“I Probably Would Have Kept My Relaxed Hair If It Was Not Breaking” – What My Friend Taught Me

woman with dark skinBack in 2007 I had a friend who decided to go natural because of thinning hair and her inability to retain length past her shoulders.

I witnessed her big chop, and all her frustrations that accompanied it. Like me, she had shoulder length relaxed hair and transitioned for a period of eight months. She swore she would hold onto her length, even if it took her years to grow out that relaxer.

After a few months of growing her hair out frustration set in when she experienced breakage and the complexity of trying to blend her natural and relaxed textures together. Determined to maintain all her length, buns, chignons, and up-dos became her best friends. When she got tired of these styles, she opted for a weave.

Unfortunately the weave was the straw that broke the camel’s back. You see; my friend was inexperienced in caring for a weave. As for me myself, I was only accustomed to maintaining my relaxer, so one day after so many tears and deep frustration, she decided to do the inevitable.

I accompanied her to the nearest salon and watched as she big chopped for the first time. At first, she was happy because according to her, the style was carefree. Gone were her days of having to blend textures and style the hair.

But she soon experienced dryness and styling challenges that neither one of us knew what to do about and she was not the one to run to the salon on a regular basis.

So, one day while perusing through the CVS isles, I spotted good ole’ S-Curl and Carefree Gold activators and thought they might help her out.


These two items helped tremendously with the moisture, but she also grew tired of her teeny-weeny fro. After three months of large earrings, bows, and other hair accessories she returned to the relaxer.

Now I took all of this in and swore I would never give up my relaxer for natural hair because it seemed like a big issue and I wasn’t ready for all of that.

Fast forward today I really wish I knew then what I know now, but the truth is that information on caring for natural hair in 2007 was very scarce.

Now, I’m not frowning down on relaxers. I feel each of us decides to go natural for a particular reason whether it may be due to health, thinning or baldness, severe scalp burns or just the love of the look.

My hair was thick even with a relaxer for years up until 2009 and it was frustrating when my hair grew past my shoulders but broke off. I eventually realized that the moment you get your first perm you are on borrowed time and if you do not know what you are doing you may never experience your length goals.

Despite that I often wonder after everything I have learned from my friend and my own experiences, if my hair had flourished with a relaxer, grew past my shoulders and remained thick would I have gone natural?

I must be honest and say, I probably would have kept my perm. My reason for going natural is because I began experiencing breakage and shedding and was unable to retain length. My hair was breaking as fast as it grew. And let’s not even talk about the thinning.

So ladies be honest – Would you have continued relaxing your hair even if you hadn’t experienced difficulties?

About Veronica


Owner of Black Dymond Naturals, embracing my natural coils. My natural hair journey started in December 2011 when I decided against perming my hair. In April 2012 I did the big chop and Black Dymond Naturals was born. I utilize my home made recipes to strengthen and nourish my natural hair.

About Veronica


Owner of Black Dymond Naturals, embracing my natural coils. My natural hair journey started in December 2011 when I decided against perming my hair. In April 2012 I did the big chop and Black Dymond Naturals was born. I utilize my home made recipes to strengthen and nourish my natural hair.

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Deanna Merritt Ross

I would have gone natural anyway. I love the versatility!

Phoenix McGee

I can’t perm but I don’t see why not. I wear my hair straight because it’s easier for me to deal with, save for the summer when I sweat it out. If I could keep straight, healthy hair all year with a perm I would.

It’s all personal choice, savvy?

Jennifer Price

And I’d love to try natural, but since my hair is healthy with a relaxer, I don’t want to tamper with what I know how to handle

Shar Smith

My hair was healthy. I chose to go natural because I needed to accept the part of me that is considered unattractive…. I love my natural hair and when I want to go long periods of time straight I wear a weave.

Toria

great article. I’m in the middle of that debate! About to relax again but my hairs breaking & too short for good styles!

ItsMizz Jay Birdy

I stop doing perms for that fact too many women of color are losing hair and getting cancer from not just the scalp but out the skull as well. When transitioning you learn alot

Jenny JackJack

Girl stop with the misinformation , relaxer isn’t causing ladies to get cancer in the skull or scalp . Just say you want to be natural and don’t make false claims to support it.

