Why Do Women Still Use Relaxers? – A Retailer’s Perspective

Fake relaxer boxLike McDonald’s with their healthy options menu, relaxer companies have made serious efforts at creating healthier scenarios around the chemical relaxer. For example, providing super, lye, or no lye options, adding protein and oils to their formula, providing strict instructions on conditioning within the kits or even providing a great conditioner for the hair and constantly improving the product to keep the hair as strong as possible.

With the facts now straight, there are some aesthetic benefits to having a relaxer, some of which our mystery relaxer company has cleverly outlined, worth mentioning.

1. Some women simply prefer straight hair

Instead of adding heat to the hair constantly to create a straight style it might be more practical to permanently straighten the hair using a relaxer. Most women who have made this choice find that their hair is much healthier because they avoid heat and they are able to maintain the style they prefer.

2. Style versatility

Much like natural hair, relaxed hair can provide many options when it comes to styling. It is much easier to do a roller set, rod set or any curly styles and switch back to straight with ease.

3. Relaxed hair can be healthy hair

There are countless examples of women with relaxed hair that have met and exceeded their healthy hair goals. They have learned the tricks of the trade and have used relaxers to their benefit. Healthy relaxed hair regimens, include consistent deep conditioning, stretching the relaxer, proper sealing techniques , trimming and protective styling

With that said the notion that natural hair is ‘not for everyone’ can be understood on the surface of conversation, however one could argue that what naturally comes from your scalp is for you whether you like it or not. Nature made it that way!

Choosing to relax is a style choice while wearing your hair in its natural state is ultimately who you are in the raw, no alteration, it isn’t a choice a trend or a style. Additionally there are no limitations, on style, lifestyle, career or health if you choose not to relax, black hair is versatile, no questions asked.

Still we must ask ourselves, in a market that seems to be dwindling if you were a relaxer company, how would you market your products effectively without sounding too desperate?

It isn’t easy, but if it were me I would focus my attempts at improving the product, I would continue to provide great instructions on how best to use the product, I would provide all the tools necessary to make the process easier and I would educate stylists and customers on how you could could still achieve healthy hair despite the harshness of the chemical.

Most importantly I would avoid at all costs comparing natural hair to relaxed hair because when you do that the water gets extra muddy, McDonalds never tried to prove that a Big Mac was healthy and they still make millions.

What are your thoughts on the letter?

Originally posted 2013-04-29 15:00:40.

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About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for BlackHairInformation.com . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  1. Elizabeth Clayton
    Elizabeth Clayton

    I also thought it sounded like a desperate attempt to keep their grasp on the customers they have, but to each his own. I myself have been without a relaxer for the past four years, and have found that my hair has grown more, and is so much healthier without one. Everyone’s experience is different though, but as for me I love making the decision to go natural.

  2. Andrea Anderson
    Andrea Anderson

    I used to relax my hair because I loved the smooth, straight look. Now I relax my hair but basically wash & wear, leaving it curly. ( my profile pic is from my straight days) I do this because straight hair for me is high maintainance w/never ending breakage. Relaxing it, then leaving it curly gives me a more natural look but is way easier to manage.

  3. Essence Wilcox
    Essence Wilcox

    I refusebto be 100% natural. .. now with that said I do now stretch out my perms I use to perm every month or the min i see new growth. …. now I stretch it out about 3 monthes …. thats the best I can do now my hair is armpit length

  4. Alma Garrett
    Alma Garrett

    I’ve been natural for 5 years , and wouldn’t go back to perm. MY hair is so healthy, strong & beautiful…. and I love it.#naturalbeauty

  5. Kourtney Boston
    Kourtney Boston

    I can’t see a reason to ever go back to relaxers. Knowing what it does to not only your hair, but your scalp, and the chemicals it releases into your body? No thanks. There are other less dangerous methods. HelI, even a texturizer is better than a full strength relaxer.

  6. Jamila Kelly
    Jamila Kelly

    Because it’s my choice and my hair? O.o oh but I guess that’s just not a good enough answer.

  7. Candace M. Chambers
    Candace M. Chambers

    Watch Chris Rock’ s Good Hair documentary. I dont want anything on my skin that will eat through a coke can and has a connection with causing fibroids. Compare the thickness of your hair over time and there is a difference. The relaxers thin it out. #chemicals

  8. Riff Spencer
    Riff Spencer

    My grandmother used to follow a regimen of wash, condition and hot comb every two weeks, grease my scalp every few days, and a relaxer every 6 months or so and my hair was ridiculously long and always growing out past my shoulders so it can work I think it’s about proper conditioning and not overdoing it with the chemicals

  9. Malakah Angellia Gladston
    Malakah Angellia Gladston

    Black Women still wear relaxer because they don’t believe they can be beautiful without it. MOST will deny this FACT (you can’t change what you don’t acknowledged) but if you dig REALLY deep you will find that black women who cannot accept their “natural self” have deep issues with self image.

