Age old debate for girls - to perm or not to perm?

My daughter is 8 and is crying already about a relaxer. I will not be responsible for that damage, I do not know one woman with long, relaxed, healthy hair. I tell her all the time she'll thank me later. For now, we are still learning techniques for her hair naturally.

Beauty School: 25% of the elasticity is gone after just one relaxer. This means overlapping a relaxer just 4 times means breakage is certain.
My daughter is ten and I say don't do it. A chemical is a chemical is a chemical...regardless of how long you leave it on. I say help her to fall in love with the hair she has. Find beautiful natural hair on YouTube (ex. Rustic Beauty, etc) and let her watch those vids. Show her different pictures of beautiful natural manes, the versatility of it. My daughter is in love with her hair and won't even let me flat iron it (not that I want to, but I used to...every week). She began this love affair with her hair last summer (long story: dealt with some negative comments from her dad's family about her hair and wanted straight hair like mine as a result. I stopped relaxing in that moment to reinforce what I had always told her and that was that God gave her beautiful hair). Since that moment, she has not wanted it flat ironed and does not want a relaxer.

She watches those YT vids and finds pictures and is "dreaming" of how she's going to wear her hair in middle school. She's not a swimmer, she's a tennis player, but it requires a lot of washing because she's very active and "sweats in her head" so badly. And mind you she has A LOT of hair, but we learned about washing in plaits and it is awesome!

I think the key is helping her to fall in love with her hair so that she won't want a relaxer. My daughter's friends were so used to seeing her with long (BSL), straight hair and I was concerned that she'd have issues and change her mind once school started, but she hasn't. She has the little black girls (all two of them lol) in her class asking me to twist their hair and all the little white girls are telling me they love how "boingy" my DD's hair is. She's changing mindsets in her class and her grade and it's awesome to see. She can't wait to get to middle school and rock her big twist outs! (cause for now she can only do so on some weekends and special occasions). She doesn't want to look like the other girls and I'm very happy....cause she wasn't getting one anyway! lol

I look back and really wish that my mother had never relaxed mine.

I DID THE BC ON MAY 24TH, 2009 @ approximately 2:00am!

I will say this, I am newly natural as of September and it was never in my plan to go natural. I was actually growing my hair out just to "start over" with new hair to relax. As a matter of fact, i was ANTI being natural. Now that i am natural i wonder WHY DID I EVER HAVE A RELAXER. My friends think its hillarious and it is.
I got relaxed at the age of 5 because, thats just what you did in the 80's. But i'll say this, when i was like 7 i wanted a Jerri Curl so bad, my godsister had one and I wanted that shiny long hair(curls did keep that hair long). However, i thank God that my mother didn't let me get that curl, because i saw what my godsister went through to get out of that curl; her hair was never the same again. NEVER. Since then she has gone natural and has gorgeous healthy hair. The same can be said of a relaxer. The hair is never the same. As was previously stated, your daughter will thank you later, when all her friends hair starts drying up, breaking off or falling out. Not to say that happens to everyone with a relaxer, but it does happen to most.

Show her the appropriate images;women with gorgeous natural hair that matches her texture. My biggest reason for going and staying natural is this: OPTIONS. I am not a natural person that hates on those who straighten. I think the beauty of natural hair is the option to do both. Give her the pro's and con's of both relaxer and natural...I'm sure she'll see the beauty in being natural after that.
"We Live From the Head Down and Not the Feet Up" ~Donnie
I vote for "NO." Please show your daughter pictures of ladies with long natural tightly curly/coiled hair. Give her some inspiration to keep her lovely tresses au natural and not to go chemical. I understand the social pressure, believe me I succumbed to it in middle school and regret every bit of that decision even tho I had APL hair and felt 'sophisticated' with str8 hair (before I became wise about being natural again).

No matter how well maintained relaxed hair is, it has been damaged because the process destroys protein bonds in hair. Destroy = Damage. Damage. Damage. Everything done after the first application is trying to mend the assualted hair. And, every touchup application is walking a tightrope between more damage. If you do venture to relaxerland, I pray you have someone who knows how to properly prep, apply, and post handle the relaxer process.

But, yeah, sun, sweat, pollution, swimming, wind already take a toll on hair, a relaxer makes things harder. Not to mention to maintain the str8 look you have to do further potentially damaging manipulation, whether it is heat like flat irons, wrapping, getting brush happy, etc. Maintaining 'healthy' relaxed hair is a commitment that requires even more education and caution than natural hair IMHO because you're dealing with hair that has been permenantly weakened.

Once she's 18, she's an adualt. She can make that decision for herself. Many times I wished the women in my family & other families didn't think of relaxers as a right of passage. A relaxer should not be a bat mitzvah, or something a little girl must feel she needs to have to be accepted or to achieve manageable hair.
RIP Natasha Richardson

Holy Grails: Alba Botanica Leave-In Conditioner, AVG, EVO Coconut Oil, Amla Oil, KC Spiral Spritz, Brahmi Oil, Tea Tree eo, Rosemary eo, Distilled H2O, Aloe Vera Juice, Neem Oil, ACV, Dr. Bonner's Skikakai Castile Soap, Avocado Oil

Sometimes: AOMM Jelly, KCNT, KCCC

Last edited by madhuri_dixit_fan; 05-19-2009 at 11:24 PM.
Okay...I'm so agreeing with you about NOT relaxing the girls hair...but!!! What to do??? I am in the SAME situation as Greenivy. My daughter (11) is terribly tender headed and doing her naturally curly (4b) hair is driving us all CRAZY!!! Her father wants to relax it (just to stop the drama) but I am against it. I press it when she wants to wear it straight, and in the summer she is always swimming so we just pull it into a bun. Is there some way to soften those curls so that she can comb it out and wear it natural??
you can flat iron her hair straight, or blow dry it straight. make sure you put a heat protector on her hair. but do not put relaxer in her hair. she is young, so she is obviously not going to understand. she might also have a lot of girls at her school asking or telling her "why don't you relax your hair?", "have you ever relaxed your hair before?", "you should get your hair relaxed." and "your hair will be prettier if it was straight.", " it will be easier to manage if it was straight.", "your hair would be longer if it was straight." and, "you have a lot of hair." my all time favorites, "you have hair for america.", "you look like a chia pet." i had a lot of questions and comments like that while i was growing up. all of us curly heads end up giving in and start relaxing and flat ironing our curly locks. eventually we realize that it is not worth it anymore. because in order to achieve the straight look, you have to damage your hair in the process. It's not fair. it's normal for your daughter to want her hair straight. she wants to start experimenting with her hair now. she wants to know what it is like to have a different look. i begged my dad for a long time if i could relax my hair. finally, my dad let me when i was in 10th grade. i did the deal about 4 times and i got over it real quick. it is expensive trying to keep up the look. all the while, you notice your hair starts to fall out if you dont take extra care of it. natural curly hair is fragile enough, now i had to put in more effort when it was straight. forget that. i was tired of following the band wagon. so, i stopped fighting my curls and embraced them. i have never been happier. and my hair has been healthier. does she know that girls with straight hair wished they had curly hair? i wouldn't do anything to her hair unitl she was in 8th or 9th grade. sometimes all of us have to learn the hard the way in order for us to really understand.

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