Relaxed or Natural? That Is The Question!
Here we are again with another conversation that involves the relaxed hair (Check out this article: what is relaxed hair) community and the natural hair gang. But today we’ll dig a little deep on figuring out if hair relaxers are a thing of the past.
Hair relaxers have been around for as long as I can remember. Doing some research, you will find that a guy name Garrett Augustus Morgan created the relaxer back in the late 1800’s. It was an accident how he built it but found out it could alter the texture of the hair. Eventually, it blew up and became what it is today. Somewhere during the 60’s and 70’s people started wearing Afros although most of it was tied to protest during that time and not necessarily for style.
I remember as a child, getting a hair relaxer was all I knew. Through Elementary school, middle, high school and my early twenties, I can honestly say I didn’t know what ‘natural hair was.’ All I knew was that when my roots got curly, it was time for a relaxer.
But one day came when I stumbled onto what natural hair was, and boy was it new! However, there are still many people who rock their straight hair and some who can’t decide what to have.
Continue reading below as we figure out if hair relaxers are a thing of the past!
The Natural Hair Takeover
“I’m relaxed, no lye!” That’s the infamous saying within the natural hair community.
If I could guess I would say its been about less than ten years since the world has made a big deal about women wearing their natural hair. For most of us, relaxed hair was all we knew. We also did everything we could think of to keep it straight too; different hot combs, flat irons, wraps, you name it.
But when folks started chopping their hair off, it gave many women a new perceptive. They realized if they stopped using a chemical in their hair then it would look drastically different.
People also soon realized that natural hair gave them so much versatility! I mean, let’s be honest here, there’s only so much you can do with relaxed hair! It’s just straight hair, and if you want anybody of curl, you have to use hair tools to achieve them. So once people started getting familiar with their natural hair, they fell in love. Therefore within the natural hair community, it was clear that relaxed hair was a thing of the past, for many of us.
For me, I’ve been natural for six years, and well, you couldn’t pay me to return to the relaxed world. It just wouldn’t make sense. I would be downgrading my looks if I did! Becoming natural, in my opinion, enhanced my looks and helped me to evolve as a person.
As far as I’m concerned, relaxed hair only made my morning routine shorter!
Health Is A Top Priority
Besides the fact that natural hair provides a wide range of styling options, it’s also healthy!
I believe that hair relaxers are a thing of the past mainly because health, in the world is becoming a top priority for people. With so many diseases and cancer on the rise, people realize they need to take a step back and see what they can do, to improve their health.
So if you didn’t know, relaxers are in fact a chemical, and it’s not good for you. Sure, slick hair is pretty, but it’s a chemical that enters your pores and changes your hair texture, and who knows what else!
Back in 2009, Comedian Chris Rock released a movie titled “Good Hair” that was in all theaters. The movie is about Rock interviewing people to learn about black hair care and the importance. He sets out to interview hair stylist, parents, and even celebrities to get their opinion.
However, his focus point is the hair relaxer. He asked some women that infamous question “what is good hair to you?” and many said it was relaxed hair. They believed relaxed hairs made them feel beautiful and it also looked better. In short, he realized that it wasn’t anything good about hair relaxers. The active ingredient in hair relaxers is “sodium hydroxide,” and it can cause severe damage to your body over time.
Relaxers can also create more havoc if you don’t use it right.
From the movie, Rock had a Professor who is a Chemical Genius demonstrate what sodium hydroxide can do to the body.
The Professor dropped some SH on a piece of raw chicken (acts as our skin) and within minutes the skin burned off. Hence, that is why people must wear gloves when they apply hair relaxers, towels around their neck and Vaseline across their forehead and ears!
Now, one must ask their self, why they would want anything that can burn their skin, to be on their scalp? Well, I’m sure people have asked that question and come to the realization that they no longer need hair relaxers.
When it comes to chemicals, most of us are brainwashed to think its only affecting the area we’re using it for, not knowing that it very well may be changing something else.
All the years I was relaxed, for the most part, my hair never grew past my shoulders. It may have gently touched the top of it but no longer than that. Once I went the natural route, my hair greatly surpassed my shoulders and grew to the middle of my back. The chemical in the relaxers was clogging something up in my pores if my hair wasn’t able to grow long.
I’m also not the only one who has that same testimony!
Relaxed Until Forever
Shout out to Chris Rock for doing that remarkable documentary about black hair and opening the eyes to many women to have better hair! However, some people still aren’t convinced, and you know what? That’s okay!
The natural hair gang is not for everyone, and many people love their relaxed hair. So for them, relaxed hair is far from being a thing from the past. Many women believe that natural hair is a better route for them, but they don’t have time to do their hair.
For many people, they prefer a simple, uncomplicated life, over anything that takes work. And I think its safe to say that having natural hair can make a lot of work. There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning, unwrapping your hair and heading to work! Even when I straightened my natural hair, once a year, I feel like my natural hair is on a break because I don’t have any curls!
It’s a sweet, refreshing taste of the past, but I still wouldn’t want to go back permanently!
There are also people who have made Youtube videos documenting why they were natural and then reverted to relaxed hair. Many of them believed that it just didn’t work for them. Some thought they spent too much money on hair product while others, of course, said they didn’t like their texture.
So once they applied the ‘creamy crack’ as many call it, they were beyond satisfied.
The Hate is Real For Hair Relaxers
One of the worse debates to have these days is the one between a relaxed haired person and a natural haired person.
It’s almost impossible to ever come to a happy medium. Honestly, it’s mainly a natural woman trying their hardest to persuade a relaxed woman why they need to stop using relaxers. I’ve even seen it where the debates have gotten heated too.
But the fact of the matter is, that person who wants to wear their hair relaxed, isn’t wrong. That’s their choice if they’re going to rock the creamy crack. They shouldn’t be judged for it or hated on by any means.
It’s the journey they choose to be on, and that’s perfectly fine.
Well, Are They A Thing of The Past?
Honestly, no hair relaxers are not a thing of the past if you ask me.
Yes, times are changing, people are putting their health first, however, but that doesn’t change the fact that hair relaxers aren’t going anywhere. Now, I’m sure that industry has seen a drastic change in their profit over the last few years.
But its still millions of woman who have no problem relaxing their hair. Truthfully, it seems that it’s a thing of the past only because the natural hair community is continually growing and evolving. So naturally, it looks like nobody buys hair relaxers anymore, but if you pay attention, many still do. Hey, look in my family and its only about two of us who are natural!
Hopefully one day, soon, this debate will go away, and people will respect whatever hair journey other people are on. Everybody’s hair in the world is beautiful.
So do you have natural or relaxed hair? Let me know in the comment section below!