Back 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?