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Question of the Day: Your very first relaxer

Avatar • Nov 14, 2009


Adorable BGLH reader Ishea

How old were you when your mother/auntie/grandma/cousin first relaxed your hair, and what are your memories of it?

***Update***

Bajan Princess just added an interesting follow up question: “Do/did any of you discuss the feelings that you have/had (I see some of you said you were/are angry) with your mothers? Do they feel any remorse or regret for perming your hair?”

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hb
hb
11 years ago

I was 9 when my mom took me to the salon to get my relaxer. I had really thick, long hair that tangled easily. I seriously remember 3 different people trying to comb out my hair so they could put creamy crack on it…
And when it was done, I remember have a super straight, long high ponytail. I never thought my hair could ever get like that.

Then when I turned 14, I realized my hair was thinning a bit. Which is ridiculous because my hair is really thick.
Been relaxer free since 16. 🙂

Coffey
11 years ago

I was about 13 when I got my first relaxer. I begged my mom, she was skeptical but agreed to put a mild one in my hair. U regretted it since. My relaxer life lasted from the age of 13 until 20 y.o. consisted of scabs on my scalp, horrible breakage and costly, LOOOONG hours at the hair dresser.
Stopped relaxing and never looked back.

The Black Bot
11 years ago

Actually, I’ve never had a relaxer in my hair, praise God!

Romney
11 years ago

The crazy thing about this is I actually don’t remember when I got a relaxer. I believe I was in middle school though, maybe the 7th grade.

Kasandra
Kasandra
11 years ago

WOOOWW! this is my first comment because I just found this site(which I Now LOVE!) I recieved my first relaxer at 4. my aunt did it becuase my mother doesnt know how to do hair(even her own.. which is why she has locks for the past 10 years).I know i didn’t sit still becuase I never sat still even as a freshman in college I would alwyas jumo when it burns or shake through the pain. I did te BC about 2 months ago & now I notice how fast my hair has grown. & i love every second of it!… Read more »

jadedpoet
jadedpoet
11 years ago

Honestly I’m not sure when, I would get a perm maybe once a year but my mom kept braids in my hair. The perm never would take though it used to burn so bad I would cry when it came to “perm day”. I spent most of my life in braids, when she finally let the beautician *i guess they talked her into it* consistently perming my hair every 2 months, it went from mid back to shoulder length. I am not sure my age, .…man I want to say 8 or 12 when that happened. Possibly 12!

South Loop Social Light

First off, wow! I can’t believe you guys used my pic again!! It’s actually one of my favorite pics from my childhood. I got my first relaxer about 2 years after this photo was taken. I loved being a little girl with long hair. lol… but if I could go back in time I would’ve asked my mom to never go down that road. I wasn’t someone that dreaded getting my hair done when I was younger but I definitely remember trying to “fight” the burning sensation of the relaxer so it could get super straight. lol Maybe that’s what… Read more »

Jen
Jen
11 years ago

I got my first relaxer the day before I turned 15 as a birthday present. It was not what I really wanted. I begged my mom to let me lock my hair back then but she is an old fashioned Caribbean woman. Locks were frowned upon. Because I was desperate to do something other than my braids and twists I just went ahead and got my hair relaxed.

BelleMuse
11 years ago

I think I was about 7 or 8 years old when I got my first relaxer. I remember being sooo excited to be free of the pressing comb but little did I know my hair would fall like leaves in October. Seriously the only thing that saved my hair was going natural.

Nicole
Nicole
11 years ago

My mom did my first relaxer when I was 10. My mom did all of my relaxers, save one. I was excited because the plan was that it would make my hair much easier to manage. (Psssssyyyyccccchhh!!!!) I played with my hair hardcore, I put rollers in it, clips, and all sorts of nonsense. It was exciting for a while because it was new to me and people at school liked it. Then my hair started to get brittle and break no matter what I put in it. Cut to 12 years of hair frustration. To think I could have had healthy… Read more »

NapturallyHappy
NapturallyHappy
11 years ago

I got my first press at 9 or 10 and my first relaxer at 11. I remember being really excited to get my hair relaxed. It was this really important rite of passage and I wanted that sleek, straight hair. My father was totally against us getting our hair permed, but my mom took us anyway. I get angry about it now. I feel like little black girls were done such an injustice. We were cheated out of the joy of of celebrating one of our most important characteristics. When I think back to how closely-tied my hair and my… Read more »

