Biggest Myths About African-American Hair

January 4, 2011  |  

In our quest to outwardly express our inner diva, black women worldwide have sacrificed time and treasure to achieve ravishing ringlets, roller sets and relaxers. It’s a constant struggle and sometimes we’re unknowingly battling ourselves. There is a wealth of misinformation swirling about when it comes to African-American hair care. Acting on this false information only leads to unnecessary stress and frustration. Here are some commonly held misconceptions about African-American hair.

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  • Natural Kinky Curly Marie

    Shampoo washes out any build up from heavy oils, butters or grease. Those who Cowash or use the No poo method will have issues with grease. Clarifying shampoos followed by Conditioner and use of a good Leave-in and sealant keeps the hair & scalp Cleansed, hydrated and moisturized.

    Tip: Mix a tablespoon of Baking Soda with Shampoo to clarify the scalp and remove any build up (massage & focus on scalp) Or Use apple cider vinegar (ACV) mix as final rinse after using rinse out or deep conditioner.

  • peytie

    This was very accurate. I was surprised about the grease clogging the pores.

  • Adriannan Nonyo

    1. Is completely wrong, washing your hair too often WILL dry it out, even if you dont use conditioner and shampoo too much water (especially warm) will get rid of all of the oils in your head.

    Not reading the rest.

  • Pamela Frazier


    Has this ever happen to you????

    a salon stylist, kitchen beautician, or nail tech destroy your hair, scalp, wig, extensions or

    you in disbelief that
    there are certain stylists or technicians still out there practicing?

    your stylist fry, burn or damage your hair or scalp?

    your stylists or technician’s station and tools so far from one point that they
    gave you an infection or

    your stylist’s ruin the expensive
    hair that you purchased and refuse to compensate you?

    the medical bills from
    a botched service
    bigger than the one you got at a salon?



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  • Glowheel

    Does black hair make it’s own oil?

  • Deist

    Natural is always better, but if you’re going to spend that cash at least support a black-owned business over the other ethnics getting rich.

  • I usually just put my hair in a ponytail or poor woman’s bun when I don’t want to deal with it. on special occasions i’ll pull out the kinky curly or the shea moisture products. i’ve recently decided to buy a flat iron and will try and straighten my hair for the first time in 4 years (though i’ve never done it myself).

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  • Kikilee

    Well I think I’ll just throw in my two-cents worth right here.

    First up, I am black and my hair is relaxed and I love it. Now this is based on preference. My best friend keeps her hair natural and she looks great with it and that’s fine. I prefer straighter hair because I can put it into all sorts of styles much easier and my natural hair was actually so tangled it would take an hour a day to sort it out. An hour I didn’t have time to waste because it meant I’d be late for school. 

    My hair is also long, very long. It passes my chest area easily and swings just above my waist. Relaxed hair can indeed grow. I can say this because I cut my hair every time I relax it. I cut it back to shoulder length and it never fails to grow back down to my waist. 

    Now, time to address the claims made in this article. 

    Claim No. 1 – Washing Your Hair too often will dry it out

    Alright so this can be true in some situations and not true in others. I’d like to stress that the way your hair looks solely depends on how you treat it. I wash my hair everyday when I’m in the shower. This does not dry it out at all. I have a lot of dandruff that seemingly grows during the day (figure of speech.) I’ll wash it at night and during the next day it will accumulate to an embarrassing level. I have tried every dandruff oil and cream under the sun but they do not seem to work. So I wash my hair everyday and this washes out all dandruff and keeps my scalp clean and free. I also use a protein hair mask to replace any protein that may have been lost due to so many washes. 

    Verdict: Does washing your hair everyday dry it out? – Yes and No. If you take the time to care for it and replenish all lost proteins and minerals with the right products it will not dry out your hair. If you’re too lazy to do all that then yes your hair will probably dry out, become thin and look terrible. 

    Claim No. 2 – African-American hair does not grow long

    This is a tough one. The length of your hair is predetermined by genetics. Everything about us all boils down to genetics actually. This is why we all have different skin colour, hair, eyes, etc. I have seen many white people with short hair that will not grow past their shoulders. It is not just black people. It’s just the genetic code of your body. Black hair can grow very long however as my hair is quite long (as I previously posted.)

    Verdict: Does African-American hair grow? – Yes. Everyone’s hair grows, but genetics play a factor in how long it will be. 

    Claim No. 3 – Our Hair is no different from anyone else’s

    What they said is true. Our hair is quite different. It has a tendency to be drier and thicker than other hair types. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s the same as any other race. Asian hair will never be like white hair, not will white hair ever be like asian hair. The same for spanish hair etc. 

    Example: Asian hair – Extremely straight, silky, almost always pitch black in colour.

    White hair – Varies in texture ranging from wavy to curly or straight, almost always dark brown, or blonde in colour. Some black or red in colour. 

    Spanish hair – Typically extremely thick and wavy, almost always black or dark brown in colour. 

