Seriously considering relaxing !

Hey guys,

I'm new to the community and I just really wanted some advice. I'm a 20 year old with a mixture of 3/c and 4/a hair. When I was younger my mom was TOTALLY against having me perm my hair bc she was worried of having it break off or having my hair quality never be the same again. So when I was about 13 I started to straighten/flat-iron my hair. My hair took really well to straightening (it was at the top of my shoulders) and basically gives me the look of having it permed. The only thing I could nottt deal with was having to avoid every single drop of water, moisture, sweat, or any type of humidity. To deal with this, I was basically straightening my hair almost every other day. 7 years later I'm still straightening my hair with a flat iron and my hair has not grown beyond my collarbone. I know the reasons why my hair has not grown (basically because of all the heat and breakage due to the heat) and I've just recently started to cut down on the number of times I straighten my hair (from probably 4 times a week when I was younger to probably now 3 times every two weeks). Lately, I've done a lottt of research, gotten a lot of inspiration from youtubers posting their home hair care (especially from macheriehair, she's rly an inspiration), and decided maybe relaxing my hair might be better for me. Having natural hair has made it so hard to do certain things, such as SWIMMING (I haven't dunked my head under water other than the shower for almost 7 years), that I really want to do without having to deal with a mess of hair afterwards! I want to go swimming ! I want to have wash and go hair! I want to put away my flat iron for GOOD (well I might pull it out for special occasions)!

Basically, I just want to know what you ladies think? If you really think relaxing is a bad bad bad idea, or you think that it might be a good idea for me. I've seen so many ladies online that not only have gorgeous LONG natural hair but gorgeous LONG relaxed hair too! So if you guys can, let me know what you think! Sorry for such a long post Thanks so much in advance.
Hey teekay,

Okay so look. You're right. Relaxed hair can be quite gorgeous, I can testify because I had my hair relaxed for about three years (I'm somewhere in the 3c/4a area myself) and the endless compliments seemingly NEVER got old. However, when person after person compliments your hair when you yourself really know what condition it's in, the compliments just get... uncanny. I've quit for the time being, but it's sort of for a complicated reason that has to deal with my being uneducated of things like deep conditioning and other factors that relaxed hair demands in order to preserve the look. Side topic.

That's why I wanna give some good advice. You said that you youtube alot and see people like macheriehair (yup im subscribed too) with their own hair care regimens. All of these are, essentially, hair care SOLUTIONS, and MUST BE DONE to their hair in order for it not to go to damn all. The very same goes for you, and it's so good that you've done your research.

I think relaxing is fine for the hair, it's not changing the biochemical makeup of your hair, (in other words, the day you quit relaxing, the hair that grows in will be the type that your chromosomes dictate you're supposed to have). Washing my hair weekly, I'd need one blowdry and maybe one complete flat iron session (save one extra for touchups) and I'd be set that entire week. If you did yours with virgin hair, you could probably just go without either as you prefer for quite a while because it will be that straight. Convenience!

Now, what does this mean? Just like our friends on youtube, when it applies, you must use heat protectant. You must DC, alot (heat or no heat). You must find non-cone/non-sulfate shampoos, or cut them out all together. You'll also likely need a daily oil, especially for those ends because as worried as you'll get about new growth, your real problems are at the bottom of your hair. Essentially, it's like going CG, but more for the hair health benefits than for going curly. All this, because if you want to keep it straight, you'll have to get the new growth relaxed. Because those split ends WILL COME. Faster than you'd expect. I feel for you when you say you can't go to the pool, but pool water can do damage to relaxed hair just as much as to natural hair, if not more.

Those horror stories, they come from people like me, but the truth of the matter is, I just didn't put enough time and effort and care into my hair. Relaxed hair is absolutely beautifulllll, I love it, boosted my self esteem (as superficial as that is), but I had to quit because my damage was too far gone. I wasn't lazy, I just didn't put it together, because I was a kid with a bag of super expensive products that kept my hair immaculate. But you can prevent this, economically (cause we're not all supermodels with people to take care of our hair for us). Be determined to take extra care and time with your hair, and I can promise you you'll love the result. <3
My mom relaxed my hair when I was eleven and I wish she never had. I am 28 now.

That being said, my hair no longer comes out straight from relaxing. It is about a 3b or 3c. I love wearing my hair curly and want to grow long curly hair. Depending on how I style it, it touches the top of my back but I'd like 3-4 more curly inches.

If your hair is not relaxed, I wouldn't. I only go four times a year, and I hate it. Also, if you like swimming, I say stay natural. If i had natural hair I'd be swimming everyday for exercise.

I've thought about doing the big chop and growing my hair back to natural, but the curl pattern would not be as big or loose in my natural hair. I'm sure it would be nice, but I like the 3b (prob more 3b than 3c) curls. I also figure that four times a year at the salon where I get relaxed is almost bearable.

I have no clue what type of hair my kids will have, but no relaxers for them!
oh and by the way, I don't flat iron it or anything at home anymore. My hair was just becoming too resistant to even do it. I don't go near the blowdryer.

Next time I go for a relaxer, I am leaving with it wet and styled curly, I can't stand the poison products that they put in it afterward. I have to shampoo over the course of two weeks to get that **** out, and it smells.

The only time my hair will probably see a blow dryer from now on is at the salon where I get it cut, I prefer for it to be blown and flat ironed straight before a cutting.
Hey guys,

I'm new to the community and I just really wanted some advice. I'm a 20 year old with a mixture of 3/c and 4/a hair. When I was younger my mom was TOTALLY against having me perm my hair bc she was worried of having it break off or having my hair quality never be the same again. So when I was about 13 I started to straighten/flat-iron my hair. My hair took really well to straightening (it was at the top of my shoulders) and basically gives me the look of having it permed. The only thing I could nottt deal with was having to avoid every single drop of water, moisture, sweat, or any type of humidity. To deal with this, I was basically straightening my hair almost every other day. 7 years later I'm still straightening my hair with a flat iron and my hair has not grown beyond my collarbone. I know the reasons why my hair has not grown (basically because of all the heat and breakage due to the heat) and I've just recently started to cut down on the number of times I straighten my hair (from probably 4 times a week when I was younger to probably now 3 times every two weeks). Lately, I've done a lottt of research, gotten a lot of inspiration from youtubers posting their home hair care (especially from macheriehair, she's rly an inspiration), and decided maybe relaxing my hair might be better for me. Having natural hair has made it so hard to do certain things, such as SWIMMING (I haven't dunked my head under water other than the shower for almost 7 years), that I really want to do without having to deal with a mess of hair afterwards! I want to go swimming ! I want to have wash and go hair! I want to put away my flat iron for GOOD (well I might pull it out for special occasions)!

Basically, I just want to know what you ladies think? If you really think relaxing is a bad bad bad idea, or you think that it might be a good idea for me. I've seen so many ladies online that not only have gorgeous LONG natural hair but gorgeous LONG relaxed hair too! So if you guys can, let me know what you think! Sorry for such a long post Thanks so much in advance.
Originally Posted by teekay10
Hmm, that's interesting. I've never heard someone say before that they'd relax their hair because they want to go swimming. Usually I hear about people going natural for that reason. Lol.

Anyway, it's up to you what you want to do. While you won't have to flat iron as often (and maybe you'll be able to get away with roller setting), relaxing does require a lot of maintenance. Many of the problems you describe as a natural who straightens will also apply when you relax. Like being able to retain length, split ends, etc. Like jump4ty said you'll have to deep condition a lot, and probably do protein treatments more often as well. Depending on your hair's properties, you may experience thinning after doing it over several years. I've known this to happen even to those who have done a lot to take care of their hair.

I'm sure that you'll do fine with whatever decision you make though.
last relaxer 08/08/09
all natural since 7/30/10


Shrinkage happens.
So, what's your preference? Curly hair or straight? From your post, seems like you wear your hair straight most of the time (flat-ironed). If you're tired of flat-ironing (like I was) just rock your natural curls. I was like you, flat-ironing severely too often. But I got tired of damaging my hair and started embracing my natural 3c curls. Plus, if you want to do wash-n-go's after swimming, then staying natural would be your best bet. The repetitive heat from the flat iron can do as much damange as a relaxer. Either way, it's your choice. Just make sure u deep condition like someone else suggested. Good luck with your decision and keep us posted!
I don't know what the first girl is talking about. She makes relaxed hair sound like its a pain in the arse. For me, natural hair was the pain in the arse! Relaxed hair is easy! Wash and condition every week! Big deal! Its stuff that you're supposed to be doing if you have hair at all! Chemical or no.
If you prefer to wear your hair straight, than I would suggest relaxing. IMO the amount of heat you are putting to your hair is far more damaging than any relaxer would be since you would not have to use nearly as much heat.

However as far as swimming goes, relaxed hair is more prone to damage when it comes in contact with chlorine.

Whatever your decision remember its YOUR HAIR. SO whichever way (Natural or Relaxed) makes your life easiest and makes you more confident and comfortable with your hair do it!

Good Luck

I think relaxing is fine for the hair, it's not changing the biochemical makeup of your hair, (in other words, the day you quit relaxing, the hair that grows in will be the type that your chromosomes dictate you're supposed to have).
Originally Posted by jump4ty
I just wanted to point out that this isn't exactly accurate. Perming does, in fact, change the biochemical makeup of the hair it touches. On the molecular level, it changes the actual structure of your hair by breaking and rearranging certain protein bonds in your hair. This is how it goes from curly to straight. This is why it is called a PERM (a.k.a. PERMANENT) - the part of the hair that is permed will never go back to curly. This is the same chemical process that happens when you apply heat to your hair, the only difference is that the chemicals make it permanent, whereas with just heat, the bonds reform when water/cold is applied.

Now, it of course doesn't change your DNA, so the new hair that grows will still be curly because it has not been touched by the chemical. I think that is what jump4ty was referring to, but I wanted to be clear that it DOES change the chemical makeup of any hair it touches.

If you want to perm that's your own decision and there's no shame in it, I just wanted you to know all the facts.
3c/4a; medium porosity; high elasticity; M; iii



Last edited by curlyclo89; 01-29-2011 at 09:52 AM.

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