Recently, I was at a friend’s house with a bunch of my girlfriends and we were chatting it up, having a good time. The conversation was pretty normal until one of our friends who has been natural for over 4 years with thick, natural coarse hair walked through the door with unbelievably silky straight hair. It was a sight of silky straight that I have never seen on this chocolate beauty before. All of our friends swooned and demanded the name and contact of the stylist who was able to straighten her hair thick , natural coarse hair with just a flatiron! She smiled bashfully and said “Oh, no flatiron…I got a relaxer”
“Girl…Whatttt” A ripple effect of dropped jaws and side-eye action occurred and a single voice emerged with a simple “quit playing, you wouldn’t go and damage your hair like that! “
I sat back and listened to the questions and commentary that followed and thought to myself, man it must be tough to be a relaxed girl in 2017. Undoubtedly, the natural hair movement has revolutionized the hair care industry and positively shifted the narrative on how women view their coils, but who says that you can’t get professional relaxers and have healthy hair?
I spoke to 2 women, Attorney and Professor, Piper C. Mitchell, Esq and Master Hairstylist/Colorist, Bianca Bowman and asked them about their experiences being a relaxed girl in what is seemingly a naturally curly world!
Both women related to the infamous side eye and shade when people find out they get relaxers, Bianca expressed that “Being that I work in a “natural hair” salon, clients side eye her a lot, She explained that “hair for me is an expression and at any given moment I will color, cut or relax my hair to express myself”
When I asked if she ever feels like she has to explain why she gets relaxers to other people, Piper shared, “ All. The. Time.” she went on to say that it seems to her that “relaxers are frowned upon by a lot of people, but just like how relaxers may not be for everybody, going natural isn’t for everybody either”. Piper went natural in 2010 for 10 months and ultimately came to a breaking point when she broke “not one, not two, but three combs in an attempt comb her hair on a wash day.
I was happy to hear both Piper and Bianca share that they are still dedicated to the health of their hair and are intentional with the styling and selection of products for their relaxed strands! Kudos Ladies!
Recently Relaxed? or A Veteran Relaxer that wants some tips? Here are some helpful hair care suggestions that will support your relaxed hair journey!
Wash & Condition Regularly: Consistency and Moisture is the name of the game for our queens with relaxers. Relaxers are very drying for the hair, so a good shampoo/ conditioner will help tremendously infuse moisture in to strands.
Try: Aphogee ‘s Deep Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner or Dark & Lovely Health Gloss 5 Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner.
Bi-Weekly Deep Conditioners: Your hair will need all the loving from a deep conditioner it can get, so incorporate deep conditioners in your washing schedule. Be sure to alternate between protein based deep conditioners and moisture based conditioners.
Try: Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise Treatment(Protein Based) or Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque ( Moisture based)
Products for Styling:
If you are looking to straighten your hair after a wash, be sure to use a heat protectant before you put a flat iron to your hair! Some good heat protectants are
Try: Art Natural’s Organic Argan Oil Thermal Shield or Chi Silk Infusion
simply looking to slick your hair back with a good moisturizing styling aid?
Try: Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey Shine Pomade
Protect Your Hair at Night: Protect your hair at night with a satin bonnet to prevent excessive dryness of your strands.
My last styling tip is simple but powerful consistency. With relaxers, consistency is very paramount. Listen to the timeline your stylist gives you! If they say every 8 weeks, be there every 8 weeks to maintain healthy relaxed hair! Sometimes waiting too long in between relaxers causes your hair to break off /snap at the line of demarcation causing excessive breakage.
Happy Relaxing and Hair Health Beauties!