    Black Hair – Coarse and thick, tends to look dry, almost always dark brown or black in colour. Never blonde. Some red tinges depending on genetics. (I have a natural red tinge to my hair.) 

    Verdict: Is our hair different? Yes, just like any other race we have our own traits. 

    Claim No. 4 – Relaxers make African-American Hair grow

    This is not true. Your hair grows to the length it was meant to be depending on your genetic code. Because black hair is curly it also does not show the true length of your hair until you pull on it with your finger. Then you will see how long it truly is. 

    Verdict: Do relaxers make your hair grow? – No. They just make it straight so without any curls it’s showing the true length of your hair. 

    Claim No. 5 – Natural hair is healthier than relaxed hair

    Not true. My hair is relaxed and extremely healthy. One way to know if you have healthy hair is to take a glass of water and drop a hair strand in it. If your hair floats it is healthy. If it sinks it is definitely lacking in protein and other minerals that keep it healthy. It all boils down to how much care you put into your hair. I use protein hair masks and hydrating products to give my hair all it needs to be healthy.   

    Verdict: Which is healthier? Both can be equally healthy if you take the time to care for it properly.

    Claim No. 6 – Brushing your hair will help it grow

    I’m not too sure about this one. I hardly ever brush my hair, like ever. I use a large toothed comb to comb through my hair everyday as brushing it tends to make it too flat and I like volume. I’d think that this is poppycock anyways. Hair length is not determined by how many times you brush, it’s genetics.

    Verdict: Does brushing your hair help it to grow? No. But it does keep it looking neat and tidy. 

    Claim No. 7 – Grease is good for your scalp and hair

    No. And this is absolutely a no brainer for me. By oiling your scalp with thick oil or gel you are clogging your pores. This makes it hard for new hair to push up. Use light oils and don’t over do it. Maybe I’m biased because I hate greasy feeling hair. I like to run my hair through my hair and I’d hate to feel sticky oil in it and have it all over my hands when I do. Nevertheless, oiling your hair too much clogs the hair follicles. 

    Verdict: Should you oil your hair? – Yes, but with gentle, light oils or use a serum. 

    Claim No. 8 – Taking prenatal vitamins will help your hair grow

    I have no knowledge in this area so I’ll keep quiet rather than blab and look foolish

    Claim No. 9 – African-American hair grows slower than other races

    Not true. I cut my hair a lot and it never fails to grow back to it’s length

    Claim No. 10 – The brown girl on the bottle means it’s for me

    Again not true. I don’t use any ‘black people’ products (so to speak.) I don’t understand the ideology that seems to be floating around that goes something like this. ‘White people can’t make products for black people’s hair.’ What? Where did this very ignorant sounding saying start? As the article said, it’s a marketing strategy. Most of the ingredients in these so called ‘black hair products’ are the same found in other products. It’s the same strategy every company uses, like when they say Axe for men and now new Axe for women. They’re dividing their products by gender to make more money when really if you were to use Axe for men nothing would happen to you if you were a woman. You’d just smell like a dude since the scent is very masculine. 

    I use products by Garnier, Herbal Essences and Pantene. I don’t care much for TRESemme products as they don’t really work for me. It all boils down to what works for you. 

    Verdict: Do you have to limit yourself to ‘black people products?’ – No. You use what works for you

    In the end: Everyone is different. We all have different views and preferences, etc. No two people will have the exact same feelings about anything. My reason for having relaxed hair is that it’s easier to manage, and I love it. I love having my hair straight to the point where I don’t have to use a flat iron on it everyday. I love how bouncy it is and how easy it is to style it. Does this make me ashamed of being black? NO! I love my skin tone. It’s beautiful and flawless in every way. I will never run out to get surgery and turn myself white. NEVER. I accept myself and love myself. Just because I prefer straight hair doesn’t make me ‘less black’ or ‘less proud.’ 

    All this talk about ‘being natural’ is crazy. No one is 100% natural. Nowadays everyone is running around getting plastic surgery or tummy tucks and all those ridiculous procedures to achieve a ‘flawless look.’ Hows that natural? Why make everything about the hair? Talking about ’embrace what god gave us.’ If we are to embrace it then why not argue with people drastically changing their appearance or people who coat their faces in makeup to hide pimples. Are pimples not natural? Everyone gets them so why hide them? The reason is obvious. No one wants to walk around with a pimply face, and no one wants to feel ‘less than pretty.’ So they run out and get work done, but I digress. 

    I say STOP ARGUING OVER IT. If someone likes straight hair then so be it. Why let it divide your race in half – people with relaxed hair go over there and people with natural hair stay here. Black people are the only ones beating each other down because of their preferences. We’re doing this to ourselves. It’s a never ending cycle of judging and arguing and playing ring around the roses. 

    I’d also like to point out that if you keep your hair natural but still flat iron it…that’s still straightening it. The only difference is that a relaxer is long term…

    Just relax, chill, and love one another. 

    Also – your diet plays a huge role in how healthy you are. Eating foods rich in protein, iron, calcium etc, determines how shiny your hair is, how white your nails are, and how much your skin glows and looks younger. 

