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A 610-word column written by JoJo Lanier, a licensed cosmetologist who has been practicing for 40 years. JoJo trained under Joe Louis Dudley, Sr., an American businessman, and hair-care entrepreneur. He is the president and chief executive officer for Dudley Products Inc., a manufacturer, and distributor of hair and skin care products for the African American community.



Q. JoJo, I read an article that said Black women’s hair products are killing us.  Their study stated that black women who use lye-based relaxers seven or more times a year for more than 15 years have a 30% increased risk of getting breast cancer. What’s your opinion on that topic?

A. I’m not one to argue with science. That’s why continuing education is important for us cosmetologists. Seven or more relaxers in a year is a lot of relaxing. The rule of thumb is once every 2 months equaling six relaxers per year. As clients reached their 30’s and their hair weren’t growing as fast and the texture started changing, we would change that timetable to once every 3 or 4 months and sometimes shift to 1 or 2 relaxer touch ups per year focusing on manageability and body more that the straight thin look.  Cancer is a scary word. Yesterday, hair color caused cancer. Today it’s the relaxer. Tomorrow it could be the oil we use on the scalp or the gels and creams we use for our natural looks. I listen to science and study the information they provide, keeping in mind that nothing exceeds like excess. Use all products in moderation. Don’t grab your permanent color every time you see a grey hair or the relaxer every time you see a nap, less is best.

Hair Talk with JoJo the hair care expert

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