At times, I still can’t believe I actually did it. But, I did. After all those years of learning how to manage my natural, curly hair, I returned to the creamy crack. I relaxed my natural hair; feels like I should say that with a whisper.
My naturalista friends will want to shake me
because I relaxed my natural, chemical-free hair.
In case you’re not clued in, let me tell you the dissension over straighteners in the Black community is real! It almost makes me apprehensive writing this post. So, I’ll begin by saying my personal choice (emphasis on personal) is in no way judgement against women who choose (emphasis on choose) to wear their (emphasis on their) hair in it’s natural state.Ok? Ok.
I’m astonished how polarizing the topic of hair is in the African-American community. If you’re not blessed to be part of our world, know that it is a very big deal in some circles. The people who choose (emphasis on “choose”) to wear their hair natural -free of straighteners-secretly roll their eyes at the people who opt to relax their curls.
At the same time, people who wear relaxers tend to “side eye” those who don’t. There are even the dumb people who assume relaxed hair indicates a desire to look “white” or assimilate to another ethnic group. It’s insane! It’s not that deep – at least not for me.
In order to know me and what I’m really about, you have to well…know me. Don’t judge me by how I look and least of all how I wear my hair!
When I’ve told people I made this style (yes, style not social) choice, they act like I said I was announcing intentions to open a marijuana store in Colorado. They absolutely gave me the business (I mean trouble, not a marijuana store)!
“Why did you do that???”
“But, your hair was so pretty!”
It’s hair, people. More importantly, it’s my hair and I wanted this change, so I did it.
I explained to them my reason was not philosophical. It was rooted in me needing a change. I wanted a sleeker look and shorter wash times. I wanted my hair to remain the same texture regardless of the weather or humidity level. I wanted to relax my hair. That’s it. Here is the product I used.
I didn’t leave the relaxer on very log and I took extra care to speed the “smoothing” process. I didn’t want “bone-straight” hair. Since I applied it on October 1, I’m going to try to go until January before I retouch. This will smooth it a tiny bit more. After that, I’ll likely relax twice a year. We’ll see.
Now, I feel I’ve made all that clear.
Let’s talk brass tacks
The only down side is that my hair did have a slight nervous breakdown as a result of the chemicals.
No, it’s not breaking off, but it just feels different.
So, I’m in a season of weekly deep conditions, monthly protein treatments and limited heat. It’s working. My hair is starting to adjust and feel soft and pliable again. I’m also finding that Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher is my nightly saving grace. I put a little on my hair and follow with coconut oil to seal. Sometimes, I add my shea mixture (olive oil and shea butter) and then wrap or roll on large foam rollers.
In full disclosure, I understand natural hair is more likely to be healthier than my relaxed hair. But, I am convinced I can have healthy relaxed hair – it will just be a bit more work, that’s all.
The best news is I can still rock my crochet braids! Being an over-forty woman, crochet braids seemed young for me, but it’s so working (or I’m working it). Here is my most recent look.
I’m not sure if I will ever regret putting a relaxer on my natural hair. So far I don’t. Time will tell. It’s only been about 3 weeks. For an update, check out my post about my Instyler curing tool here.
But, here’s the thing: if I do live to regret this decision, I’ll go natural again. My hair is not so much a statement about the condition of my heart or soul as it is a fashion accessory. Again, if someone what’s to learn my political views, my cultural opinions or the depth of my reality, they need to talk to me…not just look at my hair.
Update: Relaxing my hair was the single WORST beauty mistake I have ever made. If I could go back in time, I would take the box of relaxer, walk out to my deck and chuck it as far and as hard as I could while making that grunting sound Venus williams makes when she hits a ball! I’m going natural..AGAIN. As of today, I’m 4 months transitioning. *sigh*
In the meantime, I’ll be wearing a wig like this one.