    Note – The opinions stated here are my own. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I’m in no way trying to represent a bunch of people here, though I do believe many probably share my sentiments I’m talking from personal experiences. Others are free to dispute what I’ve said. We’ll just agree to disagree if it comes to that. 

    Gosh this was a long post, I do hope it helps though. (If it helps even one person that’s good enough.) 

    Take care guys.

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  • Terrance

    honestly i believe that it can be. yes it 'breaks down' the hair so it can be strait. but it can just be as healthy if you take care of it. a person who has natural hair that's always matted, dry, and tangled. and are too lazy to do anything to it, opposed to a person who straightened their hair and take care of it; you cant tell me the natural person's hair is healthier. i have natural hair and i love it. some people want to straighten their hair, so be it. you should just be happy that you stuck to your natural locks. if they want to go afro then they know what to do

  • I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but good topic.

  • Ashley

    I agree with every one except one. Relaxed hair is not as healthy as natural hair its a proven fact. This is because a relaxer damages the hair to straighten it. Now you can have healthy relaxed hair but it is only healthy to an extent. Relaxed hair requires diligent care to keep healthy.

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  • Ashley Songs

    @ Anna, since you about heat damage can it be undone? I tried to touch up a press in the front with my curling iron and a very small portion got burnt by the hair leaving it like a relaxer would, very straight. Can this be undone? If so what is the procedure? Please msg me on facebook isis ashley songs, if anyone has any info.

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  • Michelle

    I really hate this article. Was it written by a black person? It seems that they have absolutely no experience with black hair whatsoever. I'm an original nappy head and I know my hair was never as long as my white peers even straightened, and I don't feel any less beautiful because of it, either. Unless you are mixed with some other race, whether it be through your ancestors or your close relatives, your hair will be very different from that of white people, Indian people, Spanish people, or WHOEVER! Those differences are in length, curl patterns, dryness, and many other ways that I don't have the time to sit here and type out. Take it all the way back to our ancestors from Africa. Some people in Africa barely have any hair at all. It grows very short and curly and no matter how long they grow it, it just ain't gonna be long. And they are beautiful. Whoever wrote this needs to do a little more research. Our hair is VERY different.

  • Jacqueline Irons

    Well, I tell ya, I sure learned something up in heaaahh about AA hair. I wrote everything down and am glad I took the time to read it. Thanks!

  • Nikki

    @Beautiful Mic the only thing I can guess it to be is when they are targeting people of mixed races hair.

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  • Beautiful Mic

    Can someone tell me the different between African-American hair, African Hair, Afro-Latino hair, Afro-European…hair if we're all a very diverse set of people with varying physical characteristics?

  • Steph

    @Anna my hair wasn't damaged at all. But it was made permanently straight by the combination of shea and heat which I had never heard of and definitely did not expect. I haven't used heat in a while now. I do use grapeseed oil for my skin mixed with koser salt as a scrub. I'll try it in my hair without the heat, thanks!

  • Anna

    I think when people say that relaxed hair is not healthy they are just saying the hair protein is broken down which actually is not healthy for the hair be it that the hair is made up of protein. Dont get me wrong relaxed hair can grow because the hair coming out of your scalp has not been touched with relaxer yet and is full of protein but when you add the relaxer to take the protein away this is damaging and can create dry, brittle and dull looking hair if you do not add the protein back in your hair. Always be sure to add it back in with a protein treatment such as Aphogee 2 step (heavy), aphogee 2 min, Giovanni Protein infusion, Organic Root Stimulator replenishing pak just to list a few. The same goes for naturals, you as well need to add protein into your hair because to much moisture will leave your hair mushy and lifeless. So it is essential to have a balance with moisture and protein to have a healthy head of hair for anyone with hair natural or relaxed because remember hair is already dead once it leaves your scalp, it is your choice to have it natural or straight because either way you go healthy hair is achieved by how you take care of your hair.

  • The Phantom

    One misconception about black hair is that if you have what mainstream society considers to be good hair, then you must be "mixed with something."

  • Solo

    @ Huny, no your hair length is not predetermined by birth or by genes. The type of hair you have is predetermined and the length is determined by the type of maintenance.

    And let's be real ladies, if it was 'just hair' there wouldn't be any arguments like natural vs relaxed when pertaining to afro-textured hair. Hair is a big issue and plays a large part in our community.

    • Junie

      Genetics play a big part in how long your hair will grow. Thats been scientificaly proven time and time again over the past Century. Proper maintenance, health & nutrition and care will help reach that goal whether it be mid-back length, waist-length or Tailbone length hair. But not everyone will grow super long hair no matter how well they care for their hair Or how healthy they are.

  • Steph

    I've worn my hair natural (well no relaxer) for 2o years. I flat ironed it with shea butter a couple times (thank goodness only the top and front hairline, the rest was in a weave). The shea butter permanently straightened my hair!! I guess it's a natural alternative to a relaxer, I'm still trying to grow it out so I can cut it off since it doesn't blend with the rest of my hair. It seriously made my hair bone straight only in those sections, it's crazy.

