l.i.b.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. theory

love, life, and the pursuit of liberation

should i stay or go?

talking about hair of course.

*I posted this on a from a hair messageboard I frequent.*

I’m at a crossroads about what to do with my hair—stay natural or relax it.

I’ve been natural for almost 15 years and before that, I was a 2-3 times a year relaxer kind of person. I didn’t know what to do with my hair and my mom wasn’t that attentive to it. So I went from looking like Rudy Huxtable as a child (length and thickness) to hair that was broken and ear length by the time I did the BC my freshman year in college. I also vowed I wouldn’t go back to the perm then because of horrible scab burns.

Fast forward 15 years and I have too many things going on in my life to worry about my hair. I’m a mom, a grad student, and I regularly work 55 hour days a week. My hair is bra strap length and I want to keep it long. Here are my pros and cons about natural versus relaxed.

Pro natural—
• It’s cost-effective.
• I love my hair’s texture and natural softness.
• I hated how straw-like it was when relaxed.
• I could hypothetically wash and condition often (though my hair HATES co-washing and I don’t have time for all that).
• I probably won’t self-relax and don’t want to add another expense.
• I’ve never learned to care for my hair when I was relaxed and it will be a whole new world for me.

Cons natural—
• I can’t wash and go anymore because of excessive tangles and dryness
• Tangle and Breakage-city from depending on buns and my hair being pretty fragile in it’s natural state. We know how vulnerable our hair is at each bend of the curl.
• Dry- city: I’ve tried numerous moisture regimens and my hair thrives when straightened—I think it’s because of how the moisture is better distributed.
• I hate the way protective styles look- I already look like I’m in high school and I think protective styles look juvenile on me. Plus, it’s horrendous detangling and such to take them down. Buns are eating up my hair line

I’ve started doing blow-outs and flat-ironing this summer and my hair does pretty well with that. I just hate having to depend on so much heat to straighten it out and it’s time consuming to go through all that every other week. I know that relaxing is permanent “damage” but honestly, I don’t care about that part. I’m soooo over the “good=natural and bad=relaxed” mentality of some natural people.

So what would you do????????


9 comments on “should i stay or go?

  1. Courtney
    September 5, 2010

    How about dreadlocks? They seem pretty low maintenance once your hair locks up. I’ve been natural on and off for a few years and everytime I go back to being relaxed I like my hair for a few weeks but I always end up missing my natural so I go back to it. IMHO I think the fullness of natural hair does so much more for our faces then the limpness of relaxed hair.


  2. liberationtheory
    September 5, 2010

    did locks before and really have no desire to go back 😦


  3. Monika
    September 5, 2010

    What about having a shorter ‘do?
    Less manipulation, less chances for tangling and breaking…more trips to the salon to keep it trimmed properly of course. I just cut my hair off (did it myself) to get more volume (my hair gets limp and lifeless if longer than APL :-() and i am happy with it. And you are right…this hair dualism is so not necessary and exhausting. Each its own crown (of glory)…..


  4. liberationtheory
    September 5, 2010

    monika, thought about that too. this is the longest my hair has been as an adult and i like it (totally vain i know) but that’ll be the next option if neither of these two choices work..



  5. Chi-Chi
    September 5, 2010

    LoL . .. I was going to suggest what Monika said. Did you have traditional locks before? Maybe you could try sister locks now? If you’re wanting to avoid chemicals, what about having it blow dried straight. I saw a tutorial on youtube once.

    But honestly, if you can retain the length and you won’t get any scabs from it, do what you need to do to simplify your life.


    • liberationtheory
      September 5, 2010

      Sisterlocks are so friggin expensive and I’ve been doing blowouts for a while. I think I’ll keep those up and pay for it to be done since it’s only $10 here in nj. I’ve been doing it myself and the time spent is frustrating. I need to suck it up and know that $20 a month isn’t that bad if it saves me stress and time.


  6. Autumn
    September 10, 2010

    What conditioner are you using?


  7. Fatty_Girl06
    September 13, 2010

    I can absolutely relate to how you’re feeling. I stopped relaxing my hair when I was around 12/13 and now I am 22. I went from not knowing what transitioning/being natural was to becoming very pro-natural hair. In the past year or so, I’ve began wearing my hair more and more straight.

    I am still 100% against relaxing my hair ever again for the simple fact that my hair is VERY fragile and the mere smell of relaxer may cause it to break lol (jk), but I’ve been flat ironing it regularly, which can be a lot of work since I like to wash my hair a few times a week.

    Here is my routine,

    1) Wash/condition my hair every 2-4 days with Pantene classic care
    2) Apply FantasiaIC hair polisher and/or Fructis leave-in
    3) Air dry my hair over the course of the day
    *If I’m in a rush, I will blowdry my hair, otherwise, I will wear it in a bun or pony tail for the day in order for it to air dry
    4) Flat iron my hair that night or the next day
    5) Touch up on the flat ironing as needed for the next day or 2

    Since my hair is so fragile, the ends are basically now straight on their own (heat damage) and I’ve cut my flat ironing time down to 40 minutes if needed (my hair is just past my shoulders and layered). Keeping my hair in a bun before I flat iron helps keep my hair flat so it’s easier to flat iron.

    Overall, my hair has remained relatively health, I just need to keep on top of my trimming so that it doesn’t break, but that happened even when I was 100% natural.


  8. Fatty_Girl06
    September 13, 2010

    Sorry this is so long, but here is a picture of my hair


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