Roxanne
Roxanne
11 years ago

I was about 7 and it was the “Just for Me” relaxer that came with the cassette tape instructions. My mom did it and it turned out ok, from the pictures I have. She always did my hair then, and she does my hair sometimes now (when I ask nicely of course!) Even though I’m 23 I still ask her to do my hair cause it brings back memories and we keep our bond strong that way too.

emjay.
11 years ago

i really don‘t know. i didn‘t remember a time that i didn‘t have a perm other than when i went natural. my mom did keep my hair out of a relaxer for a very long time though…almost a year & i remember my hair getting so long. i do have memories of my mother relaxing my hair when i was about 4. she used just for me, but i don‘t know if it was the first time. so, i relaxed my hair for almost 15 years. my hair was damage by me doing my own perms, but mostly, it just… Read more »

BajanPrincess 82
BajanPrincess 82
11 years ago

I never got a relaxer, thank God, but had always asked my mom for one. She would tell me that a relaxer would make my hair fall out, and I would stop asking for a while.

Do/did any of you discuss the feelings that you have/had (I see some of you said you were/are angry) with your mothers? Do they feel any remorse or regret for perming your hair?

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I was 13 or 14 and demanded it for a long time before my mother reluctantly took me to the salon. It took about an hour and a half to relax my hair since it would simply not process. I loved it even though it was breaking immediately. My hair colour is very black and the relaxer seemed to make it look super black and I loved that too.

My mother said I looked like a wet dog with slicked back hair but I was happy passing that fine toothed comb through with ease and swinging my newly straightened hair lol.

The Black Bot
11 years ago

BajanPrincess, I was the same way. I kept asking my mom for one, but she refused for the same reason. Now I know she was right. Imagine that.

Jessyfromparis
Jessyfromparis
11 years ago

I was 10 or 11 when mom relaxed ly hair.
I was so happy to have straight hair and long hair like my white friends at school.

AdriB
AdriB
11 years ago

I received my first relaxer at the age of 10. I had very good hair dressers at home, so the most discomfort I ever had was a little itching (after which my hair would be immediately rinsed). Though I love my hair now, with all the activity and sweat of my teen years having a relaxer at the time was a great option. I had A LOT of hair and the relaxer allowed me to be more independent and I was able to keep my hair looking nice on my own. I actually think my mom decided on relaxing my… Read more »

PoliBohoGlam
PoliBohoGlam
11 years ago

I was 5. I remember the ladies in my family talking about something big that had to do with me, but I didn’t really understand what was going on. I don’t remember the reasons. It all seemed like a big deal. I don’t even remember understanding that my hair had changed. Ages 1–5 didn’t really bring much understanding of hair, so I didn’t get what had happened. As I got a little older, I just came to understand relaxers as necessary. How many times did I hear (or say to myself) “You need a perm”? It never even occurred to me that… Read more »

NapturallyHappy
NapturallyHappy
11 years ago

BajanPrincess, I’m not angry with my mother. I’m angry with the societal norms that made little black girls feel like less if their hair/noses/skin didn’t meet the standard. A lot of people talk about the Caribbean like some utopia where everyone is made to feel beautiful and where your natural looks/locks are celebrated. That’s such bull. I think the Caribbean is so freakin color-concious, hair-concious that it’s sickening. Things have been changing in recent years, but when I was growing up, adults around me made it very clear who was favored — light-skin, long hair, thin noses. It sounds so… Read more »

Krystal
11 years ago

I was five when I got my first relaxer. However, my hair didn’t start noticably thinning until I was eleven or so.

Krystal
11 years ago

I wanted to add, I feel Jessie further up. I grew up in Vermont, and all of my friends and classmates were white. I wanted to look like the little white girls with the long, flowing hair. I never had long flowing hair, or anything close to it. But I can understand the many reasons why my mother chose to relax my hair at such an early age. It was hard enough being the only black child everywhere I went. It would have been even worse for me to be the only black child and nappy on top of that!

AdriB
AdriB
11 years ago

@NapturallyHappy, I TOTALLY feel you!! My mom’s from Guyana, born to a black mother and Indian father and my black cousin’s sit around gushing about my hair and how I’m a “coolie girl” and all that and it just makes me feel awkward and sick to my stomach. Whenever people comment, “I LOVE your hair! You must be mixed…” I always wish, for a second, that the answer was “No.” Also, with all these hair blogs and great natural hair care information going around, does anyone else notice that very few naturals have “bad and nappy” hair nowadays? And the… Read more »

afrikanatural
afrikanatural
11 years ago

I was 5 when I got my first relaxer, for picture day:) My natural hair (what I can recall) wasn’t very hard to “manage”. It was wiry, somewhat thin, wispy, and soft. I don’t know why I got a relaxer but I sure didn’t need it for my fragile strands. I don’t resent my mother so much for making hair choices for me as a child. She was a first time mother doing what she thought all AA mothers did. In fact, I was doing her hair at 8 years old! I can only feel the tinge of resentment when… Read more »

missbnatural
missbnatural
11 years ago

I got my first relaxer at 14. I begged my mom for it. A neighbor of ours put it in for me. I loved how long/stretched out my hair was. I got my last relaxer at 22. I haven’t looked back since!

