Yes, My Hair is Relaxed…So What?

March 29, 2012  |  

By Dantel Proctor


I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that hair is a very sensitive topic among the black female population. One topic that keeps arising in the realm of that is the natural hair versus relaxed hair debate. Why it’s “versus,” I still don’t really understand.

I remember in high school seeing black girls get ridiculed for not having a relaxer and have their locks labeled as “nappy.” Yet I also remember how in college no judgment was passed; people were celebrated for making their own decisions and not being afraid to stray from the pack. With time, we were all becoming more accepting of doing whatever worked for our hair. There were girls with relaxed and natural hair and you were saluted for whichever route you took. Then I entered the “real world,” coincidentally at the same time that the recent resurgence of the natural hair movement seemed to really take off, and that same high school judgment returned, but this time it was for the opposing reason. This time rulers were hitting the knuckles of the non-natural women, the ones who would dare to still relax their hair.

I am now one of the ridiculed ones, but I’m having a hard time understanding why. I have been relaxing my hair since I was eleven years old. My hair is soft and fairly curly and my roots do in fact grow up, not down. However, I prefer my hair straight. I like my hair to flow, lay across my shoulders, and I hate to say it, but I am a habitual hair twirler as well. I can’t help but get the “I need a touch-up” itch every couple of months to maintain the ultra-straight look that I’ve loved my entire life. This once was also the practice of all of my friends, but now everyone is natural, and that’s fine, but they’re pointing a finger at me because I have yet to “convert.” Do I have to?

A close friend of mine told me that all women that wear perms are only doing so because they are insecure and care too much about what men and society think of them. Another friend was a little less judgmental and said that those aren’t the reasons for all women, but it sure is for a lot of them. I have also been told that I am living an unhealthy lifestyle and that I am just assimilating to what “White America” wants. My question is, why does it have to be that I’m appeasing white folks if I like my hair straight? I am the type of person who doesn’t adhere to every new trend or fad and style-wise, I am basic and constant, knowing what I like and not straying too far from it. My mother had her reasons for giving me my first perm, but my continuing it for all these years has little to do with what others think and more to do with my own personal style choices and how I like my hair. Keyword, my hair.

To hear some of the harsh things said about women with relaxers is hurtful. I don’t insult people who have decided to be natural, that would be prejudice of me; so why the double standard? If people think getting a relaxer is strictly to please white people, then wouldn’t that mean going natural is being done strictly to please black people? I know that this isn’t true, and it’s a pretty far assumption, correct? But the assumption that this is the only reason a person would get a perm is pretty far reaching too, and warrants this kind of logic. I bet natural women would be offended by that accusation, so why shouldn’t we, those who choose to use relaxers, be offended too? Is it a crime to do your hair the way YOU want to versus what everyone else feels is right?

Honestly, I have given a lot of thought into going natural and I’m still undecided. I have not relaxed my hair in four months and I am experimenting to see if I can still maintain the hair style I love, without a perm and without doing the big chop, but I just don’t like a lot of the natural styles that I’ve seen. I’m entitled to my own opinion. I see the benefits of natural hair, but a relaxer has never actually done any damage to my hair, and by all accounts my hair is healthy–just ask my stylist. If my hair is still thriving, despite the fact that it is relaxed, then am I really doing wrong by not going natural?

I think what a person does with their hair is a personal choice and there should be no pressure surrounding it. It should not be assumed that because someone goes natural, it is because they just want to be in on the newest fad or that if they keep a perm, it is because they are insecure or want to blend in with everyone who isn’t black. I don’t like people pushing me to try and feel ashamed or as though I haven’t “evolved” because I still like my hair relaxed. It’s nice that there is sense of camaraderie and celebration in the black community in regards to wearing hair natural, but shouldn’t all black women share that, despite the way they choose to wear their hair?

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  • Sherry Harris

    Beautifully written article and my sentiments exactly. I was natural until I got to college. My mom wouldn’t let me get a perm while I was living under her roof, but she should have. I was terrified of straightening combs and the curling iron went into my eye causing me to have surgery in the tenth grade (worse, we had a gas stove).

    My hair was below shoulder length and as you I liked my hair straight I decided to get the keratin treatment. My hair started breaking off badly. I had no recourse but to cut it off. I went natural for 18 months “enough time for it to grow and get a new perm.” That’s what I did. BECAUSE I WANTED TOO!!! My hair is extremely coarse and I hated to comb it. Between the little knots and the extra kinky naps, I didn’t know what to do with my hair and combing it is a two to three hour job just trying to get through it. My hair was so coarse I tried to straighten just once. It was time consuming.

    My sentiments on natural hair is this; if your hair is as coarse as mine and it is a time consuming job to blow dry and straighten it (putting heat on it anyway) JUST PERM IT. Now that my hair is permed. I use no heat and can pull it back in a ponytail and curl it as I please without terrorizing my scalp with trying to comb through the knots and naps and it is still growing and is bra strap length.

  • Daebak Chan

    I read through at least 20 comments, and I actually had to stop in the middle of a post because I was legitimately laughing. I was laughing guys. Does anyone see how funny this is? Now, i’m not bashing the author or anybody else, but just the fact that there are people on here, grown adults (I’m 16 btw), are actually going at it because of hair is unbelievably PATHETIC. All it is is people trying to prove their point about what they believe, or coming up with reasons WHY this girl goes straight or why the other went natural. The fact that people who are doing this, putting so much energy into making an argument about something as trivial as hair is sad. it’s pitiful. There is no need to call someone a wannabe and the other a follower, because to be honest, most likely YOU NO NOTHING ABOUT THAT PERSON. Since when did I live in a world where you couldn’t walk down the street without being bashed because of your hair? I guess I was living in it all along. HAS ANY ONE HEARD OF EXPRESSION? So what if one girl wants to look white, or asian or latino. THAT’S WHO SHE WANTS TO BE. It’s not like she’s changing YOU. And so what if natural people talk so much about their 4d 7h 98l 8k 0m 7lb, or whatever they call those “locks”. If it makes them happy, let them continue. I’m 16 this year, and i just recently took out senegalese twists, which I thought were cute, but I prefer my own hair, which is relaxed, but has quite a bit of new growth (I haven’t had a relaxer in 5 months and it feels quite nice. ^^). I also have blond highlights, and my hair doesn’t even go past my ears. it’s a pixie cut. I LOVE SHORT HAIR. and to be honest, I want it shorter. Does this make me not black? Does this mean that I don’t want to be black, or i’m de-grading my black beauty? HELL NO. I AM AN AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRL, & I’M PROUD. I love my culture, & wouldn’t give anything up to be another. It’s called being who you want to be, and liking what you want. THIS WHOLE TOPIC MAKES ME NOT WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE. A world that puts other people down because of their hair obviously has no morals. WHAT.SO.EVER. Not to mention, clearly out of touch with what’s really worth debating over, like world hunger and poverty.
    GIVE MY A PLANE TICKET TO MARS AND SEND ME AWAY TOMORROW- I’ll be much better off there where there’s no one to call me a wannabe because I have blond highlights and a half relaxed pixie cut. Yay.

  • Maxine Shaw

    Asking for support for relaxing your hair is like asking for support for smoking. Besides, the WORLD is your support.

