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Real Talk: Are You Still Natural If You’re Using Chemical Hair Color?


Now let’s be completely honest, let’s talk real and tell us: Is using chemicals on your hair to color it still mean you maintain a natural hair regimen? Are you still truly a Naturalista?

Here’s what some Henna Sooq fan’s and readers said:

  • Tira B.: “I wouldn’t think you would still be a naturalist if your using chemicals to color your hair but can you completely avoid using them?”
  • Tira B.:“Its the convenience of using chemicals to color hair. Its already premixed and labeled with the color of your choice. should there be different categories of being natural or should it just be your individual preferences; whatever that works for you. The journey for me in becoming natural has been about learning what works for me/reading labels and trying to avoid chemicals that may be harmful to me and my daughter.”
  • Bri Woods: “Yeah. I’ve always had real hair. I think most see natural as not having a relaxer. As in natural texture. But women can be natural under weaves and wigs. Natural even if they change their hair color. Does getting a keratin treatment make you not natural? I’m lost.”
  • She Natural: “IMO using a chemical to color is okay. In most cases color doesn’t alter your curl pattern at all. I would just rather use henna because it’s natural and doesn’t wreck the hair.”
  • Kissa P.: “I consider the use of chemicals to permanently alter the structure of my hair to be non-natural. Particularly with the harmful nature that the majority of the chemicals in relaxers have. Lye, sodium hydroxide… we used that stuff in chemistry class in college and I shiver to think that I ever put that on my hair. I don’t want to sit here and tell someone that if they lighten their hair with a chemical that they are no longer natural. I don’t believe that is the case and it starts me down that slippery slope to being a Natural Hair Nazi (shiver). LOL
    Do I think that chemical dyes are harmful? Yes, absolutely. But I can’t tell someone what to do with their hair because, well it’s theirs. 😉 There are many personal choices that I’ve made with my hair and I don’t begrudge anyone else making whatever choices they may with their bodies or their hair for that matter. I just hope to educate people on what I know and they can make up their own minds from there. (Shrug)”
  • Alexis M.: “I have gone back and forth about coloring my hair I chose not to go with chemical color I just dont want chance it for those who do im not knocking them I use henna once a month I love it and will continue to use it.”
  • Tanya K.:“I really appreciate the tone of this thread. Personally I use about 95% organic products on mine and my children’s skin and hair. I believe natural products and food are the best and most healthy way to go. That being said I still decided to have a portion of my hair professionally colored to a color I probably would never achieve with Henna. I got a little more color coverage than I asked for but I like the color. I was immediately afraid that my hair would be damaged came home and did a amla and shea dc. Lol. I love color and am glad that my choice didn’t get me kicked out of the naturalista club. LoL”
Does being a Naturalista mean you don’t alter your curl pattern? Does it mean no chemicals whatsoever? Does using henna make you more of a Naturalista then someone who uses chemical hair color?
Let us know. Real Talk!
  1. I don’t think having your colored takes away from being natural. Everyone is different and everyone’s hair is different. As long as you are not permanently altering the curl pattern with chemicals, such as, relaxers, texturizers, etc then you’re natural. I think trying to define it beyond that point further divides us and don’t we have enough things counting against us as it is?!

    Also, henna and all natural products doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve used Shea Moisture and Kinky Curly and my hair hated it buy loves Tressemme and Suave to name a few. I have hennaed my hair six times and my hair didn’t change in color not one bit so I’ve decided to dye my hair soon.

    At the end of the day, it is what makes you happy and not anyone’s opinion of what makes you natural or not!

  2. Latonya, very well said. So true, we all have to find the right regimen/recipes and products that work best for us

  3. I find the question kind of weird — I wonder what they mean when they say “chemical”? Even henna contains chemicals, though they were derived from a natural source.

    In my opinion the difference between natural and not natural is whether or not the product you are using is man-made (synthetic). Some products can even fall into a grey area.

    But honestly? It doesn’t matter. A natural product isn’t necessarily good for you, and a synthetic product isn’t necessarily bad. Keep in mind that strychnine, cyanide, ricin, and many other toxins are plant-derived. In my back yard alone there are at least a dozen plants with the potential to kill me. When I look into what to use on my body, I ask whether or not the chemicals in it are harmful. Is there any long-term toxicological data on them? How long have they been in use, and how many people have had poor reactions to them? What could they be contaminated with (if synthetic)? I personally think these are more important questions.

  4. Alex those are great questions and statements and that’s why this was posted. To get us to think and talk more about this.

  5. Thanks Khadija. I should add that though my post might come off as putting down folks who stick to natural products, this isn’t my intent. Actually, the majority of what I use as far as body care goes are simple compounds (baking soda, vinegar, for example) and natural products (such as henna). Because a lot of commercially available synthetic products do not have adequate toxicological data, I like to play it on the safe side and just avoid them.

  6. I feel that if your not altering your curl pattern permanently, you are still a naturalista. What’s wrong with a enhancement, and highlights. We want our own unique look. Being creative and establishing some versatility creates a part of our personality. Its not a law in the land that what we do wit our hair makes us natural or unnatural. We are free and liberated! Enjoy your colored tresses!


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