kicukalah
kicukalah
11 years ago

I was in preschool, so 4 or 5 years old. My mom had her friend put a relaxer in my hair. I remember screaming and crying with snot bubbles coming from my nose because my head was on fire. My mothers friend finally ask her what she did to my hair the night before and my mom confessed to scratch my scalp to remove dandruff. Mom didn’t know better at the time. My mother’s friend replied “poor baby! No wonder she’s screaming.” Needless to say it was horrific. But still, 13 years later, I had my hair relaxed. I’ve been… Read more »

thelady
thelady
11 years ago

I was 9 and I begged my mom for the relaxer. I only had it done every 4 months and mostly wore my hair braided. I around the age of 12 I started getting it done every 2 months and wearing it straight.

kindredb
kindredb
11 years ago

I was 13. I had been begging my mom for years to relax my hair, because all of my friends had relaxed hair. She kept telling me no, because she said I wouldn’t take proper care of it and then I’d have no hair. So finally, for my 13th birthday, she took me to a Dominican salon in Harlem where her secretary used to get her hair done and they put Fabu-laxer in my hair. I remember being absolutely APPALLED at how much it burned. I sat there crying and this older woman rubbed my hand and told me it… Read more »

Chay B.
Chay B.
11 years ago

My mom gave me my first relaxer at age 6, I think. I had this huge “unruly” afro (thanks, dad) that did not fit in with our hectic single mom lifestyle.
Long story short nearly all my hair felt out. All of it broke off.

I don’t blame her, she didn’t know any better. She had even used one of those “kiddie perms”.
I didn’t know any better either, and continued to relax my hair until this year, at 17.
Never ever going back ever nooo you canNOT make me.
Death before relaxer, I say.

LBell
LBell
11 years ago

I was 5 when I got my first relaxer and I don’t remember anything about it. The only evidence of it is my kindergarten picture: I look like I’d gotten caught out in the rain. It was flat and greasy and VERY short because the relaxer basically broke it all off. I didn’t get another relaxer until I was 12 and entering middle school. I don’t really remember having an opinion about it either…it was a decision my mother just made for me. I was such a geek back then and hair wasn’t that big of a deal (at least not… Read more »

Nikki
Nikki
11 years ago

I didn’t have one prior to the first grade, but I know that in my first grade class pictures my hair is long but super thin — so I had to have gotten my first relaxer at around 6. Now it seems outrageous and like what the f was my mom thinking, but at the time I remember her telling me my hair would look pretty and straight so I was all for it. I kept that attitude up until I got into high school. I would feel my new growth come in and I always liked the texture and I… Read more »

Shannon
Shannon
11 years ago

Before we moved down south, I didn’t even know what a relaxer was. I couldn’t understand why some black girls had straight hair but I didn’t. I got my first relaxer at 12; the end of the first month of 7th grade. My Gramma is a beautician and she had been doing our hair for about a year. She convinced my little sister to let her relax her hair (she was 8 at the time). I guess she wanted to kill two birds with one stone because she relaxed my hair the next day. I agreed to it because she… Read more »

jana
11 years ago

I was 5 years old and I remember crying and begging my mother to wash it out. It was Just For Me and it broke all my hair off in the back. I am still self conscientious about the back of my head, smh. I wish I never had, one but I think I hated the straighten comb just as much.

Atalaya
Atalaya
11 years ago

I know that I was in 8th grade when I got my first relaxer. My father had my hair cut and a curl put in my hair, yes a curl, when I went to sixth grade (’92) and I was DYING to have something different and up to date. My sister advised me on it and I did it myself. I have wanted to go natural since I became an adult, but it is so difficult with my job (Army); our headgear is unforgiveable. I go as long as possible between perms and am counting down until I will be… Read more »

Atalaya
Atalaya
11 years ago

I already posted about myself, but I just wanted to say that my daughter has BSL hair and it is extremely thick with several textures in it. I would never perm it and will not let her do it until she is over 18, if that is her choice. Sometimes it takes over 6 hours to shampoo, dry, and style her hair but I would never make her sacrifice for my convenience. I will definitely show her this website from now on so that she can celebrate the beauty that is her natural hair.