ItsMizz Jay Birdy

Ok facebook thug 1st off it was a question nothing to back up honey. 2nd ive been natural to perm n back to natural. 3rd clearly you are one of those ppl who use yhing without doing your homework. 4 th I can back up my claim ill make it easier for you research Dr.Miracles and ask your self humm why arent ingredients on the boxes of all products then I want you to find articles of ppl who have done lawsuites behind what I just said look before you speak

Hannah Okorafor

You mean black woman issue, what other race is doing so much to their hair like us?

It’s not a dis, it’s just we love to include people in our spaces, when their not involved that’s just my take.

Peace!

ItsMizz Jay Birdy

I agree we stress our hair alot to each is own but the things I find out I love to share

Noell Piersawl

There are white women who struggle with their curly hair too…

Amanda Bradley

You can’t honestly think that something that can eat away flesh is healthy to sit on top of you skull where your brain lays beneath please tell me you aren’t that much in denial if you want to relax that’s fine your grown but don’t tear down ppl for stating or posting scientific common sense ijs

ItsMizz Jay Birdy

Thanks Amanda if I worried abt ppl lik tht my world wud crash loving your last name same as mines great minds think alike

Jenny JackJack

Said the lady with a head full of weave …okay Amanda lol. This thesis about relaxers eating away at the skull is the dumbest comment that I ever read. I’m going to keep swinging my long relaxed hair and healthy scalp off this post. Enjoy those kinks.

Ebony Pettway

Y’all ridiculous. Lol!!!!

Amanda Bradley

Jenny JackJack and I will continue to swing my middle back length NATURAL LIVING hair bitch your hair is burnt and dead to achieve that look let’s be honest the truth is just a click away but whatever helps your self esteem and helps you sleep at night…why would I spend the amount of money on Malaysian hair to have the same end result as my own damn hair tfoh the coonery is real

Mackenzie Monet

No. I was taught to hate my hair in it’s unrelaxed state and I wanted to break away from that. I didn’t want to conform to someone else’s standard of beauty. Sometimes all the work my 4C hair puts me through annoys my life, but even if I had healthy, relaxed hair .. I still would have made this decision. Rocking my TWA as we speak. 🙂

Jenny JackJack

I’ve been relaxed almost 23 years with long healthy hair and I have no plans on going natural.

Lacey Mendez

I tried going natural for a year and my hair broke more!

Sarah Starr

Amen! It’s all about who relaxes ur hair & after care!

Mia Eubanks

Your hair is super pretty. If I knew how to maintain relaxed hair, I’d still have it.

Jenny JackJack

Thanks Mia , if you ever want to get a relaxer again then go for it. There are several relaxed hair groups on Facebook to get support and build a good regimen with. It is very possible to have healthy relaxed hair.

Vedejah Scroggins

My mom is that way she after perming all her life she tried natural and it broke so so so bad so she went back to perming mine is the exact opposite and I couldn’t perm anymore you gotta do what’s best for you and your own hair is what I say nothing wrong with a perm or press as long as it’s best for you

Dabney Ross Jones

No. The harsh chemicals are linked to fibroids. I like the versatility of natural hair too.

Jenny JackJack

I hope you are aware that women with natural hair (including all races) develop fibroids as well.

Tk Tatum Richey

Shes not she watched hidden colors lmao and believed everything

Jenny JackJack

I think naturals will believe anything In order to support their decisions! Deep down inside many don’t want to be natural so they come up with lame reasons to why they made the choice. Just say you jumped on the bandwagon and can’t get off lol

Vedejah Scroggins

I would have because my hair would grow I’ve always pressed and permed my hair has always grown down my back every since I was a little girl but when I hit 20 i dont know what happened I feel it was a bad combination everything I had terrible hair stylist, I needed to change the way I was takin care of it and didn’t know how, birth control, stressing over college, everything so I had like what 10 inch long hair with like one and two inch patches all over it I had to cut it or look a mess I cut it into a pixie still perming it it grew back out but I had an awful hairdresser (not going into that) so I decided I won’t be going back so that was the end of perming it yes I could go to someone else but I didn’t what stopped the breakage is a keratin treatment and the stylist that did it is natural and her hair is so beautiful from seeing her hair all the way down her back I decided I’m going to give this natural hair a year and see how it goes it’s been a month almost two I’ve cut literally about 5 or 6 inches off and my hair has exploded the thickness is thicker than it’s ever been and it’s grown a lot even with me continually cutting it the only thing is I haven’t figured out how to style and keep it moisturized but so far I’m loving it

Dee Dee Martin

I never had perm or relaxed.

