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Karen Constant aka Glamfun made waves on YouTube with her witty lyrics and infectious personality, gaining popularity via natural hair parodies and providing tips and information for 4c natural hair. But when she began experiencing breakage and thinning late last year, she turned to a dermatologist for help — and relaxed her natural hair as a result.

Some subscribers were not happy with her decision and even went as far as making response videos, starting threads on forums, and writing articles debating and discussing the use of relaxers to treat her derm-diagnosed Center Centrifugal Cicatrical Alopecia. On behalf of BGLH, I had the awesome opportunity to have a Q&A with Karen and dig a little deeper into her thoughts and experiences of going natural, relaxing and transitioning back to natural on a public platform like YouTube:

Your experience of going natural, relaxing and now transitioning back to natural hair is a unique one. What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned on the road back to natural hair?

The first lesson I have learned from my hair journey is to accept my hair for how it is. My hair is coarse, kinky and beautiful and I love to play in it. The second lesson I have learned from my hair journey is that I have to accept what my hair likes. I know that if I want my hair to grow healthy I have to leave it alone. The third lesson that I have learned from my hair journey is that I really cannot care about other people’s opinions when it comes to what works for my hair. I have proof of what works for my hair. Leaving my hair alone under weaves and wigs does wonders for my hair and grows it out fast. Listening to other people’s suggestions can sometimes set you back from your goals. People sometimes accuse me of hating my hair because I don’t wear it out. My goal for my hair is for it to be thick, long, beautiful, and healthy. I no longer care about being “not natural enough” for the natural hair community.

Why, in your words, did you decide to go back to a relaxer in the first place? Was it the ease factor? The familiarity factor? The convenience factor? Why did it feel like the best decision at the time?

I wanted to go on vacation and didn’t want to deal with kinks or detangling. I wanted to go in the water and not have to detangle it afterwards. My hair was in such bad shape I knew I had to cut it off and start over. I wanted to enjoy the little bit of hair that I had on my head without tangles or braids.

Why didn’t you consider seeing a natural hair professional to consult about her hair loss. I know you were seeing a dermatologist. Was that dermatologist also a natural hair professional?

I went to the dermatologist. She did a whole bunch of tests — checked my thyroid and anything that could be serious. When they said that everything was normal, that’s when she started making stupid suggestions. I knew that a natural hair professional would give me cliche answers to my problems, and I can read cliche answers to my problems online. So I decided to do my own research. I just didn’t wanted to waste anymore of my money getting other people opinions about my hair.

Was it always your plan to transition back to natural hair after relaxing? Or did it just sort of happen?

My hair grew best when it was natural under a wig so I knew I always wanted to go back to that.

Some of your subscribers were incredibly upset that you chose to relax your hair. What is one thing that you wish everyone could understand about your decision?

I wanted a new beginning. This natural thing was not what I expected it to be. I thought being natural would be liberating because everybody said it was, so I wanted to try it. At this time, I was tired of spending so much money at the hair salon and the thought of not having to pay someone to do my hair would be so liberating to me. Natural hair was also supposed to be healthier. I thought to myself, “so you’re saying with this whole natural thing, I can keep my salon money in my pocket and my hair will grow healthier and longer and I can still look cute?!?! Sign me up!” I was all in to being natural. Then, I started documenting my journey but I never put it on YouTube at the time because it actually turned out to be the complete opposite for me. I felt secluded and uncomfortable because what seemed to be working for everyone else was not working for me. The products that were working for other people weren’t working for me. I spent so much money on products at times it was more expensive than going to the hair salon. Some of the products thinned my hair out, so it wasn’t healthier….my hair was not responding well to the aloe vera juice that was recommend a lot, and the apple cider vinegar and water rinses that were supposed to heal and cleanse the hair were making my hair dry and brittle no matter how much I diluted it.

