As black women, our hair is always a topic of discussion. What style are we going to do next? What processes and procedures are "in?" What styles and products are "out?" Everyone has thoughts and opinions on what's best for us and our hair, making it hard to know what's truly right for you.
Join us for a candid and inclusive conversation about a topic that affects millions of women of African descent - the use of relaxers, weaves, and wigs. We sought the opinions of doctors, brand founders and natural hair stylist on this delicate subject. As industry leaders, we hope you value and appreciate their insights and it beneficial to you.
We asked this question to all of our contributors and here's how the responses broke down.
RELAXERS, YES OR NO?
The one topic our experts were in agreement on was the topic of relaxers and how unhealthy they are. They did not hold back when it came to expressing their thoughts on this one.
"Relaxers, on the other hand, are just evil!! We should have never started drinking that Kool-Aid! All the money spent, all the time wasted in the salon, not to mention the agony of chemical burns." - PuffCuff Founder Ceata E. Lash
"Relaxers. Relaxers are horrible for black women. Not only do relaxers permanently alter your hair texture, but it also damages the scalp epidermis." - Anonymous Expert
"I think it’s a form of not accepting our natural beauty because of the society rejecting us and us rejecting ourselves." - Anonymous Expert
Although all the experts agreed on how dangerous relaxers can be, some of them had an empathetic response when considering why black women continue to relax their hair despite its dangers.
"While I don't prefer to wear my hair in any of those styles myself, I support freedom of expression and realize women choose their hair styles based on a number of factors such as convenience, preferred appearance, ease of maintaining their hair, and societal pressures. Having said that, it is unfortunate that sometimes, having relaxer treatments and wearing wigs and weaves can decrease the health of the hair and scalp. We should all educate ourselves to know about other options for styling if there is evidence that our desired style is detrimental to our hair and scalp wellness." - Dr. Crystal Porter, Mane Insights Podcast
"I think African American women who choose to wear weaves or get relaxers view themselves as the most beautiful with straight or long hair. If a person only sees themselves in a particular light, it's hard to change that perception, so it's easier to continue doing what's comfortable." - Kalen Hyppolite of 4K Styles Salon
WHAT ABOUT WIGS & WEAVES?
Our experts had a lot to say about wigs and weaves, mainly because of the potential damage that can come from these styles if we're uncomfortable. They talked about how these styles can strain your hair follicles by putting undue tension on your hair strands.
"As a vegan beauty brand owner, I actually recommend to my customers having a regimen that allows them to schedule in protective styles like weaves and braids to give their hair a break. What's most important is to ensure there isn't too much tension, your hair is properly cleaned in between, and you don't leave them in too long." - Jeannell Darden of Moisture Love
When we asked our founder, Ceata Lash, about this topic, she highlighted the importance of considering our self-esteem and holistic health when making hair choices.
"Hair, body, and mental health must be prioritized. If those items become sacrificed or are in jeopardy with the use of the items listed above, then it's a problem. In other words, wear wigs because you want to take on an alter ego for the day, not because you don't like your natural hair." - PuffCuff Founder Ceata Lash
THINGS TO REMEMBER
"I think women of African American descent using relaxers, wigs, and weaves is a personal decision, and they should not be vilified for doing so. My only recommendation is that their hair health is the priority." - Rhonda Marshall of Inahsi Naturals
"As a texture expert and Curl Coach, I think everyone's journey is personal." - Lavida Barkley of Coiled, A Textured Salon
At the end of the day, you have to make the hair choices that are best for you, but knowing what the experts and hair pros say will help you make informed decisions. What are your thoughts on relaxers, wigs, and weaves?
Engage in the conversation by leaving a comment below.