The Big Hair Debate: Natural Hair Versus Relaxed Hair

Which way to go? I guess this is a battle many young black women are facing these days. The recent surge of natural hair beauties has everyone scramming to obtain the look. Everywhere I turn on Facebook, I see another friend has done ‘the big chop’ and is crossing fingers that her hair will grow in its natural lustre.


I haven’t relaxed my hair in about six months; prior to this, I have only relaxed it once every four months, for a whole year. I figured I’ll make the transition slow after the natural hair bug bit me. I’ve told myself countless times, there is no way on earth I’m doing the big chop! Mainly because I look just like my father, and I can’t have anyone in doubt of my gender at this crucial point in my life.The irony of this whole transition for me is that I love weaves, I am the queen of weaves, I don’t fancy sitting in a salon for four hours while someone constantly tugs at my hair, trying to create those beautiful locks called braids, nor do I fancy the loss of my hairline after taking out my braids. I am not in any way an afro pop chic, so the entire time I’ve been trying to gently transition my hair, I’ve been covering it with weaves, feeding it with a mixture of castor oil, olive oil and argan oil, and occasionally, I throw some Amla oil into the mix.

I took out my weave last week Friday and decided I’d style my natural hair for a whole week. Hmmm. I washed my hair, did a mayonnaise treatment, dried it and it was ok to comb. I wrapped it, went to bed, woke up the next morning and it looked like someone had baked a cake on my head overnight. My hair strands stood straight like a battalion of soldiers, waiting to welcome the president. I wasn’t fazed. I put in some of my conditioning oils and proceeded to comb my hair. Like my buddy Seno used to say …..Oh my sack of Cheese! It felt like I was about to put my scalp off my head. It was painful, difficult and almost made me cry! You see, unlike many other natural hair beauties, my natural hair is not soft, curly and easy to de-tangle just by adding a conditioner. My hair is long, gets dry easily and is a thick mass of locks that does not have the curly feel to it.

Why then am I forcing myself to go natural? It’s obviously not for me, or my hair type. It got me thinking about why I’d proceeded to embark on this journey in the first place. Most women with natural black hair believe those who relax their hair are sell-outs, who can’t accept the way their hair grows naturally, and have succumbed to the westernized idea of how hair should look. I beg to differ…. Everyone’s hair journey is personal. Whether you choose to relax your hair or have it in tight kinky curls, it’s up to you. Nothing is wrong with relaxed hair and nothing is wrong with natural hair. It’s a personal choice, and should not be subjected to conformity or rebellion (depending on which angle you choose to look at it). If I have relaxed hair, so what? If it’s natural, so? How does that affect the price of bread at the supermarket or lower the inflation rate?

I was conforming to the natural hair movement which I must say, I am now ashamed of. For one, I’ve never been a conformer. I set my own trends in everything so I was really surprised at myself when I was sitting in front of the mirror, battling with my three-tier cake-like dry hair, fighting back the tears.Funny enough, I’d just sent my friend a message the day before, telling her I wouldn’t mind keeping my hair natural, Less than 24 hours later, I was sitting on the fence. My relaxed hair was fine, It grew healthily, was always well treated and did not bring me close to tears in the morning. Speaking about tears, this morning, I angrily packed up a new weave I got when I was in Nigeria and I’m on my way to the salon to fix it. I can’t deal anymore…. I like my long flowing, straightened hair that doesn’t make me cry, and is not a battle I have to fight every morning. I’m a black girl who loves her hair straight; it doesn’t make me less black, or in denial of my roots.

I’m still sitting on the fence, about relaxing my hair though….

Share your thoughts about the big hair debate.



