Odds are if you are reading this you are super frustrated with the state of your natural hair. You are tired of the extreme dryness, the breakage and how time-consuming your hair has become. What if I told you, you had every right to feel this way?
For some, relaxed hair in comparison to natural hair can be a much lower maintenance choice. If you are natural with a kinky-coily hair type, you may be even more likely to agree that relaxed hair was less work. It takes less time to detangle, on wash day you won’t use up all of your conditioner, styling doesn’t take nearly as long and tangling rarely, if ever, happens.
Hair is great, but no one wants it to take over their life. So it seems like going back to relaxed hair would be the simple solution, right?
It really all depends. I have seen many relaxed hair bloggers and YouTubers with long healthy relaxed hair, so obviously it isn’t impossible to have long healthy relaxed hair. However, many of you (not all) made the change in the first place because your hair wasn’t in the healthiest state. I know some people may have had long, healthy relaxed hair and just wanted to try embracing their natural, but many of you are a part of #teamnatural now because you noticed a problem.
I must admit the styling and maintenance of my relaxed hair were easier, but I was also working with less hair as well. I had very thin straggly strands that seemingly never grew.
If you really want to commit to being natural I want to encourage you to hang in there!
Relaxed hair is less maintenance in many respects, but it's also weaker than natural hair because of the chemical process used to break down the protein bonds.
So if your goal is long healthy relaxed hair you still have to put in the work.
If you are relaxed and your goal is to retain healthy hair, the same practices that are used to grow natural hair apply. You should moisturize daily, use heat even more sparingly and use protective styles. Sound familiar?
If your hair is relaxed or permanently color treated, protein treatments are no longer optional — they are a necessity, and you should deep condition as often as possible.
You know why? Afro-textured hair is afro-textured hair regardless of whether it is chemically processed or not, so the same care for length retention is required. More attention is needed when you add chemicals to the mix.
Now if your goal isn’t length, none of these things may be of concern to you. However, if it is, you can go back to relaxed hair and essentially be back where you started. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and some women do not have to work as hard to have long healthy relaxed hair, but for many of us, this just isn’t so.
I know it may seem like foreign territory, but if going natural is what you really want, take the time to learn about your hair. In the beginning, I struggled with styling and creating a routine that wasn't super time-consuming, but eventually, I got past that point. Now growing healthy hair doesn't elude me. I can take risks and be adventurous because I know how to grow healthier hair in a snap.
Would you ever go back to a relaxer? What was your relaxer experience like?
Photo: Ariane Williams
Ariane Williams is the founder of Black Naps, the go-to marketplace for shopping Black hair care products made by all Black woman-owned hair care brands. We know your struggle first-hand because we have been there, CurlFriend. Signup for your free eBook, The Beginner's Guide to Natural Hair, so you can take the steps to start reviving your hair today!
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