Relaxed vs. Natural Hair, Why it Doesn't Matter

“She doesn’t love her hair,” “She doesn’t want to embrace her natural texture,” “I would never get a relaxer,” “Her hair is so unprofessional,” “Her hair is nappy.” These are just some of the things women in the black community have been hearing for years. Throughout the years, the black-hair community has been at odds with each other.  

Since the natural hair movement started, more and more women in the black community have begun to transition over and are leaving the perm boxes behind them. In the late 60s and early 70s there was the Black Power Movement encourage unity and interests politically. Rocking your fro was the normal thing to do back then. It soon became popular to straighten kinky hair with greases and hot combs after relaxers was discovered by an African American man named Garrett Augustus Morgan in the early 20th century (Safiya Bridgewater). Black women have used what we call the “creamy crack” to 1.) avoid dealing with our kinks and coils or 2.) just want to easily maintain their hair. Since the natural hair movement began, hotheaded “naturalista’s” will revoke your black card if you come of the salon sporting a new bone straight do. For example, women who don’t necessarily know how to do their hair or don't have the time to do so see no problem with relaxing their hair. Is it a problem? No. Does it make them less of a person? No. Who said your hair can’t be healthy and flourish with a relaxer?  

On the other end of the spectrum you have your “naturalista’s”.  Naturalista’s are women who embrace their natural hair and will easily put up with the maintenance behind it. Then you have some women who have had relaxers, but stopped because they want to start their hair journey over. Even though the natural hair movement was a big way for some women to transition over, some women have been rocking their natural hair all their life because they believe in no other option.

Some women on the other hand don’t believe in giving their child a relaxer because of the heavy chemicals in one and they feel as if it could damage their hair. For many natural hair is symbolic because of the history behind it and it tells a story. Seeing women like the Black Panther Angela Davis, Erykah Badu or Jurnee Smollett rocking their natural texture gives woman a since of confidence because natural hair is very stigmatized.

From personal experience, I used to get relaxers and stopped my junior year in high school. I typically had my hair done every two weeks and received consistent trims. I still considered my hair healthy. Now, without any chemicals in my hair, my hair has grown tremendously and I’m proud of my decision. I feel as if black women and society shouldn’t judge anyone for what they decide to do with their hair. We should uplift and empower each other and love our hair chemically treated or not.