Recently, social media has been abuzz with word and photos of a revolutionary system that allows natural women to go from textured, to straight, and back to textured hair in the blink of an eye. That system is the Texture Manageability System by Beautiful Textures, subsidiary of Strength of Nature. If you follow popular bloggers like @tarenguy, @msvaughntv, @lexiwiththecurls, and @chimeedwards on Instagram, you saw that this product unveiling came with a Miami getaway, videos, salon events, and a photo shoot.
All of those things are fab, and I’m really happy for the ladies involved (I really am and I’m claiming my own big opportunities in 2014!), but at the end of the day one question remains –
Is the Texture Manageability System worth it?
I received a Texture Manageability System (TMS) as a part of my March OnyxBox. I couldn’t pass up 3 full size products plus the TMS for only $15. Beyond the product junkie in me that wanted 3 products, I was genuinely curious about TMS and all the social media fanfare surrounding it. I needed to know how it worked, why it worked and if there would be any adverse consequences (because of course, no brand is going to tell you what’s wrong with their product). I was also curious to see if the system would allow me to wear flat ironed hair for more than a week (which is what I typically get when I straighten using my own methods).
The system consists of a shampoo, leave-in conditioner, and anti-reversion shampoo and conditioner duo. There is also a pamphlet for instructions and general guidelines based upon texture and desired goal. Warnings of not using too much heat reappear throughout the literature. But, before I get into my own analysis, let’s start of with what Beautiful Textures has to say about their product (via beautifultextures.com):
Strength of Nature — the makers of African Pride, Beautiful Textures, Elasta QP, MegaGrowth, TCB, Pro-line and Soft & Beautiful — is revolutionizing the hair industry with a ground-breaking product:
Reversible™ Straightening Texture Manageability™
This revolutionary system has created a totally new category in hair care. Never before has hair been able to have it all — total manageability and versatility. For natural girls, it’s the flexibility to Flip™ back-and-forth from curly to straight and then back again, and if you have relaxed hair the system extends the time you need to touch-up between relaxer new growth applications.
The secret is the Inner-Active™ Leave-In Conditioner, which is infused with essential oils, natural butters and amino acids, and has no harsh chemicals. The Inner Active™ leave-in conditioner penetrates the hair, causing it to elongate and soften while making it easier to detangle. Once the detangling process is complete, the hair is blow-dried and flat ironed, creating beautifully straight, touchable soft hair with unmatched body, movement and shine — all in a fraction of the time of most traditional straightening methods.
Now in four quick steps, curly girls can go from natural curls to straight styles and back again without compromising or permanently altering their curl pattern. The system gives Reversible™ Straightening that lasts up to 6 weeks, plus the benefit to stop damaging your hair from daily heat straightening, or the choice to stop using harsh chemicals to permanently relaxed hair. But remember, the Texture Manageability™ System gives you the choice to go back to natural at any time because the Inner-Active Conditioners do not permanently change your hair texture.
Marketing jargon aside, what does TMS actually do — and how does it work? I stayed up late one night doing research, and reading information from a number of cosmetic chemistry sources. Here’s what I came up with (you can catch this excerpt on my Instagram as well):
The active ingredient in TMS is in the leave-in, which is glyoxyloyl carbocysteine. There is some interesting data from a cosmetic chemistry conference about what it does to curly and textured hair. Long story short, the Texture Manageability System is a low pH, formaldehyde-free, amino acid-rich protein treatment that deposits inside the cortex, closes the cuticle tightly/fills stress cracks, and makes hair super shiny and strong. When combined with heat, the deposits inside the hair cause a reversible, structural elongation of the cortex. Essentially, this thing is a huge deep conditioning/protein treatment activated by heat.
Satisfied with that information, I did what I customarily do when trying any new product — a patch test. Here were my results using the shampoo and leave-in (via Instagram):
I was able to easily straighten this small segment of hair with slightly lower temperatures (around 370, I normally straighten at 380 degrees Fahrenheit). The hair felt soft and silky, and had great shine. I immediately washed it twice with tgin Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo, which resulted in a frizz-free, somewhat elongated version of my texture (which is where the “manageability” part comes in). To completely remove the system from my hair, I followed up with Lawrence Ray Concepts Complete Cleanse Shampoo, which contains SLS. My hair returned to normal, but still possessed the shine and softness. At this particular point, I was convinced that nothing terrible would happen to my hair, so I made plans to straighten it that weekend.
