Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blog Action Day

Yo, thanks to LukiaNo for posting this on your blog. I am going to participate too. On October 15th 2007, blogs around the world will post up a single article regarding the environment. Since there is so many areas to discuss, it will be interesting to see what everyone decides to say. Check it out:

Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day

Analyzing the 'Hair Relaxer' (part 2)

So, how does relaxer work with 'straighten hair'?

The Calcium Hydroxide (or sodium hydroxide, if your using lye) penetrates the cuticle layer of your hair shaft, and violently attacks and strips away your cortex (Which we explained earlier as being the hair shaft's source of nutrients, strength and elasticity). Unlike, the cuticle, the cortex happens to be very easy to perish.

From the lack of strength... the hair shaft falls (lacking the vitality to hold up curls), making your hair... straight(ish). Hence the term "relaxing the hair".

To add to stripping the cortex, the active chemicals not only penetrate the the hair shaft, they also penetrate your scalp! (No matter how careful you try to be, the hair relaxer STILL touches and penetrates into your scalp.)

In your scalp, the chemical does 3 major things:

  1. The chemical violently react to the substances in the body and attacks the oil glands, making them dormant.
  2. The chemical strips your outer epidermis layer (aka your skin on your scalp) taking away your natural protective layer, leaving your skin unprotected.
  3. The chemical also absorbs into your scalp, and is stored some where else in your body for a side effect to develop later, after a long term usage. (Like balding, skin disease, etc.)

Without natural oils, and stripped skin. Your hair and scalp are left to dependent on OTHER products to fix what problem was created.

As mentioned in an earlier article, kinky hair is actually very WEAK, BRITTLE, as well as DRY. So, in a sense, that would make 'relaxed hair' the MOST WEAKEST, DRIEST and VULNERABLE type of hair.

With no form of natural protection, the 'Relaxee' is forced to become a slave to a 'Cycle of Chemicals'.

What is this 'cycle of chemicals'?

A "Cycle Of Chemicals" is a constant routine of chemical usage and dependency to fix a problem that a previous chemical (or product) had initially created. Every single product that contains chemicals, this includes preservatives (etc), has ingredients that cause some form of damage.

Example (A):

"Fragrance" is added to every chemical mix product to cover up the horrible smell the formula originally had in the laboratory. The 'side effect', however, is that it dries out your hair and scalp. Every new product used to fix the problem of dry hair and scalp, usually contains the same (or similar) fragrance chemical which will essentially add to further damage or dependency to another temporary fix. With constant forms of damage, trimming off the hair shaft is needed to stop the chain of breakage, from reaching the rest of the hair.

Example (B):
  1. After a while you develop hair breakage (from using hair relaxer, or other harsh methods of treatment)
  2. You use a product, to fix the problem.
  3. That product in turn has its own damaging side effect. So you use another product to fix that problem.
  4. Which leads to damage, or a side effect in another area. So you use another product to fix that problem. Etc, etc, etc.

Over and over again, we use one product to fix one problem, then another one to fix another problem. No wonder the cosmetic industry makes billions of dollars a year. They create products to fix problems that they themselves have originally created.

As this cycle of dependency continues, there is yet another problem that arises...


Water???... you ask.

Here is yet another irony. Kinky hair is the driest type of hair there is. It needs moisture... yet for most black people (mainly black women), they end up usually fearing the idea of water touching their heads (unless planned, of course)... why?

"Wonderful, fantastic water!!!
It can help sustain life, as well as be a means of destruction. It can be molded into a new shape, as well as mold a new shape out of a solid object. And... Whatever is NOT naturally bound to you will be simply stripped away in mere minutes!"

Chemicals aren't bound to us. They don't really absorb... well not always in a good way, anyway. A lot of chemicals just sit on top of your skin or hair shaft... waiting to be washed away.

Water not only attacks from the outside of our bodies, but from the inside as well. Our bodies sweat, and practically push the chemicals away from us... along with other toxins that were inside of us.

