The Natural Hair World is starting to irritate me. I understand that there has been a struggle for natural hair to be accepted in our society, however I really don’t think that the militant stance that most naturals are starting to take is the wisest of moves……
Am I defending these systems? Yes and no….however as someone that has actually tried one of these systems for myself, allow me to elaborate on my experience…..
So for a start, I’ve had a lot of people asking me if this is a texturiser? My honest answer (at least to the Beautiful Textures TMS System) is no, this is not a texturiser, the only thing I can liken this to is an at-home temporary Brazilian Keratin Treatment.
In order to draw these comparisons, please look at this extract taken from HelloBeautiful.com:
“The Keratin treatments originating in Brazil seemed to offer the straightening and defrizzing effects customers sought. Keratin is a protein occurring naturally in the hair, so the treatments work by adding additional keratin to smooth gaps in the hair caused by damage. Unfortunately, the size of the keratin molecule is so large that it requires the hair’s cuticle to be opened in order for the keratin to penetrate. Ingredients such as urea and formaldehyde must be used as part of the treatment to open the hair cuticle and allow the keratin to penetrate.”
Now we all know the BKT has become notorious for the use of the carcinogen Formaldehyde. The main active ingredient in the Beautiful Textures Naturally Straight TMS System is glyoxyloyl carbocysteine. This has been described by the cosmetic science world as Formaldehyde’s cousin. Here is the list of ingredients in the Inner Active Leave In Conditioner:
“Leave-In Conditioner: Aqua , Glyoxyloyl Carbocysteine , Glyoxyloyl Keratin Amino Acids , Shea Butter Aminodpropyltrimonium Chloride , CyclopentaSiloxane , dimethiconol , dimethicone crosspolymer , Silanetriol , panthenol , Isopropyl Palmitate , methylchloroisothiazolinone , methylisothiazolinone”
To put this in simple terms (more for my sake as I’m not particularly great at chemistry), the glyoxyloyl carbocysteine acts like formaldehyde to open up the cuticle and allow the glyoxyloyl keratin amino acids to penetrate the strands. As we all know, heat opens up the cuticle, which is why high heat is also needed for this treatment. The lotion has the P.H. of a lime, this low PH and high heat from the flat iron are needed to bond the glyoxyloyl carbocysteine to the cysteine (salt) bonds within our hair. When more cysteine is added to our cysteine bonds, it can “weigh the bonds down” if you like (as they are responsible for holding the hair in it’s curl pattern) and encourage them to fall in a straighter or elongated pattern.
Over time, the glyoxyloyl carbocysteine is washed away with a sulfate shampoo, this happens gradually, which is why you see the hair slowly reverting into a looser curl pattern before it returns to it’s natural state:
So What’s The Difference Between Straightening Systems and Brazilian Keratin Treatments?
The answer: Not a lot.
They both work in a very similar way and do the same thing to the hair strand. The only difference is that glyoxyloyl carbocysteine is a weaker version of formaldehyde. It is not found to have the same health implications and therefore are deemed safer. The results do not last as long, only 4-6 weeks maximum or sooner if you use a sulfate shampoo.
What Should We Be Worried About?
– There hasn’t been a lot of research into these chemicals especially any effects of long term use. This should always be a red flag. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t, right?
– The application can be a bit tricky for one person to do alone as highlighted by Chime Edwards in her fantastic review. I personally recommend this be applied by a trained hair stylist as it’s very easy to go wrong here (please see My Experience with the Beautiful Textures TMS System Part 1).
– The marketing is poor. A product that claims to be several different things is not only confusing but untrustworthy. These companies need to be upfront about the fact that it’s a keratin smoothing system (or straightening even though you don’t HAVE to wear your hair straight as a result), this ends the endless confusion and stupid accusations that hardcore natural hair militants have been throwing around.
– The wording. I don’t think any of us like the phrase “Texture Manageability System”. No one likes the thought of natural hair being deemed as “unmanageable” and it’s clear to see that this product gets people’s backs up before they even hear anything about it.
– These systems can be seen as undermining the hard work and very ethos of the natural hair movement. We are striving to be proud of our curls and kinks, these products could potentially threaten everything we’ve worked hard to achieve.
As someone who has tried the Beautiful Textures Naturally Straight TMS System, I would say that this system is perfect if you are a natural who likes to wear your hair straight.
I also think it’s great if you are someone who straightens your hair occasionally and would like to get a bit longer out of your straight style. After just a rollerset and flat iron, my hair reverts within 2-3 days naturally. Curly hair as opposed to kinky hair is more likely to be resistant to holding any other pattern, therefore as highlighted by drwalkerwellness.com, initial trials for these systems were tested on type 2A-3A hair.
So, I’ve heard some critics state: “these systems are only on the market because sales of relaxer are falling….”
How does that work?
As I’ve just highlighted in my analysis above….this is not a relaxer or texturiser. This will not aid in the sales of relaxer at all. If anything, it will DECREASE the sales of relaxer even further. As Chime Edwards points out in her blog:
“I got emotional for a second. Not because my hair was gorge but because it hit me…I knew that many women would stop straightening their hair with harsh chemicals because they could achieve straight hair with this product. I have seen women with severe scalp conditions continue to relax because they desired straight hair so badly. Y’all, I was sitting in a beauty shop and witnessed a woman requesting a relaxer even though she had a coaster-sized bald spot in her crown due to a scalp condition. I knew this was a much healthier alternative. Some women just want straight hair and I don’t women harming themselves trying to get the look they desire.”
Women who enjoy having straight hair can now straighten their hair without the need for any chemicals that cause permanent results like relaxers and texturisers. The formulation includes ingredients that are known to help maintain hair health such as amino acids, proteins and butters. This is a positive.
What would I say about “them” wanting us to conform to having straight hair?…….that’s not how business works!
Business 101 is supply and demand. If the demand for relaxers is going down (as it has by 36% apparently), then it does not make any business sense to try and revive a dying trend. These systems have been created as companies think there is a DEMAND. If you go on any YouTube videos, you’ll hear a lot of naturals say how they won’t straighten their hair with heat out of fear of damage. Key words there – FEAR of DAMAGE. So these companies think a huge money maker would be to create a product that eliminates that risk.
Are they wrong for thinking that we secretly lust for straight hair? I’m becoming a huge fan of Scandal at the minute, but it does bug me when I see Kerry Washington running around with a sleek, straight weave when we all know how beautiful her natural hair is! There are not enough naturals in the media, so whilst us naturalistas are currently flying the flag, the beauty trend is not fully mainstream.
What’s The Solution?
I proudly and fiercely rock my fro! When I see little girls looking up at me, I can’t help but smile!
People are more observant of others than we tend to think, if you’re walking down the street exuding confidence with your beautiful curls/kinks…..believe me when I say someone is noticing you! Even if you don’t inspire them to go natural that very day….you’re planting that tiny seed in their mind. And that my friends, is the most powerful influence we all have. Everyone knows the media’s fake! So you go out and be the REAL inspiration that people can relate to.
Citations: Chimeedwards.com, drwalkerwellness.com, hellobeautiful.com
Check out my experiences with the TMS system:
Let me know what you think about this article! Comment Below!