    1. Wendy Jean-Louis
      Wendy Jean-Louis

      Ok miss Cleo I guess you can speak for everyone. People do things for many reasons. One it could be for that reason you said, it could be cuz they want a change, much cheaper than being natural these days, it’s less time consuming depending on hair texture, and another some people’s hair respond different to perm. My hair was the longest with perm and didn’t break because it was taken care if and instead of these over counter creams I used oils just like I do natural in my hair. Now I am natural I have all problems and breakage imaginable

    2. Vee Smith
      Vee Smith

      not this black woman. i love me and my relaxed hair cuz i can manage it better. has nothing to do wanting a look

    3. RaShondra Meggs Jessie
      RaShondra Meggs Jessie

      I went natural twice. It wasn’t for me. I have no issues with self image. I know a lot of women, whom were natural ( looked beautiful with their natural hair) , went back to relaxing their hair because I was told it was time consuming and products were expensive. Every style is not for everyone. People choose what works for them.

    4. Nikki

      Could you please provide a link to peer reviewed and accepted scientific research that substantiates your point….. if you aren’t making such a sweeping judgement from a statistical scientific perspective it’s just your opinion and not relevant to anyone’s experience but your own .

  10. Jeanne B.
    Jeanne B.

    I don’t have deep self image issues and get relaxers. It’s a woman’s choice what SHE CHOOSES to do with her hair. I have been both relaxed and natural not becsuse I hated myself but because I wanted to try something different with my hair. Being natural was hard for me to maintain so I went back to relaxers. My mom used to relax my hair, condition it, hot comb you name it and I had hair down my back. Women shouldn’t be ridiculed because of something they choose to do with their hair. I like both relaxed and natural hair no need to be a natural or relaxed nazi people…

  11. Ni-Ni Henderson
    Ni-Ni Henderson

    Because we can. That’s the short answer.

    If done correctly, you don’t have to worry about having no edges, thinning hair, breakage, over processing, scalp burns, etc. The CHOICE to relax your hair as an ADULT is NOT about someone doubting your beauty, being brainwashed, not connected to their “roots”, and all of this other foolishness that are always being flung in relaxed people’s faces. I LOVE the things I do to my hair, and relaxing it just happens to be one of those things. Natural this and natural that. All the same complaints and so-called issues newly ‘natural’ people list off as to why they stopped relaxing are many of the same reasons countless naturals walk around looking the same way, except without the use of chemicals. I have seen so many people with exceptionally thin natural hair that’s in a fro and dreaded up and hanging on literally by a strand of hair, looking crazy!

    My point is if you don’t know how to care for your hair in whatever state you choose to wear it in, it can still be worse off in the end.

    And even if everyone was wearing their hair in it’s natural state, there would still be just as much judging going on as it is now.

    I knew this was a waste of my time before composing it, but hey…LET THE JUDGEMENT AND HATRED OF OTHERS CHOICES CONTINUE AS USUAL!!!


  12. Ronnie Mapp
    Ronnie Mapp

    I relax my hair because I’m a grown woman and its my decision to do whatever I want with MY hair. I have a weekly hair regimen that I stick to and my hair is healthy I’m two inches from reaching bra strap length (and I have all my edges!) I love every bit of my relaxed hair! I’m tired of the natural vs relaxed arguments/discussions …the only hair you need to worry about is yours and yours only! No need to ridicule people because their hair isnt like yours smh!!

  13. Stephanie Evans
    Stephanie Evans

    I have very long, thick relaxed hair (mid back/ past bra hooks). I love natural as well as permed. Now I choose not to go natural because it takes more work for me to maintain. Relaxed it takes 45 min for me to blow dry. Natural probably 1 1/2 hours. I can’t keep my arms above my head that long due to pain. So self twisting, braiding & such would be out! But I don’t knock our beautiful versatile hair. I love it all how ever You want to wear it. When people condemn others it says more about their self image than my own.

  14. Celeste Jackman
    Celeste Jackman

    I think people use it because they want to.there is nothing wrong with a relaxer if thats what a woman wants and nothing wrong with keeping it natural if thats what she wants

    1. Andie

      That’s right Celeste. I relaxed mine for years and had a bad dandruff problem. My 20 something daughter convinced me to stop. We both have long thick hair and I relaxed because it was so much more manageable – but oh the transition…now that was something else. Everyone was saying girlll you’re gonna have to cut it off. Well, I didn’t. I started found a new stylist who told me that my hair never needed a relaxer and asked me why did I ever do that. I started getting a flat iron/condition/trim every 3 weeks and after about a year the relaxer was gone. Now, no more dandruff, no more sitting for hours, more $ in my pocket. I go about every 4-6 weeks for shampoo/style and everyone thinks I have a relaxer and my hair grows like weeds – healthier looking than ever before. I add a pea-size drop of olive oil to it every now and then and wear a bonnet at night. BUT we have to remember it is everyone’s personal choice and everyone has a different hair texture which makes a whole of difference. I don’t regret having relaxed my hair before everyone should just do what they want, it’s their head lol!