Without protection, both chemically and naturally, the skin and hair become... once again... vulnerable to the elements. Which leads to...

Frizzy hair, 'unmanageable' hair, dry, flaky skin, itchy scalp, matted hair, and... just another addition to the chain of hair breakage.


[The image above is of a pair of antique "Sheep Cards". Slaves often used Sheep Cards to try to straighten their hair, so that they would look like the Europeans. The result was actually, their scalp being slashed, as well as their hair being ripped out, which lead to infections in the scalp, due to the lack of hygiene. But they kept using it, regardless of the pain and damage, for centuries because of their desperation to have the so-called "good hair".]

There was a time (well, the last 400 years anyway) when Black people felt that they needed to 'fit in' with the Europeans. With out a good source of knowledge (and due to our demanding desire to look like our slave owners) we used very extreme methods to satisfy our own personal obsessions (that actually was the REASON for hair breakage, balding, and infections. Like using the "Iron Toothed Sheep Cards", Car Oil, etc).

I am sure that if C.J. Walker (and other famous black people for the black hair industry) knew that the reason they were rapidly balding, was because of the extreme methods that they used to try to straighten their heads, rather than just genetics. I am sure they wouldn't have continued searching for things to fix the problem of balding. But rather, they might of just STOPPED what was causing the problem in the first place and let their bodies heal themselves.

In our time, however, WE have absolutely no reason not to ask questions about what we are putting in to or on our bodies. Using resources like the library, asking questions to professionals, the internet and other forms of media, gives us the opportunity that our imprisoned (both physically and mentally) ancestors didn't have.


This isn't me trying to force you to go nappy. But rather me trying to show you the 'oxymoron' with using black hair care products.

Some good starter resources are:

*** You will notice, however, that a lot of resources state the obvious problems, yet... they still promote their own "so called" glorious products, which has their own side effects. (GREED is such a powerful temptation...)

Analyizing the 'Hair Relaxer' (part 1)

What does " Hair Relaxer" actually do?
Before answering the question. We need to take a good look at the structure of our hair and skin.

  1. Cuticle: Is the outer layer of the hair shaft. The cuticle is made up of layers of scales that interlock with the inner root sheath, to firmly latch it to the hair follicle. Healthy cuticle scales, will lie down smoothly and reflect the light. This is what gives the hair a lovely shine.
  2. Cortex: Is the bulk of the hair shaft. The cortex is made up of combined (or locked) groups of cells. Each group of cells contain particles of nutrients that gives the hair Strength and Elasticity.
  3. Medulla: The center or core of the hair shaft. Scientists are still unsure of its function but it is known that some people with fine hair, like nappy hair, don't have it.


Other areas to take note of are:
  • Melanin: Is contained in the cortex. It gives your hair an skin its color. The more melanin you have, the darker the tone.
  • Hair Follicle: Is at the base of the hair shaft. At the hair follicle, dead cells are compacted together and added to the base of the chain of grouped dead cells that make up the hair shaft and hair follicle.

  • Papilla: Is made mainly of connective tissue and capillary loop.
  • Hair Matrix: Is located around the papilla. The hair matrix is the actual location where there is cell division between the new arrived dead cells.

  • Sebaceous Glands: Are glands that produce Sebaceous oil, or your body's natural oil. Your body uses the Sebaceous oil to naturally condition your hair and skin.

So what is " Hair Relaxer"?

Relaxer is a form of creme, which is used to 'reform' the texture of a type of hair. It is usually used on tightly curly or kinky type hair. There are 2 types of chemical hair straighteners: Lye Hair Relaxer and "No-Lye" Relaxer

"No-Lye" relaxers contain Calcium Hydroxide, which is a colorless crystal (or power) chemical compound. The Calcium Hydroxide is a medium alkaline base substance that 'violently' reacts with acids and attacks metals in Water.

[Interestingly, the human body is made up of about 65% water. It also contains some form of metal substances and acids...]

"Lye" relaxers are a high alkaline base substance. That reacts more violently than 'no lye' relaxers.

