If I had a dollar for every time I stumbled upon a natural hair debate, I’d be the richest person alive. When it comes to talking kinks and curls the topic that always gets blood boiling and fingers pointing is altering the curl pattern of natural hair.

Just this weekend, I witnessed an all-out battle of the curls on the Miss Jessie’s Facebook Fan Page, when the discussion of chemically altering curls using a silkener was posted on their wall. Here’s the question that got tongues and eyes rolling as shared by Miko and Titi, themselves:

“If I spent all this time to grow out my relaxer to be natural why would I go back to a chemical?”

For those of you who don’t know, a texturizer or silkener is a chemical process that loosens curls, but doesn’t straighten them. The reaction from most of those who commented was once your hair has been chemically altered, your hair is no longer natural.

One commenter said: “Texturizer/silkener = NOT NATURAL.”

Another chimed in with: “This is a time when more women r goin natural and a lot of companies c that and feed off of it….saying how our hair is so difficult to manage so thrw jus a teenie weenie bit of lye in it to ease the pain instead of saying work with ur hair.”

On the other end of the curl spectrum, one person responded: “Personally I’m sick of the attitude that ‘natural’ is better than permed, silkened, relaxed, texturized etc hair. I AM “natural” despite a texturizer to make it more ‘manageable’ for ME. Its aallll natural when it’s growing out of your scalp. One method of achieving longer healthier hair is not more superior than the other. #drops Mic and walks off stage.”

Miko and Titi played mediator to the opinions and clarified that a silkener and relaxer are not synonymous, as one commenter stated, saying: “A Silkener and a Relaxer service both use the same active ingredient LYE. The difference between a Silkener and a Relaxer is the application method and the result. A relaxer seeks to make hair straight. A Silkener seeks to redefine frizzy hair into curls. Technically a silkener is not natural. But you can certainly ‘look’ natural without the work that may be required of “being ‘natural.’“

I’ve been natural for two years, and I personally love my hair the way it is without any chemical treatments. I went natural because of the harm that chemicals caused my hair to experience, and I have no intention of reverting back, even just a little. But, I have plenty of friends with healthy relaxed and texturized hair. It’s a case of different strokes for different folks.

Miko and Titi shared their two cents with this: “I am in total agreement with all of you. Options are all good. Who are we to decide what is right for someone else’s head of hair. Who are we to determine what we consider manageable to be for anyone other than ourselves? What may be manageable to one person may be unmanageable to another. And vice versa. We are here to offer choice. It’s all about options ladies…”

What’s your take on this natural hair debate? Are you natural if you use a chemical process to loosen, but not straigten your curls?

-Margaret Francois

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  • NaturalBeauty

    @Len No, wearing your hair natural doesn’t make you more black than someone with a perm. I find it intersting people keep saying stuff like that…like fro’s or cornrows are militant? really I see a lot of black men with dreads and they are not married to black women…what does that make them? A hair style is a hair style…You should feel free to express yourself and style your way. that’s what I say. I do love natural styles but, I also wear perms and wigs if that’s how I’m feeling.

    To the story at hand…using chemicals is using chemicals lol

  • Grace A.

    Honestly, I think both groups of women (women who are natural/women who are relaxed) just do not like the idea of feeling like the other group is trying to portray their way as “better.” It is not the styles, but the inherent undertones of superiority that each group perceives the other as conveying.

  • df

    no….why are people acting like it is….people that use texturizers don’t have to tell people if they don’t want to but they have to accept the fact that they are not walking around with their natural hair texture…it’s not a good/bad thing, it’s just reality. I’m not better than you because i’m fully natural but I don’t think it’s cool to delude yourself into thinking you are natural. I think it just plays into women’s uncomfortableness with their natural hair texture and desire for a looser, more desirable texture. At least get to know your natural texture and figure it out…but every one has a choice so it’s up to them.