Coa Luck-Spicy

I went natural and I had healthy relaxed hair so Idk

MrsAshley Dunn

I have not relax my hair bout 8 months I found out y my hair wasn’t growing since I been going natural my hair is more stronger n healthy n thick too it a process to keep up tho but I love it no more relaxers for me #teamnatural

Ebony Rivers

I may have eventually gone natural but I don’t think I would have at the time I did had it not have been for the fact that my hair started to thin at the top of my head.

Keys Material

Me too. But I’m so glad it started breaking. Being naturally me is liberating.

Layemi Morgan

I think natural hair just looks better

MrsTracy Adams Franklin

Mine was very healthy (as healthy as chemically treated hair can be) but I felt compelled to go back to my natural state.

Jami Sokolgz

Love the versatility of my natural hair and feeling of self acceptance of my hair has been a long time in the making. Besides the last relaxer I had was an epic fail in 2010. I can truly say that I’ll never go back to relaxed hair.

Danielle Mash

No. I had no problems with having a perm. My friend was going natural and after she explained why (chemicals) i decided to do the same. Yes it’s a lot of work but i would never go back. I love the versatility.

Shaketta Shannel Singleton

Relaxer doesn’t break hair or cause it to stop growing and being healthy.
Professionals who don’t follow proper application processes , who don’t teach their clients how to care for their relaxed hair , and clients that don’t follow proper care regimens are what cause unhealthy hair.

Rivian Jones

Please educate these silly women.

Jenny JackJack

That’s the truth!

Jenny JackJack

I’ve had a relaxer for 2 decades. I have no scalp or hair problems, and I properly apply the relaxer myself. My hair touches my butt when flat ironed. These naturals kill me with all their excuses .

LaShonda Coleman-Dailey

Especially the regurgitated, cliché remarks about not loving yourself if you choose to relax. There are way too many reasons a person could choose to relax, so we should celebrate being able to wear it however we decide to, not tear down the next woman for her personal choice.

Gladiola Ricola

Ur right. I knew nothing about hair care when i was relaxed. If i was relaxed now im sure it wouldbe totally different

Gladiola Ricola

@jenny what is your hair care regimen? I never learned how to care for relaxed hair

Shawnyell Joy Backus

I’m only going natural cause my hair was breaking from using relaxers. If my hair was still healthy using relaxers like before, I would still have stay. That’s my choice!

Rivian Jones

These articles just keep getting dumber and dumber. @BlackHairInfo.com you know what your doing by posting these stupid articles. I don’t blame the puppets but the puppet master.

Cheryl Williams

My hair was very healthy and long when I lived in Tampa and had my hair appointments every two weeks. When I moved back to Tallahassee it was a different story so I went natural

Greene Kenya

I went natural when I was a kid when I hit my teen years I relax my hair again since I dont have no one to braid my hair. Now as adult I just quit the crack for good for my hair and went natural my hair grows well with braids I dont like weaves it will not last.

Kiki Drake

Yes, but I’m back to relaxed now

Tanya Hasmovedon Betton

Yes

Rose Belle

I have a very thin hair when it’s straight but I still had length plus the perm dried my scalp. My dandruff was so bad. I went back natural and love it cause I know how to manage it now. I still flat iron my hair sometimes, you’ll think I have a perm still.

Ladye Eden

I mean NOW we as naturals know how we should have taken care of our permed and relaxed hair
So if we new of course we would
But now as we are being natural and know about the dangers of perming, how much healthier our hair is while chemically unaltered, and the versatility of it
Why would we even

Mercy Chioma Umeizudike

Before going natural, I didn’t even know that natural hair was a thing. I’d been relaxing my hair my whole life (since I was 4). I stopped relaxing my hair because it was falling off (from the roots) and relaxers gave me occasional migranes, burns and discoloration. Part of the reason I think is the climate in America or the fact that it wasn’t professionally done, like I always did in Nigeria. Fortunately, I stumbled upon My Natural Sistas on YouTube and I was convinced to go natural. Now I’m two years natural and I’m loving it. I’m never relaxing my hair. No more hair falling out, no migranes and no discoloration. Natural is the beautiful and healthy way to go. And very affordable too.

