Relaxed Hair Vs Natural Hair: Pros, Cons, and Trending Styles in 2024

Relaxed hair vs natural hair debate has been a widely discussed for decades and is still a polarizing subject in culture.

This discussion has been fueled by historical influences, particularly Eurocentric beauty norms, as well as the constant reinforcement of the media dictating what is perceived as attractive and socially acceptable.

Over the course of numerous years, Blacks have faced discrimination in both professional and academic environments due to their naturally kinky hair, often being labeled as unattractive as a result.

As Black people continue their fight against social injustices, their natural hair became their symbol of empowerment.

However, as times evolve, there has been a significant shift towards embracing the beauty and uniqueness of relaxed hair and natural hair alike.

In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of relaxed hair, along with ways to maintain them.

What is Relaxed Hair?

For people who have extremely frizzy and curly hair, making your hair look a certain way can be extremely cumbersome on a daily basis.

While some days grant the luxury of luscious curls, other days present the challenge of managing hair that seems to ensnare your fingers in its twists.

If you have been looking for a quick and easy solution to this problem, then hair relaxers are your solution.

Hair relaxers, the go-to tools of hairstylists and salon experts, offer a semi-permanent solution to transforming your naturally curly tresses into smoother strands.

You might be curious about the working of hair relaxers—how exactly do they work their magic?

The answer is simple. Chemistry!

The intrinsic composition of naturally curly hair features hydrogen and disulfide bonds, pivotal elements influencing its distinctive texture.

The main component of hair relaxers, Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), penetrates the hair cuticle and the cortex layers of the hair shaft, breaks the di-sulfide bonds and restructure them while hair is being held in a straight pattern giving hair a straight look.

This process permanently alters the molecular makeup of the hair and results in hair that can last you 7 to 8 weeks.

While the process of hair relaxing is not overly time-consuming or intricate, it’s always advisable to entrust it to a skilled professional, particularly due to the involvement of potent chemicals.

When done incorrectly, this process can leave you with an irritated scalp, brittle or unmanageable hair, and even chemical burns.

Professionals take every possible precaution to protect your scalp and neck skin from a possible chemical burn and apply the chemicals evenly throughout your hair.

Pros of Relaxed Hair

There are many reasons behind people getting their hair relaxed regularly. Let’s check some of them out.

1) Hair relaxants are quick and easy! After prepping the hair, a professional hairstylist would only take 10-15 minutes to apply the chemicals to the hair. Once the chemicals have worked their magic, the relaxant is washed from the hair, followed by shampoo and conditioner. Not only is it easy to apply but also manage.

2) Naturally curly, wavy, and textured hair has the tendency to become tangled and knotted, however, you won’t run into the same problem with relaxed hair. It is easier to brush a comb through relaxed hair and relaxed hair tends to be more responsive to conditioning treatments as well.

3) If you have naturally curly hair and are tired of your hair becoming frizzy with even the tiniest exposure to humidity, then you can say goodbye to this issue with hair relaxants. Your hair will not become frizzy and remain straight even when your hair relaxed hair is exposed to high humidity.

4) It is easier to style your chemically relaxed hair because you don’t have to go through the extensive prepping process that you may usually go through with your curly or frizzy hair.

5) You don’t have to use a straightener regularly because relaxed hair remains straight for extended periods.

Cons of Relaxed Hair

While the advantages of hair relaxants may shine, it’s crucial not to overlook the significant their drawbacks.

1) Hair relaxants consist of strong chemicals that permanently alter the molecular composition of your hair. If you do not take adequate care of your hair after relaxing or use hair relaxants frequently, then you can permanently weaken the strands of your hair.

2) The strong chemicals used in hair relaxant are not meant for your scalp and can cause scalp irritation and even chemical burns when not applied properly, While, most professional hairstylists take adequate steps to protect your scalp, however, everybody’s different and will react differently to the chemicals.

3) Don’t get too attached to your relaxed hair because they don’t last forever. Relaxed hair can last you 6 to 8 weeks and requires frequent touch-ups if you want to maintain the look. Frequent treatment with chemicals even with adequate post-care can cause severe damage to your natural hair.

4) Hair relaxing treatment can only be done in a salon by a professional hairstylist. Unfortunately, not everybody can go to the salon every few weeks for a touch-up.

Is Relaxed Hair Healthy?

Many professional hairstylists believe that chemically treated hair can be healthy and thrive, however, overprocessing your hair with heat styling and hair color can lead to serious damage. You can maintain healthy relaxed hair by following these steps at home.

1) Wash your hair regularly: Wash your hair regularly with shampoos and conditioners that are specifically meant to add nourishment and moisture to relaxed hair. You can also treat your hair weekly with hair masks, hot oil, or protein treatments that add extra hydration to your hair.

