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

Natural vs relaxed boxing match

We receive very interesting emails here at BHI and while most of them are your standard ‘help me make my hair better’ emails, every now and then we might get something strange enough that its worth sharing.

Below is an email sent to us from a relaxer company who shall remain nameless, take your time to read it, I have time, I’ll wait . . .

Why Do Women Still Use Relaxers?

Relaxers have been around since the early 60’s. With the look of straight hair, relaxers became a way of life for many women of color.  The introduction of relaxer kits, in the late 70’s, made it more convenient, cost-effective and safer for women to straighten their hair at home.  Despite the latest surge of natural hair trends, the true relaxer woman still stands her ground.  Be it her lifestyle, career or sheer vanity, she prefers her hair straight and relaxing her hair is the only solution to safe, lasting-straightness that can endure the office, the gym and downtime.  Relaxers remain the most effective way to achieve maximum permanent straightness while keeping the hair healthy, conditioned and manageable.

Why Do Women Still Relax?

  • Natural hair does not work for all women.

There are many women who have tried to go or thought about going natural.  In the end, some women have chosen not to make the transition.  Many reasons exist, for not making the transition, but a common one is that some women simply prefer their hair to be straight.  Are they wrong?  Absolutely not.

Oftentimes, the straightening process has been a part of women’s hair care regimen for many years.  Women, who relax their hair, are accustomed to its silky straight texture, bounce and movement.  They are very comfortable caring for their straight hair and enjoying a lifestyle that straight hair supports.

  • Styling versatility.

Not only do women with relaxed hair find it easier to exercise/work out, but they also feel that relaxed hair offers more styling versatility.  From ponytails to bone straight to wrap-and-go, relaxed hair offers the convenience and style some women desire.

  • Desire for healthy, strong hair.

Important factors to having healthy, strong hair with relaxers are to:  (1) choose the right product for your hair texture such as regular/super or lye/no-lye (2) follow application instructions (of the relaxer) exactly and (3) properly maintain the hair in between touch ups, such as getting ends trimmed and frequent deep conditioners.

For women who relax their hair, our Products offers the perfect solution!

  • the right amount of product, for new growth, at the right price,
  • a quality product that is safe to use at home, is gentle on the scalp & hair and provides superior strengthening with maximum conditioning,
  • unparalleled conditioning before, during and after the straightening process with its Triple Conditioning System,
  • ingredients, such as olive oil, that also “moisturizes” the hair

Done? My first thought was frankly that is the lamest most desparate attempt at justifying selling a product, I have ever seen. I think what got me going was when I read ‘enjoying a lifestyle that straight hair supports and ‘they also feel that relaxed hair offers more styling versatility’. Really!?? In comparison to what?

But then I read it one more time with less disdain in my mind and I realized albeit a weird way of articulating the benefits of a relaxer, they do make some great points. There are women out there who still choose to relax with great success proving that there can be some aesthetic benefit to relaxing your hair.

However adding any kind of credibility to relaxed hair should not be based on comparing it to natural hair; all that does is egg on an age old debate. Many have tried to put an end to the relaxed vs natural debate with no success, well it couldn’t hurt to try again. Here goes . . .

A relaxer is kind of like a Big Mac or Happy meal at McDonald’s weird I know, but hear me out. McDonald’s has been making burgers for years and they have been at the sharp end of the stick when it comes to obesity and other detrimental health issues due to the lack of nutrients in their food. Check any ‘America is way too Fat‘ documentary and you are bound to see a bright yellow arch with a clown next to it at some point. It is a fact that Big Macs make you fat, they aren’t good for you if they are your primary source of nutrition.

A relaxer like a fast food meal is not considered ‘good’ for your hair because the chemicals in the mixture alters the natural curl pattern of the hair permanently causing it to be straight. If you relax too often, or if you have even one bad relaxer experience you run the risk of causing severe damage to your hair leading to major hair loss much like the last burger that caused a heart attack.