  • amanda

    Very interesting article. I have been natural for just over a year and if it wasn’t for my Dominican hair stylist I don’t think I would have lasted this long. To be brutally honestly I if my curls were any tighter I wouldn’t have even considered going natural. This is my second attempt to grow my natural curls out and so far I have been doing fairly well. This is a personal choice amongst many women. I don’t think any woman regardless of race or hair texture should be ridiculed based on a personal decision. No one choice is greater than the other. I was curious as to my own hair texture but I also had an urge for versatility that I feel natural hair provides. Right now I choose to wear my hair straight until it has all grown out ,which I will revert back and forth between straight/curly. One of the reasons why I chose to continue to perm my hair was simply out of manageability than anything else. Yes, going natural can be a task as with anything that is a new regimen. What may work for one person may not work for me but I do enjoy learning and listening to other women and their hair journey. I am enjoying this journey and I am looking forward to helping others learn more about their hair.

  • I started wearing my hair natural, by accident, and grew to love it! For those who choose not to, do your thing! When a woman keeps her hair up, it really doesn’t matter, to me what style or texture she chooses, but i do suggest, if youm are goung for something daring and bold, be sure that you can, indeed, afford to keep it fresh. I love the mohawk, although not for me, but some sisters are rocking it, i dig it, but when your mo, no longer hawks, please get a fresh do. Gel just makes it worse.

  • Alleyinn

    This whole conversation is so sad.  I guess it proves the author’s point.  Why do some of you feel the need to preach to this author?  Very few women are truly walking around these days in their 100% natural state- (e.g., make-up, shaving, hairstyling, etc).  We ALL do things to change ourselves for the sake of beauty or convenience- why just slam sisters who choose to straighten their hair.  EVERYONE needs to stop being a hypocrite. 

      (And this is coming from someone who has been natural/perm-free for 10 years)

  • Amija James

    I just went back to relaxed from natural and I’m so over the natural thing.  I’m loving my relaxed hair and I’m loving that I don’t have to spend so much time on my hair!

  • Ace

    I found the comment of having your hair natural to cater to blacks an interesting one. I would say no because….it’s natural. That’s the way you were born.

  • DSShel

    I went natural for health reasons. I have had all my life hair that fell to my shoulder blades and I had a lot of it. My hair was manageable and shiny and I wore it in alot of different hair styles and got a lot of compliments.
    But my scalp was another matter. Every time I had a touch up I got at least one chemical burn. It got to the point that I would slather my scalp in Vaseline prior to my appointment to try to prevent this. My scalp felt tight and dry no matter how much I moisturized it or what I moisturized it with. But most of all, most of my scalp became covered with scaly patches. It was far beyond normal dandruff. It became a ritual for me to take a rat tail comb and every other day rake my scalp to dislodge the scales. I went to dermatologists and was on steroids. The steroids reduced the scaling to flaking but never went away.
    I looked up one day and thought, “Something is wrong here.” I started searching the net about natural hair. I’ve had my hair chemically altered one way or the other since I was twelve. Why? Because directly and indirectly I was informed that my hair was a nappy mess and unacceptable in its natural state. I had no idea what my hair was truly like. But thanks to the internet there is much more information on how to take care of natural hair which I found encouraging. 
    I chose going for the transition instead of the big chop. I grew my hair out for six month and then cut of the relaxed ends. A friend pointed me to a natural hair care line that revealed to me something I didn’t know: my hair was coily. I found out that many people thought I was getting a straw set to achieve the mini Shirley Temple curls. Most of all my scalp condition has greatly improved.
    I talked to other women who went natural. For most of them, they went natural because of the health of their scalps. Let’s be honest, what’s the point of having shiny straight hair if your scalp is covered with hard, rough, scaly patches?
    But everyone is different. I’m not an advocate of natural hair or a detractor of relaxers. We all want to be beautiful but should we suffer agonies to be so?

  • Amija James

    OMG!  I’m so sick of the Natural Hair Nazis!  Growing up, I was raised in a Afro-centric community and these same women who are NHN’s, are the same ones who made fun of my for having an African name and natural hair.  
    I’m honestly sick of our hair being such a big deal.  I look forward to 10 years from now when natural hair is just another option just like relaxers.  

    • I have been very fortunate in life, i only had one incident, where i was accused of thinking i was cute because i was light-skinned and had good hair, i didn’t even know the chick! I’m still light-skinned and even though i’m all natural, no perm,curlers, or weave and i still get complements on my “good hair” and this is 30 years later, so to all my sisters, do what pleases you because no matter what, others will find something to say! I forgot to mention that i also use my hair to showcase my wisdom, i’m as gray as a goose, but i am hesitant about coloring my hair, i’m not 20 anymore and i wouldn’t be fooling anybody.

  • Gab

    I change my hair (natural to relaxed, fro to mushroom, colors etc.) like I change my shoes and though I’m loving that we are embracing our natural hair texture, it’s not that serious. What you have in or out of your hair does not make you, if it does you’re shallow. It’s HAIR. Maybe if we spend more time polishing our well being as a people and not our appearance we’d be better off. Honestly it’s crazy how we find petty things to divide us as a people. HAIR, really?

    • I know, right? I wash my hair, pull it back and go. when in school, if someone is concentrating on my hair, then , at least i know i’m smarter than at least one person, in my class! LOL

  • lulu

    I just could not care less about what another person does with their hair. I never did before I became natural and got sucked into the natural hair community and all it’s obsessions. When I realized what was happening, I knew I needed to take a step back from this natural hair obsession that you’re sort of almost forced to get involved in when you go natural. 

    I just could not care less. I didn’t give a crap what other people did to their hair when I was relaxed and I sure as heck will not now. The people that are natural today, could be relaxed tomorrow and vice versa. Ideally, each person should be able to take care of their hair in every state, relaxed, texlaxed, natural. Now that is hair nirvana.

  • I agree with what you said as far as not liking any natural styles that I have seen thus far.  Seriously it just seems like most of the natural styles are just ugly IMO. However If I could last with only perming my hair twice a year I would go for that.  I have no issues doing the big chop because it’s just hair and it will grow back and until then just buy some more LOL. But seriously it’s about having a healthy head of hair for me and just because I am beautiful no matter what kind of hair I have I know I will still look HOT!!  

    • Keisha

      Actually since I switch to the keratin treatments, I do get my hair straightened twice a year. Just every 6 months. I have a nice shine, etc. I think the first time I had to get an edge up but the hair gets used to the treatments. I guess I can thank my mama because my hair is pretty strong. Natural hair is too time consuming to me and I haven’t seen a lot of styles that I would like to wear. But I have seen plenty of women with gorgeous natural styles. But it’s not for me. As it now, doing my hair takes half the day to do on Sunday and I can’t even imagine how early in the day, I would have to start to do it if I was natural. 

  • Deshaun5

    who business is it weather what I do to MY hair. If you decide to go natural , great! I admire it, just not for me.. at all.. But  I still read the articles about natural hair, I do use some techniques for my relax hair. When are people going to let people be who they are, respect who they are.. Its noone buisness or concern of how a person chooses to wear their hair.

