After 4 Years, I want to go back to Relaxers

March 2016When I started my natural hair journey, I was pregnant with my daughter. My decision didn’t have much to do with my pregnancy. I decided to go natural before I even knew I was pregnant. My reason to stop relaxing my hair was simple. I felt like my last relaxer left my hair feeling thin and damaged, and I wanted a future with edges. That was all.

A few months after that decision, I decided to do the big chop. It was awesome, especially since I was about 5 months pregnant and it was summer.  There is nothing like the ease of a super short hairstyle when you are tired, hot, and pregnant. My decision to chop my hair off felt liberating.

I declared I would never turn back.

A year later, I chopped my hair off again after a bad experience with a hair stylist that left my hair pretty damaged. That second chop was no biggie. I felt like the length of my hair didn’t matter much at that point, so despite my frustration with the damage done to my hair, I chopped it with ease and life went on.

Read: 5 Things People Think When You Big Chop

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Now it’s been 3 years since that second chop and I am having serious doubts about this natural hair journey. I even have days where the thought of relaxing my hair again comes to mind. I never thought those thoughts would resurface. I mean, I am natural and proud. I love my thick coils. My 3-year old daughter loves my coils.

Why would I disrupt all of this hair-loving energy with a relaxer?

Why? Because I hate doing my hair.

I have always hated styling my hair. When I had a relaxer, I was a wrap and go kind of girl. I rarely used curling irons or flat irons. I rarely did anything fancy unless I had someplace special to go. And when the wrap and go wasn’t looking great, I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and threw on some lip-gloss—leaving me ready to take on the world.

I miss how simple it was to take care of my hair back then.

You see, caring for my thick coils takes up A LOT of my time. Time that I really don’t have to spare.  And even if I did have the time, I still don’t think I’d want to spend it on my hair. I’d much rather read a book, take a kickboxing class, or catch up on episodes of Scandal. Doing my hair just isn’t a priority. I don’t think it ever will be.

So here I am, with damaged hair again, and this time, I don’t have a stylist to blame. I am the culprit. I haven’t been taking the best care of these coils. I’ve been falling asleep without even giving my hair a second thought, only to wake up with hair that looks dry and neglected. My hair is probably pissed off at me right now, and rightfully so. I’ve abused it knowing that it deserves so much better.

And don’t get me wrong, I love my natural hair. I love all my coils. I love my edges (boy, do I love my edges). With so much love for my hair, the idea of getting another relaxer scares the mess out of me. What if it damages my hair again? What if it messes up my sensitive scalp? What if it damages my daughter’s perception of her own hair?  So many concerns to consider.

Read: How I Re-Grew My Edges

So what’s next? Right now I have a protective style that I love. These crochet braids are allowing my hair and scalp to rest, and they are also giving me the time I need to think. With each passing day, the thought of a relaxer seems less and less likely. Despite my frustrations with my growing, natural hair, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Talk about taking the hair abuse to another level. I love my hair too much for that.

After 4 Years, I am Considering a RelaxerBut I can’t tell you that I have what it takes to take care of long, natural hair in the way that it needs to be taken care of. Especially not long, natural hair that happens to be extremely dry (I could put a bottle of oil in my hair and it wouldn’t even look oily the next day).  

With a relaxer seeming unlikely, and healthy, long hair feeling like a long shot, I think another short do might be in my future. I can honestly say that the best part about going natural has been my ability to let go of my attachment to the length of my hair. I still like how I look with long hair, but I can rock a short look with confidence, too. That makes me smile.

So although I’ve been tempted by how easy it was to style my relaxed hair, I just don’t think I am tempted enough to go down that road again. Having natural hair is a lot of work, but I have come to find that easy route is often the most damaging one. Sometimes the things we need the most require us to put in some extra effort—or get a cut and rock a short do if the extra effort isn’t working for us.

Bio

Martine Foreman is a lifestyle and relationship expert who is dedicated to helping women create healthier, happier lives. Through her lifestyle blog, candidbelle.com, Martine shares impactful content that inspires women to take action so they can create lives they love.  Martine is also a contributor to blackandmarriedwithkids.com and madamenoire.com.

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21 thoughts on “After 4 Years, I want to go back to Relaxers

  1. Pingback: After 4 Years, I want to go back to Relaxers - find-a-black-salon.com

  2. Marsha Gordon

    I truly feel you and understand. I have been natural since September 2006, I started with locs and kept those until April 2014. At that time my mobility became an issue and I couldn’t take care of my hair the way it should be nourished. I did a big chop, my locs had grown to the middle of my back…I just rocked a nice fro. Fast forward to today with a huge fro and still find it tiring to take care of my hair properly and have been thinking about going back to relaxers.

    Reply
      1. Lakythia

        If you get your hair straightened once a week. In my case once every two weeks and wrap your hsir it will not need a relaxer.

  3. dee wright

    What helped me on my natural hair journey is finding my Hair-o or someone who’s hair is similar in type and length and I copy their styles whenever i can. In my short to mid length stage I prepared many topknots. I wore them to work , weddings , everywhere. Topknots once you get the hang of them take less than 10 mins to do. I follow my hairos on instagram, since they tend to post new styles. I have really dry hair , but once I made my moisturizer (Kimmay tube leave-in) styling my hair became easier. Box braids are my go to now that my hair is really long and I stay in the gym.

    Reply
  4. Reese

    Great article and I appreciate your honesty.

