Edit:11/21/09 I’m bumping this old post because there have been so many great comments made. I’m also bumping it for any newbies who might be thinking of this as an option!

I was walking to get lunch at work yesterday when I spotted a young lady with a little fro walking by. All naturals catch my attention since they seem to be few and far in between where I live. I didn’t say anything and continued talking on my cell phone. She interrupted me and told me she liked my hair and asked how I did it.

I hung up my phone ( Bye DH!) because if there’s someone to talk about hair with, I’m happy! I told her how I did my twists, what products I like, about my BC. I then asked her about her hair : how long she’d been natural and did she just recently BC.

Her: “Oh no, I used to wear it really short like a dude but started growing it out. But my boyfriend said it was too damn nappy and what was I going to do with it? I had to put a texture softener in it just to be able to comb through it”

I must’ve winced when I heard “texture softener” because she said “What?”

Me (going with honesty):” I just didn’t know that your hair was,um, chemically treated”

Her (confused): “It’s not. A texture softener is like a moisturizer…it just makes the hair softer so you can comb through it. I used the childrens’ version”

Ya’ll, this about bowled me over. I was pretty much done at this point because 1) lunch time was quickly coming to a close and 2) I couldn’t believe that she really thought this. I told her that a texture softener was a mild relaxer, gave her the names of a few sites I like to visit and said goodbye.

Just now I was on the Just for Me Texture Softener site to see if it was misleading. I am mad and a little disgusted by what I saw.

First, let me list the ingredients, which I could not find on the website. I apologize if they are there and I just missed them, but I ended up having to go elsewhere for ingredient info (from www.walgreens.com):

Water – Aqua , Petrolatum , Cetearyl Alcohol , Mineral Oil – Paraffinum Liquidum , Polysorbate 60 , Calcium Hydroxide , Propylene Glycol , PEG-75 Lanolin , Sodium Stearoamphoacetate , Aloe Barbadensis , Oleth-3 Phosphate , Linalool , Fragrance – Parfum , Water – Aqua , Guanidine Carbonate , Xanthan Gum , Denatonium Benzoate , Green 5 – CI 61570 , Green 8 – CI 59040 , Water – Aqua , Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Disodium Cocoamphodipropionate , Citric Acid , Polyquaternium-7 , PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate , Polysorbate 20 , Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol , Algae Extract , Aloe Barbadensis , PEG-150 Distearate , Tetrasodium EDTA , Phenolsulfonphthalein , Diazolidinyl Urea , DMDM Hydantoin , Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate , Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone , Benzyl Salicylate , Butyl Phenyl Methyl Propional , Citronellol , Coumarin , Linalool , Fragrance – Parfum , Carthamus Tinctorius , Helianthus Annuus , Glycine Soja , Mineral Oil – Paraffinum Liquidum , Zea Mays , Limnanthes Alba , Lanolin Oil , Tocopheryl Acetate , Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone , Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride , BHT , Amyl Cinnamal , Citral , Limonene , Linalool , Fragrance – Parfum , Water – Aqua , Mineral Oil – Paraffinum Liquidum , Polyquaternium-22 , Hydroxyethylcellulose , Acetamide MEA , Panthenol , Hydrolyzed Keratin , Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans , Sodium Cocoyl Collagen Amino Acids , Algae Extract , Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol , Simmondsia Chinensis , Tocopheryl Acetate , Aloe Barbadensis , Oleth-3 Phosphate , Sorbitan Stearate , Linoleic Acid , Linolenic Acid , Triticum Vulgare , Wheat Germ Acid , Propylene Glycol , Sorbitol , Cocoyl Sarcosine , Methylisothiazolinone , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Fragrance – Parfum , Water – Aqua , Mineral Oil – Paraffinum Liquidum , Lanolin , Lanolin Wax , Petrolatum , Lanolin Oil , C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate , Hydroxylated Lanolin , Panthenol , Sorbitan Oleate , Sodium Borate , Methylparaben , Diazolidinyl Urea , Limonene , Fragrance – Parfum , Red 33 – CI 17200

And here are the ingredients for Soft and Beautiful Botanicals No Lye Relaxer (soft and beautiful also makes Just for Me):

