Where does this “research” about Black hair come from?

Where does this “research” about Black hair come from?


Through the hair forums I am a member of and various vloggers and bloggers, I’ve learned a lot about caring for, growing and retaining Black hair.  Some of it seems to be common sense, such as sealing with an oil (based product) after moisturizing, but other information definitely gets a raised eyebrow from me.  One of my big pet peeves is when people say “research shows” and never provide a reference; This is especially annoying when said research sounds incorrect, not so much when the presented information is pretty much the accepted norm.  I remember watching a very popular YT’ber who claims to have studied the science of hair, yet never gives a reference, does not have any degree or certification to validate claimed study, and on more than a couple of occasions she gave information that was completely incorrect.  Yes, it is up to us as viewers to do our own research, but it is misleading when someone who has had success growing their hair claims to be an expert presents information in a manner that makes it SEEM like fact.  My background is in science and medicine so I’m particularly sensitive to people claiming they read something somewhere on the internet – I can’t tell you how many patients disagree with medical advice, claiming they prefer to take cinammon pills to manage their diabetes rather than glipizides!  And although have a little knowledge about science and medicine, I still can’t claim to be a hair expert, neither now or in the future unless I decide to go into dermatology or cosmetology.  In any event, the reason I adore one of my favorite bloggers, Nadege from Relaxed Hair Health, is because she always references whatever study she receives her information and finds new information to present.

That being said, I think it is important that when something “new” comes out and people present it is “research shows” you actually trust the source and/OR you do your own research to find how valid the information is.

In the beginning of my HHJ I found an interesting article published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings on Hair Breakage in Normal and Weathered Hair:  Focus on the Black Patient.  I found it extremely interesting, it points out some of the major differences between our hair and Asian and Caucasion hair, states how even some natural styles lead to breakage and damaged hair such as dreadlocks and twisted styles, and explains that our hair is curved not only along the hair shaft but actually at the follicle itself.  Definitely worth taking a look…

I do not believe scientists and medical professionals are the only source that exists, but I do believe them to be the most valid source of information.  We, DIYers, definitely have more knowledge about Black hair than many dermatologists, however unless we have actually conducted studies on people outside of ourselves, we can’t claim to be hair scientists, experts or doctors.  We are simply women who found what is successful for OUR hair and are willing to share it with others.  And I thank God for each one of you too!

  • so true. this is what I learned when I started my hair journey and watching other woman talk about their hair. what works for one hair, might not work for someone elses. there is no rule of thumb, yes there are the basic rules but peopel should stop going around saying this is the word.

    good post and thanks for the follow 🙂

  • I’m glad you started this blog. I went natural for 3 years via the Big Chop and my hair grew to shoulder length. However, the creamy crack was calling me and I gave in back in November 2009. Now I wish I was able to just say no! I do not want to do another BC and I now have about an inch of new growth and should length hair. The problem is that my hair has been shedding for the past few months. I am diabetic and suffer from anxiety and hypertension and male pattern baldness runs in my family. So unless I want to be bald on top and do the comb over, I will have to find alternatives to care for and style my hair. So I will be on this HHJ with you!

  • (Being on a hair forum) I always try to give out advice from the perspective of it’s my opinion and I am not an expert. After my BC, I read this and that and sort of did what everyone else was doing. Guess what- my hair was dry and breaking off.

    I think that with hair (for me) it is a combo of a lot of things. Some science or research based and some observation. I think some people do turn to certain product hoping that they will be a magical cure for length but the truth is much more complicated than that.

    I know the thread that you posted in and I agreed with what you said. People shouldn’t completely discount specific things just because they are unfamiliar with them while they should not also buy into everything that promises to “grow” their hair.

    CurlieBelle aka BHM’s Prettypeal09