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!

Comments

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  • Ms. Bobby B.

    My gosh, some of you can read, but you cannot COMPREHEND. For the thousandth time, the rant is NOT about relaxed hair or the product itself, it is about DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING. I think some of the chemicals in your RELAXERS have seeped into your scalp and effected your brain cells!! READING IS FUNDAMENTAL, BUT SO IS COMPREHENSION!! The bottom line is, since it is a relaxer (I don’t care if it is MILD), then say RELAXER, because even though it is loosening up curls, it is RELAXING THE HAIR FOLLICLE, which is what a relaxer is supposed to do; hence the word RELAXer.

  • http://www.bondingoverbeauty.com erika katz

    Excellent article. I too went to the website and found no ingredient list. I also thought the advice to moms was way off base. Chemically treating a child’s hair does not boost her self image, it teaches her she must destroy her hair to look like what the media has told our girls is “beautiful” and “perfect.” Keep up the great work on your blog.

  • sharece

    Ok some of you so called natural chicks annoy me.not to long ago you probably were getting relaxers but now u want to look down. On some of us who choose to use chemicals. Don’t think you’re better because u hate chemicals now. Don’t tell another women that she is ignorant for choosing a different method than u

  • sharece

    Keep your Afro I love my curls even though they are a littl more relaxed

  • ebqueen1

    This article made me laugh out loud so many times. it was a great read and VERY informative. Thank you!

  • Chelsea

    I put that crap in my hair back in May when I was a new natural (BC on March 3rd woooo!!!) and it JACKED my hair up! NEVER AGAIN! I now know that all I need is some water and detangler. I didn’t realize that parts of my head would be dang near straight and the other parts would be extra dry!!!

  • Tash

    I would just say that I became natural about 8 months ago because relaxers irritated my scalp – not because I ‘wanted ‘ to go natural. have thick 4b-c hair and it is very unmanageable.. If anyone knows of any other product including chemicals I can use, I would use it.. KKNT, Miss jessies.. all those things do nothing. To me they are for ppl with softer hair – just my opinion..

  • http://newlynatural.com kcurly

    Tash, since you are “stuck” being natural, I would suggest you learn to love and style your hair. Oftentimes our hair is “unmanageable” because we are trying to treat it like relaxed hair.

    Are you trying some different styles? Your hair is beautiful, it a part of you, like your skin and eye color. I’ve hated my hair before and it’s so much better to love your hair. Take care and good luck to you.

  • Vee

    Thank you so much for this information. However like me I put a kiddy perm on my 4 yr old and I didn’t know matter. I ask around and people was teeling me to put a small amount. So I did it to make her hair manageable wrong choice. So I was looking on line to see what I can do to help her hair and Texture Softener pop up so I bought it. When I open the box it looked like a relaxer kit that is when I ran into your comment about this product. Thank you so much, and I didn’t put it in her hair. These people in the store will sell you anything….

  • ISIS

    I’m so glad I found this site. I did my first bc back in ’09 and my hair seemed to be doing okay for a while but then it started growing. I was jumping from product to product trying to find something that would keep my hair moisturized and easier to manage and it seemed like I tried everything. And I did. I later stumbled across Just for Me Texturizer, Softener whatever you want to call it. Needless to say I gave it a try. I truly regret doing it. The immediate results I got with it seemed to look okay but after doing further investigation I noticed that my hair was completely different curl patterns all throughout my hair. I had loose curls, tight curls, zigzag. It was a mess. My hair was effed up. My hair has always been pretty much the same curl pattern give or take a few strands of hair. I guess since different sections were applied at different times so some of the texturizer stayed on longer while other sections it might have stayed a bit less. Where as a relaxer you get a clearer indication because the goal is to get the hair straight. Anyway I did another big chop and never looked back since.

  • Prisca M.

    Thanks for the info! I am actually sitting here with the Just For Me box I purchased from Walmart thinking it was “natural” until reading the ingredient list that looks like another relaxer! I will be returning it.

    I have been natural for almost 15 years, but wanted to loosen up my curl pattern because as many, I have had a love and hate relationship with my hair, but refused to go back to chemicals since I had come this far. I am still searching for different styles, looks, etc., but am now looking at it as a learning journey. God blessed me with this hair, and everytime I think anything negative, such as I can’t get a comb through it when it dries natural, or it’s too thick to do anything with it, I think of cancer patients, peoples’ hair who won’t grow, etc. and am truly thankful and blessed for what I have! Just like money..happiness…success..if it comes easy it was never worth it and when it finally does it totally is!

