Natural vs. Relaxed
s more and more Black women discover the beauty of their naturally kinky hair, the feud between relaxed and natural women of Color is growing at an alarming rate. While some natural ladies feel as if women who choose to relax their hair are betraying their African roots, relaxed ladies feel that they are constantly under attack by the naturals over their choice to process their hair. It is a silly debate as well as an unfortunate one especially that over the decades African-Americans have had an on-going riot among themselves over such insignificant issues. Why should it make a difference how my sister decides to wear her hair? Would the way she decides make her more or less Black? When you think of it that way, it does sound ridiculous.
Black women who choose to relax their hair have the right to do so without being persecuted by their race. Women of Color choose to relax for many reasons not always conceivable to natural women. Most commonly, women who relax their hair chooses to do so because they find caring for their hair in the natural state to be a hassle. This can be because she may not be very well educated on how to care for natural hair or perhaps she may feel the processes involved are too time consuming. Most of us as little girls grew up having the luxury of a hot comb in our homes and loved the way our hair looked and felt after being pressed. As adults, some still enjoy having straight hair rather than kinky hair and find heat-straightening methods more tedious. Relaxers permanently reconstruct the texture of hair making strands straight. This works for many women because it is a convenient way to maintain the straight texture they prefer easily, without having to compromise styling due to humidity or weather conditions. Relaxing hair may make it more manageable but it also has its setbacks. When the bond is broken allowing kinky hair to become straight, it also weakens the hair follicle. Because of this, relaxed hair is more susceptible to breakage. By nature straighter hair is less dry and if this is the deciding factor between relaxed and natural, then relaxed wins easily.
Natural women, on the other hand prefer the versatility of styling, being able to revert between curly and straight styles. In some instances, women who prefer natural styling are at times frowned upon by relaxed women who sometimes jeer at their hair texture referring to it as nappy or rough. Not all women who choose not to relax their hair are “for the cause,” so to speak. She may simply desire to rid her hair of chemical processing and avoid the risk of damage that may follow. She might also find processed hair to be somewhat of a nuisance and more difficult to attain fullness in her styling. She might find that she can grow and maintain longer lengths with natural hair. She may have conducted research on sodium hydroxide and its chemical counterparts and decided that relaxing was not for her. Having natural hair opens doors for endless styling opportunities and overall is a much healthier choice for your hair. However, with curly hair dryness and split ends are imminent. Rule of thumb, the curlier the follicle, the drier it is. Naturals find themselves working overtime to maintain the moisture and shine to their naturally dry hair. Humidity and weather condition like rain and snow, do very little to change the styling composition of natural. This is yet another plus in choosing to remain natural.
At the end of the day, to think that our sisters are at war with each other over the way she chooses to style her hair is almost inconceivable. Both natural and relaxed women have preferences, likes and dislikes with their own hair. Stereotyping within your own race is yet another vice in oppressing the Black race. We should not allow petty and frankly ignorant issues to divide us further, for we are all related through our African roots.
Published by Alexis Betterson