700 Before You Relax

Having natural hair is like wielding a double-edged sword. We’re blessed with beautiful, textured curls that make any hairstyle work, but we’re also cursed with hair that requires extra money, hours of maintenance, and patience just to keep it luxurious and healthy. And our patience oftentimes wears thin, making a perm seem more tempting than ever. But don’t reach for those damaging chemicals just yet. Before reaching for the chemical perm and getting rid of your curls for good, try these seven ways to make you fall in love with your natural hair all over again:

Try a different hairstyle

Maintaining the same natural hair style can have you feeling dull or even thinking about getting a perm. But believe me: making the decision to chemically straighten your hair will leave you with even fewer options than before. As naturalistas, we’re blessed with endless possibilities for styling our hair. Braids, locs, twist-outs — the options never end. And if you’re still yearning to be a part of the straight-haired life, it doesn’t mean you have to relax your hair in the process. Try out a straight-haired wig, or if you’re up for it, apply a modest amount of heat to your hair.

Pamper your tresses with a hair mask

Instead of covering your hair with relaxer, try covering it in a healthy, rejuvenating hair mask. Though they share many similarities with traditional deep conditioners, hair masks tend to have a thicker consistency. You can get a hair mask treatment at the salon, find a product in store or online, or even do it yourself. Most masks should be kept on the hair for 20-30 minutes. Want to make your hair mask even more effective? Apply some heat by wrapping it in a towel or sitting under a dryer.

Try a hot oil treatment

Natural hair is prone to dryness, and oftentimes, dry, brittle hair is what makes us turn to chemical relaxers. But a hot oil treatment may be the only step between you and moisturized, natural curls. Other than adding moisture, hot oil treatments applied to the scalp can stimulate hair growth, prevent split ends, and add extra shine. You can undergo hot oil treatments as often as every week, usually for around 20-30 minutes.

Connect with others in the natural-haired community.

In a world where straight hair is still considered the status quo, mustering enough courage to show off your natural hair to the world can prove daunting and even isolating. But when you think you’re all alone in your natural hair struggle, take advantage of social media. Platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have communities dedicated to textured-hair users, and other platforms that are focused primarily on natural hair textures are filled with fellow naturalistas, like yours truly, who share the same struggles as you.

Seek out curly-positive media

It’s just as important to see other curly-haired beauties in the media you consume as it is to see them in the communities you hold allegiance to. Seeing a little bit of yourself in what you watch every day can work wonders on your self-esteem. Whether it’s through watching the Netflix original “Nappily Ever After” or watching a short natural hair journey YouTube video, make sure to give yourself the curly-haired representation you deserve.

Make a personalized, curl-positive, wash day playlist

If you talk to any natural-haired beauty, the part of their hair routine that likely gives them the most stress is wash day. And the many steps spent keeping our tresses up to perfection is what oftentimes makes us resort to perming. We can’t take the hard work out of your routine, but we can add some much-needed fun. The best way to achieve this? A wash day playlist! If you’re unsure on what to add to your wash day soundtrack, songs like Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” or Amine’s “CANTU” are a good start.

Headwrap 700f

Keep your natural hair under wraps

Still can’t stand seeing your natural hair? On days when your curls refuse to cooperate, spare yourself and your hair the extra stress by just throwing it all in a head wrap. Available in a wide array of sizes, patterns, and color schemes, head scarves allow you to add your own personal flair to your style with less work. If you find yourself coming short on what wrapped style to try next, other members of the NaturallyCurly community have you covered.