  • Sanroberts87

    I knew it would not be long before the Natural Hair Renaissance spreading across the global heads of black women would soon catch the attention of those who rely on commercialism to steer the wheels of capitalism. Black women who are returning to the tradition of kitchens for hair care are being studied by those who seek mind control over consumers in to order to influence their purchases. Yes, the pockets that were once fatten by our billion dollar spending on our hair are evidently looking thinner these days!

    Congratulations sistahs!  What started as a personal choice to return to nature and save money at the same time, has apparently struck the nerves and numbers of those relying on us to love ourselves only when altered. Why else would Dantel Proctor’s article, “Yes my hair is relaxed…so what?” reek with a confrontational tone that dares a natural sistah to even think about stepping up to challenge her processed hair?  Even the article’s accompanied picture of the natural sistah with her lips frowned up, wishes for some kind of securing hair, removing earrings and applying Vaseline action.

    Black women have been flooding the YouTube stations with natural hair care tips and demonstrations, organizing and executing natural hair care forums across the nation, as well as, making and selling their own hair products and accessories. And for the most threatening part of all: sistahs have the nerve to include black men in the picture.  I recently recall receiving an email to attend a singles meet-and-greet brunch in New York that invited brothers who loved women with natural hair to come out and meet natural sistahs! Now that’s some powerful stuff right there. Whenever the black man and woman come together, the earth shakes! If you think Michelle and Barack Obama are something….do your history homework. Of all things, hair is bringing black men and women together, even in the midst of a black men versus black women smearing campaign.

    Needless to say, this natural hair thing is getting out of control (pun intended). And like history teaches us, the best way to control a movement is to divide and conquer. And many times, the divide and conquer strategists rely on members of the group to sell out their own group rather than do the gritty work themselves. That way, the strategists remain anonymous and members of the group become their own worst enemies, where chaos, mistrust, deceit and jealousy run havoc.  Seeking the weakest link from within a group is more cost-effective and less risky.  Moreover, attempts made from the outside are too obviously recognized and they have an opposite effect: SOLIDARITY. And to the dismay of the conqueror, this unity may even end up involving people not included in the initial group.

    Do you recall Nivea’s attack on natural hair last summer? It created a social-networking  revolt by a rainbow coalition of social users — not just those rocking an afro. There is too much risk when big corporations behave as bullies, because people are often moved by David and Goliath comparisons. It is less risky to use someone from within a group or organization to serve as a distraction or murderer of a movement.

    Black women have already dealt with the “I am not my hair” saga. For, India Arie captured the essence of the hair war with elegance and grace. If sistahs with relaxers are feeling a little put off by the pride and excitement of natural hair-strutting sistahs, let’s come together and talk about it.  Let’s not allow another movement to die because we allowed the real enemy to divide and conquer us.
    ~Sandra Roberts

  • Sanroberts87
  • Better2day97

    Most people are followers…….

  • PeaceLove and Life

    No one has the right to shame you into going natural. You have given it a lot of thought and are experimenting – not a lot of
    People are willing to. As for finding hairstyles while transitioning, I usually did Bantu knots or used a flat iron and straightened my hair slowly and in small sections. If you choose to remain relaxed, that is your choice – it’s not my place to judge you.

  • Phyllis

    It’s the reason why women relax their hair that makes me sad. Its because to them straight hair is better. Straight hair is prettier. And tighly curled hair is not. I used to relax too and the sole reason was because for all of my life I thought the straighter my hair the prettier I was. Honestly thats was the media.and my surroundings taught me. Its the reason not the actual choice. Its sad to think how many women believe hair they were born with isn’t for them. Also I font try to convert of put women down. However me rocking my natural hair has helped to inspire 4 women in my life. And I didnt have to be a hair Nazi. Lol

  • Empress123

    Ok here is the thing! For a very very very long time (much longer than what the author is complaing about above) there were many Black women who were told that their natural hair was ugly by both whites and other Blacks. There were Black women who felt the need to tell them that their hair was not done or felt the need to stress that hair that is natural is negatively nappy, uncouth, unclassy. What is the name for the women who made little girls with natural hair feel bad and told them they HAD to perm it or they weren’t pretty or worthy of a man, job or going to church? Were they called NAZIS? For a long time Black women who did not want to straighten their hair had to deal with it. So those with straight hair who feel victimized by women who are just happy they can wear their own natural hair and want to tell the world…i say GROW A BACKBONE. No sympathy. Everyone has an opinion about everything including you so please miss me with the whole ‘now I am the victim’ spiel. Your crew is finally getting a taste of their own medicine and it is long overdue.

    • Mrsadkiah

      So you’re saying they should deal with Natural Hair Nazis because naturals have been dealing with Straight Hair Nazis for years already? That is so immature. I’m assuming you’re an adult so you need to drop this “you deserve a taste of your own medicine” crap. Just because relaxed/otherwise straight women have criticized naturals for years not not mean they were apart of some “crew” criticizing these women. I will be one year natural next month. I’ve had a perm since I was 8 and not once have I ever criticized a natural and many of the other relaxed women I know never have either. 
      It’s is not now the time to criticize the “straight-hairs” b/c for years the naturals have been the ones dealing with critisism. Two wrongs do not make a right. For one MOST people that are natural now of days were once straight so they have no room to talk. Also it is smarter that these naturals (GROWN A** WOMEN) who were once ridiculed learn what not to do from their former “abusers” for lack of a better word. I can not believe how ignorantly angry and immature your comment is. Smfh.

      • Empress123

        OK let me put it into simpler terms for you….I AM NOT GOING TO SYMPATHIZE with a group of women who have most likely suggested women with natural hair ‘do something’ with it at one point. Get it now? Yeah yeah yeah most of the women you know have never criticized women with natural hair. Well good for you. For someone who has never done that, you seem pretty angry about it. I have seen it happen all to often from people around me to the Black celebrities on TV (Vanessa Williams, Beyonce, Wendy Williams) so maybe you live under a rock but yes there are quite a few straightenees who have alot to say about women who do not straighten their hair. This doesn’t mean that every female with straightened hair is that way but quite a few of them are and need to look in the mirror before accusing anyone of victimizing them. I see not one of these ‘victims’ has answered the question about ‘where is the complaint for women who have had to hear about their natural hair being bad’. Until both sides are discussed fairly and equally I cannot see myself sympathizing with them.

        Also YOU are talking about immaturity? YOU are the immature one calling people names on page one of this discussion (NAZI’S really???) so please pot do not call me black! Furthermore, the same way you say there is no straight hair club then realize there is no natural hair club, like you suggested on page one, either and most of the women here with natural hair don’t seem to care if anyone wants to straighten their hair. Going natural is a hard journey for many Black women and sometimes they draw on each others experience for strength in their decision. There is nothing wrong with that. My point was and still is discuss both sides of this issue or else just leave it alone…

    • Nona

      Natural vs. Relaxed.  Light vs. Dark.  Keep your hope for division alive, “sista”.

      Get a life.

      • Empress123

        YOU brought up light vs. dark and the AUTHOR brought up natural vs. relaxed so FOH with that nonsense. Your reverse psychology is noticed and not needed….

