Slavery is probably a very strong word, but I must admit it gets people’s attention, so why not. Despite the negative connotations of the word slavery, in this case, it just means work.
I read a very interesting article the other day from Natural Hair Mag asking the question: Are you truly independent and free with your natural hair in comparison to when hair was relaxed. After I read the article and I thought about my own hair regimen. Am I more independent? Yes because I do my own hair. Is it less work? Hec no!
Its clear that relaxed hair requires work and dedication for it to be healthy, but there is nobody going natural either who can safely say it is a bed of roses, or much easier unless you are rocking a super short TWA. So what if we compared “the work” between the two?
With relaxed hair, without fail, you would probably shampoo your hair weekly bi – weekly the most. Your natural hair is not much different, we might even cowash* once during the week in both cases to ensure that our hair is properly moisturized throughout the week.
In both cases, we do things to keep our hair healthy for instance we deep condition and hydrate the hair with products specifically designed or created for that purpose. We use protein to strengthen the strands, but if your hair is relaxed or super fine, you might tend to use protein rich products a bit more. Is this work? Maybe, but its good work because it is a part of caring for your hair.
Let’s take a look at styling, this is where things get a bit hairy, no pun intended. Natural hair twist outs, braid outs, Bantu knots, roller sets, twist, and curls, you name it we do it. On the other hand, we style relaxed hair as well, but it doesn’t appear to be as much or as often as natural hair, at least it wasn’t for me.
I never owned a jar of gel when I was relaxed, these days stylers are a huge part of my product collection because getting the curls just right and holding them in place has become a daily ritual.
Having natural hair has forced us to really explore hairstyles and styling requires creativity, tools, and products. Does this mean that there are less styling options with relaxed hair? Not at all but there is just no fair way to compare them.