How To Benefit From Your Natural Hair Journey

How To Benefit From Your Natural Hair Journey

Natural Hair Journey
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My Natural Hair Journey

Where do I begin this lengthy explanation of my natural hair journey? It’s kind of a long story of me stepping outside of my comfort zone yadda yadda yadda. For as long as I could remember I had been a relaxed girl. You know with the bone-straight hair done improperly for ages. Yup, that was me.

Natural Hair

From Relaxers To Natural Hair

All through middle school, high school, and a few years after graduating high school, I always had a “perm.” So I thought it was a “perm.” With that being said, we will jump right into the topic at hand. Perms and Relaxers.


In the simplest form possible, a perm is a hairstyle produced by setting the hair in waves or curls and then treating it with chemicals so that the style lasts for several months. It is a styling process used to alter the texture of hair to a curlier or wavier texture.

There are two different types of perms available for client services. The first process is called a Thermal Perm. Also referred to as a ‘hot perm’, this method uses heat to restructure the texture of your client’s hair by wrapping small sections of hair around special rods.

The solution used in the thermal method helps to conduct and infuse heat into the hair, not structurally change it. In this method, heat is what is used to manipulate hair texture. This option creates a softer, looser texture of curl.

The second method used is called a Chemical perm. This process may also be known as a “cold perm”. This is the chemical option for altering the texture of your client’s hair which does not require heat. This is the most common method of perming hair. For this particular service, the hair is wrapped around rods of different sizes (depending on the size of the curl and the kind of texture the client is aiming for). The rods are not heated. Instead, it uses thermal induction to change the hair structure. A chemical solution is applied to break down and reshape the hair into a new look.

Once your client’s hair is wrapped in rods and the perm lotion has been carefully and meticulously applied, wait for the perm to set. The setting time varies depending on the client’s desired result. Once it sets, be sure to thoroughly rinse the chemical solution. Next, dry the hair, and stop the chemical perming process by using a neutralizer.


In the simplest form possible, a relaxer is intended to straighten curly or kinky hair. “Relaxing,” also known as “lanthionization” in hairstylist jargon, is the process by which hydroxide relaxers permanently straighten hair. It breaks the hair’s disulfide bonds during processing and converts them to lanthionine bonds. This process takes place when the relaxer is rinsed from the hair. Disulfide bonds contain two sulfur atoms. Lanthionine bonds contain only sulfur atoms. The disulfide bonds that are broken by hydroxide relaxers are broken permanently and can never be re-formed. This leaves the hair in a straight state after processing.

Natural Hair Journey, sodium hydroxide relaxers

There are three types of relaxers; sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and ammonium thioglycolate. Sodium hydroxide relaxers are commonly called “lye relaxers”. Lye relaxers can be used on wavy, curly, or coiled hair.

Natural Hair Journey, no lye relaxer

No-lye relaxers, aka calcium hydroxide relaxers, are designed for sensitive scalps and can also be used on curly, coiled, or wavy textures. They are, however, actually harsher on the hair than lye relaxers and can dry the hair out.

Natural Hair Journey, Ammonium thioglycolate, perm salt, Ocean Hair

Ammonium thioglycolate is also known as perm salt. This particular product isn’t recommended for coarse or coily hair use. This is because the formula isn’t strong enough to straighten the hair. Although it doesn’t produce results on coily hair, it’s great for straightening fine, curly, or wavy hair.

Now that we have covered all that, we will continue with the hair journey. So back in 2010, early in the month of January, I decided that I would go ahead and check a few things off my bucket list. Cosmetology school was one of the things on my list.

Natural Hair Journey bucket list

My Cosmetology Experience

So in February 2010 I enrolled at Empire Beauty School and started my hair care adventure. While attending school I decided to volunteer to be used for a haircut demo for the new students. In this demo, I was a model for an asymmetrical haircut. (That was the trend back in 2010) I thought I would never really “cut” my hair EVER but I actually liked it!

Of course, you know that with those cuts, one side is extremely shorter than the other. Once my hair started to grow out, it kind of started to look a bit weird. So guess what I had to do? Keep trimming the ends of the longer side until it begins to even out completely. What a perfect time for me to start transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair! Made sense, right? I began my no-relaxer phase in June 2011. I transitioned with MINIMAL clippings of my actual natural hair until the relaxer grew out. (I didn’t want to lose my length!)

Natural Hair Journey, Blunt Bob hair cut

I let my hair continue to grow out until all of the relaxer had been cut. I did a great job maintaining and treating my hair properly until I had enough courage to do the big chop in 2015. Later, I will address all those notions in a separate post. I’ve been relaxer-free for 11 YEARS and counting as of today. I have had “NATURAL” hair (meaning free from ALL CHEMICALS, color included) for 6 years and counting. I would LOVE to get a “perm” or something of the sort, but I will be patient with my roots.

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