Team natural hair vs relaxed (chemicals)

19 Jan, 2020 - 00:01 0 Views
Team natural hair vs relaxed (chemicals)

The Sunday News

Rutendo Chidawanyika 

If you have been following last week’s article, here goes the Part Two. In the last article we discussed natural hair and its properties. 

This week we are on relaxed hair. While most are keeping up with the trends and going for the natural hair look, some still maintained relaxed hair and I’m one of them. Relaxed hair is when you put chemical in your hair to make it straight and easier to comb.

Having convenience is something we all seem to be striving for these days. And being relaxed is a sure way to achieve it. Having straight hair is simple because you don’t do anything to it. Most times at night you just put on a doek or stocking then unwrap it the next day. 

Disadvantages of relaxed hair

Harsh chemicals 

Yes, your hair is straight and beautiful but to keep it that way you must continue to apply the same harsh chemical on your hair. There isn’t a way to get around it, and truthfully it is not healthy. Starting with the fact that you have to wear gloves when applying the product says a lot. That’s why we apply Vaseline on our foreheads, ears and have a towel on our shoulders to prevent the chemical from burning the skin.

Limited versatility

The thing with being relaxed is it can get a bit boring at times. I know the struggle as I always tie up my hair when its relaxed. The only change you can have done is putting rollers on, curling it or plaiting. Otherwise it remains straight. There isn’t much you can do.

Scalp irritation 

When applying chemicals it must be done at a very fast rate. You cannot have the chemical for long or your scalp will burn up. At the same time you cannot rinse quickly before the chemical has done its magic, you want the product to set in long enough to be effective but not long enough to burn. Be careful when trying different relaxers and make sure you choose what works for you. 

Having scalp burn or irritation is painful but once the burn heals, it will turn into a scab. It doesn’t take long to heal.

Hair damage 

There may be a time when your hair may not be strong enough to handle relaxer anymore and it will begin to get weak and cause damage. Relaxed hair isn’t the easiest to manage. Your hair can begin to get dry and break off. Don’t let me get started on the hairline. Which is why you should moisturise or oil your hair regularly. Oil treatment is a must people!

Relaxed hair that is over-processed can have a flat and lifeless look. Never relax your hair to attain 100% straightness. The maximum level of straightness should be 80% so that there is elasticity left in the hair. The more texture you leave the more natural strength and elasticity retained.

Now that we are done with negative of relaxed hair here are some positives 

Advantages of relaxed hair


Since there is chemical throughout your strands getting wet hair isn’t a big deal. You can blow it out and curl it easily. Those with weaves, wigs and natural hair worry especially during rainy season. 

When relaxed, your hair is permanently straightened meaning wind or rain or sun can’t change what the chemical has done. Unlike natural hair straightened by heat, when water hits relaxed hair it dries back straight.


On days where you are running late you can comb in the car or on your way. You can get away with it easily and just tie it up. However, that is not the case with natural hair as it takes a while to get ready. 

Simple styles can be created without stretching the hair first.

No knots 

Relaxed hair is less prone to knotting and tangling on itself because the relaxing process removes majority of the kinks and bends in natural fibres. This reduces the risk of breakage and some women find it easier to retain length when hair is relaxed. Relaxed hair is faster to comb and detangle.

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