Bri
Bri
11 years ago

I was 13. I think it was just that she thought I was old enough to take care of my hair on my own without her or my sisters plaiting it every couple nights. She was dead wrong and I wished I had my hair back in natural plaits.

I think I’ve hated relaxed since then.

Bajan Spice
Bajan Spice
11 years ago

The first time I permed my hair I was 16 yrs old. It was a decision I chose to make. My mom never wanted me to perm it in the first place. You see, my mother is white, native indian and black, so therefore, with her gorgeous hair, I to have the same. But, growing up around mostly white people and seeing their straight hair blowing in the wind, made me feel that that was the way to go AND my mother wasn’t doing my hair for me anymore. So, for my 16th birthday my dad took me to the… Read more »

MIZZTCASA
11 years ago

FOUR YEARS OLD! I never remembered having natural hair consequently. I grew up in fear on my nappy hair appearing and was so happy after I had my perm (not during of course…the experience was always TORTOROUS…the burning, the scabs). I was so glad to be done with perms when I went natural. No money spent on upkeep, no more pain. Now i get to enjoy my natural curls and kinks. I love my hair!

Jazmin
Jazmin
11 years ago

I was 11. My mom told me she wouldn’t have to do my hair in the morning and that I would be able to do my own hair but I was just one of those girls who had long hair but only did ponytails anyway… I had no idea of what a relaxer was really about or the concept. I do remember the first day at school I got a lot of attention on my hair. It looked longer and stretched out. even my teacher who was white said she liked it. It wasn’t until college I learned relaxers are… Read more »

Essie
Essie
11 years ago

I was 11 yrs old and it was for my communion–I found it to be an adventure the only time I was angry was when my mother decided to use my aunt’s beautician and that’s when the back of my hair fell out and I had to go to school like that–I was not happy at all. Rocking a hairstyle that didn’t come out until the late 80’s was not cool.

Shayna
Shayna
11 years ago

I was 13 when I got my first perm. A lot of my friends in school had perms and wore their hair straight, and I wanted to do so also. I started asking my mother when I was 11, but she made me wait until I was 13. I got it at the end of the eight grade school year, just in time for prom. Before then I would always wear my hair in braids and braided extenstions that my mother had done herself. When it was done I was really happy. I remember the next day when I went… Read more »

Aisha
Aisha
11 years ago

I was 9 years old when I got my first relaxer. My mother applied it herself. The point was to make my hair easier to comb since I am prone to tangles and very tender-headed. I will say it served its purpose. My hair didn’t knot up as much after washing and it was easier to comb. I was happy because of this, not necessarily because of how it looked.

However, once I learned to take care of my natural hair I realized that could be easy as well. You just have to treat it differently than straight hair.

b.
b.
11 years ago

i was 7 seven when my mother whipped out that package of the infamous “Just for Me.” my mom used to work at a convalescent home and had no time to do my curly/tangled hair, so she relaxed it. am i happy? heck no! but in a sense i am glad she relaxed it because i can add it to my belt of wiseness.i grew up getting a relaxer every 6 weeks (yes every six weeks, sometimes four) never understanding why i got my hair relaxed. the only thing i knew was when moms had a box of that cream… Read more »

Brit
Brit
11 years ago

i’d just like to say that i am a little jealous of everyone that can remember their first relaxer. i had to be about 4, because that’s the only school picture i have of me with a puff. [it was perfectly round and sat directly on top of my head…:sigh:]

rosie
11 years ago

My aunt took me to get my first relaxer when i was 14, 3 days before my first day of HS. i was ecstatic because i wanted straight hair my whole life. My hair was thick, long, and very healthy and most importantly i looked older. I wasn’t afraid to trim my ends like most black women are and only got my touchups in a salon. In less than 5 years, while in college I decided that i looked too stereotypical (guys actually said they can take me home to their grandmother because i was light skin with long hair!… Read more »

Nappyme
11 years ago

I was 9. Me, my mom and sis all had long healthy hair. My mom and us four kids along with her boyfriend and his three kids all moved in together. That saddled my mom with FIVE natural heads (me, my sis, my mom and her boyfriend’s two daughters)to take care of and plus she was working all day too. It was too much. This was back in the summer of 1970. We moved into a new neighborhood and lived next door to two girls who were close to our ages and they were sporting perms. I remember wishing I had… Read more »

