Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is Natural Hair Too Much Work???

Recently, I was on Naturally Leslie's blog and she asked the question: Is natural hair too much work? The reason she posed this question is because she saw this young lady on Youtube who went natural and then she relaxed her hair. Too each its own, right?

However, I decided to go to the link of the Youtuber who decided to relax her hair after being natural. I was curious about her reason for going back to straightened hair. Some of the reasons she cited were: (1)she was tired of looking busted (2)she did not like the Buckwheat look (3)she did not like the length that it was at (4)she felt it was too much work. I felt that the reason she went back to the relaxer so quickly is because she didn't change her mindset. Being natural isn't just about changing our hair. Its about accepting the beauty that was given to us naturally from God.

The argument that natural hair is too much work is just crazy to me. Some people would rather put damaging chemicals on their hair than work with the natural hair to maintain its health. Also, I was relaxed for about 10 years and I remember the work that went into relaxed hair.

This is an idea of my regimen while relaxed:
1. Relax the hair every 4-6 weeks.
2. Do not scratch the scalp before applying a relaxer.
3. Apply petroleum around the perimeter of the hair to prevent scalp burns.
4. Scalp burns still occured and they were annoying as all get out!!
5. Blow dry the hair.
6. Flat iron the hair--section by section. Apply oil sheen generously before flat ironing.
7. Wrap the hair using a wrapping lotion. Wrap the hair every night to maintain the style.
8. After about 2-3 days, I would flat iron the hair again. I know some of my relaxed friends would flat iron the hair everyday. Even then, I couldn't fathom this much heat damage.
9. Get the hair trimmed every 4-6 weeks because split ends occured like crazy and they were very noticeable with relaxed hair.
10. After about 2 weeks my curly roots would begin to come back in. I would hide this by either flat ironing the hair to the root until I felt that singe of heat. Or I would apply gel and where it in a pony tail. Or I would roller set my hair and sit under a dryer for 1-2 hours.
11. I only washed my hair once a month because I didn't want my relaxer to wear out.
12. Despite, doing all of this I still experienced breakage. To cover this up, I would get my hair cut every now and then.

To some, this may not seem like a complex routine, but I began to loathe it. I began to dread the re-touch of the relaxer that occured every 4-6 weeks. My last years of relaxed hair, I would only get it re-touched about every 3 months. I could never obtain length while having relaxed hair. The longest my hair would get would be to my shoulders. My natural hair is this length now when I stretch it--and this has occured after a little over a year.

In the end, maybe some people don't like the idea of co-washing the hair weekly, or using oils to maintain moisture, or wearing protective styles, and other such methods. However, I will take my natural regimen any day over my relaxed regimen. I accept my natural hair because it is me. I accept my natural hair because it is healthy. I accept my natural hair because it is a gift from God. I accept my natural hair because it is beautiful. Therefore, I can't ever fathom my natural hair being too much work. My relaxed days...I am so glad I'm over this.


  1. I'm glad to be over it as well. For me, I acknowledge that I am very low maintenance when it comes to hair styling and care, and it seems like that attitude is much more destructive with relaxed hair. You have to do so much to prevent breakage, and even then, you don't actually prevent, you just slow down the process a little. Now that I've completely fallen in love with my real hair texture and don't even try to pick it out (just let the curls do their thing), I am the proudest I've ever been of my hair.

  2. I may beg to differ a little with this statement that natural hair isn't a lot of work. First off I will say that I don't plan on going back from being natural I love my hair this way. But I do feel that sometimes it is a lot of work. I mean for me to wash condition and detangle my hair can easily be 4 hrs. I am still working on creating a regimin that works well for me.

    I do agree with you though that the girl went natural for all the wrong reasons. If she embraced her hair for whatever it was then she would't have the insecurities of it. I have learned to do that and have days where I am just not happy with my hair but will have to do something later.

    Ok thats all... I love your blog also BTW!!

  3. I understand your comments completely, Loving Me. This provides a different perspective, which is very insightful. We all have different hair types so, regimens will differ for each us.

    However, I like that you are willing to put in the work your natural hair requires. It shows that you have an acceptance of your natural beauty.

    And thank you so much!

  4. I also agree with Loving Me on the amount of work that goes into maintaining natural hair, but it's totally worth it! I did the BC Aug. last year and I'm loving not going through the awful routine you talked about above. I especially do NOT miss the burned scalp (which happened every single time).
    SN->I am getting a little antsy waiting on my hair to get longer, though.

  5. Hmm. I think that my hair requires a lot of work no matter what form it's in (relaxed, permed, freeform, sisterlocks) because I will always have to 1) combat fragility and dryness and 2) style my hair in some way. I've found that I'm able to achieve just about any hairstyle no matter if my hair is relaxed, freeform or in sisterlocks. However, the way I'll go about it is different and can be more/less work intensive. Personally, I find CARE to be least time consuming and labor intensive but STYLING to be most time consuming and labor intensive with relaxed hair. With my hair in sisterlocks, care is most time consuming/labor intensive but styling is the least. My hair in freeform is about 50/50. In comparison to both relaxed and sisterlocks, the Afro (had it for over 5 years) was less time/labor in care (no damage from relaxer to deal with and no reverse braids to keep up) but much more in styling (almost invariably had to braid or twist it as one of the steps especially b/c I hate heat and styling aids).

    Still, I think that the real question isn't "is it too much work" but "do i like this look enough to put in the work?" For some people, relaxed hair is actually more work but the end result is worth it to them. For the girl mentioned, without knowing her, I can only think that, for her, the amount of work involved in maintaining her natural hair was not worth the "buckwheat" look she achieved. I think that, if she is willing to put in the work, there is nothing wrong with her rocking any hairstyle.