    Has anyone ever used shea to straighten their hair and gotten the same results? I have 4A hair.

    • Keasha

      Yes i was natural for some time. I am relaxed now, however when I was natural sometimes I would flat iron my hair with shea butter and I received some heat damage from the combination of intense heat and using shea butter with the heat.

  • Steph

    Great article, very accurate information. Thanks for clearing up so many myths!! My favorite product is Wen conditioning shampoo, lavender. Definitely NOT the fig, it broke my hair, my mom, and sister also experienced breakage with the fig version. Using Wen is like skipping shampoo & just conditioning, yet it cleanses.

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  • linda

    oh and just for the record I have lived all over the world and I know first hand that Blacks /African American are the only ones that make a BIG deal about relaxers, perms, weaves , wigs and natural hair choices.

    No one really cares anything about your hair! I guess thats why I feel no stress to do the big chop for the natural look. I know who I am and what I like. period

  • I wear my hair the w

    I really like this article….very informative…I've been natural for only 8 months and my hair is almost as long as it was before I did my Big Chop. I personally don't think natural is better or healthier than relaxed….like so many others have said, its all about how you treat it…when I was relaxed, my hair was badly damaged but its probably because I didn't have the knowlegde that I have now about proper hair care….but I've learned sooooo much from the beautiful women on You Tube and I love love love my new head of hair…but relaxed ladies can check out Ateeya on YT for good tips and tutorials and Natural ladies can check out Kimmaytube for the same…both these ladies are poster girls for healthy relaxed and natural hair….oh yeah…its just hair!

  • linda

    In the south we call it perm or relaxer ! NO Biggie !! Its your right, its your money, its your hair. I love my perm/relaxer.Its not that I think its better its just what "I "like.I dont really pay attention to what others Black or other like to do or dont do,I just do me.I'm not a follower ,I just know what my hubby and myself like. Thats all ! To each his or her own! If you like "your" and "your kids" hair natural then cool.. If you like it then I love it for you .And I would never put you down or try to tell you what you should or should not do to or for your hair. And I would love the same respect!!!! Relaxed, permed,wigged,weaved or natural we're all still Black / Arfican American. We should respect each others choice to do what ever we want!

  • Jen

    If you chemically straighten your hair, it is damaged. Period. The relaxing process literally removes a layer of your hair. It is essentially minimally controlled hair damage.

    Also, hair isn't healthy. It's dead. This fact made the "living cells" comment seem especially irrelevant.

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  • Darkesthourglass

    I think that black people fight over hair more than anybody else. Even though it is silly sometimes people will judge you based on how you wear your hair not so much because it's natural or relaxed but more so if it's styled nicely or is it wild and all over the place. Some black women say to hell with it and throw a scarf/do-rag on their head. Properly taking care your hair is just as important as how you wear it. If you're looking like Buckweat, people don't give a damn whether you're relaxed or natural.

    P.S. Straight hair doesn't=Caucasian hair. A lot of white people have a wavier hair texture (naturally) that they have to straighten themselves just like black people do. How can we please "massa" by straightening our hair when he's sporting a 'fro his damn self?

  • Darkesthourglass

    I stopped relaxing my hair 3 years ago mostly because the chemicals were messing up my hair and I hated getting them put in in the first place. I've had very little breakage since I've gone natural but I have seen women with long relaxed hair but some sistas just can't take relaxers. Oh, and not all hair products have chemicals in them or they'll have very little. I buy natural hair oils because those synthetic ones were doing nothing for my natuaral. It's all in the ingredients.

  • @Elaine There are women who, for lack of a better word, are "ashamed" of there natural hair. However, there is a large community of women who embrace the beauty & versitility of their natural hair.

    Although I have natural hair, I do not expect, or preach, that every women should make the same decision I have in regards to my hair. However, as the article illustrates, I find it imperitive that we as African American women educate ourselves on how to properly care for our hair.

  • For the most part, I find black women to be ashamed of their natural hair. They wear obvious weaves and lace fronts. They wish they had long straight hair. If they wear their hair natural, it would grow, but they can't bring themselves to do it. If they do wear their hair natural, they will be ridiculed by other blacks. Black people have so much self hate.

    The Asians own the black hair industry and won't let blacks buy into it, yet the blacks patronize them for hair care products. Black women are economic retards and are letting themselves be exploited by the Asians. They should own the black hair industry since they use black hair products!

  • DeePDX

    Great article!

  • Miss Re!

    Amen @ linda (to a certain extent), how could your well said intellegent comment go so wrong??? and @ harlemangel perm short for permanent curl? Yeah, NO! Perm is short for PERMANENT whether it refers to curly or straight, and yes the term "perm" means different things in different cultures when it comes to hair, but I don't think there is a black woman alive that doesn't know that "perm" refers to a "relaxer" in our community….

    Anyway, I'm so sick of everyone being an EXPERT on black hair and the how we let something as simple as hair divide us. I'm no better than anyone because I have a relaxer and no one is better than me because they don't. Get real people!