Joy-Mari Cloete
11 years ago

I’ve never had a relaxer, ever cause I have ‘good hair’. I’ve asked about it, though — I was 12 or 13 and my hair was going through a funny stage. And people told me my hair would fall out if I apply a relaxer to it. I’m so glad they told me that!

tamren
tamren
11 years ago

I remember when I was around 6 or 7..my hair was thick, long and “hard to comb” my older cousin did it for me and continued to do it until I was in high school. When she put it in, (the just 4 me with the tape included!!) she would ask me if it was burning yet..and I had to make sure I didn’t scratch the day of the relaxer. Oh the old days!!

caramelhoney
caramelhoney
11 years ago

Its sad, but I honestly dont remember my first perm. I remember my mom braiding and twisting my hair as a child into little barrettes or scrunchies, but I clearly remember how thick my hair was. Everyone in my family would always say I had thick hair. I dont remember being really hair concious about my hair, i just remember not liking my hair because it was too thick hair. I loved perms, I would sneak and buy the super kinda because it’d make my hair super straight, and when the perm burned, I’d hold the pain for a few… Read more »

MissyD
MissyD
11 years ago

I think I am one of few women of African descent who just never got hyped about perms. I kinda remember my first perm but I didn’t think it was a big deal. Neither my mother nor I kept up with it, plus I still liked getting my hair braided. I don’t hold any harsh feelings towards my mother, who is also natural now. I do however feel disappointment towards my relatives who still perm my younger cousins hair. Some of them are barely in middle school with this slicked down greasey lookin hair. Whats the point of perming hair… Read more »

bigsyd4life
bigsyd4life
11 years ago

Oh Lord!!!! Yes I remember. I was 12 years old when I got my first relaxer. My mother did not approve, so it was actually a friend of hers who took me to get it without her approval. I was just so excited to finally have my hair free and blowing in the wind. My mother’s friend took me to some shady looking salon down some alleyway. Well anyway, we get there and I hop up in the chair. The hair dresser applies the relaxer, but while she is doing so, she is also smoking, but I’m too preoccupied with… Read more »

Amani
10 years ago

I was 13 it was for my it was for my 8th grade graduation I wanted one before that but my mother didn’t let me. She still didn’t want me to until I graduated high school but she gave in. After that I experimented with different length and colors I was just fascinated with all things hair and I just spent my high school years trying new things. I’m now 21 and I’m transitioning haven’t had a perm in 8 months I love it I can’t wait to completely transform, I already feel free,

TheAmazon
TheAmazon
10 years ago

I was five…there is a picture of me i need to find of lil ol me sitting in the chair w/ a PCJ relaxer.…..bad times man! My mother has like 3 c type hair, I have 4 c..needless to say she had NO idea what to do w/ it so quickly began to perm my hair. By the time I was 16 and badly doing my own the damage was so bad and extensive, i had balds spots, by 18 i just cut it all off and started, over, and over and over again…trial and error , I just wish this site… Read more »

KeciaK
KeciaK
10 years ago

I was about 6 years old and it was a cold day in 1969. I knew we were doing something special, because mom, my big sis, and I rode about 30 minutes away to some strange beauty shop. What I remember most was being assaulted by the strong smell and walking out with straight hair hanging down my back like a white girls. Bless my heart, when I decided to go natural, I had not idea what to expect. I was saddened to realize I didn’t remember my natural texture. After I finished transitioning and found my thick natural hair… Read more »

Dana Dane
Dana Dane
10 years ago

I was in elementry school(late 70’s early 80’s) when my grandmother put the lye perm in my hair. I was so happy, running around the house shaking my hair like a white girl! Then she would set me under the dryer like some old lady and roller set my hair, I hated that! Once the rollers were out my curls were crunchy from the setting lotion she used. After soon many years of that, the last time I got my hair relaxed, she was appling the creame to my hair and after a while my scalp was on fire(like that… Read more »

Annell
Annell
10 years ago

I had my first relaxer when I was 16 years old. At that time, the relaxers were all lye base. It was done in the basement of a nieghbor’s home. All I can remember is that my hair was not as straight as I thought it would be. None of it broke off; my hair remained as healthy as it was prior to the relaxer, however, it was many years later when Revelon brought out a relaxer that I had it done again. Now, at this point in my life, I don’t use relaxers anymore. I haven’t had one since… Read more »

andrea
andrea
10 years ago

I got my first perm in third grade back in the early 1970s. This was because my natural hair was very long and thick and I cried whenever it was time to wash and detangle it. They didn’t have any special moisturizers or leave in conditioners to help soften the hair at that time, so doing my hair was a big chore. My mom took me to several hair dressers to get a price, but none wanted to touch my hair for less than $25.00. She found someone who agreed to do it for $18.00 but after the hairdresser was… Read more »