        AGAIN I could give a rats baxide about who wants to weave, wig it, hot comb, flat iron, perm, pull, tug, wear a towel on they head and pretend they are Rapunzel I DO NOT CAAAARREEEE! lol Do you and please don’t flatter yourself into thinking that even MOST natural women are concerned because it appears as if MOST are not and it may just be all in your head. Slightly curious as to why but NOT that concerned 🙂 Those who do approach you on it SET EM STRAIGHT and keep it moving. The dialogue may come up about the history of it all and if you feel uncomfortable discussing it then remove yourself from the convo…it is a free country.

        To any naturals that are trying to convert someone, please use your energy elsewhere or else you will be labeled a Nazi lol

  • Think of it this way. What would happen if weaves and perms suddenly dissapeared. If your rsponse is to freak out and have a heart attack chances are there is a problem. Nothing wrong with perms and weaves in general but if it comes to the point where you can’t or don’t know how to deal with your own hair, and the thought of walking out the house with the hair you was born with freaks you out. Then yes there is a problem. Whether you want to admit it or not. 

  • It’s an individual choice, and people need to understand that.  My mother had me get a perm when I was 13 to make my hair “easier” to take care of. 15 years later, I’m in locs now. I spent 4 years thinking about getting the dreads and figured, if I want them after 4 years, I’d love them.  I’ve had said locs for almost 5 years now, and I do, indeed, love them.  It’s the most fun I’ve had with my hair.

    But would I judge people for not having them, or for relaxing their hair? No. I am critical of perms in general (as in, the actual chemicals involved), but not to people who like the way it makes their hair feel.  If it makes them happy and they’re not imposing it on anyone, who am I to judge?  I do get more worried about parents relaxing their kid’s hair at young ages, again, mostly because of the chemicals involved.

    It’s funny how people will say “having a perm means you’re trying to be more white,” but it’s blacks who make the biggest comments about hair textures!  When I had a perm, I had very long, straight hair and got lots of compliments from blacks.  When I went natural, and then locks, I get FLOODS of compliment from non-blacks, especially whites, on my hair.  It’s crazy how that flip-flopped.

    “I Am Not My Hair” by India.Arie is a good song for this article. 

  • I am a little shocked by this discussion. As a natural sister, I did so for personal reasons. As a kid I couldn’t wait to be old enough to do what I wanted to with my own hair and stop getting relaxers. I think a confident woman is a beautiful woman, a woman’s beauty is based on the vibe she feels about herself and exudes in front of others, not her hair texture. If your straight hair works for you, work it and be happy. I am sorry that you have encounters with ignorant people that don’t like the diversity of others. I for one, like my uniqueness and don’t want to live in a world that looks the same. We need to learn how to appreciate each other and stop being haters, let’s look past the exterior and focus on getting the core right.

  • Tokia Baller

    To give some perspective.  The black hair issue has always been a obstacle we as a people struggle with since the transatlantic slave trade adn the House Slave who was usually better treated and often times mixed or had kids who were mixed with the master.  The jealousy thing from this slave experience is inherited mentally  today.  First, we must do some ancient history research.  We learn our Ancient ancestors used wigs headdress and the like to either protect hair , formally dress themselves for ceremony or high office like Queens, and also for convenience. It was never to represent shame or anything negative.  Most women dont even know the history of our own women.  African women have always thoght of themselves highly and dressed the head with gold, shells, braids and other hair pieces as a point of status for queens.  This began with African women in Royal families.  The type of hairstyle or appearance we choose has always been a status thing – THOSE BEST GROOMED WERE FINANCIALLY IN BETTER POSITION FOR THOSE LUXURIES. Those who wear chemicals or weaves and denote others who choose natural with Name calling are just as lost as to who they are themselves as they could ever be.  But this doesnt mean everyone with a weave is lost or insecure of uneducated. We as blacks dont need anything else to try and blame for our own selfhate.  Thats the heart of the dispute anyway, its just another form of self hate, The hair’s not the problem. our minds are.

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  • Dalia

    My hair was healthy, strong and lovely when it was relaxed, and it’s healthy, strong and lovely now that I rock locks. My decision to go natural was not political, rather out of panic; my regular hairstylist had gone on vacation for six weeks and I didn’t want to entrust my hair to anyone else. That was over 10 years ago, but I have relaxed my hair once or twice since then. To each his/her own. It’s really personal preference, and while some people *do* have self-esteem issues that should be addressed, it’s unfair of ANYONE to be judged based on what they choose to do to their hair. I’ve had other “naturals” scorn me because of my locs, and I’ve had men tell me they wouldn’t date me because they don’t like my hair texture in its natural state. I’ve had white folks tell me they LOVE my hair (and no, they didn’t touch it LOL), and others crinkle their noses and ask me why I would do such a thing. The whole natural vs perm thing is just one more ism that we’ve used to divide ourselves as a people. No one is better than anyone else because of what they do(n’t) put in their hair. But holy, Christmas, people, IT’S JUST HAIR. in the words of RJK, can’t we all just get along?

    • wondertwin

      I have had a number of women tell me, unprompted, that they are tired of relaxers and thought of going natural.  but their HUSBANDS said “no way”.  I can take the author at her word since I don’t know her and have no reason not to. but it’s an indisputable fact that many women will not give up relaxers because of what other people will think or say.

      Hey I am the first to admit they there are some awkward years until you figure out what to do with natural hair. I am as vain as most if not more. Honestly it sucked for a while. I totally understand women who don’t want to go through it. I am not saying that I am totally free from self esteem issues just because I had the “courage” to go natural (i hate that statement by the way). But let’s not kid ourselves. Among the many benign reasons to keep a perm, there are some that I think are pretty bogus and are costing women their crown and glory.

      and yes it is THEIR hair but I am entitled to give MY opinion on the article (before someone counters).  Thank you

  • Hrdblkman

    Personally I don’t like blk women’s hair period

    • FromUR2UB

      We know, already.  Why do you keep hanging around?

    • you mean nappy hair? because if your name suggest anything about you then you have the same type of hair

    • christielove

      @HRDBLKMAN: Its not surprising to hear you say that, you probably hate your own hair texture being that you came from a black woman.

    • Supersonicx40

      I think you’re just a troll.

  • Msmykimoto2u

    natural or relaxed, my hair AND scalp was healthy and I looked good either way dammit

  • FromUR2UB

    It’s just a grooming option.  That’s all.  Not thinking about white people or trying to look like them.  It’s just quick and convenient.

  • Pingback: Yes, My Hair Is Relaxed. So What? | On The Spot()

  • missturner to you

    I am natural and have been for the past couple years…. i didnt see it as ‘evolving’, i saw it as doing something different for the health of my hair…. in my opinion to each his own… if you like relaxers and they work for you, do yo thang! I just dont see why it is such a social issue among us… this is just another reason why we cant move forward as a people… we are still holding each other back!

