With so many choices available, choosing how to wear your hair can become overwhelming. It can be overwhelming if you actually sit down and attempt to choose. Most people came to their current hairstyle by default.
How many times have you heard someone with long hair say, “I’ve always had long hair” or “My hair just grows fast, so I wear it long.” That’s a hairstyle by default. It’s not to say that there aren’t people who make a conscious choice to grow their hair long because people do, but that’s the exception and not the rule.
Likewise, many times when you see someone rocking a short cut, it’s because they have worn their hair short after having to make the best of a bad hair situation. Maybe their hair fell out, or they got a back haircut or they rebelled against their parents and then once the hair was short, they worked it into their lifestyle.
For the percentage of folks who actually sat down and intentionally came up with a hairstyle for themselves, I bet it wasn’t easy.
Nowadays, the main part of choosing how to wear your hair seem to begin with whether or not to chemically relax your hair. Natural hair has become so popular that many women are torn between what is considered old school (a relaxer) and the new found freedom of today (natural hair).
Even women who mainly wear weaves and wigs* often times don’t relax their hair underneath their extensions*. So, for those women who are considering relaxing their hair, below are the pros and cons of relaxed hair. Maybe seeing it laid out will help you make a more informed decision.
1. Easier to comb
One of the biggest pros of relaxed hair is probably why this method of black hair styling became so popular in the first place. It’s simply easier to comb a head of straightened hair than it is to comb a head full of curls and coils.
That’s a basic fact. It doesn’t mean that straight hair is better, but it is simply easier to get a comb through.
2. Relaxed hair is more socially acceptable in certain scenarios
This may ruffle a few feathers, but if you are working in corporate America, and you walk into a job interview with shoulder length, relaxed hair, that is combed into a perfect long bob, those who are in the position of offering you the job are usually more likely to respond favorably to straightened hair that looks similar to what their hair looks like, than they are to offer you the job if you are wearing a twist out. Is this right or fair? No. Is this true? Unfortunately, yes.
3. There is no detangling with relaxed hair
When you wash relaxed hair, you don’t have to detangle it. when you style relaxed hair, you don’t have to detangle it. When you deep condition relaxed hair, you don’t have to detangle it. You simply DO relaxed hair. There is very little prep involved with relaxed hair aside from prepping your scalp for the actual relaxer application.
4. It’s easier to find salons that accommodate relaxed hair
Natural hair has grown in popularity and many salons now offer services that cater to clients who wear their hair natural. Although that is the case, overall, most black hair salons still dedicate the bulk of their business to servicing a clientele that wears relaxed hair.
Relaxed hair is not perfect and there are down sides to wearing chemically relaxed hair.
1. Natural hair is healthier than relaxed hair
This another hard and fast fact that has nothing to do with good or bad. When a chemical relaxer is applied to the strands of your hair, the protein bonds of the hair are broken and the hair’s health is compromised to some extent.
Natural hair has not had its protein bonds broken if the hair has not otherwise been chemically altered. This means a very healthy head of hair.
2. Scalp issues are prevalent among those who wear their hair relaxed
The chemicals in the relaxer are often drying and can be harsh on the scalp and nearby skin. Even when applied with appropriate care and technique, relaxers often burn the scalp and disrupt the natural distribution of sebum on the scalp and along the shaft of the hair.
3. If you relax your hair, you will inevitably have to retouch the relaxer
This is time consuming and it can be costly if you visit a salon regularly to have it done. Natural hair does not require this type of continual treatment in order for you to enjoy the benefit of the hairstyle.
Touch ups are not something you can forego and so become a mandatory, and seemingly never-ending, part of wearing relaxed hair.
Relaxed hair has its place in the black hair community. It’s something that has been around for ages and isn’t likely to disappear. And as with most hair choices, it’s a matter of preference that has pros and cons.