Water Aqua , Petrolatum , Cetearyl Alcohol , Mineral Oil Paraffinum Liquidum , Polysorbate 60 , Calcium Hydroxide , Propylene Glycol , PEG-75 Lanolin , Sodium Stearoamphoacetate , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice , Oleth-3 Phosphate , Fragrance Parfum , Water Aqua , Guanidine Carbonate , Xanthan Gum , Denatonium Benzoate , Green 5 CI 61570 , Green 8 CI 59040 , Water , Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Disodium Cocoamphodipropionate , Polyquaternium-7 , Lauramide DEA , Citric Acid , Polysorbate 20 , PEG-150 Distearate , Tetrasodium EDTA , Methylparaben , Diazolidinyl Urea , Phenolsulfonphthalein , Fragrance Parfum , Water Aqua , Glycereth-26 , Dimethicone Copolyol , Dimethicone Copolyol Meadowfoamate , Panthenol , Hydrolyzed Collagen , Helianthus Annuus Extract Sunflower , Achillea Millefolium Extract , Salvia Officinalis Leaf Extract Sage , Symphytum Officinal Leaf Extract , Lactic Acid , Silk Amino Acids , Acetamide MEA , Retinyl Palmitate , Tocopherol , Propylene Glycol , Polyquaternium-22 , Polysorbate 20 , Polyquaternium-11 , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Diazolidinyl Urea , Fragrance Parfum , Mineral Oil Paraffinum Liquidum , Ceresin , Petrolatum

The calcium hydroxide is the straightener for no lye hair relaxers and looks like they both have it.

I moved on to the “How texture softeners work” part of the site and was faced with this lovely diagram:

Notice the magic green swirls that this product contains to turn your bad hair to good hair(SARCASM!). What gets me is the claim to “gently soften while protecting your natural hair texture” That is so untrue that it’s funny. It completely changes it!

And the “tightly curled hair tangles causing breakage when combed” is misleading too. How about people ripping through tightly curled hair when it’s dry with a small toothed comb causes breakage?

I think that this diagram should be used instead of the first one to show “how texture softeners work”:

Ok I jest of course, but I think it would be nice if they had a realistic diagram with an actual explanation of how their product works. I long ago stopped believing in hocus pocus so ya’ll aren’t fooling me with the magic swirls, Just for Me.

Also on the site is a section called “Advice for Moms” from which I’ve taken this quote:

“By the time your daughter begins to interact socially with friends or family members or take in the many messages in the media, she will have some idea about her image and how others may view her. In order to ensure your daughter has a healthy self-concept, it is important to begin talking to her about her identity as soon as possible so that you can instill in her a strong self-esteem and a healthy self-image”

Orrrr it is important to begin making her feel that her natural hair is unmanageable and wrong, but don’t worry! You can infuse self esteem by loosening her curl pattern and giving her the healthy self image of ”good hair”.

On a serious note I understand what they were supposedly trying to do by including that section, but it kind of feels like it’s almost a joke  because the whole point of the texture softener is to make your hair, the way it grows naturally out of your head, into something else.

How can you have a healthy self image when really you don’t know what your true image is? If I get my “texture softened” at the age of 5, I don’t have a positive image of my hair that grows out of my head. I have a positive image of the hair that has been chemically treated to look like something else entirely. When that other stuff (the new growth) starts growing in, then I have a problem and feel self concious.

(Just a disclaimer, the following paragraph is full of sarcasm). To add insult to injury, the site also includes a link to a blog by a mom who is pretty much is just another advertising mechanism. I read through a few of the posts one of which was entitled “Options for Natural Hair”. It said you pretty much had three choices: First you can comb it everyday , but it’s just gonna tangle anyway. Second, you can use “temporary” treatments, I’m assuming she means moisturizers, but that will just cost too much because if your hair is really thick you’re going to have to use tons. Lastly (enter the calvary) you can use Just for Me Texture Softener and all your problems will be solved.

Don’t be fooled ladies. If  you have just BC’d and are looking for softer hair, please don’t run to products like these (texturizers, texture softeners, texlaxers) first. Do your research, you can find other methods of dealing with your hair without reintroducing the chemicals.

People who relax/texturize their hair and know the many options of natural hair and still choose to relax are well in their own rights to make that choice. It is a choice, one I will not be making, but I wish these companies would just come out and say exactly what their product is instead of trying to make it seem like something else.

I hope you enjoyed my first rant of the New Year!

{ 4 trackbacks }

Ask Kcurly
January 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Little Girls and Relaxers
February 5, 2010 at 12:14 pm
Readers Share–”Silkener” Disaster
October 5, 2010 at 10:35 am
Kid Tips:Stress-free detangling on natural hair | afrobabes
July 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

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