    I am 27 years old. I’ve been getting relaxers since I was 8-9. My mother gave me the store bought ones until one birthday my aunts paid for me to have it professionally done. I have never looked back.

    I had more hair at 4 than most had at age 10. I hated it. The pain I went through on wash day. The immense amount of products my mom had to use before even beginning any styling. The hours of blow drying and then braiding. I was miserable. My mom did take excellent care of my hair… But it left a huge dent on my feelings for ‘natural’ hair. I’ve only had one major cut and that was due to me stretching my relaxer and I damaged my hair in the process due to my inexperience.

    There was a small time I thought about going natural. And have friends that have. I’m happy they are happy and that they do them. But that’s not what I want… I love my relaxed hair and the flexibility it gives me. And I don’t feel like my hair is the master. And I have fully recovered my length from the cut I had two years ago.

    At the end of the day… Do you. If natural is your thing, keep at it. If relaxing is what you wanna go back to… That’s cool too. But no one way is the absolute best way… We have to decide what’s best for us.

    😁

    Reply
  5. Ceme

    We have all been where you are now. Congrats on the beautiful baby. I’ve been natural for 21 years, tried locs, never liked braids or wigs. Was super short, let it grow out, cut, regrow. Since 2012 I’ve only trimmed, I’m 50 now, so I really want no fuss hair. When I want straight hair I go have my hair blown out and trimmed, then after about a week of wrapping my hair, bumping my ends, etc, I’m sick of the long straight hair so I wash and deep condition and keep it going. My hair is shoulder length and I have 3b/c curls. I have an everyday routine, water spritz or shower rinse, some leave in conditioner, and sweet almond oil, fingers run through my hair and I’m out, no fuss. Try that or something for a bit before going back to relaxed. We all need some me time so maybe pick a 1/2 day of the week to just dedicate to your and your hair. In the end, you will decide, but remember hair will grow back, so if you perm, you can always big chop and go natural. For years I had a barber (yup, $7 haircut at the barbershop with a $5 tip because sistergirl was the only lady barber in that man’s shop and she was the best), 15 minutes in/out, those was the days. Every morning was a no fuss hair day – wash, condition while in shower, some oil when I got out, was dressed and ready for work in record time … back then I fussed over makeup ;o) Take care of yourself.

    Reply
  6. Nyisha

    Greetings Ladies…I have been natural for a couple of years because I HATED the process of getting relaxers. But I feel the same way you do in regards to hairstyling not being a priority so I blow out my hair everytime…amazingly I still have a curl pattern but not as tight as it could be. In the winter months, blowing it out works for me because I can wrap it and go…as if I have a relaxer. It usually stays for about 2-3 weeks…and I weave it up in the hot months…thats been my plan for 3+years

    Reply
  7. Lyndsay

    What if you tried getting a Keratin Smoothing treatment, but you go down the relaxer road. You wouldn’t be losing your curl pattern completely. It will be looser- so easy to blowdry and flat iron and it maintains straight until you wash it again. You might in the morning pass a flat iron at the root area if your like me and sweat at night. Just something to think about, especially if your not 100% sure you want to fully commit to doing a relaxer you would have the best of both worlds.

    Reply
  8. Cheryl Davis

    I understand how you feel about all of the work involved caring for natural hair. I’m on the fence about it, but I finally decided to just to continue to tex lax. I use the relaxer only twice a year on 3c 4a hair. This way I can still have some curls and blow out straight when I want. My routine is wash and condition with Miss Jessie’s, deep condition with L’Oreal protein using a heating cap (twice a month) rinse and add coconut oil, comb out and air dry. Once dry, if I want to straighten, I use a heat protectant and Simply Straight heated brush and I’m good to go. This weekly routine takes about 45 minutes.

    Reply
  9. Celise Colston

    I stopped using relaxers because it was thinning out my hair. I like going natural and I want my hair to look like it is in the first pic you posted. Right now, my hair is like your second pic, but they’re twist-outs. Don’t think I’ll ever go back to chemicals.

    Reply
    1. LATOYA GRAHAM

      The lady that wrote this article should use Shea butters and mango butters that will handle the dryness. Not that processed stuff but real and natural. I use black is beautiful from http://www.bglh-marketplace.com. They have products without all the crap. Plus it’s black owned. Now I also use Wen and my natural hair is the best. My hair smells good and it’s soft and Moisturised. I wish I would have keep my hair natural as a child, no telling how long it would be by now.

      Reply
  10. MissGina

    I’m a youngish natural thats been natural for 14 years and I’ve been where you are with the dryness and the lack of time. Let me tell you PRODUCTS make a world of difference. You have to get the products with the right PH balance for your water type in your home and for your hair strands. It is a process to find the right products, but once you do, the dryness will be no more and you will get more time back because your hair will be so easy and soft to style. Good Luck!

    Reply
  11. Denise

    1 word: sisterlocks!
    The easiest way to grow thick natural hair without the fuss of combing it or using products.
    I too dread taking care of my hair. Right after I got them, I threw away all my combs and products. And now after 2 years of sisterlocks, my only regret is not doing it sooner.

    Reply
  12. Christina

    Sounds like you have high porosity hair, which means it doesn’t hold product leaving it feeling dry. Try She’s Moisture line of products for high porosity hair. The website also has a porosity quiz that may help you confirm your level of porosity.

    Reply
  13. Lex

    I totally understand. Never was a relaxer person always wore it short. But when I let it grow it was the hardest thing to handle

    Reply
  14. Pingback: After 4 Years, I want to go back to Relaxers - BestDooz.com

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