Monday, 7 September 2009

Science on Trial : An Open Discussion

Your contributions are needed at the end of this article! This post comes courtesy of an email from a hairdresser and cosmetology tutor of 15 years. She says,

'I am interested in why you believe that your science provides answers that stylists can’t (link to my profile). I do agree with many of your explanations but some things you say are wrong and I say this with many years of experience. For example, deep conditioning (we recommend treatments with heat) or your view on using shampoo and oils (many clients actually have oily heads, so why make it worse, just use a brush to spread the oil?). Do you think your opinion may be more balanced if you had a hairdresser contribute?'

So today I will be the devil’s advocate! Here are two statements (both are not real, just examples!)

Subjective – I have seen 1000 clients and about 900 had oily heads. Therefore, I conclude that 9 out of 10 people have oily hair.

Objective – I tested the scalps of 1000 subjects with straight black asian hair and found that 900 produced 35± 2mg of oil per day while 100 produced under 20 ± 2mg. Therefore 9 out of 10 people with straight black asian hair produce on average atleast 35 mg of oil per day.

Good science is specific and well thought through. Now questionable science does exist too, but this is where the power of science lies. For example, the famous paper linking parabens to cancer had its flaws openly criticised in another publication. Science is self balancing, simply put, the fear of other scientists getting their claws out is enough to make even the most confident scientist ask for 3 more experiments – just to make sure.

Now, I wouldn’t attempt to school a stylist on the fine points of layering, point cutting or colouring hair. Equally, I wouldn’t expect a stylist to explain to me the finer details of protein adsorption or solubility or the chemistry involved in formulation. We can certainly benefit from each other – for science to exist, we need questions (for example, product A is terrible – can you make it better?) and for hairdressers to have products, we need scientists.


Finally, I do not report ‘my ideas’. I report the science with a few pithy comments. My articles are really not that controversial, except for those with a set way of thinking. I have no vested interest in presenting wrong information which is why I cite sources and always say that every individual has to make their own choice. Science is not static and the ink never dries on a scientific paper. If there is a credible source able to challenge any of the work presented here, you will definitely hear about it right here. I also say, if you think something is wrong, present me with a scientific paper and I will listen.

Now this is an open discussion- feel free to state your mind!!

1. Are the articles here really that controversial?
2. Does science have a place in your hair care routine?
3. Do you place more value on advice from a particular source and why? (maybe your friend because she has nice hair or a hairdresser because you have been going there for years or from a website because it has a range of opinions?)

36 comments:

  1. My answers:

    1. Not in my opinion: a few may go against ideas that have propagated themselves within the hair care community, but I find your articles most helpful in supporting good hair care practices with the science behind it, (which as a college science major, I appreciate greatly) and pointing out exactly why bad hair care practices are bad.

    2. Science does have a place in my hair care routine, because I have been a product junkie for the past year and I need to stop! The science helps me to eliminate products and haircare methods that will most likely be bad for my hair, and helps me to pick out the good ones. It also helps me figure out why something works for my hair, and what could work better.

    3. I look for hair care advice from many different sources, but I always end up coming back to your blog to see if that advice falls in line with hair science. And I always tweak suggestions I find so that they work for me and my hair.

    Thank you for writing! Natural-headed science-types like myself (as well as non-science types) really appreciate what you contribute to the discussion on natural hair.

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  2. Controversial? How can it be your giving knowledge based on personal experience, experimentation and document with sources provided.
    Science has actually helped me better understand what works for my hair and why. I could never understand why certain things worked and I can actually work from there to find substitutions or similar product if it needs replacing. I've actually finally added coconut oil to my regime as a much loved staple because I know how it can benefit my hair. I don't use things really unless I know why they benefit my hair. I even give advice to others, permed and natural after having learned it from here to help them. *I of course tell them where I got this info from to* :-)

    You are honestly the source I put the most trust in, beauticians have failed me. Claiming they have years of knowledge in hair when I was permed has only left me balding and scalding.This from a girl who's HAD to BC twice before doing it afterward just because. :-)

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  3. Here's my opinion
    1. No your articles are not controversial. As you stated, you cite your sources.
    2. For example, the deep conditioning treatments....has the stylist done them without heat? We often do things in life because that's the way everyone does them without any proof that its the right way.
    I tend to believe science.