  • 59 comments and most of them “why are we still discussing this”…obviously, it’s an on-going issue.   I’ve been natural; big chop the first and second time.  Last year I was 5 months post-perm, but I was breaking combs and I need a quick routine in the morning.  I love my sleep and like my hair. lol.  Now, I’m permed again, but not every 6 weeks.  I try to stretch out the touch-ups.   Being natural isn’t easy and having a perm and maintaining your hair isn’t cheap.  Maintaining hair whether natural or chemically altered is a personal choice that should not incite passionate debates.  It’s just hair IMO

  • wondertwin

    Different grades of hair tolerate relaxers better than others. I am more puzzled by people who continue to get relaxers when their hair OBVIOUSLY is too weak for it. I am stuck wondering why these women continue to torture their hair and scalp past the breaking point.  I believe the author simply likes her hair relaxed and she seems smart enough to judge that it’s indeed healthy.  Good enough.  I don’t think I judge people with relaxers to be mean or political. I guess i just over analyze the statement “i like my hair relaxed” when what I see on the person’s head is fried, over processed, and thinning with patches of hair left around the edge.

  • LiiSH

    Its like you can’t win….:::sigh:: Its just hair people. It is a versatile extension of self that can also be used as a great accessory. My hair is currently natural and I don’t do it to prove my blackness or anything. Nor do i have anything against a good perm (especially one with the edges all freshly touched up :)…). I have done it all: short, long, fro-ed, waved, weaved, permed, pressed, braided… That is the beauty of black hair, you never have to choose. Right now I just don’t feel like committing to a perm or keeping up with the maintenance. In a few moths I may feel different. I don’t take nappy as an insult (If the ish on my head is nappy then its just nappy). Perms don’t mean I hate myself. Everyone need to get over it and stop trying to define others by physical means. Embrace the different ways hair can be worn!

  • Jolie

    It’s your hair, do what makes you happy! I’m not Captain Natural…I’m not here to “save” those who love their hair relaxed. To those who do wear a cape and mask and torment people online about what they do with their tresses: GET A LIFE! Boom. Bam. Bow.

    I truly feel like the natural vs. relaxed debate is the new light skin vs. dark skin divide. Please ladies, let’s not let something as trivial as hair spark the outrage that it does online! Can it be a discussion? Yes! But to accuse people of “hating themselves” or “trying to look European” is just out of line. Hair can do many things now…we aren’t limited by resources or products and tools like we were in 1900’s, so if someone has a favorite hairstyle it really is just that simple…a favorite hairstyle!

    Ya’ll drove me to the bottle on this one. I’m out! Lol.

  • Nomadicsoulsista

    Let me start by saying that I am 5 years in to a loc’d journey after nearly 10 years fro’d.   My formative years were in various stages of precision cut relaxers, finger waves (I am from southern VA, LOL) and braids.     I think if one thinks individually its easy to say relaxing is a choice and ones prerogative.   However, its a choice that is burdened with a heavy history.    Its easy to think about that which benefits you individually, more difficult to think in terms of a collective and how what we do impacts those around us.   I was in West Africa  in January of this year after having been to various parts of the continent several times before, and was disappointed to see that women with wigs and weaves out number the number of women with styles that were consistent with their tradition. I also saw billboards and advertisements all over Abidjan advertising American Beauty Care hair products with a woman that had hair that was unacheivable by most women of African descent.   These are the images that fuel insecurity and abandonment of what has been God given.  Just as Vogue has brainwashed women into believing that their bodies at a healthy weight is unacceptable, the entertainment industry and we do the same thing to the next generation by reinforcing that their natural texture is unacceptable.    The author just reinforced that in her post.   Further, in Abidjan, all that seemed to be important was that  hair was straight, not healthy or styled or anything.   I interpreted this as a disregard of their own standard of beauty and an adoption of how they believe the  rest of the world thinks they SHOULD see them.  I cannot see how the “choice to relax” is independent of the social expectation of those that tell us what we should look like and what we should consider to be beautiful.

    Wearing your natural texture is not easy.   It is time consuming, can draw with ridicule and discrimination, and for the insecure can cause self doubt. However, getting through all that can generate a great level of self confidence and give others the courage to also embrace that which is theirs.    Just my 2 cents…

    • Guest 2

      You are exactly the type of person that this article is dedicated to… Judgmental and bias, pointing fingers and assuming you know someone’s reasoning by their decisions. 

      • Nomadicsoulsista

        It seems my post aggravated you a bit.   I thought the purpose of a blog comment section was to encourage conversation, not shut it down.  In the spirit of that, I am not going to respond with an equally acidic comment.     I was just stating the trend of what I observed in my travels.  I can only draw one conclusion from what I have seen.     Again I cannot see how applying sodium hydroxide every 6-8 weeks without
        certainty of the long term health effects is a healthy decision to
        make.  We do have bigger issues to deal with than hair choice,  I think, however, how we see ourselves IS reflective of our we handle/deal with those bigger issues. 

    • TheAuthor

      I apologize, my comment was unwarranted. To each his own, you are entitled to your opinion, 100 percent. 

      • Guest

        Not to say that I agree with everything you or the poster wrote, but it is true that now and by now I mean the last 10 years or so, we are at liberty to think of our hair as an individual choice it has not always been like that- my aunt lost a job over wearing her hair natural 20 years ago and black women in Brazil are struggling with hair based discrimination. There is also the corporate women must be straightened argument and the afro of the 70s civil rights movement was considered an extreme political statement. I am not telling anyone how to wear their hair and sometimes I straighten my own hair, but I am not under any illusion that as a black woman my hair is “just hair”. We use terms like good hair and good grade of hair and we make hair based judgments in our community all the time. Hair has never been “just hair” in the African American community and it isnt in the Afro Brazilian community. We still have work to do before we can claim that.

        • Mrsadkiah

          Excellent comment. I have to agree that while it not as big of a deal as natural hair nazis and the pretentious “afro centric” people who always have something to say make it, there is some deep-seated issues that it can’t be just hair for MOST African American women. Like I said in an earlier comment, for me going form relaxed to natural was pretty much as “just hair” thing for me. I don’t feel any closer to my “roots” than I did when I relaxed my hair. However one can’t deny that it’s obviously easier for most women to be relaxed or otherwise straightened b/c that is what’s acceptable my society. 

    • Dreama41

      Point taken.

    • GUEST

      Nice comment. I believe it is not our fault that we have been brainashed to believe that our natural features are not beautiful. I believe when we start to question ourselves and traditions, because black women have been perming for over a century, we get worried and insecure when someone calls us out on it. No one wants to tell themselves they perm their hair for their man or because they cannot picture theirselves beautiful as a natural. The truth is, when you truly love yourself, you love your kinky hair, or dark skin or wide hips when no one else will. I do not believe that women who wear their hair straight hate themselves because I am a natural who straightens my hair once a year with flat iron. However, if you know perms are dangerous for the brain, even when you may not feel a burn,  I feel your reasons are a lot more deeper than you may be aware of. Sista it is ok if you are not ready to perm, it seems like one day you will. I hope the people who are pressuring you about natural hair understand the importance of a natural, healthy diet. What we put inside of us is more important than what we put on our hair…

    • Catjjacks

      100% in agreement.  Eloquent presentation.

  • Britt

    I can’t believe that this subject is still up for debate…. relaxed, natural, weave, wig… who cares?! A tip: get a life where intelligence and success venturing outside of the arena of aesthetics are challenged, Thanks black people.

  • Stop the division!  Rock your hair, do you!  Sistahs should support one another PERIOD!