Tami Mims
Tami Mims
10 years ago

I got my first perm for my high school prom. Up until then it had been press and curl all the way. My mom asked if I was sure…I was definitely sure because I wanted a cute short hair cut that could only be achieved with a perm. I continued to perm for 5 years and then texturized for 2. Went back to the perm after a few years, then back to a texturizer. I finally went natural after a perm broke my hair off at the top, and a texturizer came out with me showing more scalp than curl.… Read more »

NikkiWest
NikkiWest
8 years ago
Reply to  Tami Mims

Same here.

Jennifer G
Jennifer G
10 years ago

I was 5 (1984) and I remember it like yesterday. Every Saturday my grandmother, who was a professional stylist back in the day, would wash my long thick hair, detangle it, sit me under the dryer, press it, pull it, and finally candy curl it. The process would start at about 8a.m. and end about 4p.m. Well this Saturday, my mom pulls out a mysterious jar of this smelly white stuff and slathers it on. I mean from roots to tip! My grandmother protested from the background, but my mother was hell bent on getting my hair to “lay down”… Read more »

Genmar V
Genmar V
10 years ago

The first time my mother put a relaxer in my hair I was about 7 or 8 years old. I had hair down to the middle of my back & it was too much to handle naturally, I guess. I didn’t like the time put into relaxing it, or the pain. As I got older, I would only relax my hair twice a year, but I finally stopped using them after I had my son at the age of 28. I’m very happy with the health of my hair & how I take care of it. I only put heat… Read more »

Ashanti
Ashanti
10 years ago

12 years old my mother and aunt who is a beautician talked me into a perm. We argued for hours then I finally gave in only because they said “Just this ONE time!!” which was a lie. I was a child who took PRIDE in her African heritage and NATURAL hair. The perm was the beginning of myself consciousness and SELF-ESTEEM issues.I began to think my blackness wasn’t enough in American society. I tried to bleach my gums(which was painful), LOSE weight and GAIN in the same time span. 2006 I decided to go natural again I did not have my… Read more »

Erika
10 years ago

Being of Puerto Rican background, relaxers are like second nature to culture sadly. Thankfully, my mother regrets giving me one to this day. She’s always told me my hair is beautiful. My first relaxer was when I was about 6 years old. Truth be told I don’t remember it, but many more relaxers followed all the way until I was 15 years old. I remember the later relaxers in my life. I was searching for the “holy grail” hair: smooth shiny and straight. I basically wanted to be white (no offense to white people). I never was satisfied with how… Read more »

Vani
Vani
10 years ago

I’m Puerto Rican and unfortunately I was one of the ones whose family started relazing their hair at early ages. For me it was the age of four. I still remember all throughout my life hating having to perm my hair and just wanting to be free. So many times, I would try to let it grow out only to be met with disapproving comments. I have had a perm on my hair for 30 years. I am tired of it and am planning to bc it off. I have not permed it since November 2009 and I am looking… Read more »

Dustychic
Dustychic
10 years ago

I don’t remember getting my first relaxer. I think I got my first one against what most people call the “safe” age at either 2 or 3. I started head-start at 3 and my hair was deffinitely relaxed by then. I remember living in Alaska though and wearing my straight leg, starch stiff pale sea foam jean pants with my blue and pink sweater on. And I remember sitting forever and enduring the painful itchiness I would feel. I remember thinking it was so terrible to have to spend so much time on hair and found it heartbreaking to know… Read more »

KRISTEN JOHNSON
10 years ago

YES YES YES!! I WAS 8YRS OLD.MY SISTER AND I WERE ON SUMMER VACATION TO VISIT OUR GRANDPARENTS. OUR HAIR WAS NOT KINKY. BUT B/CAUSE IT WAS SO LONG AND THICK IT WOULD GET REALLY TANGLED AFTER WASHING. I GUESS MY G‑MA DIDN’T REALLY KNOW HOW TO MANAGE OUR HAIR. NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE HAD A COUSIN WHO WORKED IN JCPENNY SALON IN CANTON, OH. G‑MA TOOK US THERE ONE DAY AND THE DREADED CYCLE OF RELAXERS HAD BEGUN!! OVER THE YEARS I CAME TO DEVELOP A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY HAIR..LOL..NOW AT 28, I HAVE DECIDED TO TRANSITION BACK… Read more »

tamar
10 years ago

my mom first relaxed my hair when i was seven the day before my first starring role in a play

Tonia
Tonia
10 years ago

I was 14 and in 9th grade when I got my first relaxer. I had shoulder length hair and was amazed how my hair was blowing in the wind…felt like I was in a Gentle Treatment commercial(I am dating myself!!).