I started to evaluate this natural thing I was doing. I stopped and thought, is this benefiting me? Why am I doing this? I was spending so much time on my hair daily trying to get it back to health. My goal in life is not to be a hair dresser, why am I spending so much time on my hair? I realized being natural [was] not worth the amount of effort. At this time, my hair was thinning like crazy. I knew I would have to cut a lot of it off and start over again. I didn’t want to have to go on vacation with a weave in my hair either. I wanted to wear my hair freely and enjoy the little bit of hair I had on my head. At the time, a relaxer was exactly what I wanted so a relaxer is what I got.

There are some people who believe that you were never “comfortable” with your (4c) hair texture, and that influenced your decision to relax your hair. How true is that?

When the health of my hair isn’t at a good place, that is what makes me uncomfortable. It has nothing to do with my hair texture. When I feel and see that what I am doing isn’t benefiting my hair that is what influences me to do something new. When my 4c hair texture was healthy and flourishing, I loved it! I wore it proudly. I even made a whole YouTube channel about it. When my hair started thinning, I was frustrated. I wasn’t proud of it and I started to get uncomfortable with the health of my hair. I got uncomfortable and started looking for something new. That new thing was doing my hair by myself in a natural type of way. After 1 year of success of braiding it and wearing wigs on top, I decided to actually style my hair and the health of my hair took a turn for the worse. Relaxers aren’t that good for my hair, but a relaxer never thinned my hair as bad as trying to style my natural hair. I felt uncomfortable with the health of my hair. It was time to try something new. I am comfortable with my 4c texture. I get uncomfortable when my 4c textured hair gets unhealthy.

I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to do what they want to do with their hair — whether it be relaxed, natural, chopped off, dyed hot pink, or under a weave 24/7. Do you think there is an entitlement mentality within the natural hair community — where everyone feels entitled to tell you what you can/should do with your hair, even if those opinions are unsolicited?

I think that some naturals feel that wearing their hair natural its a representation of self love and if someone wears their hair straight it is a representation of self hate. If someone doesn’t wear their hair natural, some naturals feel the person must not love themselves and they are just following what the world sees as beautiful. And since the naturalista is showing such an act of self love by wearing their hair natural, they think their opinion is better or more important than a person who wears their hair straight. If that is what you mean by ‘entitlement mentality’ then I agree that some naturals do think that way.

What are your favorite cleansing, deep conditioning, moisturizing and styling products right now?

Shea Moisture’s pink bottles shampoo, [and] Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Mask to deep condition. Glycerin and water to moisturize. I also like castor oil. I use Shea Moisture Curling Soufflé when I braid my hair.

You’re super talented and funny. Any projects outside of YouTube and natural hair in the works?

I have so many future projects planned that everyone will hear about by the end of the year, so watch out for that! I can’t wait to tell everyone.

Any final words?

Thank you so much for the interview Christina!

Thank you Karen! Keep up with Karen aka Glamfun on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter!

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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208 Comments on "When Naturals Attack! Popular 4C Vlogger Glamfun Discusses the YouTube Backlash She Received After Re-Relaxing Last Year"

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Puff
I can really relate with her struggles. I have very coarse, thick hair that likes to break around my edges and gets tangled all the time. I have to do a lot to keep it moisturized and playing with it too much does cause breakage. I started my hair journey 7 years ago and at that time their weren’t all these blogs and vlogs and information. And although my hair had to suffer through some crappy products and dryness I also would leave it a lone a lot more because the biggest thing for me was to feel free from… Read more »
Deb
I’m going to go off on a big of a tangent. I’ve learned to stop seeing a black woman relaxing, straightening or covering up their natural hair with weaves, wigs as evidence that black hair is ugly, too much work or undesirable. If a black woman does think that, that’s their own issue and honestly, it will take a lifetime for many of us to undo what we have learned about our hair while continually staving off the negative feeling we might experience from tough experiences and society’s perceptions. Black hair is so complicated and the mass natural hair “awakening”… Read more »
bri
After reading a few more comments I feel the need to say one more thing: It is NOT just hair. This conversation is proof that it is not just hair. This website is proof that it is not just hair. The fact that people get FIRED for wearing their natural hair is proof that it is not just hair. The fact that relaxers were even INVENTED and people think they NEED them or that they are seen as a viable “styling option” (yes I have heard people say this)is proof that it is not just hair. The “its just hair”… Read more »
Carleee

I completely agree!!

