All Articles Tagged "relaxed"
Team Natural or Team Relaxed? What started out as women cheerfully showing pride in their locks has turned into another divisive tool amongst women of color. Last week I wrote two articles for Madame Noire; the first article was about having realistic expectations for natural hair, which sparked a nice conversation amongst women with different textures and how they were learning to work with their hair. The next day my article was posted on how to wear a good weave on a budget, and boy oh boy, did I cause a firestorm on the Facebook page. Almost immediately someone asked why we weren’t encouraging women to wear their real hair. And thus it began a mini comment battle between women who enjoy wearing extensions and relaxers and women who enjoy toting natural hair. No one realized that the author (me, of course) giving advice on weaves was someone who had been natural for many years, just a day after providing tips for those with natural hair.
A few days later at the 2012 Met Gala, Solange Knowles hit the red carpet in a dazzling canary yellow Rachel Roy gown and a fluffy curly afro. Every other natural woman online was ohhing and ahhing while reposting her picture to their respective social media accounts. She looked beyond fabulous…with her wig on, but because it looked like a real afro, no one cared. And that should be an example of how contrite this schism between “team natural” and “team non-natural” is. While it’s great to have a support system when going natural, to bully others into feeling like they are less than or don’t love themselves because of how they choose to manage their own hair is foul. It’s also hypocritical when we are praising the natural hair “image” of celebrities who are really rocking weaves, but dogging out the real world women who wear them as well. Weaves can work as a great protective style that allow women to switch up their look and explore different looks without damaging their real hair (if done right of course). The key is to have healthy hair, not just natural hair.
And women who aren’t natural have played into the drama as well. There’s no need to be combative by spreading negative stereotypes of women who choose to wear their hair natural. There is nothing butch, boyish or dirty about natural hair, as it can be just as feminine and hot as any other hairstyle. Natural women can achieve the same lengths of “long hair don’t care” as those who are relaxed. And when it all comes down to it, in order to maintain and grow long healthy hair, whether relaxed or natural, we are following the same hair care standards. One of the most preeminent books that has shaped many of the natural hair gurus’ ideology was written by a woman with relaxed hair, Ultra Black Hair Growth by Cathy Howe. It details a hair care regimen for growing relaxed hair that is parallel to the regimen for natural hair. It’s really all just hair.
One of the most beautiful factors of being a woman of color is the versatility that exists among us. Black women are the most diverse group of women and our hair can do just about anything. Our hair is one way to show our versatility. Just as one should not dictate that a person should only wear her hair straight or tell someone they look manly and hard with natural hair, one shouldn’t dictate that everyone needs to be natural and that you are trying to be something you’re not if you choose not to. For some, that is just not a realistic expectation as this point. You should always respect the comfort levels of others, and that consideration carries over to hair.
Hair is an extension of ones self. Hair does not make the person. In fact, character and confidence can completely change the shape of a hairstyle. So let’s stop telling someone else how one should wear their hair, and stop trying to insult each other to make ourselves feel better. Let’s stop defining ourselves by the nature of our hair. Live freely and direct your energy into helping others build up their good character and confidence.
I’m beginning to think the whole “natural hair” movement is a well-disguised ploy to separate a black woman from her money.
It started with my hairstylist.
She’d been doing my hair for years and I even followed her to three salons. She would relax my hair, color it, trim it, and generally help me maintain the bone-straight look I enjoyed.
Almost two years ago, she moved to a new salon where the stylists did not put relaxers in clients’ hair and they were trained to discourage you from getting relaxers elsewhere. Predictably, she started talking to me about quitting my relaxers. I’d been wearing relaxed hair for 12 years at that point – ever since Aaliyah graced the cover of the “One In A Million” cassette tape – so I didn’t even take her suggestion seriously.
After much discussion, she finally convinced me to quit getting relaxers. She promised my hair would grow; I didn’t need the Big Chop; and I could still wear my hair bone-straight.
Intrigued, I began growing out my natural hair.
It has been a whole year since I stopped relaxing my hair. It’s been an interesting journey of sorts.
My first relaxer was at the age of 10, and every time I received a touch up since then, my scalp would burn. No matter how mild the perm was, no matter how short the time was that people tried to keep it in, I would still get burned. I was just extremely sensitive and would dread the whole relaxing process.
A lot of people ask me why I decided to stop putting perm in my hair; it’s actually a pretty sad story. Last year, I was rocking a very short haircut. I’ve been chopping my hair off since I was a sophomore in high school. Before I cut all my hair off I had long straight hair that went a little past my shoulders. My mom, like many mothers, was really against me cutting my hair at first. Maybe she thought I’d look less feminine, maybe not. But after enough persuading, and me agreeing to pay for it myself, she allowed me to chop it all off…or at least enough for a drastic difference.
I went through every short phase imaginable. When Rihanna got the asymmetrical bob, I got it too. Then she got a cool, short pixie cut. So did I. Halle Berry and Toni Braxton were my hair inspirations too, and because of them, my hair was a wide variety of lengths over the last four to five years. Having a short haircut was hard to maintain because I constantly had to get my hair trimmed. On top of that, it needed to be relaxed consistently to look neat. This was not good for a poor college student on a tight budget.
Spring is coming. It’s almost here! If you like to switch up your hair with the seasons, it’s about time to start looking for a fresh and funky look.
You know you want to make a change but maybe you need a bit of inspiration. Never fear the good people over at StyleBlazer.com have come up with some great options for you to consider.
Head right on over there to find your potential new look.
Do you like you switch up your hair styles for the warmer weather?
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Hola chicas! Dr. Phoenyx here and today we’re going to be chatting a little about similarities and differences in caring for relaxed vs. natural hair. Now contrary to popular belief, “caring” for relaxed hair is not that drastically different than caring for natural hair. And I can say this from personal experience. I’m a natural haired woman, and have been for over 6 years. But there was also a time when I had relaxed hair. Yes, it’s true that my natural hair doesn’t exactly “behave” the same as my relaxed hair did. For example, my natural hair responds differently to things like styling products, heat, and even water. But in the general sense, whether I was working with relaxed or natural hair, I made sure to follow certain basic principles- especially since my ultimate goal was to have long, healthy hair.
It seems these days that women are heading to the natural side of life, but there are some of us that still enjoy the sheen of a relaxer or the “creamy crack,” as some would call it, on our tresses. Solange Knowles, Chrisette Michele, Corinne Bailey Rae and others are singing kinky praises, leaving hair authorities catering to those styles only. Going natural is great, but we think there are great styles out there for women who have relaxed hair. A new fall season is here, style variety is dwindling, but don’t freak out. We have your back (or should we say, you hair?) when it comes to the hottest styles this season.