It’s the great hair debate between women with relaxed hair and those who have decided to forgo the relaxer.
So which is better?!?
Here is my take on the subject. As someone who used to relax my hair and have now been natural since before it was the cool thing to do, and furthermore, as a licensed cosmetologist, I can say with great certainty that being natural is not for everybody, just as having a relaxer is not for everybody. Let me explain…
First things first… What is a relaxer?!? There are different types of relaxers. You’ve seen them as: “lye” and “no lye”, “base” or “no base” – just to name the ones we most commonly seen/use. Basically, what a relaxer does is use chemicals to relax the curl pattern in someone’s hair.
Now that we know more or less what we’re dealing with, what’s so horrible about it? Well we’ve all heard horror stories and seen the equally horrifying images of a relaxer gone wrong. But there are many reasons why this can happen.
One of the reasons is the strength of the relaxer that is being used. For example, if you have fine hair, you definitely should not be using a relaxer designed for people with coarse hair.
Another tip – just because it’s not burning doesn’t mean it’s not working or it “didn’t take.” That’s probably one of the worse misconceptions when relaxing hair.
Another horrible mishaps- when doing a touch-up, the relaxer should only be applied to the new growth. Applying relaxer to hair that is already relaxed will further break down your hair, causing your hair to break off.
Coloring your hair the same day as the day you relaxed it is a NO NO NO!!! Unless you’re using a color foam, also known as a rinse, you should definitely wait on the color.
Most importantly – just because you have a relaxer in your hair, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still treat it right! You may not be part of #TeamNatural, but it doesn’t mean that you too shouldn’t have a hair regimen to keep your tresses healthy.
Being a Naturalista is not easy! While I urge those with relaxed hair to take care of their tresses, it is imperative for those donning natural hair.
So let’s be clear about what being part of Team Natural entails. Wearing your hair in a natural state usually means that you have not chemically altered your strands in any way that a wash couldn’t “fix.”
To clear up a misconception – getting a texturizer, technically, is not really being natural. Though not as harsh as a relaxer, it is still breaking down your hair bonds to loosen your curl pattern using chemicals. There nothing particularly wrong with a texturizer, but let’s just call it what it is!
Naturally curly hair needs constant moisture, or else it will dry out and break. It’s really kind of that simple. How do you figure out what to use? You first have to figure out how your hair absorbs and retains moisture (porosity). Once you figure that out, you’ll be able to figure out which products are best for your hair.
Protective styles are great, just watch those edges! Whether it be hair extensions, braids or even a wig, you must watch those edges. Constant tension/pulling, and/or the use of gels can cause breakage. For some, growing back your edges can prove to be very difficult.
No poo shampoos. It’s great to have no poo, no cones, no whatever! Just be careful not to strip your hair of it’s natural moisture. A co-wash is always great, but once the build up starts, you’ve gotta shampoo. Just be careful what you use.
Also, generally, Naturalistas tend to stay away from heat styling. Unless it involves sitting under a dryer of using a diffuser, you most likely will not find a Naturalista using heating tools to style their hair.
So What’s the Bottom Line?
At the end of the day, whether your hair is relaxed or in its natural state, you MUST take care of it, if you wish to have beautiful healthy hair. If you’re not taking care of your hair, it doesn’t matter what you’ve got going on, your hair will reflect the negligence you’ve shown it. So be good to your hair, no matter the texture. Your hair will thank you!
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Awesome post! I’m stuck between the two right now. I’ve been natural for about 3 years. I want to relax again but over colored my hair a couple months ago. Can you relax over old color?
Cazzi, it depends on how “over colored” your hair is. If your hair is damaged due to the color, I recommend nursing yiur hair back to health before relaxing it.
I just mean relax over my colored hair. I have about and inch grow out so I didn’t know if that’s enough room. I’d say my hair is pretty healthy. I just didn’t know if relaxing over Demi colored hair was a no no. 😬 thanks for your help!