The Natural Haven
Glad this is up! I think part of the backlash she received was in part as she said herself, not every person actually listened to every single one of her videos. It is bound to irk some nerves for some people when you hear things like, ‘I just wanted to look glamorous, so I relaxed my hair and wore a wig.’ Taken in isolation, this seems like she doesn’t like her natural hair but in truth her mind at the time was bothered by breakage and a possible diagnosis of alopecia leading to low self esteem. I feel that hair… Read more »
lablooplah

I honestly cannot stand the title of the article since it is using loaded terms like “attack” what? And the article actually has nothing to do with naturals “attacking” anyone. It’s like a rap song targeted to imaginary “haters.” I wish this interview was more straight forward instead of using a misleading title when someone is just giving an account of their hair journey, end of story.

juanicole617

The article doesn’t really get into it much, but she did receive a lot of backlash and said she took down the YouTube video with all the negative comments about her re-relaxing her hair.

lablooplah

and as a result you have people talking about haters and “natural hair nazis” and the hair divide in the commentary section when they all deviate from what i assume to be the point of the article (which is hard to tell because the title and the article do not match up) sorry i just find this sort of posting lazy and as a quick way to garner clicks and comments.

kelly
“I’m honestly a bit confused. The intro to the interview makes it sound like she relaxed her hair based on her dermatologist’s diagnosis and recommendation. But then in the interview she says that the dermatologist “started making stupid suggestions” and that she relaxed her hair because it was unhealthy and she wanted something easier to care for, especially while on vacation. The intro makes it sound like there were diagnosed medical reasons for choosing to relax her hair, but the actual interview doesn’t seem to support that.” I agree very confusing! You cannot force people, period! If she prefers her… Read more »
tisha
she is totally free to wear her hair howerver she wants. But she makes it seem like she relaxed because the hair was too difficult to deal with. I wish she would recognize that it’s not about the hair, it’s because she has not found and ideal routine that makes her journey less costly, and time efficient. I have BSL 4b-4c hair and it’s has not been an easy journey, but with consistency you get results, no chemicals or weave needed. But whatever makes her happy, at the end of the day, she’s the one who has to care for… Read more »
Candice

I feel so bad that that happened during her journey. Usually, you hear the success stories and never what may go wrong. You look beautiful and don’t let your YouTube channel stress you out! You need to relax.

Beautyismiree

I follow this girl on YouTube and if you watch her latest videos , she shows her natural hair journey through the good/bad. After watching the videos, it’s pretty obvious she just didn’t know how to do natural hair and expected her hair to be able to do things that one with 3c/4a hair. Hopefully she knows what’s good for her hair now. People need to chill over natural hair because while to you it’s a statement of how you don’t like the current standard of beauty, to another it’s just hair.

