The Caramel Treatment...what is it?
The Caramel Treatment, it seems was developed as a straightening "aid" for those desiring to wear their hair straight. On her website, the creator, promotes this aid as either an alternative to relaxing at all or as a way to extend the time period between re-touches. Not a bad idea at all...the less chemical exposure, the better. Even though, I'm no longer relaxed or looking for straightened hair....I can't knock anyone for looking for healthier alternatives to get that straightened look. (Nope, I ain't pointing out the site either...you wanna go with the relaxed look...go find it yourself...google is your friend...use it. No hate intended, just not something I'm promoting here in my little nappy world).
However, it's not the Caramel Treatment that does the straightening. Now I don't have her actual formula, but if it's all natural ingredients as promoted, there is no way this stuff will automatically straighten your hair on it's own... hello..remember only heat or chemicals will straighten nappy hair. So using a little bit of deductive reasoning...no chemicals in the treatment...duh it must be the heat doing the actual straightening. I will give over to the idea that the treatment does make the hair softer and will probably make it easier to straighten. But there is no way that you can apply this to your kinky, coily hair and the twists and turns fallout and look like a brand new package of Yaki hurr. (Bad girl...go stand in the corner). Oh and another thing...yanno what happens when straightened natural hair comes in contact with H2O dontcha? Some say the hair reverts....I prefer to say it springs back into it's natural God-made glory! On some hair boards you will see folks saying that it doesn't
So what's in the Caramel Treatment?
Well, I have no clue as to what the original formula contains. But there have been a number of homemade versions that have sprung up all over the internet. Sorry I'm not gonna post a list...again remember google is your friend. However I will point out Kiya's Blog and her version of the Caramel Treatment. (BTW....her blog is a good read, you should bookmark it)
These are just some of the different ingredients I've seen used:
over-ripe bananas or baby bananas
Shea or other heavy butter
wheatgerm or coconut oil (Kiya's the only person I've seen use red palm oil)
molasses or black-strap molasses
apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup my shea butter mix
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 large over-ripe bananas
1 tsp ACV
I only have to use half the batch. This freezes well, so I always have some on hand.
Slather it on my head, cover in plastic wrap then toss on my ski cap (I don't use heat in any form at all) for a couple of hours. Rinse throughly. I also use a light ACV rinse afterwards to knock of some of the left over residue on my strands. I will only co-wash at this point if my hair feels over coated. If not, then I just go on my merry little way and let my hair air dry.
Just for those of you that are curious, it does seem to loosen my texture a little, but that could just be the heavy coating on my thin strands and weighing them down. But in no way does it straighten my hair.
Right after rinsing the caramel treatment out. As you can see, my tiny little coils are still intact. Once this dried they tightened up even more.
(Um...ignore them bushy eyebrows...I've been trying to let them grow back fuller. I don't like the super thin shape I've been sporting lately.)
Just for a little reference point, this is my hair without the Caramel Treatment. Not much difference in them tight coils with our without the CT.
I don't think the Caramel Treatment in itself is the controversy...it's the way it's used that is. In some arenas heat, relaxed or relaxed-like hair are just not accepted and any reference to them are not welcome. Most of the ingredients used are ones I use on a regular basis anyway. I might not have combined all of them in this formula, but I sure as hell have done quite a few of them on any of my deep conditioning days...which I do once or twice a week anyway. I see myself doing the Caramel Treatment bi-weekly because it is a hell of a deep conditioner and now that I'm at the pool a lot more, I need to protect my hair from all that chlorine. I'm sure I'll adjust it along the way to use lighter oils that don't weigh my hair down as much if I'm using it so often.
So is the Caramel Treatment taboo for natural hair or not? Well that for you to decide. For me it's not...because I am in no way looking to alter the texture of my hair in any way and all of the ingredients I'm using are good for my hair. So that's my take on this treatment.