For 17 long years of my life, I succumbed to trading in my natural curls for a chemically relaxed mane. While we’re finally living an age where natural hair isn’t considered a taboo as much as it once was, there were plenty of underlying reasons why I finally stopped. If you’re not familiar with hair relaxers, a relaxer is a cream that makes curly or coiled hair easier to straighten by chemically changing the texture and “relaxes” it. Two years ago I decided to make a change and stop getting relaxers once and for all. While I was experiencing some personal changes that finally convinced me to pull the plug on relaxers, some common factors played a part as well. Ahead, why I ditched getting relaxers and decided to embrace my curls once again.
No matter how I styled my hair, I noticed a significant amount of shedding as the years went by. Even with a strict haircare regime and regular trims, my strands kept shedding away with every brush stroke. As you could imagine, this concerned me because I didn’t want my hair to lose volume and look limp and believe this was a result of the chemical damage. I became hesitant to apply any heat to my hair or pick it up into a ponytail or bun, because of how weak I noticed my hair had become.
Relaxing my hair also took a lot of time and dedication over the years. About every couple of weeks I would spend nearly five hours at the hair salon, which may not sound like a lot of time but after 17 years it became exhausting. Then, depending on how sensitive my scalp was feeling at the time, some relaxer appointments were more painful and took longer than others. Between the time and discomfort it was causing, I knew I had to take a break or stop once and for all.
Apart from requiring my full commitment, getting relaxers also got pricey. Some salons charge by the length of your hair, while others have a flat rate. Either way, if you expect to have your hair relaxed safely at a salon, then you need to assume there’s a hefty price tag. Now that I’m older, I would much rather invest the money into products that keep my natural hair healthy and an occasional treatment.
What finally triggered me to go the natural route were the changes I was experiencing in my life at the time. I had packed up everything I knew, moved across the country, and started a new life in Los Angeles. I was no longer in a relationship, began a new exciting job, and felt that I could use a change in my appearance as well. Rather than changing the color or getting a drastic haircut, I decided that I would begin to transition my hair back to its natural state and start over. It was a change that felt good and necessary, and the overall health of my hair has improved immensely. With regular trims in between, I now only have about an inch of relaxed strands left on my hair and will be cutting it off soon. I’m ready to embrace my bountiful curls yet again for the first time in a long time.