Isn’t It Better To Just Relax Natural Hair Than Flat Iron It Regularly? Part 1

In both scenarios because the hair structure is naturally curly it is necessary to alter the the bonds to achieve a straighter look. What’s different between the two, is the level of alteration whether permanent or temporary. It’s not easy to understand each process and what it does to the hair without getting a little bit technical and scientific so buckle up coz here goes.

Every hair strand consists of four types of bonds, these are the Hydrogen bonds, Salt bonds, Disulfide bonds and Peptide bonds. Working from the weakest to the strongest, Hydrogen bonds are easily affected by water or heat and are pretty cool because they allow the hair to be molded and manipulated in anyway you desire. For example you can move from a perm rods style to a braid out in a matter of a day by just wetting and re-styling your hair.

Salt bonds are slightly stronger than the hydrogen bonds and are more affected by PH levels in chemicals allowing your hair to swell and the cuticles to lift. Salt bonds are often altered during color treatments as they allow for the color to be deposited to the hair changing your look in just a matter of hours.

The Disulfide bonds and the Peptide bonds are the strongest of the four, the Disulfide bond is not affected  by heat or water but is affected by salon chemicals added to your hair that rearranges them which allows them to take on a new shape, this is what happens when we get a relaxer.

The Peptide bond is the strongest of all the bonds and pretty much makes up the structure of your hair, they are primarily made up of proteins and simply, when this structure breaks your hair breaks. OK science lesson over, sort of, in part two we get into to the meat of the matter and get the answer to this elusive question.

For now what do you think?

Originally posted 2013-02-10 15:00:12.

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About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . 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 . 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. Tamora Cross
    Tamora Cross

    I do both; neither alone give me the result I want. I actually find that with my hair smoother and straighter, it tangles and snags much less and thus actually doesn’t break nearly as much.

  2. Jordann Allen
    Jordann Allen

    Speaking from experience. Heat regularly has no benefits whatsoever. Your hair will be poofy,frizzy, dry, damaged, uneven. You might as well get a perm. Heat damage is one of the UGLIEST things you can do to your hair. Like please love your natural hair. I didn’t and I suffered for it. A lot of people don’t know about heat damage. It is the hand of the DEVIL.

  3. Shaqueyah Lashonda Spencer
    Shaqueyah Lashonda Spencer

    I am natural but do use the flat iron one a week or once every two weeks and it work fine for me you just got to us a good heat protector like a leave in conditioner with heat protection and it works for me. I refuse to put another perm in my hair. They used make my hair feel thin and brittle but when I went natural, I realized that my thick hair is something I needed to embrace because thining hair is something that runs in my family.

  4. Teah White
    Teah White

    I agree with Jordann…I’ve met so many naturals that try to convince me to go natural but their hair is fried and broken off. So many woman are returning natural just to say they are and damaging their hair more than any relaxer ever would. I like my hair straight and I know going natural for me would be bad for my hair bc if keep a flat iron in it. Regardless of how much heat protector you use too much heat is damaging….heat protector is just that not a barrier or magic force field

  5. Bee Alexander
    Bee Alexander

    No, in my case I left the creamy crack 10 years ago. I just get a roller set or press for the straight look. also wigs and weaves can remedy that. just maintain the natural locks!

  6. Julie Johnson
    Julie Johnson

    I’m can you be natural if u r using relaxer? It’s like an oxi-moron statment…I’m natural but I got a relaxer..really?

  7. Ileah Collins
    Ileah Collins

    If your hair becomes looser over time from heat, it is damage. Constant heat is never a good idea no matter how much heat protestant you use or how often you dc.

  8. Kelly Hall
    Kelly Hall

    How about do neither? I’ve been natural 6 years without straightening. I find there are so many other styles. To each his own but heat is a lot less dangerous health wise than a relaxer.

  9. Tavia Cribbs
    Tavia Cribbs

    It all depends on how you take care of your hair. Anything can be catastrophic if you don’t take the steps to prevent damage.

  10. Monica Pettaway
    Monica Pettaway

    Shaqueyah Lashonda Spencer That’s how my hair is it’s thin,breaking,dry and flaky it basically needs treatment and a new regimen

  11. Kachelle M
    Kachelle M

    All hair responds differently to either service; it depends on the hairs texture, density, porosity. Heat training the hair and flat ironing works best for me

  12. Shanice Goodridge-Flemming
    Shanice Goodridge-Flemming

    No just do roller sets if you want your hair to be straight regularly. I find roller setting offers the same results without so much heat. I like Taren Guy and the lady from Mahongany Curls

  13. Kimberly Champion
    Kimberly Champion

    i have been natural for almost 6 yrs and when i want to change my color, length, texture, style i get braids/extentions and play with weave. this is what i suggest for everyone. leave ur hair alone

  14. Ashlee AshCash Williams
    Ashlee AshCash Williams

    Flat Iron does not equal heat damage. Everything in moderation…I’ve been perm free for 5 years and flat ironing my hair once a week, or every other week. If you take care of your hair and learn what works best for you – there won’t be any heat damage. My hair is doing just fine & making progress – but i say that creamy cracked is for the birds.

  15. Theresa Marie Bryant
    Theresa Marie Bryant

    Flat ironing natural hair to often defeats the purpose. If u just gotta have the straight look then aim for healthy relaxed/texlaxed hair instead of heat damaged natural hair

  16. CL

    Is the health of the hair itself only thing being considered? I believe the overall health of the body is more important. Shouldn’t chemical relaxers’ links to certain cancers, permanent damage to the scalp, etc. be considered first. Hair is dead your body is alive.

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