Before I get too far into the results, let me highlight a few things about the Texture Manageability System:
- It isn’t permanent. Unless you use entirely too much heat (they warn strongly against that in the literature that comes with the kit) and end up with heat damage, any loosening of your texture will revert with several washes.
- Your texture won’t 100% revert immediately. Again, in the literature they tell you that you can use the product to achieve a looser curl pattern if you don’t want to wear your hair straight.
- Reversion requires several washes with a SULFATE-CONTAINING shampoo. I make that distinction because there are some bloggers (no shade) who are showing their reversion results with sulfate-free shampoo. If you use a more gentle cleansing agent, the looser curl results last longer. Using a more clarifying product with sulfates will help remove the Inner-Active Leave-In more quickly.
I straightened my hair with TMS (video coming soon, I documented ev-er-ry-thang) just to see if it would live up to all the hype surrounding it. In the meantime, here are my preliminary thoughts:
It’s a shampoo. Not the most moisturizing or gentle, but I can understand the rationale for wanting to make sure hair is completely clean before any heat styling. Made a mental note that *if* I decided to use TMS again, I will be swapping out the shampoo for one that doesn’t dry out my hair as much.
Very liquidy, and comes with warnings of not over-applying. The bottle is slightly more than 1oz, which can lead a heavy-handed naturalista to believe it is not enough. Believe me when I say — it is MORE than enough. I used 75% of a bottle, and I think that was too much. Goes on easily, and is able to be worked through the hair while WET. But once it dries, forget about it. For whatever reason during blow drying, my hair became tangle city — even though I had detangled prior to washing, and during deep conditioning, which brings me to my next point…
There is no deep conditioner. Or heat protectant.
To me, the absence of these two from any thermal straightening process or system is a glaring weakness. Whether I use TMS or not, I always, always, alllllllllllways make sure I have a deep conditioner on deck — preferably one with cetrimonium chloride and protein. To make up for that lack, I deep conditioned with Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask after shampooing and before applying the leave-in. And even though the Inner-Active Leave-In may offer some heat protection, I didn’t fully trust it. After transitioning for 21 months from heat damage, there was no way I was leaving this one up to chance. I incorporated Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray and Garnier Fructis Marvelous Oil serum during blow drying and flat ironing for added protection.
The Straightening Process
TMS was supposed to help cut down on the straightening time. And whatever strides I made in flat ironing my hair more quickly were canceled out by the obscenely difficult blow drying session. As I mentioned previously with the leave-in, working it through the hair is easy when it is damp or wet. But after you leave it on the hair for the recommended 20-ish minutes, all of that is out the window. My hair was tangled and felt coated, which made it difficult for me to work through and blow dry. That feeling dissipated somewhat once it was time to flat iron — which I think can be attributed to the Garnier serum. Here were my results:
For those that are curious, I flat iron on 380 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the temperature that I have deemed safe for my hair without heat damage with proper protection. After flat ironing, my hair was soft and shiny with movement — but it typically does when I straighten it. The major difference though? In the following days, my hair did feel coated and I definitely experienced some reversion in the form of poofiness (which I expect from natural hair that doesn’t have heat damage). At the end of 3 days, I found my straight hair to be more of a hassle than my curls (imagine that), and went on a mission to revert.
It took me 3 wash days and SLS containing shampoos to get my curl pattern restored back 100%. You can read all about wash day number one here, and wash days two and three here. All and all, I’m glad I tried the Texture Manageability System — if for no other reason than to quell my curiosity. Will I use it again? Probably not. I’m not interested in “managing” my texture, and even though the smoothness and shine was nice, I can get that from a good deep conditioning. So to answer the question posed in the beginning — is the Texture Manageability System worth it? For me, not really. But of course, each head of hair is different.
There are some ladies who will sing the praises of TMS, others who disagree with the notion that our hair needs to be “managed”, and some who won’t care either way. Which category do you fall into, ladies?
Would you try Texture Management System?
Note: Straight hair can be a hot-button/polarizing issue for us. Please, let’s keep all commentary respectful toward one another.