  • Gmarie

    My last relaxer was in Winter of be honest my hair has seemed much more damaged than it ever was when relaxed. the upkeep has certainly been more time consuming. what is most convenient for your and your own head of hair. ..everything isn’t for everybody.

    • Ms. Bridget

      I remember a lot of my friends’ hair breaking off around age 12 when their moms stopped doing their hair. Either they had to learn how to properly care for their hair or they started going to the salon for maintenance. Around sophomore year most of the girls were back on track. You see, there was a learning period that they had to go through. I think it’s the same for natural hair. It’s like getting new hair that must be studied (each head of hair is different) and thoroughly learned (i.e. products and styles that work) before it looks “right” (“right” is individual). I think natural hair is for everybody because it’s, well, natural. How can your natural hair not be for you. If not, then who is it for? It’s just that you have to be patient and learn how to care for it. 

  • MissFLondon

    From the sound of things, your problem is not your choice creamy crack, but your choice of friends!!

    Relaxed, Natural anything in between, if those around you can’t abide by your choices, without cutting you off at the knees, perhaps you need to look into a new group of friends.

    What if they go vegan, and you have the nerve to keep eating meat; what if switch political affiliations and you disagree with them.

    The company you keep is the most important factor in a happy “evolved” life.

    • Hellifiknow

      THANK YOU. I’m the only loc’ed woman in a family of natural curlies and weave, wig and perm wearers. They accept my choice and I accept theirs. Author you need more help staying true to your self than you do with your hair.

      That said, I think natural hair and vegetarian/vegan diets are becoming popular with some black women who are looking for ways to maintain their health. Too many of us are dealing with obesity and autoimmune diseases are on the rise. There are also a lot of older Black women who are bald and the harsh chemicals in perms could certainly be one of the causes. It may be time for permed women to advocate for “safer” perms at it appears our well-being is being compromised.

  • Queens have adorned themselves with all different types of crowns for decades. God’s design for black hair (OUR HAIR) was ingenious. He blessed us with so much versatility…. I honestly believe he meant for us to mix it up…if not we wouldn’t be able to so many different things with our hair. Sistahs…sport whatever crown you want to…just keep it polished.

  • Clmarie91

    My only issue is when women get their hair relaxed and they end up walking around looking like a scarecrow because the hair has been practically burnt out from overprocesssing.   If you’re doing it wrong, it’s time to learn to do it right or give it up and go natural.

  • Anon

    You have to first ask yourself WHY you prefer straight hair.
    Is it something you actually like or is it something you’ve become accustomed
    to and subconsciously had reinforced in day to day life as being more
    attractive? You can be natural and still straighten your hair. There are even
    natural remedies to loosen your curls like henna to achieve a straight style
    with ease. No matter if you think your hair is healthy, if your hair is relaxed
    it is not as strong as if it were natural. You have chemically processed your
    hair using harsh, toxic chemicals that have done irreversible damage to the
    chemical make-up of your hair. Natural hair isn’t a trend. Wearing an afro was
    a trend because it was a very specific hair style that could only be achieved
    on natural hair. People with natural hair now wear it in several different
    styles including straight. Something that someone is born with can’t be a
    trend. I say do you, if you want to have relaxed hair by all means have it but
    don’t say natural hair is a ‘trend’ and you prefer straight hair as if you
    can’t straighten natural hair. I know the versatility of having natural hair
    vs. relaxed and until all the Chi and Paul Mitchell flatirons on the planet are
    destroyed, I don’t understand the real need for a relaxer.

    • Ms. Bridget

      Thank you! I don’t understand why people act like centuries of hearing that our natural hair is not as beautiful as straight hair, has absolutely no impact on their perception of natural hair today. I don’t think anyone should be ridiculed for their hair choice but if you get the “touch up itch” every time your natural hair starts to show you you gotta be real with yourself about your REAL feelings toward your unprocessed hair. The author claims that her hair has been bone straight her whole life and that is the style she “loves”. How does she even know she prefers straight over natural hair? She should stop listening to her stylist, who is profiting off of her continuing to relax her hair, of course she will say your hair is healthy, anything else would reflect poorly on her as a stylist.

  • Dreama41

    I think it’s so comical how so many of these so called “naturals” are quick to say a relaxer is bad for you because it causes this and that yet they’re walking around with bleached and colored hair. Last time i checked dyes and hair bleach were bad for you. Another argument of  theirs that kills me is they claim they have more options with styling and don’t care if their hair gets wet in the rain. Well i’m relaxed and i could care less if my hair gets wet i brush it let it air dry and i’m good to go. I wear my relaxed hair curly too it’s called a twist and braid out, and obviously i can wear it straight. I don’t need to add 600 degree Fahrenheit heat which is damaging to get it straight. 

    My point is there is good and bad with both relaxed and natural hair. It’s an individual choice as to which pros and cons you are willing to live with, so stop preaching that natural hair is the better alternative. It’s a matter of individual preference. I agree with what strawberrymilkshake wrote if we would worry more about what we put into our bodies than how we wear our hair we would be far healthier and feel better about ourselves and therefore we wouldn’t feel the need to put each other down.

    • Mrsadkiah

      Oh girl you don’t even know. The natural hair nazis don’t consider the women who color their hair natural. It’s ridiculous. I’m natural and I get so annoyed at these women. 

    • Anon

      There’s plenty of natural dyes used for hair and comparing hair bleach and the chemical composition of relaxers is a stretch. Also when natural hair is properly moisturized and healthy it flat irons with minimal heat levels. Most know that applying heat can damage hair and try to stay under the 360 levels… anything higher causes heat damage. I would agree with you fully except for those mistaken assumptions.

  • Has ANYONE questioned the centuries of people being chided for having afro-textured hair?  

    This article is a non-issue, and is minor in comparison.

    • Empress123

      Nope they don’t and as you see they are ignoring this topic and choose instead to wallow in their pity of themself…why so afraid of the dialogue? I just don’t get it…

  • StrawberryMilkShake

    Seriously, what is the big deal with this relaxed or natural hair revolution?! Who cares? I can think of a bunch of things we black women need to be more concerned about. One major concern is our, WEIGHT! There are too many overweight black women walking around here, but we’re concerned about hair. People keep expressing how going natural is better for you. How about expressing how getting into shape, and taking care of our bodies is better for us! Is having relaxed or natural hair causing us to have: diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, stress, low self esteem, etc?! NO, it’s our WEIGHT?
    Now I’ll patiently wait to be attacked by the heavy weights……………….

    • Dreama41

      I so agree with you, well said.

    • Supersonicx40

      Relaxed hair sure does cause cancer and chemical burns even baldness.

  • Guest

    Agreed. I do wear my hair natural, but I do not feel ‘some kind of way’ about women who relax their hair.  A woman’s hair is just that; her hair. And she can do what she darn well pleases with it.  JMHO.

  • Entyce986

    These are the type of ridiculous issues that keep us divided. You are free to do what you like with your hair! Is this what women have reduce themselves to now??? Hair???? SMH! It is the overall package that counts mind, body,and soul. Why trip over issues miniscule issues such as hair? Rather you are relaxed, natural, long hair, or no hair it is your right to express your OWN individuality.

