I spotted this woman in Savannah, Georgia with a legendary, jet black mane. It was incredibly thick, healthy and so lush it had to be sho’nuff store bought. It wasn’t. They were the kind of tresses some Southern grandmothers swoon over, and beg us not to cut. Ravishing. Voluminous. Gorgeous. I inquired about her regimen, wanting to know what wondrous products she used.
“Well, my relaxer…” she said. My eyes widened, and all sound came to a silencing halt. She went on to explain she always made it a point to tell people she was relaxed because of the widespread notion that only natural hair is healthy hair. It’s tough to be a user of the creamy crack these days. And although statistics show that over sixty-five percent of Black female consumers are currently relaxed, the all-consuming natural hair movement would make you think otherwise.
It’s bigger than hair. The digital war pits presumed jiggaboos against alleged wannabes, and the online quips have gotten rather nasty. Having a hair preference has become a crime against your own ethnicity. Hot-headed naturalistas—even in the year 2012—will revoke your Black card for flaunting a few straight strands. However, when maintained professionally, what’s wrong with having a relaxer? A little research on today’s straightening creams proves that they’re not the damaging conks of the past. Due to the booming business of natural hair products, relaxers were forced to change their formulas about five years ago to incorporate a slew of conditioning buffers like shea butter, argan oil and keratin. Today, most relaxers are much milder.
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