Lequida
Lequida
10 years ago

I was 12. It was a cold November day. I had been pulled out during class [PE of all classes]by my oldest sister and taken to Nashville. I wasn’t told why or where we were going. We finally arrived at some random hairdresser to whom my sister had been referred. No one told me not to scratch my head- which had been all sweaty from PE and scratched because my scalp was dry. Anyway, 5 minutes into the application, THE BURN began. The hairdresser could barely finish applying the perm before she had to rinse it out. I was hysterically… Read more »

Teonna
Teonna
10 years ago

My mom first relaxed my hair in fourth grade when i began taking swim classes…i was sooooo excited i wanted straight “easy-to-manage” hair like my older sister. My mother has 5 daughters of whom I am the darkest skinned so throughout my life i’ve heard comments about my dark-skin and “nappy” hair in contrast to my mother’s light skin and straight hair (i have never seen my mother’s natural hair texture other than pictures). Of course relaxing and chlorine dont mix, my hair had broken off and ends had split. Throughout middle, junior, and 3yrs of highschool i continued with… Read more »

Ruth
Ruth
10 years ago

I was 5 years old and I remember being so happy because my mom said that my hair would look like the girls on the PCJ box and she promised that my head would not hurt anymore when she was combing it. I.WAS.SOLD. I remember FEELING the relaxer being rinsed out of my hair and feeling this mass of slickness just laying down my back. I looked over at my mother with bright eyes and she laughed at me. When it was all done, I had this beautiful head of long, “shiny”, straight hair and I didn’t know what to… Read more »

ebonyquean
ebonyquean
10 years ago

I was 12. My mother let me wear my hair down and natural for about a year, she must not have liked the way it looked, or figured since I was going to junior high, I should have a relaxer. There really wasn’t much conversation about it. I just know that she did the first one and then taught me how to do my own and I did it for about two decades before “seeing the light”. Yes, I regret getting my first relaxer, if I better understood why I, as an african american female, relaxed my hair and realized… Read more »

jaince
jaince
9 years ago

I remember my first relaxer. I was 18 years old and I made the decision to have my hair relaxed because I wanted to see what it felt like. I’ve never had a negative view of my hair, I’ve never heard my mother make a negative remark or even those i was around do so either, and interestingly enough my view of my hair hasn’t been changed by the media. So it wasn’t like I didn’t like what I had– I was just curious because others around me were getting perms so I got it; and I didn’t like it… Read more »

Khadijah
Khadijah
9 years ago

I was 10 years old and I was SOOO excited! I would finally have straight pretty hair like all the grown-ups in my family! No more getting my hair pressed, with the threat of the belt sitting right beside me, so my mom could whoop me if I dared cry or jump LOL. Fast forward 22 years later, and I am sickened by my limp, lifeless, hair. I’m tired of being scared to go out in the rain, work out and get sweaty, or go swimming. I’m tired of scalp burns and bald spots. I’m tired of that suitcase of… Read more »

Stephanie
Stephanie
9 years ago

I was 13. My Mom had held out after years of begging. I am not anti-relaxer so I don’t regret my Mom’s decision. She took great care of my hair and taught me how to. My hair thrived with the relaxer, just as it does naturally. So, I didn’t feel guilty about relaxing my own daughter’s hair. She is 11 and has been begging for years. I make sure her hair is conditioned, moisturized and treated with as little heat as possible (I do wash & sets on her). I use the same great products on her relaxed hair as… Read more »

insearchofsatisfaction
insearchofsatisfaction
9 years ago

I got my first relaxer when I was 5 years old. I remember it was PCJ and I was really excited because I thought my hair would instantly be long and pretty like the girl standing next to her mother on the box (remember that?). It didn’t exactly turn out that way. I was so young, so I don’t remember if there was damage, but I look back at my childhood pictures and my hair looked so…limp! It was what my Latina friends (lovingly) refer to as “dead hair.” Now I am really considering growing out my natural hair, but… Read more »

Ai
Ai
9 years ago

I was 12 or 13 years old and begged my mom for a relaxer because all my cousins had relaxers and I had a huge tumble weed of dry frizzy hair. I remember the feeling of long hair down to the middle of my back. I felt like a princess. By high school my hair had broken off multiple times, in college I learned to care for my hair myself and retained length. After graduation a lot of my friends began going natural and last August I decided to try transitioning. One year later I’m here and loving every minute… Read more »

Rose
Rose
9 years ago

I was 21 when i got my first relaxer. I had just had my son and my hair was then too thick for me to handle and was growing out of control. so my older sis suggested it and i thought, “why not i haven’t done that before”. I had hennahed and hot combed and braided and beaded but never a perm. After it was done i loved it and my hair grew more for about a year or so. Then suddenly it started to fall out and it seemed like nothing i did would reverse this. So I cut… Read more »

S.
S.
9 years ago

I remember my first relaxer being a Kiddy Kit relaxer. I was in my teens. I don’t remember much else about my first relaxer.

