Hair: To Be, or Not To Be …Natural?
Whether long, short, curly, straight, braided, twisted, locked, relaxed, or natural, these hairstyles have gained perceptions of their own, depending on the wearer. Like many trends hair styles have drastically changed over the past few years, especially within the African-American community with the rising popularity of natural hair. Nowadays, more people of African descent are opting to keep their natural hair in lieu of chemically treated hair using harsh relaxers and perms. Upon closer review of the ingredients in some of the most popular hair relaxers, a stark discovery unfolds. Using EWG’s database of product assessments, most relaxers rated moderately to highly toxic to human health. Products like Optimum Care Salon Collection, Africa’s Best, Dark&Lovely, and Dr. Miracles were all rated moderate to high for; overall health hazard, cancer, allergies, and immunotoxicity. Noted health concerns included: endocrine disruption, various contamination concerns, skin, eyes, or lungs irritation, toxicity to non-reproductive organs, bioaccumulation, biochemical or cellular level changes, enhanced skin absorption, and ecotoxicology. Clearly, these warnings are no small concerns.
The toughest decision in this trend has been in the transitioning process from chemical treatment to natural hair. I have often wondered does it have to be all or nothing? Are there any relaxers or hair softeners that can still fulfill the natural/chemical-free requirement for those who do not necessarily want to make the big chop? Based on the available data in EWG’s database, Morocco Method International Tame the Dragon relaxer 24/7, and Curlaway Chemical Free Relaxer had the lowest hazard ratings (0-3 out of 10) among all the alternatives.
Those of you still on the fence regarding the big hair chop, consider the safest alternatives among the manufactured products next time you face the sea of colorful boxes and carefully worded labels. Remember, whether in locks, braids, straightened, or left in its natural beauty, you are more than your hair, and your health must preceed your aesthetics.
Stay beautiful inside and out.