Isn’t it interesting that despite the efforts, the time and money we put into taking care for relaxed hair, women still believe that straightened hair is easier to care for and natural hair is unmanageable?
The notion that African hair is hard to manage is based on the customs of daily combing and daily styling straight strands which is structurally different from textured strands. Unless you choose to wear an afro, Natural African hair does not need combing or styling everyday because most hairstyles stay unimpaired for at least one week on average. In addition, most combs are unsuitable for natural African hair.
That means being able to quickly comb through the hair on a daily basis cannot be used as a standard to define our hair as “hard to manage.” Defining nappy hair as unmanageable based on the above standards would be like, defining straight hair as unmanageable because it is difficult to braid straight hair and it can hardly keep a braid, a cornrow or a curl. It doesn’t make sense, does it?
It might be easier to stick with the routines you are used to and comb through and style straightened hair on a daily basis but it certainly is not easier to care for relaxed hair. If this were true, where do you suppose the majority of our hair problems come from? Why do so many women of color wear weaves and braids these days?
Contrary to popular belief, relaxed hair is high, actually very high, maintenance. In fact, chemically altered hair is more difficult to care for than natural hair because of the chemical damage to hair. Relaxers first destroy the outer layer of a hair strand and then subsequently break the hair structure so that the hair becomes straight. That is why African hair needs extra care after it has been permed. It is more vulnerable.
Relaxers not only make it harder to maintain healthy hair, they also limit us in our lifestyles. To maintain a straight and healthy looking hairstyle, we condition, roller set, blow-dry, wrap or hot-comb our hair. After all efforts we put into creating a hairstyle, we do everything to keep the hairstyle and we limit ourselves to activities that will not hinder the style.
We don’t exercise because perspiration messes up our hair, as does swimming, and a lot of other outdoor activities. The truth is, chemicals really do not make life easier and they make it absolutely harder to maintain healthy hair.