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September 5, 2011

Commentary: In Defense of My Relaxer

In Defense of My Relaxer…

Lately there seems to be article after article and blog post after blog post about the phenomenon of natural black hair; from what defines natural to people’s interest in touching it.  I am often asked: Why do you still relax your hair?  My answer: Because I want to. 

Recently I’ve felt under attack because I’ve chosen to continue to relax my hair.  For me, my relaxed hair is natural.  I didn’t make the decision to get my first relaxer, my mom did.  She hated doing my hair and said a relaxer made it easier.  When I was 12, I remember sitting in the kitchen while my scalp was on fire.  Since then like many of you, I’ve gotten more than my share of scalp burns.  I’ve even had my hairline burned clear off, but continue to relax my hair because I want to. 

I take care of my hair, wash it, condition it, trim it, moisturize it and don't over-relax. I don’t relax because I’m ashamed of my natural hair or because it’s socially acceptable.  I live in New York where just about everything is socially acceptable.  I relax my hair because I want to. 

I don’t have an issue with women who choose not to relax their hair, just like I have nothing against women who choose to wear wigs and weaves.  I have friends with dreads, sister locs, braids, twists, afros, short naturals, long naturals, wig wearers, weave masters, no hair– they run the gamut.  I never once thought or said – Girl why don’t you just get a relaxer?  I sometimes question the styling, not the texture.  Yet, constantly I’m asked when I am going to give up the relaxer.  Everything is not for everybody.  I relax my hair because I want to.

Its been said that natural hair is growing in popularity because there are more teaching resources thanks to the YouTube, natural hair bloggers and product lines like Carols Daughter, Hair Rules, Oyin Handmade, Miss Jessies, etc.  I’ve used these same resources for my own relaxed hair.  For every natural hair video/blog/product, I can find one for relaxed hair or weaves or braids.  There will always be women who relax and women who don’t. There is something out there for everyone, you just have to find what works for you and be the best you with whatever you choose.  I like my hair relaxed.  If I ever decide to give up my relaxer, I’ll let you know, but for now, I’m off to the salon for a touch up, it’s been 8 weeks.

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  1. Well said! Beauty is a matter of personal preference. What's good for me may not be good for you, or vice versa. I face this everyday when clients say, "Well you're the expert! You tell me what I should do." I often reply, "It's your face. It's your choice. You have to be happy with it." Bottom line: When you want an opinion, you'll ask for one. Until then, people should mind their own business and follow their own beauty routines.

  2. Girl I will not give up my relaxer, I will not give up my perm, I will not give up my hairdresser, I WILL NOT. It is no need for me to defend my relaxer because it's not on trial. As long as my legs can get me to the hairdresser every 8 wks or get me to the store to buy my wig. I'm good! I totally agree with Jenni comments. So true - Apryll