The relaxed hair vs natural hair debate has long been an ongoing one.
This is largely in part due to constant reinforcement across different forms of media, on what standard of beauty is acceptable or desirable.
The same is the case for hair, Black women’s hair.
Whenever there’s a debate on natural vs relaxed hair, the topic of self hate always comes up.
For many years, black hair, especially kinky hair was referred to as hard to deal with and unprofessional.
Over time, the conditioning that kinky hair was ugly and straight hair was beautiful stuck.
While some may argue that the present day manifestation of the latter can be seen in form of wigs.
This debate can be put to bed by acknowledging how we as black women often deny ourselves the autonomy we rightfully deserve when it comes to our hair choices.
Many black women across different divides can relate to having straight hair as young girls.
Whether this was achieved via a hot comb process, presently known as a silk press or using a hair relaxer, the outcome was the same.
Shiny, straight and silky hair.
Now while it is still possible to achieve shiny, straight and silky hair on natural hair (see below). The relaxed hair version often lasts longer.
What is relaxed hair?
Relaxed hair is hair that has been altered using chemical creams or lotions by breaking it’s natural curl pattern and overall texture to give it a sleek straight appearance.
Is relaxed hair healthy?
Regardless of whether your hair is natural or relaxed, having healthy hair boils down to how well you’re taking care of it.
How can I get healthy relaxed hair?
Healthy relaxed hair can be achieved by conditioning regularly, moisturizing, opting for low to no heat styling and seeing a professional for your chemical treatments.
How do you keep relaxed hair moisturized?
Since the chemicals used in relaxing the hair often strip it of its natural oils, regularly deep conditioning your relaxed hair will leave it moisturized.
Why is my relaxed hair breaking?
Your relaxed hair might be experiencing breakage due to being dry. Relaxed hair tends to be more dry than natural hair due to being stripped of its natural oils while relaxing it. Ensuring proper moisture levels in your relaxed hair is essential.
Relaxed Hair Pros & Cons
- Convenience- Relaxed hair is loved by many due to its convenience.
- Ease of styling- Straight hair is easy to style and maintain.
- Easy to manage- Relaxed hair is easy to manage and only requires frequent touch ups once your roots start growing out.
- Easily prone to damage- Relaxed hair is easily prone to damage due to the nature and ingredients in the chemicals used.
- Hair breakage- Unfortunately, a lot of people do not follow a proper maintenance routine for their relaxed hair.
- Over processing- Relaxing your hair too often will lead to over processing.
Natural Hair Pros & Cons
- Versatility- Natural hair is versatile when it comes to your styling options.
- Healthy hair- This is debatable because natural hair and healthy hair aren’t always synonymous. However, the lack of chemicals and an altered curl pattern promotes healthy hair growth.
- Hair growth- While this isn’t the case for everyone, when properly cared for, natural hair grows fast and healthy.
- Time consuming- Depending on your natural hair texture, achieving your desired style can be time consuming.
- Expensive- Natural hair products are known to be expensive.
- Discrimination- This one can seem unlikely if you haven’t been subjected to it yet. A lot of schools and work stations often discriminate people due to their natural hair.
8 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relaxed Hair
- Deep condition regularly to ensure that your hair is always moisturized.
- Avoid heat styling or hairstyles that involve too much heat to prevent damage to your hair.
- Trim your ends from time to time to promote healthy hair growth.
- Relax only your roots and not your whole head after previously relaxing your hair to avoid over processing it.
- Seek the services of a professional for all your relaxed hair needs.
- Wrap your hair in a scarf or silk bonnet at night.
- Use protective styles such as braids or cornrows.
- Take sufficient breaks of about 2 to 3 months before relaxing your hair again to avoid damage.
10 Relaxed Hair Hairstyle Ideas
Curly Pixie Cut on Relaxed Hair
Use a curling iron to style your pixie cut into your desired style.
Sleeked Ponytail on Relaxed Hair
Sleek your hair down using gel and use braiding hair to make a braided ponytail or hair extensions for a high ponytail look.
Short Bob on Relaxed Hair
Style your straight relaxed hair into a bob hairstyle and curl it at the ends.
Sleeked Hair with two Buns
Sleek your hair down using gel, lay your edges, section your hair into two parts and add your curly buns.