    Like many black women, I have run the gambit of styles, lotions, and potions… My hair has been natural, relaxed, very long (with and without weave), very short (with and without weave), and every length in between, braided, weaved, wigged, you name it, but I'm also the type of person that loves variety, and thank God because my "bad" black hair allows to me to have done and continue doing all of that if I choose…

    Just like we are individuals, all black hair doesn't fit in the same box. I say FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR HAIR and the style you have and/or hope to acheive, don't be afaid to try something new, and PLEASE STOP LETTING OUR HAIR DEFINE WHO WE ARE TO OURSELVES and EACH OTHER!

  • blu

    I say do what works for YOU! What works for ME is being natural. The chemicals from the relaxer was messing up MY hair not INSTANTLY, but OVER TIME. That may not be the case for everyone. I've seen plenty of girls with beautiful relaxed hair. My concern for me was not only my hair but my body as well. We have pores on our scalp. Anything you put on your skin absorbs in your body. I understand that there are many things that we use on our bodies that have chemicals but if I could eliminate one thing, it would be for the better.

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  • harlemangel

    Perm is short for permanent curls, which people with straight hair get to make it curl. African Americans get relaxers, which relax the curl and make it straight. I believe u meant long live the relaxer. The irony is that many white people come into the salon to get perms and reformation curls.

    The reason women in African can relaxers and weaves is because they to have been led to believe that straight is better. That it is ideal and more acceptable than natural hair.

    I wear my hair natural and it is far from nappy. My daughters have natural hair and it is beautiful. Many people like to call it "good hair". As mentioned previously, good hair is healthy hair.

    • Andy

      I don't think she mentioned anything about "nappy" and what KILLS me is Black women who get on here and try to "brag" about having "good hair" I mean seriously!! I am natural [no relaxer] and most of my friends are as well, and almost ALL of us have hair that looks like Freddy from a different world. As a matter of fact…MOST black women I see with natural hair have a similar look. so NO your hair is not "special" or "gooder" than the typical Black woman's hair. I JUST REALLY WISH EVERYONE WOULD GET OFF THE PLANTATION!!! If it doesn't naturally dry straight…IT'S NAPPY!! I don't care if you call it curly, kinky, wavy etc. IT'S NAPPY!!! If you have a hard time getting a comb thru that stuff… IT'S NAPPY no matter how "SOFT" it is. And I HATE HATE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE wen ppl go on and on about I have "good hair" it really makes me angry!!! I LOVE my hair, but it's no "better" than people with coarse hair. If I had coarse hair that was dry, I would LOVE that too, and I would just work with it to throw some moisture up in there!!

  • harlemangel

    Perm is short for permanent curls. A perm. is what a person with straight hair gets to make it curly. African Americans get relaxers, which relax the curl makin it straight. So I believe u meant long live the relaxer!!!

    The reason women in Africa are wearing relaxers and weaves, is because they too have been led 2 believe that straight hair is better hair. The irony of it is that many white women come into the salon to get perms or reformation curls.

  • linda

    It's your hair and your money. So why can't you do what you want to with it?? Why should all we think that every single Black woman should or has to wear their hair the same way.???

    Do you see any other race complaining or demanding or even putting each other down because they want straight, weaved or wigged hair.??!!??

    Will the way we as a people decide to wear our hair going to fix any of the problems within our race??? NO THEY WILL NOT !!

    I don't care what's in the relaxer .My hair is long and healthly and I like it!!

    Natural my eye ! I'm not walking around with nappy hair and on top of that I've been to Africa and not even Africans are running around with balded up nappy hair.Most of the women there wear weaves too. African Americans are the ones with the whole hair issues and problems !!!


    • mary


    • lpacklin

      I would like to trade you in the racial draft. I don't care about people rocking perms or natural, but I do care the reasoning behind things. You have a eurocentric nonprogressive view of beauty and it is sad. You very thought process contributes to the problems of the black race

    • LaughingatFools


    • Terry

      pathetic to a T!

      Its funny how those with relaxed hair are getting so defensive about it. Its a FACT that relaxer damages hair, in order to do what it does, it DAMAGES the hair, what part of breaking something is healthy? I won't even go into the science of it, but please stop lying to yourself. You don't tell someone who is obese: "its your body or money so do what you want with it", do you? Yes, your hair can look pretty and you can achieve your desired style, but that does not completely reflect on the health of your hair, does it? Its also very foolish to not care what goes in your relaxer, although there are simply not enough studies to show whether relaxers are a good/bad thing. So please think before you type. This is not to say that natural hair cannot get damaged – of course it can! On the point of hair growth, forget race, everyone's is different therefore we don't fit into one bag of hair growth speed.
      Its funny how those with relaxed hair are getting so defensive about it. Its a FACT that relaxer damages hair, in order to do what it does, it DAMAGES the hair, what part of breaking something is healthy? I won't even go into the science of it, but please stop lying to yourself. You don't tell someone who is obese: "its your body or money so do what you want with it", do you? however, your hair can look pretty and you can achieve your desired style, does not completely reflect on the health of your hair, does it? Its also very foolish to not care what goes in your relaxer, there are simply not enough studies to show that it is a good thing. So please think before you type. This is not to say that natural hair cannot get damaged – of course it can! On the point of hair growth, forget race, everyone's is different therefore we don't fit into one bag of hair growth speed. And since you brought up the problems within our race, you are a problem within our race with your eurocentric tendencies. capisce

