Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Natural Hair - What's My Definition?

Hey Lovelies!!!!
   Thanks for checking me out! Today, I want to give my revelation of what exactly "natural" means to me. It's such a complex word that can be used for so many different things, but today, I want to just focus on "natural hair". This topic causes so much controversy amongst the black community (especially the natural black community - partly, I think because they're so protective of its background and what it actually means to each individual), and I don't want anyone who reads this blog to get my perspective twisted. (I'mma letcha know up front! - lol!)

So, here's Lacoya's plain ole definition:
Natural Hair - Hair that has not been treated in such a way that one's curl pattern (hair structure) is permanently changed. (In other words, if you ever leave your hair alone for 6 months, and the 6 month new growth is different from that of your previous 6 months....uhhh, that's not your natural hair structure).

This includes ANY style that causes a PERMANENT change to your curl pattern (relaxing, texturizing, heat styling - to the point that your hair structure has changed, etc.)

I use the term 'curl pattern', because IMO, that's the only thing that matters (to ME) when defining 'natural hair'. When I say 'curl pattern', I REALLY mean hair structure -or intact disulfide bonds (as mentioned in the incerpt from ACC below), since that is the bond that determines the particular structure of your hair. I'm not mad at anybody for having a different opinion, and I'm sure that I could see reason with differing opinions, as well. But that's just how deep it goes for ME.

Can it be deeper and more technical than this? Of course. Let's look below:


Let's take it to Austin Community College's Basics of Biology:


ACC's explanation of Protein Tertiary and Quaternary Structures, says:
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The importance of disulfide bonds in the structure of certain proteins is demonstrated by hair. [...] The particular structure of your hair (straight, curly, etc.) is based on specific disulfide bonds that naturally form in the hair protein. This should help explain why an individual with straight hair cannot simply heat their hair, denature the protein (keratin), put in curlers and make it curly. The disulfide bonds are covalent bonds and thus are very strong. Heating these bonds will not break them, so simply heating hair will not change straight hair to curly. (Lacoya - or vice versa) 

Instead, it is necessary to break these bonds chemically, reform the hair to the desired shape, and make new disulfide bonds to maintain the new shape. If an individual, therefore, goes to the hairdresser for a permanent, the beautician must first treat the hair with a reagent that reduces (and thus breaks) the disulfide bond (using the smelly stuff that makes me gag when I go by), then put in curlers (to get the desired shape), and add an oxidizing agent to form new disulfide bonds to maintain the new shape. Two major factors, however, are involved to ensure that a permanent is not really permanent. As the hair grows, the new hair will form the more stable, normal conformation. Also, since the new shape is not a "favorable" conformation, the new structure will put strain on the new disulfide bonds and will cause them to break more easily and the hair will slowly regain the old shape. Therefore, eventually, the new shape "grows out" and you must return again for another "permanent". (Lacoya - this is where my opinion comes from, basically)
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So, why does my classification of 'natural hair' not contain mentions of hair color, dyes, etc. Well, IMO, if dye causes your 'curl pattern' -or- hair structure to be permanently altered.....well that's included in not being natural. Eventually, you would have a seperation of the 'altered curl pattern' and the 'natural' curl pattern. However, if your curl pattern stays intact when coloring, you still are within my definitions of 'natural'.

So....that's my definition of natural. -_- *kanyeshrug*

What's your definition of natural? Is it simpler than this? More complex? Deeper? Is it more or less than just a disulfide bond? Let us know!

Stay tuned for more! I have a WHOLE lot of upcoming topics for discussion! :-)

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