Relaxed Hair Myths I Once Believed To Be True

Thoughtful African American girl with relaxed hairI will always remember the day of my first relaxer. I was in the seventh grade and one of the last girls in my grade who was still natural.

I had begged my mom to give me one for months and she wasn’t too thrilled about the idea. Each time I was turned down I grew a little bit sadder, but instead of giving up I just kept on pushing.

One Saturday before she went out to run errands she told me to make sure my hair was detangled because she needed “to figure out what she was going to do with it”. She then mumbled something about a relaxer and was out of the door.

My heart soared. It was finally my day! Sure enough, mom came home with a white “Just For Me” box in tow and that was the last I saw of my natural 4b hair.

I remember thinking that my hair would look so much longer because a flat iron couldn’t straighten hair the way a relaxer could; I was wrong, but not too disappointed in the end. Nothing could really kill my buzz that day.

Right after it was done my whole family wanted to go swimming in our backyard pool. I looked at my mother silently waiting to see what she’d say. “Go ahead; it’ll be fine” she said.

I thought nothing of the chlorine interacting with my newly relaxed hair. I just wanted to have fun. Symbolically enough, that was the start of a slew of hair ups and downs.


Your relaxed hair is no different from your natural in terms of caring for it is the first hair myth I really remember. Of course I’ve come across plenty more and each time I find out the truth I am shocked that I even believed the myth in the first place. Here are some of my favorites:

Water is your enemy.

Feeling the first droplets of rain or forgetting to tuck a couple of strands underneath my showercap used to be sure ways to send me into a blind panic. I didn’t ever go swimming and if I did I always made sure to keep dry from the waist up as an extra precaution.

Part of this was to preserve my hairstyle. The other part was because I truly believed water and relaxed hair didn’t go well together. Relaxers were not created to be wet too frequently and wash days were already pushing it.  Surely extra water would cause my hair to fall out?

Whatever stayed on my head would probably revert back to natural because relaxers could be washed out if your hair if exposed to too much water. I don’t know where I got my logic from, but obviously I now know that moisture is one of the healthiest things for your hair.

A good relaxer comes with a little burn.

Touch up day used to be a treat for the adrenaline junkie in me because it was on those days that the balance between just enough burn and too much was tested.

At some point I had decided that if you couldn’t feel the relaxer, it wasn’t working. And so I sat at my kitchen counter month after month trying to prove that I had a high pain tolerance all in the name of beauty.

Sometimes I got lucky and escaped scab free. On those other, unlucky, days I would just shrug it off as a casualty of war.

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About Ashleigh Nelson


I am Ashleigh Nelson a journalism student at Northwestern University and a part-time hair fanatic. My hair journey began at the beginning of my college career because I decided that it was time for me to finally learn how to gain and maintain healthy hair. The past two years have had ups and downs, but I have learned so much along the way. And now I am here to share my experiences and knowledge with everyone!

About Ashleigh Nelson


I am Ashleigh Nelson a journalism student at Northwestern University and a part-time hair fanatic. My hair journey began at the beginning of my college career because I decided that it was time for me to finally learn how to gain and maintain healthy hair. The past two years have had ups and downs, but I have learned so much along the way. And now I am here to share my experiences and knowledge with everyone!

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Gladiola RicolaGabrielle RobertsKarleen BrownsugaTia WilderJa'Torien Jones Recent comment authors
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Kyerra Dexter

Straight hair meant a beauty that i was incapable of reaching unless i burned my scalp with products or heat.

Panje Nambao

Treated hair was the ultimate and most efficient way to attain waist length…

Valerie Hills

That black women couldnt grow our hair past our shoulders

Rosetta QueenLyrix Coleman-Howard

That black hair couldn’t grow long

Sandra Bah Sandra Bah

That before relaxing your hair, your scalp and hair need to be dirty lool..it’s prevent burning

Ebonié Azore

LOL I heard that too

E Sherrel Lewis

Water was bad, straight hair was prettier.

Alyssa Ali Philip-Rose

Yes E Sherrel Lewis, water was evil lol.

L Denise Patterson

I know someone who used to believe in ,”growing dirt.”

Shafer Lewis

I relax my hair every 3 months and it grows well but seems to be dry all the time.
What can I do to stop the dry hair?

Esther Konsolo Mwansa

scalp yo hair with the products u have aleast 2 to 3 tyms a week

Janika LaNelle James

Keep it moisturized. Works well for relaxed and natural hair.

Shafer Lewis

What’s a good lotion for hair? I’m using motions now

Sunni Dae

i love design essentials nutriment rx but organic stimulants makes a good carrot moisturizer

Aisha Pearson

Water is bad.

Laquelle Higgs

Dirt grows yur hair……

Stacy-Ann Shreeves

Water is bad.. The more dirtier your hair, the more your hair grows.. You don’t wash your hair as often when you have braids or weave.. Perm your hair frequently

Sheryl Lowe

I try to give my hair a break from relaxer every 6 months or so I relax my re growth every 6-7 weeks … But every time I try to use a protective style the itching is really bad ..I feel like my scalps on fire .. It a circle I go in I’d love to grow the relaxer out completely but coz of that reason I always go back

Sheryl Lowe

Oh and yes hair needed to be dirty before relaxer

Prince Maxwell Ansong

btful pic

Heather Hubbard

That growing longer hair was impossible. Found out it was a myth once I took prenatal pills lol. That and my sisters all have mid to lower back length.

Connie Hale

You must get your hair trimmed each time you get a relaxer or your hair won’t grow long.

Shafer Lewis

Not with hair gress right

Shafer Lewis

Connie Hale so trim after I relax

Anaïs Seoyoung Bambara

With at water was a black woman’s enemy.

Belinda Gamu Mhike

I swore by grease.

Kathryn Wolfe

I believed that it would be too hard to go natural. It’s actually the same. Wrapping my stubborn hair is just as time consuming as putting it in a couple of braids to protect it through the night.

Raecene Malone

Can I relax my hair once per year and keep it healthy?

Diana Wilson

Yes! Look up YouTube videos about stretching relaxers and healthy relaxed hair journeys. Lots of info!

Raecene Malone

Thanks Diana

Lozette Clemons

Relaxed hair was cleaner titan

Lozette Clemons

Relaxed hair was cleaner than natural hair and dread locs were dirty. I learned that was a huge lie in middle school and the craziest thing believed. Plus if your hair wasn’t relaxed it would fall out. Even thoo had a bad relaxer that took my hair out to the scalp and still got relaxers after that because ofbad advice.

Manyalleng MrsKissogram Letsie

OMG the dirty itchy hair before a relaxer. How i used to toture my scalp, no wonder i had hail size dandruff flakes. I actually believed i was born with a scalp that was more dandruff prone when i wasn’t washing it or oiling properly.

Lisa Gill Hamilton

Don’t put water on your hair if its not “good hair” (3C to 1A hair type). From experience, ALL hair is good hair and water is the best moisturizer to prevent my 4B hair breakage!!!! Love my hair!

Rochelle Manuel

That water was the devil and if I wet are washed my hair to often I would need a relaxer sooner.

Ja'Torien Jones

@ Shafer Lewis me & my mother both used Olive Oil brand hair lotion on our relaxed hair. It makes hair very soft, shiny & manegable even when we “needed” a perm. Anyways I haven’t tried it on my newly natural hair yet.

Tia Wilder

Black women are supposed to wash their hair once a month.

Karleen Brownsuga

Hair should be shampoo as often as it is soil.

Gabrielle Roberts

Moisture comes from oil.

Gladiola Ricola

Love this. Common misconceptions I didn’t realize until way after the fact