2) Get hair trimmings regularly: Our hair starts to split at its end as they grow. Therefore, you must get regular trimmings not only to keep your ends clean but to also promote hair growth.

3) Wrap your hair at night: By wrapping your hair in a silk hair cover, you are protecting your delicate tresses while sleeping and preserving their body and volume.

4) Seldom apply heat to your hair: Your chemically treated hair is already sensitive and regularly applying heat to it will make it brittle. Hairstylists recommend applying gentle to low heat only once a week and using a hair wrap or hair roll to maintain your style for the rest of the week.

Can Relaxed Hair Afford to Get Wet?

Relaxers can’t be washed out by the water, therefore, water doesn’t cause relaxed hair to revert to its original texture. Hair Stylists recommend washing your hair once a week with shampoos that can add moisture and hydration to your hair.

How to Relax Your Hair at Home?

You should not relax your hair without professional help because you are dealing with strong chemicals that can damage your hair and even irritate your scalp.

Plus, it is hard to cover all of your hair properly if you are doing it on your own. However, if you wish to have straight hair but can’t afford to get it professionally, then there are some natural ways to get the desired effect.

1) Oil Treatment: By relaxing your hair with oil treatment, you are achieving your desired effect and also keeping your hair healthy. Oil treatment will help you add moisture to your hair while simultaneously protecting you from environmental damage. You can use avocado, coconut, castor, olive oil, or any other oil that you can find in your kitchen.

2) Silicone creams: Silicone creams are an inexpensive and effective alternative to chemical treatments. Silicone creams do not require heat as it acts like a molding agent which keeps the hair in its place until you shampoo.

3) Heat styling: Heat styling with curlers, straighteners, and blow dryers are a great way to tame frizzy hair. It can be used to style almost any type of hair from the comfort of your home. However, it is best to have a friend around who can help you with it because styling can take longer than an hour.

How Long Does the Hair Remain Relaxed?

Hair relaxers will keep your hair straight for six to eight weeks.

How to Prevent Dryness and Flakiness of the Scalp Post Relaxer?

Hair-relaxing chemicals can irritate your scalp if they are not applied properly to your hair. Relaxant chemicals are meant to work on your hair and can cause your scalp to become irritated and even get chemical burns when the scalp isn’t protected properly. That is why it is important that you to a professional for this process.

Before your appointment with a professional, you can prepare your scalp by applying an even layer of oil or Vaseline. After your hair is relaxed, you can even apply apple cider vinegar to your hair to wash out all remnants of the relaxer on the roots or base of your hair as it helps to prevent scabbing.

Do Relaxed Hair Grow?

Yes, your hair still continues to grow after you have had it relaxed. Hair Stylists recommend coming in for a touch-up and trim every 6 to 8 weeks.

What is the Difference Between Relaxed Hair and Rebonded Hair?

The main difference between relaxing and rebonding hair is that while relaxing your hair softens tight curls, rebonding is designed to break the hair bond in order to change your hair’s natural texture and make it straight.

Your hair will be fully straight after a rebonding treatment and will not require any further styling. However, relaxed hair requires styling and isn’t completely straight.

Why are More Black Women Opting for Hair Relaxers?

Many Black women might agree that black hair is an extremely politicized topic. While many Black women advocate for natural hairstyles, others are starting to feel burnt out from the movement. And there are other women whose busy schedules don’t allow them the luxury of maintaining their natural hair.

Recently, many Black women took to social media to call out the natural hair movement for its lack of representation and arbitrary rules.

They also raise the point that natural hair is both expensive and time-consuming to maintain, and it can be extremely overwhelming to find a combination of hair products that care for their hair.

What is Natural Hair?

For many people, their hair is an expression of their beauty and personality. For Black women and men, hairstyles are a form of personal expression which shows who they are and how far they have come.

For decades, Black hair has been a topic of sensitive discussions and debates leading all the way back to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.

Hair has an emotional significance on Black culture and identity. Historically, black women have used their hair to tell their stories which are often marked with discrimination and struggles stemming back to their childhood.

Social discrimination, racial oppression, and verbal and physical abuse had forced Black women to straighten or alter their hair from its natural state.

However, the natural hair movement, which started in the 1960s, started to have these uncomfortable conversations and intertwined it with the fight for civil rights.

The movement saw resurgence in popularity with YouTube in the early 2010s. This movement has empowered Black women from around the world to embrace their own texture.

Pros of Natural Hair

Other than being a big part of the Civil Rights Movement, natural hair also has other advantages to them.

1) Natural hair gives the illusion of thicker and more voluminous hair. It is easier to achieve multiple great styles such as braids and twists when your hair is thicker rather than permed.

