4 benefits of returning to your natural hair and saying goodbye to relaxers
“I don’t understand why people say that natural hair isn’t for everyone. It’s attached to your head! It doesn’t get more “for you” than that” – Knotty & Nice
Like so many other Sierra Leoneans girls, I grew up relaxing my hair. *shrug* No biggie. It was the norm. After every two to three months, I went to the hairdresser’s to make my hair “pretty” again. To make it easier to handle. It was just part of the routine. But, in time, I became aware of the harmful consequences of relaxing my hair. So in 2009, I made the decision to return to my beautiful natural hair. And in doing so, I became more aware of the stereotypes Sierra Leoneans hold about natural hair.
But the purpose of this post is to give you a better understanding of what relaxers do to your hair. And I hope after reading this, you would be moved to embrace your natural hair. So, there are three layers to each and every hair strand on your head. The outer layer is called the cuticle. The most inner layer is called the cortex. And the layer in between the cortex and the cuticle is called the medulla.
Ok, this is the important part. The relaxer works by penetrating through your cuticle and medulla into your cortex and straightening it. Essentially, what is happening here is the weakening of your hair structure just for it to “look good” on the outside. The relaxer changes your natural hair structure into something that it is intrinsically not. And there are definite, 100% for sure disadvantages to that.
What happens when you change or weaken the natural state of your hair structure?
The relaxer causes hair loss, breakage and damage.
Drying out of hair, brittleness and hair breakage can occur due to harmful chemicals found in relaxers. Overprocessing, which means relaxing your hair too often (before the recommended period of at least 8-12 weeks between perms) and for too long can also lead to hair thinning. And you should understand that relaxers are meant for relaxing NEW GROWTH, not re-relaxing already relaxed hair. By relaxing relaxed hair, your hair thins out, which can lead to hair loss especially around the edges of your head.
The relaxer causes scalp damage which could lead to the inability of hair growth
Due to harsh chemicals found in relaxers, itching, redness, burning and peeling of the scalp can occur. Again, relaxers are meant for new hair growth so must be applied to the root of your hair, NOT the scalp of your head! So if your scalp becomes irritated, it is quite possible for normal hair growth to be greatly affected.
The relaxer causes pains and headaches
People have experienced pains and headaches (ranging from mild to severe) after relaxation of hair. Come on now! Is it really worth it? Especially when you factor in potential health problems as a result of relaxing your hair.
And in some cases, the relaxer causes respiratory problems
Potassium hydroxide is a chemical found in relaxers. If inhaled, coughing, sneezing and breathing problems can occur.
Just in case you are still not convinced that the natural way is the healthier way of maintaining your hair, it is best for you to know the different kinds of relaxers. And then choose which best suits you after reading their individual pros and cons.
They are usually packaged in a jar and ready for use. There is no need to add an activator to the mixture.
With lye relaxers, hair breakage is at its minimum.
Lye relaxers tend to be harsher on the scalp. If you are an individual with sensitive skin, it is best to stay away from this type of relaxer.
Non lye relaxers
This type of relaxer needs an activator to be mixed in to activate the formula.
It is not as harsh on the scalp compared to non lye relaxers and thus better for y’all with sensitive skin.
Its main disadvantage is that it leaves hair very dry and dry hair is more prone to breakage. So to fight this, it is best to moisturize your hair well.
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Remember, be sincerely you!