sanji
Some of us naturals still seem a bit straight-minded, if you ask me. Unless we’re trying to achieve that sought after “definition” of less frizzy curls, I don’t see why it should take endless hours to take care of our natural hair; even on vacation. A pulled back puff or pinned up bun takes 3 minutes and a little Eco Styler. 10 big cornrows or twists take about 15. Bring along a bottle of conditioner and I’m good to go! I went natural because my hair was falling out in clumps thanks to 45 years of relaxing. I love my… Read more »
Elle
“I don’t see why it should take endless hours to take care of our natural hair” EXACTLY! That prison arm you got trying to get the perfect twist-out isn’t your hair, it’s your CHOICE, there’s a difference! Like another poster wrote, when breakage happens with perms, people cut it off! Only with your natural hair doe it become a Corleone saga only to be solved with renouncing natural hair and bitterly accusing everyone of trying to ‘destroy you’. Some need to take responsibility and admit they won’t leave the house without a twist-out/coil-out/braid-out/bun/press/threading/curl. There’s power and wisdom in the truth.… Read more »
T.
I’m honestly a bit confused. The intro to the interview makes it sound like she relaxed her hair based on her dermatologist’s diagnosis and recommendation. But then in the interview she says that the dermatologist “started making stupid suggestions” and that she relaxed her hair because it was unhealthy and she wanted something easier to care for, especially while on vacation. The intro makes it sound like there were diagnosed medical reasons for choosing to relax her hair, but the actual interview doesn’t seem to support that. The thing is though, whatever the rationale, if someone wants to perm her… Read more »
Steph

I think she lied at some point. Because in her original video she did speak of a dermatologist recommending that she get a relaxer and in her video she was frustrated and about to cry because she didn’t want to do it. Now all of a sudden, it’s because she wanted to do it as a personal choice? It makes no sense.

Iva

Yeah. I will admit I was someone who followed her and unsubscribed around that time because the logic made zero sense to me. What reputable dermatologist tells someone with a scalp condition to put a caustic chemical on their scalp?

If you want to relax your hair, relax your hair, but as a subscriber, I’m not obligated to follow your “hair journey” when it no longer interests me.

NaturallyNeesh
I watched the videos and she had one where she talked about the dermatologist and she said the doc told her to relax and every one was like “huh?” because it did not sound legit lol…she made a video when she said she would relax…BUT she took it down because a few people seemed mad about it…the majority of the comments were not negative though. So basically she comes back with a curly wig on and says thank you for all the kind words etc. and some thought it was her hair until she explained that it was not. Then… Read more »
StarCrossedCurls
Most people only ever look at the notoriety that’s involved with being a natural hair vlogger. They don’t seriously consider the; time, money and vulnerability that these women give in sharing their stories. And sure they obviously get some sort of gratification from it. But the majority of their reward is in adding more positive information/inspiration to the natural hair community. So I’m always a bit “confused” when so called “fans” take it upon themselves to tear these women down. Knowing good and well that they themselves lack the resources (both mentally and financially) to even attempt what these sisters… Read more »
Caramelcurls
Being natural is not for everybody, just as being relaxed is not for everybody. I’ll have my 3 year naturalversary in the fall and I love it! I’ve found the products that work for my hair and honestly I keep a very low-maintanance routine that has resulted in healthy, growing hair. And that’s why I choose to remain natural, because my hair is thriving. I was relaxed for over 20 years and I saw my shoulder length hair get more and more damaged as time went by. The final straw was when the nape of my hair had broken off… Read more »
cola

I’m glad your natural even if I disagree with your point.

hipah
I never understood this, “Natural hair isn’t for everyone.” It is what grows out of your scalp and if both the hair and scalp are healthy then why would you say that your very own God given hair isn’t for you? I think it has a lot to do with being conditioned by our communities, the lack of hair care knowledge that fit’s one’s own hair needs as well as one’s perspective. How one chooses to wear their hair is a result of their perspective on their hair. I understand the history behind a lot of these issues but I… Read more »
hipah
Oh and I forgot to add that the negative responses from Blue Ivey’s hair is one of the many reasons why some women are afraid of wearing their hair as is. Why some women may be afraid of what the world thinks. So they resort to the many ways of hiding their birth right, their God given hair. I’ve read so many comments where teenagers and adults stated their fears of going natural because they are afraid of having the “undesirable texture” and that if they did, they wouldn’t know what to do with it or because they were afraid… Read more »
NaturallyNeesh
The thing is her relaxed hair (before she went natural) was damaged and thin etc and her natural hair ended up the same way..jussayin…she needs to look at what the real issue is…she has videos explaining her entire journey so far and her hair was in bad shape when it was relaxed too. This is why I hope either way she can figure out what really works for her because whatever she was doing did not work when she was relaxed or when she was natural. Being natural IS for everyone, it is the hair that grows out of your… Read more »
Caramelcurls

Right! It’s a matter of choice–therfore it’s not for everybody!