Joycelyn Cannon

I probably would have stayed relaxed if I didn’t have the chronic scalp issues, breakage, perm scabs, shedding, and maintenance that relaxers gave me. Being natural was liberating for me 🙂

Adrianne N Shawntego McCreary

I went natural because I was still young (17) and didn’t want my hair to fall out PLUS receding hairline runs int moms family so honestly I felt it would just increase the chances of my hair falling out. My forehead is big enough I don’t need that stress. And since my moms gone natural her hairline is actually getting healthier. It’ll never be like it was when she was 16 but it looks healthier for sure!

Sharii Russell

#Teamnaturalanyway#

Amanda Bradley

It was simply a question…if your relaxed why comment it ask would you have continued meaning your no longer relaxed I.e (your natural) reading comprehension is fucking fundamental and furthermore You can’t honestly think that something that can eat away flesh is healthy to sit on top of you skull where your brain lays beneath please tell me you aren’t that much in denial if you want to relax that’s fine your grown but don’t tear down ppl for stating or posting scientific common sense ijs

Amanda Bradley

I only see relaxed sisters on here or women you for theost part only wear weave disgruntled or abrasive everyone else simply answers the damn question lol

Cha LaBranche

My hair was healthy while permed I just wanted a change n my natural hair is healthy too

Melissa Juanita

my hair was actually healthy while relaxed. I have many reasons why I chose to BC and go back to Natural… breakage or slow growth wasn’t one.

Jelann LtRipley Mitchner

Here we go with this long standing battle of relaxed vs natural! @blackhairinfo.com just stop let us women of color decide how we CHOOSE to wear our hair! These are articles just incite more nonsense!

Sarah Starr

Great read! I stopped relaxing two years ago but still just maintain by wash & sets at the salon & my hair still grows! I wanted to transition without chopping!

Zita Vigier

Most likely but it wasn’t so I went natural and that’s when it started growing but now it’s stagnant again

Cb Sampson

NO TIRED OF APPLYING CHEMICALS TO MY HEAD FOR NO GOOD REASON MY HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL NATURAL AND I CAN ALWAYS STRAIGHTEN IT IF I WANT THE RELAXED LOOK

Sandra Haynie

Nothing against perms. I have for years. Now I’m natural about four and a half years and I love it . They both have a good day and bad days I have gotten it blowed out it looks good that way also

Akahana Torres

My hair was long and healthy . I stopped relaxing because I loved myself and wanted to really do something that I could see and be proud of. I really wanted my afro I’m so happy I took the time and step to big chop and patiently grow and journey

Mia Eubanks

Yes

Jai Momon

Nope, but when my hair was relaxed it was healthy and long. I just wanted a change. Won’t ever relax my hair again.

Avila Delinda

Yes I would relax my hair if my hair did not come out from the roots and was down the drain after applying a relaxer for just 3 mins..I would like the ease of everyday style and just being care free also more cost effective being able to use less product and less maintenance.

Akisha Vs Kesh

Yep, I knew I never wanted to relax my daughter’s hair. So I had to show them that the hair you were born with is beautiful so I had to set an example through myself!

Lorrenette Herring

Yes

Chynelle Washington

I just permed my hair 3 weeks ago after being natural for 3 years. I didn’t know how to take care of my hair before when it was relaxed and it was breaking off. So I had decided to go natural. 3 years later, I know what my hair needs and how to tweek my regimen for my relaxed hair now. I decided to go back to relaxed because it’s slightly easier for me to take care of because of my busy life. It’s not because I didn’t love my natural hair. I love my natural hair. I just don’t have time to properly take care of it like I should and my lifestyle changes.

Natasha Hector Richardson

Phytospecific relaxer index 1,its awesome but a bit pricey.I tried it 2 weeks ago and it didn’t take all my curls out and my hair is so much softer and manageable.

Chynelle Washington

I did the same thing. My hair isn’t completely straight but it’s easier for me to manage it. I’m in school, work and run track so staying natural would have been very hard for me to do.

Lee Anna Easter-BerklinGaynor

No!!!!

Ashley Blue

Probably so but I’m thankful to have strong healthy hair now. I will never go back to the nasty chemicals