  15. Celeste Jackman
    Celeste Jackman

    Malakah Angellia Gladston that is your opinion but wrong.i may go back to a relaxer.been without for almost 6 years since last having one and i can be beautiful without but i like the maintenance of the relaxer.ans i dont have self esteem issues.sometimes its just not that deep

  16. Raquel Lovez Art
    Raquel Lovez Art'class

    Omg you guys are sooo hateful I mean really. If people want to get relaxers let em do it!!!!!! How is that any of you guys concern? I’m Natural now to but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna criticize the people who still want relaxers. Jesus Christ

  17. Tammie Faulkner Taylor
    Tammie Faulkner Taylor

    The same reason we use deodorant, perfume, body spray, arch our eyebrows, trim/wax/shave our pubic hair, under arms and legs, use scented body wash, use makeup, over eat, don’t exercise enough, drinks sodas, use microwaves, & all of these things that aren’t “natural” & “are dangerous to our bodies”. ( the irony of a smoker, an over weight person or a person that has had any type of unprotected sex with ANYONE other than her husband, trynna tell someone about what’s unhealthy for their bodies is so ironic and hypocritical, its hilarious)
    I guess the short answer is “Because that’s what the hell they feel like doing”, but that wouldn’t be appropriate.
    *big cheesy smile*

  18. Tammie Faulkner Taylor
    Tammie Faulkner Taylor

    IF “relaxed women hate themselves because they don’t feel they can be beautiful with one” , means that women wear lipstick and any other type of makeup for the same reason, right?
    Of course not. “That’s ‘different’ !

  19. Marneek Jones
    Marneek Jones

    Rolling my eyes…here we go…Black women still wear relaxed because its called “freedom of choice”…Relaxing your hair is not a form of self hatred no more than being natural means u luv yourself..( and im natural) to each their own…

  20. Taylor Arianna
    Taylor Arianna

    Because it is our choice. Its not a factor of self hate like some people just love to believe. It is a choice. I will love myself regardless of the texture of my hair. Heck sometimes I rod my hair to make a little fro. I just like versatility and a relaxer gives me that. I don’t knock people for being natural. We’re all beautiful. But the answer is simple. Because we want to.

  21. Becky Boo
    Becky Boo

    Ive been natural for so long only a week or so i put a relaxer on my curls not coz i hate my hair just coz i wanna change my style i tried flatiron but everytime a bit of water or sweat coz its hot outside my hair would change back to its natural curl. And im not gonna wear wigs or weaves to have a straight do & no i dont relax 24/7 just once and again… I say do what you want to your hair.

    1. Robin Samanthia H

      I agree. I love some natural looks, but I love healthy hair….period! I’m not a follower, and I basically do what I want to do.

  22. Kali Mahogany Price
    Kali Mahogany Price

    The answer to top all answers is because WE WANT TO….yet some judgmental sisters sport straight hair weaves in their profiles. There is no denial of who relaxed sisters are ad there is no way you become “blacker” by being natural. Can we please quit.

  23. Ebony Mickell
    Ebony Mickell

    Damn! Hella relaxed women are touchy as hella about the fact that they have perm. LOL! Writing whole books on a status

  24. Cay James

    This is just another candy coated indictment of a woman’s choice to relax her hair….

    And just for the record….. as for your comment that,”Choosing to relax is a style choice while wearing your hair in its natural state ……..isn’t a choice a trend or a style.” Here’s the thing…. having a choice is the same thing as an option and the INSTANT that we had another choice, another mode of versatility, then keeping your hair natural DID become a choice.

    That is all.

  25. Nesha Brittwood

    Why do people worry about what other people do with their hair or what they do period? It’s nobodies business. People love bashing others for what they do with their hair or what someone does in general. If everyone minded their business when they needed to, the world would be a better place.

  26. Stacey Dave

    My hair to thick break my arm every day an every night i am a loctician and natural hair stylist exclusively thas WHY I WEAR PERM…

  27. Ashley Ruiz

    This is such a stupid article. You claim you’re trying to end the “age old debate” and then you give some backward, half-hearted ass post to why relaxers aren’t all bad. You could read the “relaxer hate” in the tone that this was written. You’re just further perpetrating the the natural vs. Relaxed hair debate and frankly, why do you feel the need to even discuss what anyone else wants to do with their hair. Why do non-relaxed women always feel the need to campaign to get relaxed women to cross over? This page is so annoying sometimes.

    1. Tamura D Alston

      You are so right ….this is not a competition…..having a relaxer doesnt make me less of woman…..

  28. Loren Sims

    Why does there always have to be a natural or relaxed debate. If your hair is healthy then your doing good either way. It’s not that serious

  29. Shavonne R. Boyd

    The question is why are we comfortable putting a chemical that can seep through our skin and cause severe damage to the body on our heads?

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