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  • Qrae

    The only portion that is not true, after conducting outside research, is the sulphur point. Sulpher is contingent upon person, barring "race". And yes, "Black" hair grows at vaying rates to. And No, all "Black" hair is not created equal, we're not all the same people, are we? No. So stop bickering about whether relaxed hair is as healthy as non, and figure out what works for your own hair.


    Chemicals in hair dose NOT equate instant damage and loss of health. Guess what, those "creams" and "oils" for natural hair also contain: chemicals. Stop posting ignorant tripe.

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  • Huny

    Everyone's hair length is predetermined from birth/genes and relaxers do break down the roots slowly over time.

  • De

    Perm vs. natural… just because you choose to have natural hair does not mean that you take care of it! I have been an eye witness to some people’s idea of 'natural' and it goes beyond just subtracting the perm. The real truth behind damaged hair is stress. This comes in many forms such as chemicals, heat, and friction (styling). You do the most damage to your hair when you change the shape of the hair shaft. So even without the relaxer one could potentially damage their hair in other ways. Some examples are… #1heat from drying, flat ironing, or curling all came suck the moisture out of hair making it brittle. #2 not properly moisturizing (especially if one is washing their hair often). #3 something as simple as combing your hair too hard when it is wet will stretch the hair. #4 Dying hair, permanente ( especially going to a lighter color) changes the hair jus as much if no more than relaxing it. Semi permanent are better if used properly. I do believe that the author was trying to say that having relaxed hair is not going to be the death of your hair and in fact may save one from committing other acts that will cause damage. With either type of hair make sure you’re educated so that you can achieve your desired look. I would also like to say that it is true that many African Americans hair does grow at the same speed as other races. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions. Also understand that hair cells cycle. The cells the produce keratin (what forms our nails, hair and top layer of skin) only live for so long. When they die natural shedding of the hair occurs. Then new cells from and grow a new piece of hair. With this means that your hair could shed more than others which results in the appearance of slower hair growth. Also if one is constantly damaging their hair, they may be breaking off the same amount as they grow. If you still don’t believe it shave your legs and see how fast that hair grows back lol 😉 Finally I most definitely like to see an article telling a little back story behind some hair care products and some suggestions for all hair types.

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  • NOPE

    I disagree, relaxed hair can b healthy if it is taken care of. My hair is relaxed and beautiful. I maintain it by getting it done at shop every 2weeks. If ur hair is relaxed and u done keep it up, it will become unhealthy

  • kidrebelny

    In reference to the "brown girl on the bottle" comment. I use many products that are used in white women hair that don't dry out mine. For example, Paul Mitchell's Super Charge condition makes my so soft and it tingles my scalp, very invigorating. Another is Bed Head's Manipulator, I have short hair and I like spikes, but I don't like hard hair, but this is soft and makes you hair stand for days, just wake up shake and go!


    'Aphogee' a great alternative to relaxers!! (well for 6 months) but dis is to reduce the damage caused by relaxers

  • Jay


    I agree. Did this author ever see "Good Hair"? Most of the time there is very little oversite on exactly what goes into these relaxers. How could something that can eat through a can be healthy for your hair?

    I think #9 is bogus too. I just don't think black hair grows at the same rate as other race/ethnic groups.

    • Babara

      it really doesn't. it grows just a tad bit slower. about 100 millimeter less if im not mistaken. oh and i just wanted to add this. i think washing hair too much is bad >.> it said it hydrates blah blah, but really. no one, despite race, washes their hair everyday; that has to be saying something.

      • Junie

        Many people; especially Caucasians and other non-blacks wash their hair everyday to prevent oil build up.

  • still JAEL

    the relaxed = as healthy as natural hair is definitely bogus but @jay, sorry but black hair definitely grows at the same rate as other races.. i've been natural a year (cut off all of my hair) and my hair is PAST my collar bone when straightened or when i pull the curl down and i have a long neck.. if i would've been natural for as long as i've been alive it could've and would've grown down to the floor and past it..

  • bad m*thaf*cka

    This is proof positive that this article is hogwash. They say "relaxed hair" can be as healthy as natural hair. This is an attempt to play both sides of the fence and not offend anyone. Truth be told the basic chemical used in "relaxers" is by it's nature damaging to the curly texture of african hair. Don't believe the hype!! More power to my natural sisters! It is 1 step in identifying and defining yourselves on your own, w/o outside forces that are not in our favor. I hope to see more brave souls shun the false teachings of old ignorance & embrace new & different standards of beauty that allow everyone to be themselves and not attempt to make a prototype the masses will emulate. There was a Twilight Zone episode that reminds me of this. I think it was " No 12 looks just like you"

  • Shanice

    @Rachy if you take good care of your natural hair then of course its going to look good. And I commend you for being natural. But it is possible. Like the article said its all about how you treat it. You can have healthy relaxed hair if you use the right products and treat it right. Just like you can have very damaged natural hair if you mistreat it. And vice versa.

