integrity of my advice regarding coarse/kinky natural hair — All hair is GOOD hair. Healthy hair is BETTER hair. I will always offer you my BEST hair advice.