    • Anon

      Ohhh please hush. We know the total package counts but we’re specifically talking about hair for this article. There’s always that 1 holier than thou person…. Just keep moving if this convo is to shallow or too much of a waste of time.

      • Entyce986

        Girl, you further prove my point. God bless. LOL! Prime example!

  • Guest

    someone natural hurt her feelings.

  • traceykinohio

    I cannot understand what one woman chooses to do with her hair has anything to do with anyone else. That’s like trying to dress to please everyone. Folks know what they go thru w/their own hair – if being permed works out easier for me than natural – perm it is.  My sister wears her hair natural in a short fro &  goes to a barber. She looks hot, but that’s not for me cause I like different styles. AND my hair has never been more healthy since I’ve been seeing  a stylist every 2 weeks (my payday treat). It’s my crowining glory. Each & every woman wears her own. 🙂

  • Gimmeabreak78

    On a post yesterday, I mentioned that while I don’t really like wigs and weaves, I really don’t like Black hair Nazis either.  When people overpoliticize hair, I find it frustrating because the ideology behind it is too simplistic (i.e. if you have natural hair, you have a greater love and appreciation for blackness and if you have any other type of hair, you are suffering from self-hatred).  The truth is I’ve seen plenty of natural folks do some ratchet things that would embarrass the most militant amongst us (e.g Lil Wayne or Khia) and I’ve seen some permed up or weaved up folks make us swell with pride (e.g. Michelle Obama). Hair is not an indicator of character, integrity, or good decision making.   Let’s stop the madness.  The measure of black self-worth isn’t what’s on your head, it’s what’s in it.

    • *standing ovation* THANK YOU!  I get SOOO sick of these self-righteous natural wearing women.

      • Supersonicx40

        I’m getting tired of self righteous relaxed hair wearing women.

    • TheAuthor

      Hi, I’m the author, I love this comment! Very well said and thank you!

      • Gimmeabreak78

        Wow.  Very cool!  I didn’t think you guys actually read the comments on your work.  Great article!

    • Mrsadkiah

      I completely agree with you! I went natural almost a year ago b/c I was tired of unhealthy hair and spending money on perms. I didn’t even know what “natural” was honestly until my friend suggested it to me after venting about not know what to do with my hair.  
      While I love running into other naturals and exchanging tips and things, I’ve never thought myself as “special” or anything compared to women to chemically straighten their hair. It’s not a big deal. Yes I do feel that there is a problem with the fact that many Black women will tell me that my hair is cute but it’s not professional and only certain women can “pull it off”. It’s the way our hair grows out of our heads…we all can “pull it off”. On the flip side I hate the naturals who approach me like we’re apart of some secret club of enlightened women and we should “convert” all the others. I don’t care what everyone else is doing with their hair. Ps: Michelle Obama and her daughters are natural. No perm; she straightens her hair via heat. Not trying to be a pain I just wanted to point that out.

      • anjii h

        Ive interviewed Michelle Obama’s hairdresser Johnny Wright and she definitely has a perm. It’s ok!

    • JustAshley

      10,000% CoSign. *clapping*

    • Surburan Soulja

      I can’t disagree with anything you’ve posted. It was well-stated and undeniably poignant. I wholeheartedly concur that it’s totally inappropriate to impose one’s personal preference (ie: natural vs chemical).
      I do not (any longer)pass a standing-room-only perm and weave salon, slow my stroll, toss my mid-spine locs over my shoulders emphatically—whilst sympathetically shaking my head at the deer-in-headlight patrons and their scowling stylists (–hey! I’ll admit it! 7 or 8 years ago…I did!!!)
      You bringing up Khia and Lil Wayne is pointless though. Neither one of them ever debuted into the music industry as Ambassadors for Natural Hairstyling and Wholesome Living. They’re actually a better example of ‘following a trend’….
      However, I know I can’t be the only one who saw Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair”. The Laboratory Doctor who explained the porous potency of Sodium Hydroxide (y’all product’s main ingredient) was morified when Mr. Brown hipped him to the fact that so many (of y’all) religiously migrate with wide-toothed comb in hand to pay homage to a product that was created originally TO “please whitey”. The facts are the facts. What’s IN one’s head WILL play a role with what they choose to put ON it. I see many-an ostrich who stubbornly buries their head in the sand of denial. Ain’t saying no names though. Why bother? You know who you are!

      • Empress123

        To add to this these angry straight haired women need to ADMIT that there are women with straight hair who always feel the need to comment on those who choose not to straighten their hair. I WILL NEVER EVER EVER STRAIGHTEN MY HAIR and I do not see why that is a problem to the weave/wig/hot comb women in my race? It seems rather one-sided to discuss one and not the other. IMO those with straight hair who insist that this is the right hair to have are actually WORSE than those who suggest going natural. Look at the movie Good Hair and listen to the Black female in the Asian hair store and how she backs up the Asian man insisting that no one wants Black hair. Give me a break. Get over yourselves and next time just don’t ask anyone with natural hair what to do with your hair because I highly doubt there are women jumping out of bushes with scissors insisting you go natural. From the comments here most naturals DO NOT CARE. Also if you are going to call one group NAZIS then don’t be surprised when you are referred to as a WANNABE! Name calling is childish…. 

  • Entyce986

    Why is this an issue? I mean seriously!!!! I am a natural but I don’t care who does what to their hair. It is YOUR CHOICE!!!! Im soooo tired of people assuming all naturals go around trying to convert relaxed women to natural and talking degrading them if they don’t. DO YOU!!!! I could care less what someone does with THIER hair. If you want to shave one side and perm and color the other neon green, that is your business. Stop being so damn insecure about hair. There are other things going on in the world besides hair, smh. Besides, where is it written that relaxed women and natural women have to be rivals? 

    • Entyce986

      We are offended when people of other ethnic backgrounds form sterotypes of us, however, we do it to each other more often than others seem to do it to us. I see it all the time. It could be anything from hair, complexion, finances, etc. Where does it end?

    • StrawberryMilkShake

      100% co-sign

  • Has ANYONE questioned the centuries of people being chided for having afro-textured hair?  

    This article is a non-issue, and is minor in comparison.

  • Yeah that’s a bit much. That’s like pushing someone to accept your religion. I’m natural now for the first time since age 13 and am learning my hair and loving that my hair can be like the curly wigs I wore previously. 

    It takes a lot of patience and relearning but I love my hair for the first time in my life. With that said, I wouldn’t push anything on anyone. I celebrate being unique and loving yourself. It helped me to seal the deal when fibroids were attached to long term hair relaxing. My hair never grew pass my shoulders with a relaxer and was always so dry, no matter what I did. Now I don’t have as much breakage so I can see my hair growth and can keep my hair moisturized without worrying about water touching it. It loves water! When wet, my style is still the same. I have about two more years to get it to the length I want and I’m celebrating every step of the way.

