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Hair Cares: Why I Decided Not To Relax My Natural Hair and Enjoy My Afro Texture

The damage from relaxers are not worth it.

Are you one of the many naturalistas tempted to switch back to relaxing your hair? Or perhaps, you are looking to try relaxed hair for the first time. I get it! Natural hair takes time to manage especially depending on your curl pattern. From time to time, you may spend hours caring for your hair on wash day just for your hair to not come out to your standards. Or maybe you are not reaching your desired natural hair length yet. Regardless of the reason you may be feeling tempted to relax your hair; it may seem like an easy way out of solving many of your hair styling challenges. I’ve been there!

However, take it from me, don’t grab your relaxer if you can put off doing so! If you are still on the fence about whether or not you should use a relaxer on natural hair, check out our guide below to learn about one of the many ways you can achieve straight hair without a relaxer, as well as the benefits of not relaxing natural hair. 

No Lye Relaxers vs. Lye Relaxers – Does it Make a Difference?

relaxer on natural hair
Is there a huge difference between lye and no lye relaxers? Photo by Christian Soler

Let’s face it, all hair products, even our natural products, contain chemicals in one form or another. Coming in contact with chemicals is inevitable if you are a beauty consumer. However, all must be done in moderation. Lye natural hair relaxers often include an active ingredient called Sodium Hydroxide, which assists in breaking down one’s curl pattern. This substance can cause severe burning and irritation, among several other effects. Many people think that no-lye relaxers are a great alternative to lye relaxers however, this alternative often relies on strong chemicals such as calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate, which can also be just as harmful. As I found my hair thinning out and hair growth being stunted around the time I turned 17, I made the decision to go natural after having relaxed hair for most of my childhood for this reason. 

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Long-Term Effects of Using Hair Relaxers

natural hair relaxer
There are long-term benefits to not using relaxers that your hair and body will thank you for later. Photo by Tyrell James

Another decision that pushed me to go natural was to avoid the harsh chemicals and make better decisions for my health as I got older. The harsh chemicals in hair relaxers are known to make often the hair more brittle and damaged over time. This can stunt hair growth and cause hair breakage and loss over time. Beyond the mane, scientific studies over time have shown a link between users who have used hair relaxers and who have struggled with fibroids and infertility issues. 

Are you looking for some alternatives to using chemical straightening? Here are some ways to straighten I enjoy straightening my hair without harsh chemicals from time to time! Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have a long-lasting straight style with these methods.

1. Silk Press on Natural Hair

Silk press on natural hair
A gorgeous addition to the silk press, hair is curled at the end for a more formal look.

A silk press is a hair treatment that straightens natural hair so well that it appears relaxed. The process of obtaining a silk press is quite simple. You start off by thoroughly washing your hair, then deep conditioning hair to help add in extra strength, moisture, and nourishment before you officially start the pressing process.  

This is followed by blow-drying your hair. At this point, your hair is free of most of its coils and curls. You can complete the look by moderately flat ironing your hair. This method allows for a smaller risk of heat damage in the process of achieving this style. However, it is important to use a heat protectant such as TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray to add extra protection to your hair while working with heat. To elongate the longevity of your style, I always love to wrap your hair with a silk scarf or bonnet at night while sleeping. 

2. Blowout Method

blowout hair relaxer on natural hair
Blowouts are a fan-favorite way to straighten natural hair. Photo by Gabriel Matula

The blowout method is the process of blow drying your hair upside down and a pull and roll technique of brushing out your hair to achieve straight hair. This style is achieved with easier or thinner hair. To increase the longevity of this look and help keep your look flat and frizz free, I like using a finishing spray. For example, the Bed Head by TIGI Get Twisted Anti-Frizz Finishing Spray.

3. The Classic Flat Iron Method

straighten natural hair
When used in moderation, a flat iron is an efficient alternative to a relaxer. Photo by Ezekiel Nuhu

When done in moderation, flat ironing is a great way to avoid natural hair relaxers. While flat ironing natural hair, it is super important to start with clean, dry hair. Also, ensure to section your hair before starting to make it easier and more tangible to work with. As always, start with a heat protectant. After you straighten your hair, we recommend spraying TRESemmé Pro Collection Beauty-Full Strength Leave-In Treatment to help prevent breakage and make it easier to style and comb through your straight hair, especially if it is coarse. 

Whether you wear your natural hair straight or not, it is important to remember the versatility of natural hair. It took me a while to learn this and it was a life changing moment for me. Natural hair can be styled in many different ways. It can also be styled with many different protective styles, all while keeping your hair and body healthy. I always love to learn, what methods others use to style their natural hair without a hair relaxer. Share your process by tagging us @AllThingsHairUS. Also, for more natural hair care tips, subscribe to our newsletter below!

 

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