Before that, I’d worn my hair either pressed and curled or braided. Even after my first relaxer, my mother continued to braid my hair (with extensions) periodically.

Shannon
Shannon
9 years ago

I was 10 years old, it was 1998. My family had just moved from Greenville to Charlotte. My mother’s family is full of men that do hair. But when we moved to Charlotte we left all of them behind. I’m my mother’s only daughter, she barely put effort into her own hair so doing my was a bit of a stretch. Both of my brothers have 3b/3c hair, I’ll say I’m a mix of 3c and 4a. My curls are very defined but they’re not very large in diameter I knew my hair wasn’t that terrible, she was just lazy.… Read more »

Giovanna
Giovanna
9 years ago
Reply to  Shannon

I agree, my daughter started my knowledge in regards to hair care. She has 3a/3b curls and I had NO IDEA how to manage curly hair, her hair is gorgeous but my grandmother kept talking about blowing her hair out, etc and how her hair looked ‘unkempt’ curly (mind you like I said she has 3A/3B curls). So I went online and researched how to maintain curly hair, two years later she said ‘mommy what’s that?” when I was @ the salon with her getting my hair done. That’s when it started to hit me, I didn’t want my daughter… Read more »

Giovanna
Giovanna
9 years ago

I’m very late with this response but I was 5 or 6 when I got my first relaxer.My grandmother was doing it at first then she found a horrible stylist. By 4th grade I had to go to the doctor and get medication because my scalp was severely burned. My grandmother gave me 2 years off and by 6th grade I was getting them again from a different stylist, my hair grew with her to APL but I always felt very stigmatized going to that salon like I was an outsider so I stopped going to her at the age… Read more »

NikkiWest
NikkiWest
8 years ago

OH YES!!! I was 8 years old. I had hair down to my bottom. It was too thick however to fit into those stupid “i love genie” cones. it was 1988. My mother was dead set against it. She wanted me to wait until I was 16 but I begged her. My father side were more into weaves. She obliged and to this day I wish I never relaxed my hair EVER. I wish I would have waited until 16 b/c I’m quite sure I would have enjoyed my natural hair and it would probably be down to my knees… Read more »

Racial Rachel
Racial Rachel
8 years ago

I got a relaxer to ease my transition into a private middle school. Until I was 11, my hair was always in 7–10 of those big puffy two strand twists that little girls wear. Hot combs weren’t going to cut it and my mom was getting a lot of pressure from family members. I remember the discomfort, the smell, and the burn but I felt like a right of passage at the time. I’m glad I did it because I’m a grown women now who’s been there, done that and no one can make me question whether I want to… Read more »

Adrienne Michelle
Adrienne Michelle
8 years ago

I was eight when I got my first relaxer. Up until that point my mother took me to the salon to get presses for special occasions only. I did NOT want the relaxer. I remember my older sister telling me they hurt, and I was not open to pain (as if most kids are, lol). My hair got really thin but I kept getting relaxers regularly until I turned 20 and I got my last relaxer then. My mom and I have talked about the relaxer. She does have great remorse. But I told her not to worry about it.… Read more »

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago

i begged for a relaxer growing up and my mom would never let me get one. when she passed away, my aunt allowed me to finally have my wish, at the age of 12. it lasted for all of a few months before it damaged my MBL hair- took all the quality and length away. i’ve been natural again now for the past decade. no relaxer will come near the heads of any of my children. i only have a little boy now, so maybe it won’t be an issue for him

Stephanie
Stephanie
8 years ago

i was 14 when I got my first relaxer… Honestly, I loved it… It was thick and long and straight… even though I’m “natural” now… It took me 10 years to realize I could get my hair just as straight w/o a relaxer if that was the look I was going for… I never left perms in very long. If even started to feel a tingle… I washed that ish out! I always did my edges and middle first. I got touch ups like twice a year. The problem was the heat damage and the perm combination that broke my… Read more »

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