  • Hair is a personal choice! My four best friends (my two sister and two girls who I’ve grown up with) are all natural except me. And yes, when we all do get together I feel like I’m at a natural hair conference! I support them and their choice however I do feel the pressure to “join the club” so to speak. But my hair is completely different. My sisters take after our mother who is fairer skinned and has very soft, curly natural hair. I take after our father who’s thicker, denser hair is very hard to manage naturally. I was the first of my sisters to get a perm at age 11 because I was the only one who would fight my mom and grandmother when it was time to get my hair done! Even after getting a perm, it took years of maintence to get it to the point where it is now. I’ve worked hair for my healthy, relaxed hair! I’m happy with the choice that natural girls have made but c’mon ladies, we’ve got to be accepting to what works for each individual woman.

    • Supersonicx40

      Your hair is not “completely” different. You still have the same nappy hair come out of your scalp like other black people. You just chemically altered your hair.

  • there are plenty reasons people look at the ‘relaxers’ askance. 

    one is that it is a deliberate play to privilege dressed up in objective, aesthetic, concern. relaxers play the rebel when black folks twist up their faces at them: but if ‘white’ society didn’t react `positively’ to their copying whiteness, you’d see a lot less hair-straightening.  

    also, some people side eye straighteners for similar reasons that people side-eye smokers: it is a costly habit that can negatively affect your health, and – to a much lesser degree – those around you. 

  • BrasileiraBarbie

    I’m going natural because I can no longer fathom the idea of adding chemicals that could melt a Coke can to my hair and scalp. I know that completely avoiding harmful substances is impossible, but I like the idea of doing less harm to my body and the environment than more. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably still wear my hair straight, but I find that I can coax my natural hair into smooth silky styles just as easily as I did my relaxed hair. Dominican blow-out, anyone?

    • onanothernote

      just as an fyi, the extreme high heat and pulling of the hair of  those blowouts are extremely damaging to hair (and potentially scalp) as well

  • Why should I worry about somebody else’s hair when I have hair of my own? The thing about hair is, you can have it anyway you want it. And then again you can go buy some to look like what you want to look like. People need to start minding their own business and leave everybody else’s alone. There  are too many problems for African Americans to be worrying about hair…if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem

  • Smacks_hoes

    I could care less what other women do with their hair I do however get annoyed when natural hair nazi’s attack people with relaxed hair and try to impose their veiws on them. Your hair can be relaxer free but still damaged.eons people want straight Hair it’s their business.

  • I think that it is your personal choice how you choose to wear your hair. I personally wear my hair natural because the chemicals in perms did a number on my scalp. It took me years to realize that perms were not for me. While I was transitioning to natural hair, I did press my hair straight, then one day I gave that up as well. Now I’m loced and I don’t ever foresee me ever going back to the hot comb or the creamy crack:) 
    divaclubchic on etsy check me out:)

  • Aaron

    White America salutes your hair style choice Ms. Proctor.  Keep on keep’n on!

    • nappyandhappy

      your a lame keep trolling 

      • Kdahlll

         Intelligence – knowing your shiz and knowing you’re shiz…

  • AshFro

    I stop getting relaxers because the chemicals are unhealthy to our bodies!!! One can have straight hair without chemicals.  On Saturday, I straightened my hair for a wedding; today, I have a fro.  Naturals have options and its nice to know that it’s one less chemical I’m putting into my body. 

    • msgeegee

       Yes, you CAN have straight hair with out chemicals. (if that is your choice). If you want to chemically relax your hair that is also your choice. Point blank.

    • Grsasha

      So is fried foods, sugar, and processed foods. It’s amazing some people think relaxers are so bad but still do not exercise, smoke/drink, and eat whatever. Relaxers do not cause diabetes, obesity, hypertension, or other health issues in the black community!



        • Grsasha

          Where are the stastitics where there is a direct link to black women having cancer from relaxers? Many people do not realize, sodium hydroxide is used to make soap and is also a preservative in many items. On the cosmetic review site, a Motions relaxer is rated a 2 on a scale of 1-10 in toxicity! A relaxer should not be used every day, week, or month but i believe in moderation. In my opinion more focus needs to be put on what we put in our bodies and how take care them. We eat everyday and some are not putting healthy cancer causing food in their bodies.

          • Grsasha

            Mistake should be typed as UNHEALTHY, cancer causing food. For example people who eat a lot of processed food have higher rates of cancer, diabetes, etc.

        • WHAT!!! my dad passed of cancer I never knew he had a relaxer….duhhhhh dont no relaxer cause cancer. You should already know we all have cancer cells in our body already. Instead of worrying about relaxers be more concerned of the foods you put in your system, medications and exercise.

          • Supersonicx40

            Some people just don’t want to go bald because of relaxers. 

    • Seriously what do relaxers do to the human body. Please name a condition with factual proof of the health issue, did they die, go blind, kidney problems. You were getting relaxers before and your still here my grandmother is 80 and girlfriend is RELAXED and still kicking. Just say you prefer your natural texture instead of the extra…..White, asian, african, brazilain and other races play in their hair extensions, color, curly perms its called preference. SIMPLE AS THAT.

  • Neecee401

    What I fail to understand is why everybody is so worried and concerned about what somebody else is doing to THEIR own hair. Its my hair. On my head. I can do whatever the hell I want to it. How is that bothering you?

  • Cashmere713

    Personally, I think when I hear this subject its, quite frankly, a waste of timeto argue about.  I (just speaking for me) don’t care what anyone does with their hair, nor is it any of my business and vice versa, unless they care to share.  It’s hair, thats all.  There are many more, unseen and socially damaging, divisive subjects that are working to decimate relationships amoung people as a whole. If “Hair” makes someone say or do a negative thing to you, thank them for the “reveal” and move away from that entity. I’m natural, you’re not.  Differences make the world a more beautiful and interesting place. ~~Fin~~ Cashmerenapps.

  • NikkitaMichelle

    I stopped relaxing my hair almost 4 years ago.  Granted I had a beautiful perm with hair down my back, but after a bad relaxer I had to let my hair grow out entirely. (NO BIG CHOP) I can still get my hair blown out or flat ironed if I want to return to bone straight. I definitely think my hair was a lot easier to take care of when I did perm my hair.  But I do have to say I’ve been alot more adventurous with trying new styles and doing different things with my hair since I’ve gone natural. Natural hair isn’t necessarily easier to take care of.  But I haven’t tripped with anyone for not going natural.  Its a personal preference and for me it was for the health of my hair. It’s ridiculous that anyone should say something about how you choose to rock your crown and glory.

  • Royal_Tee

    I totally agree with the author. I still have relaxed hair and it’s healthy. when I want a textured look I’ll opt for rods or I’ll braid my hair and take it out and wear it crinkly. When I want it straight I flat iron it. I don’t knock anyone’s decision to go natural but I don’t like when natural women look down upon women who still get relaxers. Many women of different races do all kinds of altering to their hair in the name of beauty from dying it to getting permanents and keratin treatments etc. and some curly head white women straighten their hair too. All in all it’s hair people that’s it Lighten up about it’s not that serious!

  • Gretchen Smith

    I mean, REALLY is this now a social issue in our community?  There was a fight on my job about a sista calling another sista (who was natural) “nappy” headed.  The abuser got ripped a new one (for real!!)and the quiet “natural” sista lost her gig!!!!!  Look at what’s inside of the head and not what’s going on with the roots, PUH-LEASE!!!!!!!!!!