Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Resistant hair: No Match for Relaxers plus Length

 So everyone is familiar with the different hair types being Type 1 through Type 4 with subcategories of a, b, and c.  Now, let's take the discussion one step farther . . .  Resistant versus Non-resistant.  Someone with a Type 4c curl pattern may have a finer and less resistant behavior than another individual with a Type 4c curl pattern who has a coarser, more resistant behavior.  So both people can have similar curl patterns, but the texture of the strands may dictate its resistance behavior and shrinkage behavior.
 This miniature "slinky" represents a "resistant" hair type.  When elongated, it naturally wants to spring back into its original condensed form.  This "resistant" hair behavior is excellent for locking because it likes to coil around everything in its path.  Extensions, braids, etc.   However, to straighten or relax this type of resistant hair, the relaxer has to work very hard to soften the bonds to rearrange them not to behave in its natural behavior.  Sometimes a mild strength relaxer is not strong enough to straighten a resistant hair type, but the toxic dangers to the scalp remain the same.  Alopecia and thickening of the scalp can results from prolonged relaxer exposure in an attempt to straighten resistant hair.
To test your resistance of your natural hair, just pull a strand of elongated hair from your head or comb and  drop it in a clear cup of water.  If there is no product or oils on it, then you should be able to see the hair strand do one of two things.   1) Either it will very slowly start to coil and shrink within a few minutes or 2) it will quickly coil and shrink at the "speed of light" like in two seconds.

If it is "speedy" then the hair is resistant.  If it is "slow" to coil, then it is non-resistant.  Non-resistant hair can grow long with the use of mild relaxers, but it may be harder to lock because of potential unravelling.

Now, resistant, coarse hair, is very difficult to grow long using relaxers.  Locks will grow it long, but relaxer and other straightening services will become a battle between style and health.  If a person with resistant hair can manage to style their hair for 8 to 10 weeks at a time in between relaxer touch-ups, then long length is possible.  However, most women with resistant, coarse hair can not get past their hairline becoming kinky within the five weeks period.

Decisions, Decisions.  Food for thought for those sitting on the fence about what to do next with your hair.

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