So you’re thinking of transforming your wonderfully curly and coily mane into shiny permanently straightened tresses. Good. For. You. Going back to the creamy crack is a personal decision that you’ve turned to because, well, you were struggling to work with your natural mane and now you want that swang-n’-bang life. Of course, with a permanent appearance change like going back to obtaining relaxers, there are a few important pros and cons to consider. Here are a few things you’ll come up against when trying to figure out whether or not to go back to being relaxed.
People will tell you their opinion.
You should already know some of your natural homegirls will try to change your mind or maybe even give disparaging advice. Expect them to react when you announce the news. Don’t listen to their guilt trips because you were probably the one who convinced them to go relaxer-free a mere 18 months ago. Realize they’ll shake their heads topped with puffy ‘crowns of hair’ in disapproval and shade you for embracing mainstream beauty at every opportunity. There will also probably be people who you didn’t know cared about your hair that will have something to add to the conversation. People like your nosy co-workers, who comment about the plethora of amazing hairstyle changes they “wish they could do,” will boldy ask if you installed a weave, or will whisper, “You didn’t get a relaxer did you?” when they notice you whip your hair back and forth for three minutes while standing in front of the microwave.
There are more product options and knowledge to obtain.
New technology means you get more choices in the chair at the salon and in the beauty supply store (and even the drug store chains) with relaxers and other straightening techniques. What I’m saying is, there are relaxing products other than ‘Super’ and ‘Super Plus’ to consider, and a better experience during the relaxing process. There is a larger variety of styling tools and products that preserve your hair while reducing the effects of heat damage from curling irons and flat irons. The bonus is, you get to enjoy the majority of your Saturday Wash Day because your roller wrap took a half hour to dry under the hair dryer and even less time than that to style. Another possible bonus is now that you know how your hair behaves with and without a relaxer, you know exactly how to care for it to keep it looking fresh. At least, I hope you do.
Well, you’ll get to fly under the radar.
Just think how free you will feel when no one stops you in the feminine care aisle of the Wal-Mart to demand the full list of product names, packaging colors and prices used on your Bantu knot out to make it look full and uniformly curled. Add to that how awesome it will be to never get awkward requests to touch your hair, or to have to Matrix your way out of attacks from overly ambitious folks consistently over-stepping the boundaries of personal space to get handsy with your hair.
Realize that a relaxer is a permanent change.
Hence the term ‘perm,’ short for ‘permanent.’ And you’ll have to understand—or be joyous, perhaps—that your summer time wash n’ go will never be as bouncy and full as the one you have now. And, you will likely need to adjust your hair regimen, since healthy hair will be even more of a priority because of the changes a relaxer makes in the bonds of the hair. On top of that, don’t forget about the money. If you enjoy the beauty shop experience, it’s going to hit your wallet. Going to a stylist every six to eight weeks adds up, and you’ll need to add that expense as a line item in your budget. And be aware that if you get a perm and then decide to go back to land of naturalistas, you probably will have to start over with a big chop (unless you let your hair grow out and cut the ends).
As with every decision, there are pros and cons to changing your look in a permanent way. However, it is your hair growing out of your head. Don’t let people sway your decision. You should look how you want, whether that’s a wash n’ go, roller set or a bone straight look—it’s your choice. Because you’re choosing to go back to being relaxed doesn’t mean your ‘fro wasn’t fantastic. Just do you with your ‘do.