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Many African-American women are forgoing the hair relaxer and returning to their hair’s natural texture. Why?

To understand this, one must first understand what a hair relaxer is and what it does. It is a chemical that is applied to the hair, left on a set amount of time, then rinsed out, all in order to straighten naturally kinky hair. The straightening components are either sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide (thus the “lye” versus “no-lye” distinction). This is a permanent process that must be reapplied to the hair’s new growth as it comes in to keep a straight, uniform look.

Although proclaimed as a safe procedure, there are risks involved, especially if the relaxer is left on the hair too long or comes in contact with the skin. Women have been left with scarring from chemical burns when the relaxer was improperly used. There have been cases where the hair follicles were damaged beyond repair; consequently, these areas no longer will grow hair.

But it’s not only damage that is making many black women forego straightening their hair. The reasons are as varied as the women themselves.

Since many women have had their hair straightened from a young age, they may have no recollection what their natural hair looks like. They might be curious to rediscover their roots. Some women grow tired of the constant maintenance required of relaxed hair. On average, the process needs to be applied to the new growth every four to eight weeks. Factor in the time it takes to set relaxed hair on rollers or to blow dry and style and it can be quite time-consuming to keep up.

Still other women are embracing their natural heritage and a natural lifestyle. One of the surest ways to differentiate themselves from others is by wearing their natural hair proudly. Only tightly curled or kinky hair can stand up and out in an Afro.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, many blacks wore their natural hair in Afros, in part as a spurning of the subjugated way of life they and their ancestors were forced to live. It was a time of racial pride and upheaval. Once the Civil Rights Movement came to an end, many black people who wanted to join corporate America found they had to “assimilate.” To blend in with the powers that be, it was necessary to conform. For women, this most often meant straightening the hair. For men, it was a low haircut.

In the early to mid-1990’s, as black music evolved to include a Neo-soul sound, reminiscent of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, black style changed as well. Hair began to take a turn back. Braids and dreadlocks (or “locs” as most loc wearers prefer them to be called) became popular. Natural black hair began to be celebrated again.

At the start of a new millennium, more and more women are returning to their natural texture. Unlike the earlier wave of naturals, there are many more options for styling, instead of just the basic Afro. There are books and websites dedicated to the care of black hair, which are needed since so many women didn’t grow up caring for their hair in its natural state and don’t have a clue how to care for it.

Perhaps this renaissance will continue and natural hair will become the accepted norm. One day, maybe naturally textured black women will be the majority and few will remember a time when harsh chemicals were freely applied to kinky hair to change it into something it wasn’t meant to be.

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Oh, we are all about…




5 Little Life Hacks to Change Your World

Do you want to improve your life and become a better person? Of course, who wouldn’t? However, you might not know the best ways to change that are likely to have the maximum impact on your happiness and well-being. The five following life hacks are little, but applying them can enhance your energy, mood, and outlook.

Get up early

If you don’t usually get up early, you’re missing something special. Rise before everyone else, and you’ll experience a sense of peace and calm that’s not present the rest of the day. Also, you’ll get a head start. Early rising gives you the chance to ease into the morning and allow the night’s cobwebs to lift gently. Instead of rushing into everyday tasks, you can create a wise, positive intention to carry forth and set your mind as you wish. You can also begin chores sooner than you would if you got up later, and so complete them earlier, or be more productive.

Stop trying to be understood

Your happiness will increase if you cease wanting others to understand you. Seriously, you might not recognize how much time you spend fretting over whether others ‘get’ you, but it’s probably a lot. Just imagine how much less complicated life would be if you no longer cared if people had a good grasp on what you were thinking and feeling.

The good news is, it’s up to you. You can decide to drop worrying about how people’s perception of you might not match your innermost feelings and just enjoy being you.

Listen to your intuition

How often have you smacked your forehead in disbelief because you didn’t listen to the warning voice in your head and made a mistake? There’s no point saying “I knew that was going to happen” but not taking notice of your intuition the next time it speaks. From now on, respect your inner wisdom, whether it arises from a gut feeling or thought. As a result, you’ll have fewer problems.

Take a break

You live in a busy world where productivity pays, sometimes anyway. For this reason, you fill your days with activity, imagining doing so will be rewarding. Even if you’re only watching the TV or cleaning the kitchen cupboard, you’re doing something. Nonetheless, your activities often don’t make you happy because you’re stressed.

As cheesy as it sounds, stopping to smell the roses really will improve your well-being. When you slow down and do less, your anxiety decreases. You breathe a sigh of relief since pressure lifts.

Get rid of clutter

Declutter your home and your life will follow suit. You’ll think more clearly and be smarter and more positive when you don’t face mounds of junk each day. Walk from room to room, noticing where mess accumulates and consider how to accommodate it better – not by filling a box you never empty, but by putting it away in the right places.

First, though, you might have to create the “right places.” Hang hooks where items that can be hung are piled. Put goods that don’t need to live where they are back where they came from, and add storage containers where they are needed. Plus, schedule time in which to rehouse items that wind up in the wrong places, because, let’s face it, they still will occasionally.

These five little life hacks have the power to transform your well-being, but you have to do them rather than only reading about them. Add them to your routine behaviors until they become habits, and your life will improve.


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