  • Kerry

    You do realise that there are comb through texture softeners don’t you? (Like leave-in conditiners and the like?), Talia Wajid/Walid products for kids (sorry really can’t remember proper name/spelling), Mizani moisture stretch, Pro-line comb-thru etc. She said moisteriser right? I’m sure nobody confuses something that you have to apply for a set amount of time and wash off for a moisteriser.

  • Pingback: Kid Tips:Stress-free detangling on natural hair | afrobabes

  • schanaya

    What about just for me hair milk is it good for my hair its not chemically treated and it all natural my friend uses it and I was wondering because of the texture of the hair milk being so thick would it be good for my hair

  • http://newlynatural.com Maria

    my daughter is 5 1/2 yrs old & she is mixed hispanic & blk & her hair is so much like Diana Ross & when I was her hair I can’t get a comb thru it; it is dry & water falls off of it her hair is so, so dry. I have tried several things and have even asked stylist what I can do and nothing has helped. So what are options because it really hurts her when I do her hair; it is really, really tangled as soon as the water touches it. I understand what your saying but I am running out of options for her and this is her first year in School and it takes 3 hrs to do her hair do to the length and the type of hair. What do you suggest? Thanks in advance.

  • Sara

    Let’s just be fair :) Not everyone who wants to relax, texturize or straighten their hair has an issue with their heritage, or self-image. I have done both the natural and relaxed/texturized look. I love them all for different reasons. Relaxed and textured hair gave me room for funky cuts and other hairstyles that I would not dare attempt with natural hair unless I had the dough and time to maintain it. Most natural hair care products cost me an arm and a leg (Miss Jessie’s and other brands are often sold behind the counter in beauty supply stores to keep them people from stealing them!). I have shaved my hair off about six times now to do the natural thing because 1) I was so broke I couldn’t really afford to have hair 2) I spent so much time in the mirror and hair just added to it 3) and I found it incredibly liberating when hair wasn’t something I deemed to be the epitome of beauty. As I let my hair grow, I learned that when I chemically processed my hair it was damaging my hair’s bond, and maybe in some way, shape or form increasing my risk of getting cancer (apparently almost everything seems to cause cancer…). Some people do have issues with their ethnic roots (no pun intended), but the issue is not relaxed or natural hair- it is the heart of the motive). Every time we modify our images, there’s something unnatural about it. Whether we shape our eye brows, add polish to our nails, shave our legs or stuff our bras, we are still choosing to do something that we were not born to do but we feel in some way enhances our beauty. Ultimately, we choose; we just have to weigh our motives and be comfortable with the consequences based on wisdom, knowledge and personal conviction.

  • EmJay

    Sara,
    Thank you for putting it ALL out there. Hair is one of many things we choose to “alter” in an attempt to enhance our appearance. Whether you choose to loc, straighten, twist, curl or shave your hair it is an appearance enhancement equivalent to shaving your arm pits, putting on false eyelashes, coloring your hair or even wearing high heels or a push up bra. It’s okay it’s a choice, an option. Do we look down upon people who permanatly curl their hair as being ashamed of the hari straight hair heritage? Find the beauty in yourself that you are comfortable with not beauty that requires the acceptance of others.

  • fluckneesha ewebanks

    @ Ino July 9, 2010 at 4:13 pm — yes this is old as heck but if you are talking about that horrible rotten egg smelling stuff, it’s called Vigorol.

  • saffron x

    Generally I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced
    me to check out and do it! Your writing style
    has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice article.

  • susan

    why does everyone get so excited about natural hair and put those down who don’t have it. treated hair is not only easier to manage but it looks better. some natural hair just looks like you rolled of bed.

    natural doesn’t mean better.

  • Alisha

    I am so glad I found this! I was thinking about trying a texturizer on my daughter because she said she wanted straight hair.. Her hair is extremely coarse. I have found good conditioners and moisturizers for her though. I have been natural for six months and I am just praying that she will follow my lead and begin to love her natural texture:)

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