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. Adesjola Tucker

      Who do you know relaxes her hair every three to four weeks? ANY beautician will tell you to have a retouch done IF THE PERSON CHOOSES no sooner than 6 weeks. That’s just dumb!

  1. Tae Moore

    To each is own! I relax my hair because I want to! Much easier to comb and Manage! Like BOBBY BROWN said ITS MY PREROGATIVE! LOL

  2. Stacey Lawrence

    People are always going to find something to be divided over. Why can’t people just live and let live?

  3. Brielle Winter

    Although i haven’t used one for over 10 years, some people need them, because there hair is really thick and can maintain it better

  4. Shelly Forde

    I agree with the email from the relaxer company except for the versatility and that’s only because I am comparing it to natural hair. When my hair was relaxed I couldn’t simply wash it to get back to my kinks and coils. But when I straighten my hair it lasts long enough that I can try straight hair styles for a while. But in the end I say do what makes you happy and forget society’s expectations and demands.

  5. Erica Ransom

    I’ve done both. I prefer relaxed bc I can relax it once every 3 months and all I have to do is wash and condition it once a week, wrap and go. Absolutely zero other products to maintain my hair. I liked my natural look but it was waaaay to high maintenance and waaaay too much product every day.

    1. Joycelyn Cannon

      I guess it depends. My styles week to week. I wash once or twice weekly depending in what my hair needs and let my hair air dry. Styling is minimal as the only thing I do in the morning is spritz to refesh the curls or take down my twist. Being relaxed for 25 up to the last 3 when I went natural……….natural hair is soooo much easier for me to maintain. But its all a matter of preference 🙂

  6. Rhonda Johnson-Cole

    Natural hair vs relaxed hair reminds me of light skinned vs dark skinned. I am a professional hairstylist that works with both. So tired of all the comparison.
    It’s about healthy hair weather its natural ir relaxed. I have seen unhealthy natural and relaxed hair and healthy natural and relaxed hair. Can we all just get along.

    1. Jamie Carter-Bailey

      Exactly, we hate being compared by others but have no problem comparing ourselves to one another, beating down the next.

  7. Rivian Jones

    Why even start this its all about preference duh!!! Natural hair is alot of work for me and relaxers are low maintenance.

  8. Lee

    Self service that fell short. There was never any after action instructions included with any products I used in the past, therefore I never quite totally achieved the results I wanted, growth/length. Oh it probably grew some, but not where I wanted it. Fine hair became finer, thinner in density and just barely reached my shoulders. Now natural, with all the myriad instructions on conditioning, moisture, and styling my hair has attained, from a twa, the lenth and thickness in a year that I had when it was relaxed lo those many years of ignorant neglect. I love the decision, in desperate laziness, to stop relaxing and opt for time consuming healthy hair.

  9. Tina Waters

    It’s because, THEY WANT TO!
    Why do women continue to wear high heels? Again, THEY WANT TO. The list goes on and on…..

  10. Tina Waters

    Hair product companies create this divide between relaxed and natural so they can sell more products.
    They repackage their product for “natural hair” and “relaxed hair” in order to raise sales. Nobody gives a crap what we do or don’t do with our hair. People are about making money. Our hair makes billions for a lot of companies so nobody can afford to end this debate!

  11. Tiffani Bates

    The real question is why do we allow the natural and perm topic to cause division between us women? It’s a choice!! I’m sure there are women who are natural who
    put things in their bodies that are not heathy just like some with perms. If we could stop hatin on each other and lift each up think of where we could be.

  12. Tamura D Alston

    As a relaxed professional hair stylist who enjoys working w my naturals.I say do you….what works for me may not work for you.I believe the relaxer vs natural battle is another thing to keep black people divided! I am
    relaxed, my 11 year old daugther is natural should me and her argue over who is more beautiful??!At the end of day relaxed or natural….we are more than our hair! As woman lets stop letting society tear us apart.

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