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  • @kallaye on twitter

    Next, maybe you guys could do an article that has suggestions on products, by name and brand, that would be useful and promotes healthy black hair. Great article!

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  • Lisa

    Actually, relaxed hair can be as healthy as natural hair. I'm relaxed and my hair is just as healthy as those with natural hair. Relaxed does NOT mean damaged. With the right care & products, why can't it be just as healthy?

    • Tammy

      no it’s weaker. So if the hair is weaker and you must do more to maintain strength to it, that means it’s not as healthy as natural hair. That doesn’t mean you can’t nourish the relaxed hair to it’s full potential for long hair growth, but the care for it must be done even moreso than on natural hair simply because it is WEAKER. If you are not a woman that LOVES to do her own hair because of busy schedules, it’s better to just wear natural hair, and if they choose to want straight hair, just wear a weave or wig over the natural hair. I’m saying this because it just kinda makes sense. If you notice the busier the woman is(if her hair is relaxed) the shorter her hair is because less time to properly care for it. Even celebrity women with relaxed hair suffer from this and they have hair stylist. But their lives are just much too busy to constantly be moisturizing and oiling and maintaining condition of their hair, so they end up with short hair.

      • Abc123

        Check out Shimagirl21 on YouTube. She uses relaxers. The proof is in the pudding. It would be impossible for her to retain that kind of length if her hair was “weak”. Relaxers aren’t our enemy. Most women don’t know how or when to use a relaxer, so relaxers get blamed for black women not having long hair. Knowing how to properly “stretch” a relaxer is the key. Nobody needs to relax their hair anymore than 3 times a year. Personally, I only do it twice a year…… and my hair is courser than anyone I’ve ever met. (Even Africans are astounded at how tight my curl pattern is.)
        I was a natural nazi for almost 3 years. I used to get on forums and post comments about how perms are the enemy, because that’s the bill of goods that I had been fed from other nazis. Then I started doing real research about afro-textured hair and what REALLY causes it to break. I’m no longer “natural”, but my hair is longer than it’s been in 4 decades and it’s only getting better.

        • Tammy

          You obviously didn’t read my comment so I’m not going to read all of yours. I will just say i never said you can’t grow long relaxed hair, i said it must be maintained more DELICATELY because of the nature of the hair. It is WEAKER because the H bonds on the hair have been broken to achieve a permanent straight look. So you have to ALWAYS care for it MUCH MORE than non-relaxed. You can still have long hair, but it needs to be cared for more.

          • Abc123

            Yes, I read your whole comment. Not a problem that you didn’t read all of mine. 😉 It’s a myth that natural hair requires less care than relaxed hair. BOTH need to be cared for equally as much. There are plenty of naturals out there that did the big chop 5 years ago and still can’t retain length past their collar bone.

            I don’t have anything against natural hair. I think it’s gorgeous, but it’s not without it’s unique challenges. Breakage is just as much a problem with natural hair as it is with relaxed hair (if not more so), due to tangles and knots. Also what some naturals consider “protective styles” are nothing but.

            Relaxers get a bad wrap because most women don’t know how or when to use a relaxer. They think that just because their beautician is okay with giving them a relaxer every 6 to 8 weeks, then it must be okay. Nobody needs to get a relaxer that often, but many women do because they don’t know how to care for their hair between relaxers. You can get a relaxer just 2 or 3 times a year with minimal breakage if you know how to take care of it properly…. and still look great in the process.

            Oh, the memories. You remind me of how I was a few years ago. I was on these comment boards saying the same thing that you are. I used the “breaking bonds” argument plenty of times myself. (It made me feel really smart!) Yet I knew girls with relaxed hair who had longer and healthier hair than I did. So I did some digging to find out what the REAL enemies were. Now my hair is longer and healthier than it’s been in over 40 years…. and I relax my hair twice a year in January and July.

            I love the way natural hair looks and I hope this movement sticks around, but ladies need to know that going natural isn’t necessarily going to make it easier to cultivate a great head of hair. There is an equal amount of work and dedication required whether a woman is natural or relaxed. ESPECIALLY if they are trying to retain length. If retaining length isn’t important, then I might agree with you. But if an AA woman wants hair that’s healthy AND long, she’s got some work to do…. relaxer or not.

            I’ll let you have the last word, because if you’re anything like I was a few years ago, you won’t have it any other way.

