African-American females flocked to Francis Marion University’s Lowrimore Auditorium to learn how to care for naturally textured hair on Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. The event, entitled Living No Lye: Embracing Your Natural Disaster, was sponsored by Residence Life.
The forum was proposed because of the growing population of natural haired students on campus.
During the event, everyone introduced themselves and shared what stage they were in in their hair journey. Asia Isadore, one of the resident assistants, encouraged everyone to get to know one another.
“I want you guys to be able to call on each other for support,” Isadore said.
Living No Lye began with a presentation of the basics of living with natural hair, led by Isadore. She explained that having natural hair means having hair that is free from chemicals that change the texture of the hair. This means that relaxers, perms and texturizers must be excluded from the hair care regimen. Isadore elaborated that until the chemically processed ends are cut off the hair is not fully natural.
According to Isadore’s presentation, making the change to natural hair can be accomplished by transitioning or making “the big chop.” While transitioning allows the individual to gradually grow out their natural hair, the big chop gets rid of chemically treated hair all at once. Isadore encouraged students to choose the method with which they felt most comfortable.
“Some people think that the big chop is the only way to go natural,” Isadore said. “The big chop is not for everyone, so do not do it if you are not absolutely sure.”
Isadore explained that the title of Living No Lye was inspired by a key ingredient in relaxers, one of the main processes to avoid in a natural hair regimen. She went on to say that some relaxers falsely advertise whether or not they have lye in the product.
“Sodium hydroxide is the same thing as lye,” Isadore said. “If you see a relaxer label that says ‘no lye’ and includes sodium hydroxide in the ingredient list, then they are lying.”
Isadore went on to inform students about the importance of keeping natural hair properly moisturized. Due to the kinky nature of African-American hair, she explained, the natural oils produced by the scalp are unable to travel toward the ends of the hair. This makes the incorporation of water into the hair care regimen much more important.
Raven Wright, a student at FMU, was the guest speaker for the event. Having had completely natural hair for over two years, Wright explained that she initially cut off all her hair out of boredom. After completing some research, Wright decided to give natural hair a try. The result, she said, was an amazing amount of hair growth.
“I cut my hair myself in my bathroom,” Wright said. “After that it just grew like a weed.”
Wright shared information about her hair care regimen and her favorite products. She is a self-confessed product junkie, trying and buying anything that looks like it works. Wright says her favorite product is Qhemet Biologics Heavy Cream.
Jasmine Wright, another of the resident assistants, offered information about the maintenance of dreadlocks. Like other naturals, she said, it is important for individuals with dreads to keep their hair moisturized. Wright also shared a heat free option to curl dreadlocks without damage.
The sponsoring resident assistants encouraged anyone interested in growing out their natural hair to do a lot of research. They said that websites and blogs like YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook and CurlyNikki are good places to find natural style ideas.