13 thoughts on “The Big Hair Debate: Natural Hair Versus Relaxed Hair

  1. Woooow! I was natural up till the completion of wassce and then, I couldn’t wait to “disvirgin” my hair. Now, 9 years later, I’m transitioning to natural hair. Let’s just say I got swayed by “the movement”. But walahi, it is stressful and very expensive. And there are so many rules, you begin to wonder. Anyways, I had very lovely, soft and long natural hair back then and I wasn’t “babying” it. I hope to get an healthier hair transitioning back to natural cos them relaxers…*smh* (no thanks to UB). Notwithstanding, it is YOUR hair … Just do your best for it, shikena!


  2. To ladycreme, this naturall hair thing has gone wayy too far, i am natural by choice but did relax my girls hair, it was too overwhealming plus im paying to get it blown out ever two weeks for what when i can just relax. Straight is straight as long as its healthy. Its just hair.

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  3. LOL.. Just this morning i walked into a salon to get my hair relaxed but ended up changing my mind. See i have been transitioning for over a year (was not brave enough to do the big chop) now by weaving and putting in braids, which started off as an attempt to get my hair healthy again due to over exposure from chemicals (lets just say i was an addict, relaxed my hair almost every month). A year later my hair is healthy again and there is only like 20 percent left of the relaxed hair . The only problem is that my hair texture is thin, shrinks to any kin of humidity and drys out quickly (and Namibia my county is extremely dry), so my afro also ways look dead and lumpy. And i end up looking like a homeless person.
    While transitioning, my hair semi-natural (if you can call it that) i could only wear it in two styles, the dry-perm look or straightened (but i have come to hate the heat that come with these styles), but as my natural hair grow, my hair becomes more and more unbearable. I too am still trying to make up my mind, but for now the relaxer is on hold until i have had enough.

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  4. Demi I love this post. Few know but I went natural last year while preggies and I didn’t think it was a big deal. I have tough, tuftty hair that’s very difficult to maintain. I ‘transitioned’ back to ‘relaxed hair’ this year (pun intended). My choice, nobodys business! Hehehehe. I see the debates everywhere and all that comes to mind is India Arie’s ‘I am not my hair’. Next topic puhleaseeeee….

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  5. lovely! there is nothing bad about having relaxed hair. I’ve just had the big chop but I know there’s no way I’m running around being an advocate of natural hair. When you read from natural hair adherents, they come across as obsessed with the idea and they proceed to share lots of information about how to care for the natural hair (regimen this and regimen that). Too much information that I wonder whether it is the health of a liver we are talking about. Plus they go on about protective styling that I wonder when we get to show our lovely hair off when they are always hidden in protective styles.

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  6. Really I think it depends on how u view it and I do not agree that “most black women think those who don’t keep natural hair are sell outs
    The question everyone needs to answer is “why are you natural?”
    I went natural because I didn’t like what relaxers had turn my hair into more so I’d lost all my edges, so my motivation was more like to restore my hair(the health) and I don’t think anyone should feel judged because am doing that
    Everyone should do what suits him/her☺ and for a good reason too, sincerely it’s not been easy but what keeps me going is the reason I started in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This post was actually inspired by a debate i witnessed amongst black women, who were adamant they will not ‘succumb’ to society’s standards of beauty. It’s a big debate for some people. And statements like “Natural girls rock” sort of reinforces the idea that it’s a movement. I agree with you, everyone should be free to do what they like and that’s what I’m trying to pass across in this post. Be free, do you.


  7. Hehehe!
    Pele… People are really going crazy over this natural hair thingy, I never really cared much about hair. When I was in Nigeria I didn’t have to think of what to do, there were salons everywhere, but I got to the uk and taking care of my hair became this task so I just cut it off. When I go back home,if the hair gives me wahala, I’ll cut it again, see I’m very scared of relaxers because I always cry when I retouch my hair. Anyhoo, the point is, people should do whatever they want to do about their hair, who cares?
    It’s just hair, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol Amyn I tire with this natural hair movement o. I was fighting tears. Biko I’m going to relax my hair once I take out this weave. It’s just hair…. that’s my new hair motto


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