2) Natural hair is versatile. It can be stretched, shrunken, or curled and it can also be manipulated into different protective hairstyles, such as braids, crochet, etc.

3) Natural hair goes against the Eurocentric standards of beauty and empowers Black women, men, and non-binary folks to embrace their own individuality.

Cons of Natural Hair

1) Natural hair has a tendency of being extremely frizzy. It can get tangled in itself. It is also very dry and requires a lot of moisture.

2) If you fail to wrap your hair before sleeping and at moisturizing or hydrating your hair frequently, then you may experience some shedding.

3) Natural hair tangles on itself all of the time. Detangling hair is both a painful and time-consuming process.

4) It is also expensive to have natural hair because in order to keep thicker and fuller hair moisturized and hydrated you have to use lots of products.

How to Care for Natural African American Hair?

Not only is Black hair unique in appearance, texture, and structure but it is also very fragile and prone to damage. Follow these recommended tips for healthy natural Black hair-

1) In order to maintain natural Black hair which is neither dry nor frizzy, you should wash your hair every once a week or two weeks with moisture-boosting shampoo and conditioner.

2) One of the reasons why many people opt for relaxed hair is the lengthy detangling process. In order to make detangling easy for yourself, you should attempt to detangle when your hair is damp.

3) If you opt for a protective hairstyle, make sure that your braids, weaves, or cornrows are not super tight. Ask your stylist to redo and make your braids looser if it is painful.

4) Oil your hair frequently. You can also wear hair masks that add hydration and moisture to your hair.

5) You should also cover your hair in a scarf or lay it on top of a satin pillowcase to minimize the tangling and breaking of hair. Sleeping without a satin or silk scarf can lead to hair breakage, hair damage, and ultimately dry hair.

6) You can minimize damage caused to your hair by frequent heat styling by using heat-protecting products to damp hair.

How Often Should African American Natural Hair be Washed?

Frequently washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner is important to cleanse the scalp and hair of product build-up and flakes in order to ensure optimum hair health and growth. Depending upon your lifestyle, you can wash your hair every 7-10 days or 4-5 days.

Is Coconut Oil Good for Natural African Hair?

Coconut oil is amazing for natural hair. It promotes hair growth, keeps your scalp and roots nourished, and even helps remove the build-up of sebum from hair follicles. It strengthens the hair and improves the condition of dull, dry, and lifeless hair.

How to Grow Natural Hair?

There are a number of ways to stimulate natural hair growth-

1) Frequent trimmings: Trimmings are essential to promote hair growth and you can easily do it at home.

2) Use a sulphate-free shampoo: Not every shampoo on the market is meant for black hair. You should pick a shampoo that has natural ingredients, such as natural oils, which will make your hair softer and sleeker. Also, don’t wash your hair often. Shampoo only once a week, so that your natural oils can penetrate your hair.

3) Brush your hair regularly: Avoid going to bed with unbrushed or tangled hair. By brushing your hair, you are distributing your scalp’s oil evenly throughout the length of your hair. It also increases the blood circulation of your scalp.

4) Wash your hair with cold water: Hot water can dehydrate your hair and make it rough. Therefore, you must use cold or room temp water while washing your hair.

5) Scarf: Never let your hair free at night. Make it a habit to wrap your hair with a silk or satin scarf and to only sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase. Natural hair is prone to breakage and increased hair fall whilst sleeping on a cotton pillowcase.

Natural Hair Dos and Don’ts


1) Keep your hair moisturized at all times.
2) Trim your hair regularly.
3) Wear a protective style that requires the least amount of maintenance and does not tug on your scalp.
4) Eat lots of vegetables and maintain a healthy diet.
5) Try to keep your hair regimen simple and find products that work for you.


1) Don’t wash your hair frequently.
2) Don’t over-moisturize your hair.
3) Don’t use heat constantly on your hair.

10 Amazing Relaxed Hairstyles

1) Pixie Cut

Pixie cut is an effortless hairstyle that can make styling in the morning a total breeze.

Pixie Cut Bangs for Black Women
Pixie Cut Bangs for Black Women

2) Body Waves

Body waves don’t require regular heating or styling tools. It can also be easily dyed or bleached.

Body waves
Credit: Pinterest
Credit: Pinterest
Credit: Pinterest

3) Bubble Braids

Bubble Braids
Credit: styleme_yari

4)  Braided Pony

Braided Pony
Credit: comegetjinged

5) Double Braided Ponytail

Credit: hairbyhrjk

6)  Mid Ponytail 

Mid Ponytail 
Credit: hairbyhrjk

7) High Ponytail

8) Curly Bob

Curly Bob Credit: clapback_hair

9) Two Bun Hairstyle

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