    I also believe that the hair stylist does have to go with what works for her. I am a medical provider and there are several ways to treat specific conditions which have been scientifically proven. Each practitioner develops his/her own style and one treatment may fit into my style but not another practitioner's style.
    So my general comment would be that both science and experience have to work together, but science does take precedence.

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  4. I don't think your being controversial at all. Your creating a needed dialogue!

    I have to say yes, science has always played a part in my hair care routine. My mom is a chemist! So what ever I bought to put on my hair or in/on my body she checked it out. Also, I graduated with a degree in psychology. I have conducted research & learned about clinical trials correctly to provide the most accurate information as possible.

    Science helps to explain what something is made up of and experience with working with the product helps you see how it has worked (failed or not).

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  5. 1. Your articles are definitley not controversial. Your articles are whats needed.
    2. Science does have a place in my hair care routine. I think it is essential for us black women to have knowledge about the background on what we use on our hair. For years now we have been just told what to use on our hair without any real scientific information behind it. Us questioning another credible avenue besides a hair dresser should not be shunned.
    3. I do now place value on a scientific source over others especially because alot of hairdressers do not have great knowledge regarding the styling & maintenance of natural black hair. And unfortunately alot of them don't want to admit it either. So when you sit in their chair all they want to do is add heat to your hair (blow-drying, flat-ironing, curling ironing) in order to style it.
    I know alot of hairdressers that either don't have the time or don't want to be bothered with these important questions that you, JC recieve regularly. Some take it personally as if you are questioning their expertise on what they do for their career. As if you have some alterior motive, when all you are trying to do is seek and understand hair care knowledge.

    Contimue doing what you do, JC.
    You do it very well.

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  6. Thanks all for contributing. I am actually surprised at the level that you rate science. I have always rated it highly, more so since I started writing papers myself and seeing the amount of work needed to get there.

    I am still very curious to hear from someone who thinks that this blog is controversial, I would not have placed such a title on it. Oh well :)

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  7. I think you've rattled the stylist community, Jc. Why, I'm not really sure, except that people who've subscribed to any belief system for years are loathe to discard for a new one because they think it'll make them look stupid for accepting the previous belief system!

    When I quote from your posts on my own blog, the people who take issue fall into two camps:
    1. Stylists who've been following the advice in their beauty school textbooks and feel that what they learned *is* science (and really, it ought to be, but who knows?)
    2. People who are intimidated by science and prefer to begin sentences with "All I know is that when I use (fill in the blank), my hair does (fill in the blank)."

    There is no question that people's actual experience with products can differ from what science suggests, but there are so many variables (from genetics to diet to weather to hormones) at play.

    Fans of your blog will insist you are right. Many stylists will insist that you're wrong. So why not take up this stylist you quoted above on her offer? Go head to head with her on a few topics and let's see what happens. Maybe we'll all learn something.

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  8. Wow, Jill that is a really good comment. I definitely didn't consider that there is a 'belief' system nor did I consider that people can be intimidated by science.

    I didn't really tackle any of the direct questions like deep conditioning or oily heads or brushing because I think the science stands well enough on its own and probably because subconciously I thought it would fall on deaf ears. This is the belief system!

    I love the fact that I research my posts and find factual information. I don't like or use anecdotal or subjective information. I will have to think about this head to head.

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  9. 1. No. You're sharing scientific papers most of us would not have found otherwise. It's only controversial if someone wants to retest something or disagrees. Does the information go against things we were taught all our lives? Yes. But if you disagree and think the SCIENCE is wrong, you better set up an experiment and publish a paper about it for me to take it seriously.

    2. Yes and no. My hair routine is done by what works. I'm sure science is involved in it "what works" though :)

    3. I look to see what the results of a product/regime from multiple people-friends, family, internet, etc. If 20 with similar textures say LOVE LOVE LOVE, I'll be more likely to try it than if 100 people will a different texture love it or a few people with my texture like it. I take all of these into consideration before I buy or try anything.

    However, I place the most value on what my HAIR tells me. Does it like this? Does it not like this? Why doesn't it like this?

    For the Why part? I turn to science. :)

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  10. I do not think anythibng here is controversial.

