Relaxing or Straightenting ? Which is better for your hair ?
Well for me neither is good for black hair because they both involve the breaking down of the hair folicle, just in different ways. With Relaxing you are adding a chemicle compound aka a perm to your hair in the form of a cream that breaks down your hair permanently until the coil stretches out and becomes straight.
The problem with this method is not just that it is permanently changing the structure of your natural hair, but it is also causing internal damage to your body as well. Everything that you apply to your skin get sabsorbed into your system. This includes whatever you apply to your scalp. Whether you are using a Lye or No Lye relaxer is irrelevant. They both cause internal damage to your system.
There have been some cases where women have developed cancer as well as organ failure due to years of perming their hair. There are may books that speak about this. One in particular is entitled Chemical Suicide:Death By Association by Alika Hickman. There are also instances where a woman will end up with hair loss in parts of her scalp that get worse the longer she continues to use a perm.
In some cases the hair will grow back once the woman goes natural and stops adding the chemicals, but in some cases the perming has gone on so long that not even going natural can help the hair come back due to permanent scalp damage. So for me, Relaxing is definitely not an option for hair manipulation. I stopped relaxing my hair 14 years ago and I’m so glad I did because my hair has never been healthier or longer.
Straightening is a way to break down the hair folicle using heat such as a Hot Comb or Flat Iron. If I had to choose a method for hair manipulation over a relaxer, this would be the lesser of two evils. However, you still have to be careful with straightening your hair too often. Sometimes straightening your hair too often can cause permanent damage as well just as if you had used a relaxer.
The benefit of straightening is that you are not adding chemicals to your scalp and when you wash your hair after straightening it’s supposed to be able to bounce back to its normal curly or wavy state. However, sometimes the heat can cause your hair not to bounce back, leaving it dry and damaged in the process. Some women chose to only get their hair straightened when it’s time for them to get their split ends trimmed because the straightening is supposed to allow for a better trim than if they trimmed it in it’s curly state. I can dig that, plus that means you’re only getting your hair straightened a couple of times a year, which will hopefully not cause too much damage.
Ideally, if you’re looking for a break from your natural look, I would suggest investing in some fun wigs. This way your natural hair is not being compromised and you get to play “hair dress up” for a day. And I mean for a day. Of course I’m still anti blond hair as usual so if you’re gonna get a wig, please have fun without the obvious self hate undertones mixed in. That’s all !
Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs