” Good hair means curls and waves, bad hair means you look like a slave; At the turn of the century it’s time for us to redefine who we be.” – India Arie
RELAXER… PERMS… CREAMY CRACK! We’ve heard it all, but what exactly is it? Lye- based relaxers are known as a type of lotion and/or cream that are used to permanently straighten natural curls. The first history of a perm is dated back in 1909 with Garrett Augustus Morgan. Hair relaxing can be performed by a professional cosmetologist or at home with a relaxer kit. To maintain a good appearance, you should get a new treatment every 8-10 weeks. The relaxer is applied to the base of the hair shaft and remains in place as the hairs texture alters. Once the relaxer is rinsed clean, it is important to use conditioner immediately after to replace some natural oils that were stripped away.
Relaxers contain very powerful chemicals which is needed if you want your kinks and curls altered. Depending on your hair type, relaxers might cause damage, breakage and weaken your hair growth. Why would anyone want damage to their hair? Growing up African American women were looked down upon for having Afro hair like I stated in one of my previous blog posts. Society made it seem like we had to have straight hair or we wouldn’t fit in or get the same benefits as other women. Hair segregation? Maybe. But that’s besides the fact that we shouldn’t put these harsh chemicals in our hair.
I used to get perms for the longest. My mom pretty much got tired of dealing with my “nappy” kinks and curls and would slap on a relaxer. It seemed as though my hair continued to grow with relaxers, but once I got to my freshman year of high school I realized that my hair wasn’t really growing. I finally decided to stop putting relaxers in my head senior year and began transitioning to natural again (which I will discuss in another post.) I think African American women should embrace their nappiness and love their kinky curls because it’s what makes us unique from anybody else. Say no to the Lye and kiss those chemicals goodbye!
Your soul sista,