    I like science which is why I use commercial shampoo and conditioner. I use the science presented here to back up the research I've made on my own.

    I do value some sources over the other if the preferable source has a proven track record.

    If I tell my hairdresser about something I read on my own that had not been taught in school or that she herself has researched it makes her work more challenging. Some stylists like this others do not.

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  11. 1. Are the articles here really that controversial?

    The articles themselves aren't controversial. The fact that women, especially women with afro textured hair, armed with the internet and community forums such as this one can actually make educated decisions about their hair care is what is controversial. Growing up, I never knew exactly why my hair was a little longer and/or healthier than the "average" black girl in my school or why some had longer and/or healthier hair than mine. I also never realized that one day I wouldn't have to rely on Shaneese (hairstylist) and $50 every two weeks to make me look presentable to the world. Now I can do it myself. The potential empowerment this information represents, that my friend, is VERY controversial.

    2. Does science have a place in your hair care routine?

    YES. Knowing that the "herbs" in the conditioner mayo jar I used to purchase did little if nothing to my hair compared to horsetail, nettle, and marshmallow has saved me a lot of time, head scratching and given me a few inches.

    3. Do you place more value on advice from a particular source and why? (maybe your friend because she has nice hair or a hairdresser because you have been going there for years or from a website because it has a range of opinions?)

    I place a high value on scientific information from reliable sources. In particular, studies from the journals you quote are usually conducted in controlled settings while friends and stylists may use an additional product or vary their technique and forget to mention that to you when you ask for advice. These other variables may account for their results and you'd never find that out. At least the study will try to account for these factors.

    I also place importance on peoples' experiences with a technique or product as well.

    (now off on a rant) I have developed a distrust of hairstylists in all honesty. The ones who target natural hair are better however. But even with them I have met a high proportion who honesty think they have to straighten my hair to trim it properly, put me under high heat in order to complete a style within a 90 minute window of time, still use brown gel on edges, and have no idea what the product lines like Qhemet Biologics, Karens BB, and Oyin Handmade are or why their main ingredients are helpful!

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  12. Sage Vivant said it best when she described the blog readers. My background is in biology and biomedical engineering...no surprise why I'm a fan :o)


    I appreciate the comments from the young lady. I would like to hear more from her in regards to how we can move towards more natural hair-friendly salons and more respectable relationships with our beauticians.

    I personally feel the blog provides a fairly objective view point. You always link the blog entry to the original research (sometimes more than one article is referenced). What JC types is merely a summary inviting the reader to learn more if they desire. She always makes it clear when she is stating her personal opinion/preference.

    I feel science has made many modifications/advances over the years, yet when it comes to the black beauty salon they seem to not want to step into the 21st century with the rest of us. Very little has changed, in fact I think somethings have gotten much worse (especially as it relates to customer service).

    From a business stand point, I never understood how I could make the decision to want to go to the hair dresser, spend my money and yet walk out with what the hair dresser thought was best. Again from a business stand point, if I was a hair dresser and I came across hundreds of natural hair websites, I would want to capitalize in that market, embrace the readers and find out why they have put their trust in such a community. No one denies science when it comes to gravity, why hair care?

    At the end of the day, if you believe in your practices and your years of experience, then one or two blogs will do little to change that or your clientele ratio.

    I personally would love to see more black hair salons embrace natural hair, the education of their customers and the continual training of their stylist. I believe I'm not alone when I say there is a broken trust between black women and the hair salon. Even the women who have someone they trust, only have that 1 person. We have to get recommendations (even those are hard to come by) and scope the place out before we feel comfortable giving it a try. That's unfortunate. There are so many talented people out there, we have the science to help in our decision making and now we just need to bring the two together.

    But as far as your opinion needing to be balanced, well I believe that comes from the reader. Whatever she has to offer would also be an opinion, even if it is based on experience. If that experience didn't involve my hair, it's just an opinion as far as I'm concerned.

    Again, as I said in the beginning, I appreciate her comments. I'm assuming she has read all the articles and thus came up with this response as a result. With everything she learned from the articles plus her own experience, she may just have everything she needs to start her own blog. Trust me, science or not, if you have positive results, people will follow.

    As we have all learned by now, black hair/black hair care - has always been and will always be controversial. You have to comprehend the scientific concept first, before you can fully understand its application.