            • Tammy

              Only reason a woman with natural hair has breakage is because there is LITTLE information and products geared towards Afro hair texture, so it’s a journey trying to figure out how to do your own hair since this culture was stripped from many blacks all over the world for over 500yrs. So you can’t compare the 2. I know myself when I found out how to care for my natural hair (it took about 4yrs) but it thrived and grew very long. While the relaxed or straight hair I had as a girl(around 13yrs old and younger) didn’t get any longer. And My mom tried ALL the products on the market. They just weren’t working. You don’t have to “Figure out” straight hair, but you DO have to figure out natural hair only because it is NOT promoted or shown often on how to care for it as much as relaxed hair. And if you don’t believe that then you are living in a bubble. It’s’ obvious that relaxed hair management is more common than natural hair(especially type 4’s) management.. I’m done with this because I have a feeling your responses are out of ignorance and not out of experience. IT’s pointless

              • Abc123

                Natural women have breakage for the same reasons relaxed women have breakage:
                (1) Lack of knowledge of how to take care of their hair.
                (2) The misuse of products.
                (Unless they have a health problem).
                If that were not the case, then naturals would be the only ones with beautiful hair or vise versa. We all know naturals with butt-length hair and we all know relaxed women with butt-length hair. Maybe, just maybe, they learned how to take care of it.

                • Junie

                  You’re absolutely correct

            • Natural Kinky Curly Marie

              PREACH! Glad you educated yourself and came to your senses (not a sheep anymore). Back then, you were only following all the hype & propaganda that the Natural Hair Extremists, Natural Haircare Companies and Bloggers (who profit from incentives paid by these companies) were feeding the online community. You now know better. There are many Relaxed hair beauties with long mid-back, waist-length and tailbone-length healthy relaxed hair; who share their Healthy Hair Journey on Youtube. They use proper maintenance & care, products that work well with their hair, stay away from excessive heat and only Relax 3 times a year (avoid over-processing [bone-straight]) followed by good protein treatments.

  • Jael Knows Better

    Actually it's a fact that relaxed hair isn't and can't be as healthy as healthy natural hair lmao..

    That's factual; period, point blank; the chemicals in a relaxer have the power to burn through aluminum, why would you believe that your hair relaxed could be as healthy as a woman with natural hair that grows healthily and is treated with natural products..? It's not even logical aha.. Whoever wrote this, FAIL.

    • Stephanie

      Seems like some people will insist on believing a myth no matter what…

    • Alli

      I totally agree Jael.

    • Natural Kinky Curly Marie

      Tell that to the Relaxed beauties who have long & strong mid-back length, waist-length and tailbone-length healthy Relaxed hair. Some share their Healthy Hair Journey on Youtube. They use proper maintenance & care, products that work well with their hair, avoid excessive heat and ONLY Relax 3 times a year followed by good protein treatments. A relaxer is definitely NOT for everyone, but many who know what they’re doing; and know how to properly use them (by avoiding over-processing [bone-straight]) have hair that is thriving better than some Naturals who haven’t mastered proper care & maintenance and length retention. It’s a hard pill to swallow for those who are Anti-Relaxer.

      I love natural hair, but have no problem with women doing what they choose with their hair. As long as the Focus is on healthy habits and practices whether the Hair is Relaxed or Natural.

  • Thak you so much for this post, A lot of us need this!

  • bad m*tha f*cka

    Don't know why U bother. Blacks will still look to eurocentric standards of beauty, because they're too lazy and unmotivated to seek their own truths about their own identity. They'd rather let the white man tell them what he wants them to know and take that as truth. And the cycle continues………and so goes on the "struggle"………..yeah¿?

    • jacques dilingrad

      They dont because if they do they'll lose their jobs and it's hard when you have eurocentric texts books and when we whites have all the higher jobs and make what standard looks you need to have a job, stop being a idiot people like you make whites look bad you savage

      • African American

        okay i am going to try and make this nice but there is no promises . this post was about hair and not about race or jobs. this post was very good and for a woman of the African american and native american race that well that mean a lot.

    • Mel Davis

      Well you shut the hell up you know nothing about black women and their her as your ignorant ill-informed comments show. Black women have NEVER been lazy with their hair out of all ethnicity’s they take the most care of their hair and have the most well-groomed hair. Even if you say, we stick to ‘eurocentric standards of beauty’ as you put it that takes WORK to relax or straighten is a lot of effort and furthermore, black women have been frustrated by the lack of understanding from ignorants like yourself over their hair. A black woman can be politicized and bullied and made fun of  if she chooses to wear her hair natural. Before you criticize look at the black women who are reclaiming their right not to have straightened hair but are wearing their afro’s huge and proud. I hate people like you who generalize and don’t know what the f*** you’re on about

  • It would be great to see an article of African-American owned hair products or organic options that wo/men can consider. In this way they may at least make an informed decision of who really has their best interests at heart. I like this article because it takes the steps of at least informing even a portion of the black community. The only thing that is left is for anyone who reads this to share it with others either electronically, by word of mouth or by incorporating it into their own actions which could draw others to ask questions of "Girl, how did your get your hair like that?" Keep planting seeds.

  • hairlista86

    AWESOME POST!! There are so many myths about our hair that need to be dispelled. Thank you for taking the time to tackle some of the most prominent ones!