The Great Hair Debate: Pressure to go Natural? Pressure to go Straight? What’s the deal?


I have noticed comments on many of the posts I covered on taking care of African American Hair that’s relaxed, that held very strong positions when it comes to keeping the hair natural or relaxing it.  I’ve seen comments from those who wear their hair natural saying that those of us who relax our hair are not embracing our hair or our heritage.  Others who relax their hair feel that what we do with our hair is our choice, not an indicator of how much we embrace our African American culture.  Both sides of the argument really got me thinking and before I ask what you’re take on this is, I’ll share my opinion.

I relax my hair and have done so since I was 20. Before, my natural hair was fine and wavy (all I needed was a hot comb and I was good!).  When I moved from up north to down south, I started relaxing my hair with a children’s relaxer.  Why do I relax it?  Because I want to! That’s it! It doesn’t go any deeper than that. For me, to keep my hair looking straight as it did up north, I relax it to combat the heat and humidity down here.   I’m not trying to conform to society’s standards of beauty (otherwise I’d be throwing up everyday to be a size 2!).  Do I know that relaxing your hair is a harsh process?  Absolutely and I do it as responsibly as I can.  Do I know my history in terms of what was considered “good hair.”  Yes I do ( I am a history buff in my other life!) With that said, I still relax my hair and do so because I like it.  Am I abandoning my heritage?  Absolutely not!  My hair doesn’t hold that much power over what I think about my culture– what’s under it does!

I don’t knock anyone who wears their hair natural. I actually want to know how they take care of their hair and rock those beautiful styles!  Natural hair is beautiful! And the same way I don’t knock them, I shouldn’t be knocked down because I chemically alter my hair.  Going natural at this point in my life just isn’t for me!  The status of my hair doesn’t determine my status of self awareness and self appreciation of the cultures I come from (afro Cuban and Irish).  Instead of separating ourselves, we need to come together to appreciate all of our beautiful differences, regardless of what’s going on with our hair!

So that’s my take on it.  Let’s open up the floor!  What do you guys think?  Is there pressure to go natural?  Do you feel society pressures you to wear your hair straight?  Or is your hair exactly that and not a measure of who you feel you are?


More on African American Hair:

Keep your hair beautiful! Tips on taking good care of that hair!

“Just for Me” is just for me! Why I use a children’s relaxer

An instant hair makeover with the drawstring ponytail!

Tips for Relaxing Your Hair at Home!

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“Just for Me” isn’t Just for Kids! Why I Like Using a Children’s Relaxer

We ladies know that relaxing our hair is a very harsh process that our hair undergoes.  We are chemically altering our hair every time we get a touch up so taking care of our relaxed tresses is of the upmost importance!

If you didn’t know already, I relax my hair at home as a result of a few bad experiences with some hair dressers.  The major problem I had was that the adult relaxer that they used on my hair was just too strong. My hair is very fine in texture and it doesn’t take much to get it straight.  So the safest bet for me is a children’s relaxer.

I want to treat my hair with “kid gloves” and I always use a child’s relaxer.  The brand I use is “Just for me” by PCJ and the biggest reason I do is because it comes with a pre-treatment conditioner. This light and quick drying product goes on your hair before you start the relaxer process.  It works as a layer of protection  on your hair so it doesn’t’ get over processed (which is a risk you take especially when you relax your hair at home!). The neutralizing shampoo has a color indicator – which means that if there is still relaxer cream in your hair, the suds will be pink.   It helps me a lot in making sure I have rinsed all of that cream out.  I also find it much gentler on my hair than most adult relaxers (and I’ve tried a bunch!) and I even still wait as long as possible in between touch ups.

Let’s Dish! So what relaxer do you use?  Would you consider using a children’s relaxer?

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Relax at Home! Tips for Relaxing Your Hair at Home

tips for relaxerWe all know the recession is hitting us pretty hard and that does not exclude us ladies who are used to hitting up the salon to get our relaxers and touch ups every 4 to 6 weeks.  Nowadays, those trips to get our “hair did” can add up so if have been considering going the DIY route, here are some tips to get you through!

Before I get into the tips, let me just give a little hair info about myself.  I have been relaxing my own hair at home for about 3 to 4 years now.  I had a bad experience at a salon and just decided that if I wanted it done right, I would at least try to do myself!

So, without further a-due, here we go!

  • Read!please, please, please, read all the instructions that come with the relaxer kit you purchased.
  • Get Greased Up! – make sure that scalp is protected by greasing it first ( I like Bergamont or Blue Magic).  This will help protect it through the harsh relaxing process.  It will also give you practice parting your hair and finding your scalp even when you can’t see it.
  • Four! – part your hair in fours and apply the relaxing cream section by section. I also suggest smoothing once you have applied relaxer in that section, just in case you don’t have time to go back and smooth your hair out later.
  • Rinse! Rinse! Rinse! – when its time to get that relaxer out, rinse really, really well!  I usually rinse for about 4 to 5 minutes.  The more I get out initially, the less shampooing I have to do later.
  • Check your hands! – while shampooing, (especially if you’re using a color indicating neutralizing shampoo) I check out the suds on my hands to see if they are still white.  If it’s not, rinse, lather, and try again!
  • Relax with a friend! – If you are not that confident to go at this alone, recruit a friend or a family member to be your extra set of eyes and/or hands if need be!

If there are any other DIY relaxer ladies out there with more tips, please share!


Be beautiful ladies!


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