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  13. 1. I also don't think that your posts are particularly controversial.

    2. Science definitely has a place in my hair care routine. I don't want to do things because that's the way it's always been done. I want a hair care routine that is effective. Of course I modify it to fit my lifestyle/preferences, but I don't have time or money to waste on stuff that doesn't do anything or is even potentially harmful (Vagisil on your scalp!).

    3. I value science modified by my own personal experience the most. I'm not going to try anything that is proven to be ineffective (ie the millions of growth aids out there), but if something isn't proven either way or it has some other use (ie moisturizing), then I'll try it out to see how it works for me.

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  14. I definitely DO believe in science and it does have a place in my hair care routine now. I want to know the plain facts about what works and what doesn't. That's because I don't want to waste my precious money for hopelessly overpriced salon products when cheaper products with a less fancy name could be just as good for my hair. Of course professional stylists and hairdressers are experienced with products but usually they know very little about the science behind (because that's not what they are trained for). Scientists and stylists should learn from each other.

    I think you're work here is very important (at least it is to me). It helps me to survive in the product jungle out there. Thanks a lot for that.

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  15. Thankyou all very much for taking the time to contribute. I find the breadth of opinions very fascinating.

    I am glad there is some balance in looking at various sources for answers. Science can't give us all the answers (yet!)

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  16. 1. I think your articles are very controversial... like you said for people who have a set way of thinking. I've been actually LOOKING for someone who is able to give me the "science" behind our hair and what we use on it. I think everyone needs to read what you have put together. It has completely changed the way I even look at hair. I've loved everything about hair for years, but I regret not knowing what I've read on your blog years before.
    2. Like I said, what I've learned on your site has changed what I do with my hair, how I see it, and how I take care of it. I love it!!! This way, I have scientific proof instead of empty false advertising promises.
    3. Imma "seeing is believing" kind of girl, and I need proof. It seemed like the more I looked for what to do with my hair, I found more and more different ideas and was of doing things and I was fed up with what everyone was trying and I wanted something concrete, that I could trust, and thank goodness I found your blog and other places on the web that talk about proven scientific results.

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  17. I am just a natural hair blogger trying to find my way through the maze of hair care. Before going natural... I would just set in the seat of any Beautician with the thought that they knew what they were doing since they were charging me money for their services. After many bad experiences and lots of money I found that to have the desired results I needed to do research and find out who was at the drivers seat of caring for my hair. Money seem to be the main motivator for what I was getting. When that got to outrageous I went Natural. So what about these various types of hair that are requiring different techniques?
    The Beautician may know what happens and the Scientist would know why. I appreciate your site because some one has to call the shots. It ought to be one who has done the research beyond 30 years of haircare and a little schooling. It should be the one who knows as much as possible about the body that stimulates hair growth, details about the make up of the hair and the effect of the cocktails we put on our hair, which one of you guys is that one?

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  18. hey jc,

    i agree that hairdressers will be intimidated by this information. i think what's happening is that women are becoming more knowledgeable about haircare from the rise of the internet and are debunking many myths from childhood. this leaves many frustrated and leads to lack of trust in "the stylist".

    i personally don't go to stylists b/c of lack luster experiences in the past and although not formally trained i can cut, color, treat, braid and style hair. i can even do touchups and relaxers! i have a stylist color my hair b/c it's easier, but i walk out with wet hair and style at home!

    however, (and i'm sure you agree) stylists are needed and i believe that their service is invaluable. i do believe though that they need to be more open to information and suggestions. they tend to act all knowing.

    i appreciate your scientific contribution b/c i believe it's generous and helpful, esp since black women spend the most money on haircare. you share this info from the standpoint of a natural which is refreshing.

    i'm a kumbaya type of girl (for the most part-lol) so i'm always looking for a way for people to come together so i can't see why both sides can't work together :)

    so from a girl with a science background and an artsy free spirit, i say keep it up jc!
    ~j~

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  19. interesting...

    first off, the comment you received seemed unnecessarily tinged with negativity. so that was kind of weird.

    i definitely value the work you do here because, honestly, black women have been on the dark when it comes to haircare. we have been groping around WITH NO RESEARCH as to what works and what actually doesn't.