Tia

Natural hair is for everybody in my opinion. That’s how it grows out your head. It’s just a matter of learning how to you care for your natural hair. Same with relaxed ladies, they learned to care for their hair in this altered state.

It’s just a matter of choice

bri
“I knew that a natural hair professional would give me cliche answers to my problems, and I can read cliche answers to my problems online.” You didn’t know that, you assumed that. I honestly am tired of hearing about people calling those that are pro-natural “Natural Nazis” simply because its not only degrading to those individuals but also to the legacy of the Holocaust. People are so quick to throw around terms like this, but what exactly have such naturals done that is similar to what an actual Nazi does? Absolutely nothing is similar between the two.This is how we… Read more »
Puff
Well stated and I did think that was troubling. I also paused at her using a afro on said “Natural Hair Nazi”. It definitely gives off this vibe that she thinks wearing natural hair in a fro is some sort of militant thing. I’m not very familiar with glamfan as I really don’t watch that many vlogs but she appears young (early 20s?). And although I’m only in my late 20s I can understand why she has this desire to explain herself and also try to defend herself. It’s hard dealing with online criticism and especially now that natural hair… Read more »
Jumoke
I loved everything you just said. People are always convinced when I tell them to stop throwing around the term “Natural Hair Nazi” because quite honestly- it’s embarrassing. A group of intelligent, educated Black women should not be throwing around a derogatory term like that. To the interview, I agree with you. I mean, there are already 6 or 7 half an hour long videos of her explaining her decision on YouTube so why is this debate still going? People like what they like on YouTube. If thousands of people subscribed to you for 4c inspiration and you relax your… Read more »
Jumoké

Confused*

Tonia

I also HATE the term Natural Nazi. Its offensive. I do personally feel that its best to be natural,but, if you want to relax that’s your choice.

Iva

Agreed. I find that term so offensive and mean-spirited (especially when it is coming from someone with a relaxer).

People should learn to use their words. If you mean militant, say militant, if you mean judgmental say judgmental. If you mean someone practicing genocide, ethnic cleansing, pogroms and war, say Nazi.

J2
I’m all for going back to what you know if you don’t have the patience it takes learn and/or do your natural hair. It just makes me sad because we go decades with a relaxer and not knowing our natural hair and expect in 6 months or a year to be a pro at being natural. I’ve been natural 5 years and I’m still learning. Recently learned the denman brush was causing crazy types of split ends and pulling my hair out. Anyway everyone deserves to feel beautiful and I hope she does no matter what she does to her… Read more »
Anon87
Because of the social history behind our hair, it’s very complicated. We can’t differentiate between those who remain relaxed/weaved/straightened simply out of “choice” and those who subconsciously do so because it fits the ideal standards. It would be interesting to know how things would be if WE were the ideal standard or at least things were “equal.” Would women still be complaining about how difficult and time consuming natural hair is or would they be rocking it 24/7 because it would be the “ideal standard”?? Hmm…. I think it’s ok to acknowledge that actually a lot of black women ARE… Read more »
juanicole617

That’s interesting, is it still the majority? Maybe I just spend too much time on natural hair sites. LOL. Where I live, I’d say if it’s not half, it’s approaching half at least in the Chicago area / suburbs.

