Relaxed vs. Natural Hair: Pros & Cons

Esperanza Spalding

Relaxed vs. Natural Hair: Pros & Cons

Should you chemically straighten your hair? Here are the pros and cons.

Published March 4, 2014

So is it just me, or does there seem to be a battle between the naturals and the relaxed chicks? With the natural hair community growing ever so rapidly, there seems to be an uproar of opinions on how people should be wearing and not wearing their hair. I have seen commentary about natural vs. relaxed, curly vs. straight, good hair vs. bad hair, and even untrue stereotypes. As black women our hair is a sensitive, and sometimes overly discussed topic. It is JUST hair, ladies. Why do we put so much emphasis on our tresses? It’s quite vain how important hair has become in our community.

As a girl who has worn her hair both natural and chemically treated, I see no reason to fight about which is better or worse. All hair has its negatives and positives. How you choose to care for your hair will determine its health and beauty.

Let’s look at some common PROs and CONs.

ThicknessNatural hair does tend to be thicker. This is because your hair follicles are textured. The natural hair follicles have lots of disulfide bonds which create the curls in the hair and give it texture. Chemically relaxed hair has been altered. The follicles have been broken down so that they don’t curl. This decreases the amount of texture, therefore leaving your head of hair to feel and appear thinner.

—Natural hair is easier to achieve a full and big hair’d look

—Relaxed hair is easier to flat iron, and achieve a straight, “silky” look

Tangles: Natural hair is definitely a challenge to detangle. Though there are several methods that can help reduce the detangling process, it’s still a process. Relaxed hair is straight, and therefore can in some ways be easier to manage on a daily basis, and even on wash days.

Read more about natural and relaxed hair at BlackDoctor.Org.

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(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Written by Naomi Mackenzie, BlackDoctor.Org


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