    the information you provide here is wonderful, and when i've applied it to my regimen it really has worked. (i'm thinking of comments you've made on how detrimental combing can be for afro textured hair, and how unnecessary it is to leave conditioner on forever.)

    i say keep doing what you're doing! of course i don't take your word as law. but you've never given the impression that you expect that. i simply value your opinions very highly, because they are backed by research.

    and my sister-in-law is currently in cosmetology school in chicago and i SHUDDER when i hear what she's learning!!!

    she did my hair once and LOADED it down with petroleum-heavy products, she combed through it very roughly and braided it up TOO TIGHT.

    i really think the kind of information you're discovering needs to be presented to cosmetology schools so that they can adjust their curriculums!

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  20. The articles on this site are informational and refreshing. I like the fact that there are links to scientific sources which prove the efficacy of ingredients or the structure of hair. For me, this is better than relying on information that is irrelevant or obsolete.

    I have discovered that most of the time, I have to educate the hairdresser on how to handle my hair. If they read scientific articles about the hair structure and hair ingredients, they would:

    1) know how to service ALL types of hair, and not be reluctant to keep a client's hair natural; they also would not make disparaging remarks about the clients' hair type or texture

    2) not push inappropriate products on customers

    3) not give excuses for their mistakes or inadequacies

    4) know how to communicate healthy hair techniques and maintenance to the customer in between visits.

    3) have more customers because the customers can see the positive results in their hair, and feel that the hairdressers really care about them

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  21. I absolutely appreciate you and this blog. Knowledge is power, and science is the why "it" works. However, I do believe a beautician who uses products on different types of hair should be seen a field tester. There is room for science and people who use it. I think the beauty of tested theory is that further testing can be done to either substantiate or refute the theory. I think we would be in error if we thought all science about hair has been done. Shoot how many hair products and even medicines have been tested and produced only to discover, after further testing, they did not work as intended?I know beauticians are not working in contolled environments etc. but some do know what they've seen and have valid beliefs and practices.
    As far as myself, I do what works and am always looking for what works best.

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  22. 1. I wouldn't say that the articles themselves are controversial, but that they can be a catalyst for disagreement and debate. I see that as two different things.

    2. Yes, to a certain extent. I know more about how certain ingredients work on my hair because of science. But, I don't see it as 100% accurate. Look at how many years were told to eat low fat high carb diets, and that seems to have backfired. Different field, but the same principle can apply.

    Also, with studies, it is often hard to tell who is paying for a study, and how the results may be presented due to who is financing the study. Money can trump science.

    Also, what science says and what my hair says disagree, I will go with my hair.

    3. Yes and no. I look at various sources. But, in the end, I will give more stock to the advice that works best for me. Sometimes that comes from science, and sometimes that comes from the field (stylists).

    I do find a certain disregard on both sides, with some on the science side practicing elitism and finding stylists to have little to offer because they are "just service people" who don't always have the educational background as the science crowd. On the slip side, some stylist do not want to take a look at the science to see how it may apply to their work.

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  23. My cousin is a licensed cosmetologist. I asked her and she said in her experiences in cosmetology school, they learn how to DO various hair services. They learn very little about the true science and complexities of hair and skin. So, I feel like hairstylist really could benefit from learning more about the science OF hair.

    I don't think you articles are controversial at all.

    They have helped me so much and you always list your sources for everyone to read for themselves. Knowledge is power. All you have done is make us aware of this information and encourage us to do what works for us now having the information in our arsenals.

    Your article on DC'ing being a myth is my favorite. Ever since I read that article I no longer buy commercial conditioners. I condition, usually, with oils and honey (some aloe vera gel added if I feel like it) with no heat. When I tell you my hair is the best its ever felt.... And I detangle just fine using this mix. So your blog has also saved me a lot of money.

    Sometimes we don't have the scietific facts behind something but it's been ingrained in us that it is right; that it works. Like for so long, many of us just KNEW that you had to trim your hair for it to grow. Just like once, people just KNEW the world was flat and you couldn't tell them any differently. I like how your articles deny or confirm various hair care "myths" that we've been fed all our lives but no one ever backed up with (scientific) information on why and how.