I found this description of LYE quite interesting. Thought you might like to read about it:

" Many household products contain lye, the chemical sodium hydroxide. Lye is a caustic, alkaline chemical, which means it dissolves sticky substances like fat, and has a high degree of reactivity with other materials. Lye, in a flake, granular, or liquid form, is very dangerous and can cause damage to surfaces and people... Lye is created out of a chemical reaction between soda, known as sodium carbonate, and calcium hydroxide, or lime. In raw form, it's made into solid flakes, chips, or grains.

Chemical suppliers provide lye to manufacturers to make a wide variety of products, such as fabric, paper, personal soap, laundry detergent, pool-cleaning supplies, metal polishers, and drain de-cloggers.

Caustic lye products pose other dangers to surfaces. They can dissolve substances to your advantage, like hair clogs in a shower drain, as well as to your detriment, such as the adjacent shower curtain. In fact, lye can damage and corrode paint, metal, cloth, plastic, and especially skin. Lye can be so reactive that, in its solid form, it should be kept away from metals, such as aluminum, and the open air. It's usually non-combustible when dry, but could ignite when mixed with water and cause a fire."

[Taken from "What is Lye?"]

Interestingly enough. The 'No-Lye' active ingredient Calcium Hydroxide, is also used in drain de-cloggers, as well as hair removal cremes!

To see just how violent these substances react. Get a secure 'see-through' tube and bowl, and mimic a clogged drain. Use the drain de-clogging substance, and watch. Not only does the product unblock the clog... but it disintegrates the substance enough for the hair (or clog) to loosen up enough to continue moving through the drain pipe.

Hair remover cremes, aren't as concentrated enough to "disintegrate" your hair... but... it is concentrated enough to make your hair actually FALL OUT.

I find that kind of ironic, how we, black women, are always determined to find a way to make our hair grow longer, yet we put things in our hair that were originally designed to do the complete opposite.

I am sure that if the manufacturers actually renamed their "hair straightening" products as the "Hair Fall Out Formula That Has Been Less Concentrated", the millions upon millions of black people probably wouldn't be so eager to "fix" their "kink" problem.

"Its all about the marketing, baby."
Thats how drugs even more harmful than cocaine get sold in the medical industry!!!!!

{end part 1}

Monday, August 13, 2007


Q: My lil 8 year old son has excema; would this dry skin recipe work well for that skin condition? If so, what is and where does one purchase the comfrey?

A: For this particular situation. External treatments are not necessarily the best solution. It probably would be best looking into changing your diet or lifestyle. Changing your diet (or rather your son's diet) would be a form of treatment at the root source rather than treating the after results.

There have been cases, where people were diagnosis with an illness (including Excema) and decided to incorporate a larger amount of vegetables, fruits, water, and complicated grains in their diets, as well as cut out red meat, and lower their intake of meat and fish. The result for them was that their illnesses were cured.

When you incorporate more veggies, fruits, and complicated grains into your body, your body is given the ingredients it needs in order to create ITS OWN HOMEMADE treatment. Usually that treatment consists of a natural "detox".

When your body goes through "detox", it pushes out everything that it doesn't want. The result is first 2 to 3 months of your body going through a withdraw faze, since you no longer eat a lot of junk food. The other result is that your skin becomes radiant, your system internally has cleared FULLY up (and not drastically) so your organs begin to function correctly.

In my own personal case, I had not been menstruating for 3 years and my liver had a lot of damage. Not enough to operate, but enough for me to be screaming in pain once and a while. Since I became vegetarian (or eating an 80% non meat diet, while leaving 20% to fish and occasionally poultry), my body has balanced back and is going back to normal, and I am no longer in the pain that I use to be.

To add to my change of lifestyle, I am using natural cosmetics on my body. Its a slow conversation, but the result, my scars and blemishes are fading and my skin looks radiant and smooth (as well as soft... no make up required).

So to sum this up. In your case, changing your lifestyle to a much more healthier diet as well as incorporating external treatments (you use the external methods as an additional way of treatment rather than relying on it fully).