shu
While it’s true we may not be able to know for sure why someone else chooses weave/relaxer, I think the point that many of us miss is that it’s not our business TO know. We don’t have to worry about why the next girl does what she does with her hair. Does she wear weaves for her hairs health? Great, that’s none of my business. Does she do it out of self-hate? That’s none of my business either. Some people think being part of the natural hair community gives them license to comment on things that are so out of… Read more »
Anon87
Yes, I hope my comment didn’t read as “We need to know why every black women is relaxing/weaving” – no, it’s not our business, I agree. But just from a sociological/political perspective, I think it is important to think about why the majority of us are choosing relaxed or straight weave over natural (read: kinky), because it says something deeper than simply “choice and ease”; something which has repercussions in terms of how we see ourselves & our self esteem. But that doesn’t mean we should question every women’s hair choice. My comment was coming from a more general perspective.
Yasmin

This is something I have been thinking about/discussing with friends. I’ve been natural since 2009, but consistently wear weave as a protective style. I only leave my natural hair out for a month (collectively) per year.

Deb

Thank you for a perceptive, well rounded reply. I completely agree with you.

KP
Yes! I was definitely a fan of the song Natural Nazi. Sometimes people are doing too much, trying to force natural hair guidelines on people. Oh, you’re only natural if xyz. I mean, who put you in charge? How are you no longer considered natural if you constantly stretch your hair w/o heat? Really, tho? I do like that Karen (glamfun) actually started to pay attention to what her hair needed health-wise, making necessary changes vs. trying to hold on to unhealthy hair. I watched her Hairstory as it was being released, and it explains everything. And, I have come… Read more »
Missc

I’m team DO YOU!
Your hair still looks nice. I hope you find success with your relaxed hair.

Kgray
I also went back to relaxing after three years as a natural and I am glad to see someone else make the transition. I loved my afro (or Lola as I liked to call her) but it took HOURS to style, I work in a corporate environment and honestly started to feel I looked unprofessional. I also noticed I had split ends and split middles, something I never had when relaxed and I never used heat as a natural. Relaxing for me is a much easier styling option and I prefer my hair straight or curled with flex rods. As… Read more »
juanicole617
Kgray, in anything we do in life that is new, like caring for and maintaining our natural hair that many of us were never familiar with, will bring its obstacles. Your challenges in caring for your natural hair was not unique as we read in this article but I’ve learned, especially from BGLH that we all need to find what works for our own hair to have it flourish. Once you find a product that works for you, keep it. Kinky Curly Knot Today is a leave-in conditioner I will always keep in stock because it works for me. I… Read more »
Alicia
Hi, I respect your choice and opinions. Off course you choose whatever hairstyle pleases you. However,natural hair, in my opinion, should not be called unprofessional. It’s a matter of perception. Why would straight free flowing hair look professional and not but not free flowing kinky hair? I see a problem here, beause we are labelling one of our ethnic feature as unprofessional…because it looks ethnic… What if people said dark skin looks unprofessional? We would be outraged, wouldn’t we? So we shouldn’t allow people and ourselves to perceive our naural features as less then. Also, if the afro doesn’t seem… Read more »
Angela
Great Interview and I appreciate her honest answers. I am a 4c natural and I follow 4c and non-4c naturals alike to get general haircare tips. I could really relate with the “do what is best for you” theme that I got throughout the interview. I wear weaves and occasionally wear my hair out and my hair has flourished by doing so. The liberating feeling of being natural for me does not come just come from me wearing my hair out in natural hair styles but in knowing that I am in control of how I will wear my hair… Read more »
anastasia
“The liberating feeling of being natural for me does not come just come from me wearing my hair out in natural hair styles but in knowing that I am in control of how I will wear my hair be it kinky, coily, straight or weaved all the way up! To some it is “just hair” but there is a long history of being told what to do with out hair…and in that no longer being the case, comes the liberation.” …..FANTASTIC!! I wholeheartedly agree! =) Glamfun-Wishing you good health, success in your endeavors, and thanks for sharing your story =)
NaturallyNeesh

Interesting article. I hope she gets the healthy hair that she wants.

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