    It's nice to finally know WHY what I'm doing to or using on my hair is or isn't working/promoting healthy hair. Ignore that hairstylist. She sounds very close minded. She could be using all this useful information to help her clients' hair thrive even more and grow her client base.

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  24. I think that your blog is wonderful and full of valuable information...and I am an instructor of cosmetology!!

    Alot of stylist go to cosmetology school w/ the idea that they know everything already and/or know what part of the field they want to focus on. I find that many don't focus on educationing their clients b/c they weren't willing to educate themselves more. Not all stylists, but most.

    That is why your site is so important. You promote ways to take care of natural, healthy hair that isn't found in many cosmetology schools or instructional books.

    As I have stated on your blog b/f, stylists are taught to focus on making $$$. Relaxers & color make clients dependant on stylists whereas natural hair clients can do upkeep themselves and not have to see their stylists faithfully.

    I also found that it doesn't matter how long you've been as stylist if you don't keep educating yourself on the new science and information. Many states don't require stylists to have continuing education and if they do, it's only maybe 6 hours a year or less.

    Stylists need to understand what natural hair clients need and want. It's about the clients, NOT about their ego and what they believe is right/wrong. The science and education that you give on your site is correct and very informative for the natural hair clients who need help and cannot turn to a regular stylist.

    Keep up the great work!!!

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  25. Thanks ladies for all your contributions. I have been rereading all the replies and I am really glad that you took the time to think and discuss these questions. Thank you :)

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  26. I just stumbled upon this site and I love it! I don't think this site is controversial at all. Please keep up the good work and dropping that scientific knowledge on the community! We need it :).

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  27. Hi Jc,

    I am a new comer to understanding the science of hair, hair growth and products and I must say that your blog has been very informative and helpful. As a fellow chemist I do appreciate the details and the references that your blog offers.

    With respect to the comment made by the cosmotologist I beleive that ignorance is bliss and nothing beats understaning how things work and why they do. If there isn't a clear understanding of that then all efforts are futile.

    Perhaps if she invested some more time on understanding the sciece hair she would have a greater appreciation of your blogs.

    I say in the name of science/ Chemistry.....BLOG ON!

    JMJ

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  28. Just catching up on your fascinating articles. This one made me giggle.

    1. Controversial? To me? No. To somebody trying to sell something hair-wise? Maybe. LOL.

    2. Science absolutely has a place in my hair routine. It was because of a particular article on relaxers and hair follicles that confirmed my decision to go natural 8 years ago.

    3. I tend to shy away from advice given from those trying to sell me their product or their services. I found this article funny because every stylist I've been to resulted in traction alopecia and chemically chewed up ends!

    I draw from my own hair experiences and from several sources on the web whether it's a hair care forum or blog about experiences or articles such as yours about the science behind hair. I love diagrams!!

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  29. I find it absolutely astounding how so many stylists tend to be so ignorant and set in their ways to think that they cannot expand their expertise using scientific fact. I feel that science (although it cannot explain EVERYTHING in this life cause only God has all the answers) gives us true insight into why a hair product may or may not work because it relies on raw facts! Because there are so many variables involved in any experiment (genes, diet, living environment, personal hygiene, your hair care regimen, and the list goes on) it is hard to pinpoint and confirm the effectiveness of a product to a wide group of people with a "specific hair type". I truly feel that haircare at the stylist level should go hand in hand with science to COMBAT, and discourage the ignorance toward knowledge of our hair that is so obviously prevalent in society (but ESPECIALLY within the community of AfriKan descent especially) as a whole. Black hair care education, through factual documentation of scientific evidence (proven through PROPERLY controlled experiments), is the PRIMARY way to improving hair care and the practices of CERTIFIED hair care professionals for individuals of AfriKan descent around the world. This starts with many things, but I suggest supporting aspiring scientists with a passion for deeper, THOROUGH research of hair of AfriKan descent. Putting up money towards research so that we can advance our knowledge for the benefit of all within our community. Because once we arm ourselves with more knowledge about our hair, the less money we stand to loose, the less lies we'll tend to fall for, and the better decisions we'll make when we actually stop to question the validity of a "claims" being made by anyone before adopting it as a personal/universal truth. We need to make this sacrifice NOW for the better of future generations so they don't repeat the same mistakes that are keeping our community from advancing upward!! But all is but talk and words on paper until it's put into action because after all - faith without works is dead. More is left to be said because (evidently) I am extremely passionate about this topic, but I will finish in saying Every little bit counts ;). Don't let the thought of being met with ignorance deter you from trying to enlighten the ignorant, for in that, you become somewhat ignorant yourself if you think they can't learn to change their ways. Spark the interest, cause you can lead a horse to the water but you can't make him drink. But heck, the horse is bound to get thirsty sometime, you feel me?