A: You can purchase the "comfrey" online. It probably would be better to order the "essential oil " from an online facility. If not fresh or dried herb leaves and root.

Good Resources to check out are:

(note: A RAW Foodist diet, is considered an extreme but gives you a good example on the effects)

[P.S. My apologies for the belated response.]

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Great Moments In Black Hair History: 1979

In the year 1979. The world was amazed, and African Americans were appalled, when Bo Derek appeared on the movie screen wearing a braided cornrow hair style.

For the rest of the world, it was a showed that anyone could wear that hairstyle, no matter what the color of the skin. For the African Americans, however, it symbolized the end of the 'Black Is Beautiful' movement... why???

Going back a few years, to the year 1963. The world, once again, was shocked or amazed over a hairstyle. This time, however, it was from seeing an African American woman, Cicely Tyson, wearing her hair natural on National TV.

During this time the world viewed black people, especially black woman, as ugly and not human. If an Black woman was seen walking down the street wearing her hair 'not straightened' she was automatically despised, not only by the European Americans but by the African American people as well.

Hatred towards an African American woman, was based off her appearance. She couldn't find a husband if her hair was not straightened. Nor could she get work... In magazines, newspapers, and posters. She was told over and over again, both by black and white people, that she needed to straighten her hair in order to appear beautiful.

For centuries, slave owners would purposely dehumanize the black woman. By referring to her hair as woolly (Like a sheep. Making her appear like animal), as well as using illustrations in newspapers and posters to show her as an ugly barbaric creature. The reason why they focused on the black woman, was because from her insecurities she would also pass on these thoughts to her children. Making sure generation after generation, her descendants would resent themselves.

And if a group of people are weak from their insecurities, it makes them easier to control...


For the first time in African American history, Cicely Tyson (a darker skinned African American Woman) wore her braids proudly on a national television show on CBS, East Side West Side.

The Black People... for a moment (in a sense) opened their eyes. They began to ask questions, research their history and then finally realized what they have being doing to themselves.

One of the most interesting movements in black history had finally arrived... the "Black Is Beautiful" movement.

The "Black Is Beautiful" Movement was a movement that was made to 'celebrate' the beauty of black people. By helping black people gain self confidence as well as show the rest of the world that black people are beautiful, as well as human.

The movement continued through out the 60's but new terms, symbols or meanings kept being added on to what 'going natural' meant. The once simple and peaceful movement eventually was morphed and run by extremists. The 'natural look' became incorporated with more violent actions and movements rather than remaining just a peaceful statement.

But by the 70's, the 'natural look' (mainly the afro) became just another hair style and no longer carried the strong political meaning that it once had. People of all races and cultures were getting a 'fro. In fact, they were desperately trying to get their hair permed, so that they could be able to 'fro up their hair.

The Afro became seen as comical. Jokes about people hiding objects in their afro, and other jokes constantly kept appearing through out different types of media. European Americans no longer felt a need to be threatened by seeing an Afro on a black person.

Cornrows and dreadlocks, however, still appeared as unprofessional and eccentric to the European Standards. Black Women, and black men, were being fired from their jobs for coming to work wearing locks or cornrows. White women, however, would go to work wearing their hair in cornrows and receive compliments about how 'cute' it looked on them. Double Standards began to control society.

So when Bo Derek fronted her cornrow hair style on "10" ( a movie by Blake Edwards: 1979), black people viewed it as an insult. Interestingly enough, the hairstyle Bo Derek decided to wear was very similar to what Cicely Tyson wore in 1963.

The "Black Is Beautiful" movement (in a faze) died. The African Americans forgot why they went natural in the first place (or never really understood) then realized that they wanted to go back to work again. In the 1980's they quickly grabbed their hair straightening chemicals or adopted a new kind of chemical to change the texture of their nappy hair to look once again 'professional' and 'beautiful' to the rest of the world.

... Enter the era of the Jheri Curl...