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  30. No you are not controversial and I appreciate what you are doing for natural Black women. I feel empowered and have the knowledge to make my own hair care products. Thanks again and when are you getting a FB page so I can spread the word to all the other natural sistas!!!!!

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  31. Wow, can't believe the that professional hairstylist is getting her panties in a bunch! Heck most of us h ave went natural because a so-called professional LICENSED hairstylist have screwed up our hair, so please lady get off your high horse and concentrate on providing your clients with healthy hair!!

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  32. I'll admit that I'm heavily biased. I'm a scientist at heart. I love your blog precisely because it's so factual. I also read beauty brains because I'm far more interested in the facts and the underlying science. I've been going to salons for the best part of the last 20 years but I've only been able to truly care for my hair since I joined the hair forums and have taken matters into my own hands. My haircare practices go against everything my mother and hairdressers have ever told me. I wouldn't want to poo-poo a stylist's professional experiences and observations but I simply couldn't entrust my hair to one again. I've heard such ignorant and ill-informed opinions expressed in salons. Ironically, I think stylists could really benefit from formal education based on sound science.

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  33. I have just found this but...

    I will respond by referring you to Kuhnman and Tversky (1974), "Judgement under uncertainty: heuristics and biases" Science, vol. 185 pp1124-1131 :D

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  34. I find that stylists in general i.e. hairdressers are educated in hair "styling" and not hair health. This is where the main discrepancy lies. The education focuses on hair styling for the purpose of aesthetic grooming and not so much on hair preservation for the purpose of growing long healthy hair. There are stylists who are concerned with maintaining the health of their clients' hair who pay attention to trends and patterns during their years of experience. However even so, trends and patterns can exist for a variety of reasons and it is only with controlled scientific experiment that you can control for underlying causes behind said trends and or patterns.

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  35. "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

    I think the other commenters were absolutely correct that the hairdressers are intimidated by the facts...and also too stubborn and egotistical to believe them anyway.

    I can say that because i am a stylist myself- but one dedicated to educating my guests on how their hair actually works! I absolutely love talking about the anatomy and the physiology of hair, the growth cycles, proper hair CARE, the chemistry behind our services and products, and debunking the ridiculous myths stylists kept telling them! I give TMI sometimes but when it goes over their head they start to think I'm a genius or something haha! At least I know my guests trust and respect me as a professional and not just a "beautician"

    They literally teach you nothing about hair care in school-and barely scratch the surface on any actual chemical reactions or product ingredients. I've trained in trichoanalysis and pored over the JSCC archives for years, along with my collection of trichology and cosmetic chemistry textbooks (yay amazon!). It really upsets me that none of that is required knowledge, and I just want everyone to know that there ARE highly educated and intelligent hair stylists out there...they are just really hard to find! And even though I feel extremely confident in my knowledge and abilities, I am growing and learning every day, and I would MUCH prefer a guest to tell me if I was spreading any misinformation-as long as they cite their sources haha :)

    Anyway, i know your post was a looong time ago but I just found your blog tonight and I had to comment on this one because I can't stand the attitudes of probably 75% of the people in my field. I'm so happy a blog like this exists so people can educate themselves with scientific facts, without all the marketing hype & buzz words, and finally take great care of their hair! I know you have helped so many people, and that's an amazing thing! Hope you are doing well

    Xoxo Hannah Watson

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  36. I use to get my nails done every two weeks, for over 11 years. Every now and again I would go to an expensive spa where they would do extra things which my hands and nails just adored. Likewise, I love the dc treatment under a dryer that stylist use. I feel it relaxes and enriches my body, hair, and face a lot more than a quick dc 5 minutes and go. The hairdressers does do a needed service. Yet they need to market it as something special and extra, not something needed.

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