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4 Alternatives to Relaxers When You’re About to Give Up on Your Natural Hair

Avatar • Aug 14, 2014

by Ijeoma of Klassy Kinks

natural hair alternatives

 

We’ve all had trying seasons where it seems our hair is dry, breaking, shedding and impossible to detangle – essentially it’s driving us crazy! Or perhaps you are incredibly bored with your fro and miss the days where your hair swung, blew and twirled in the wind. Before picking up the half priced relaxer box from the beauty supply store, try one of these alternatives that might  help get you over the bridge.

Straighten Your Hair

Lexi With the Curls curly & Straight

If our kinks aren’t acting right, sometimes it might be easier to go back to the familiar and have straight hair for a few weeks. A skilled stylist can press your natural hair out bone straight to get that freshly relaxed look, or you can blow it out and straighten it yourself for a more voluminous style. For more long‐term results, you might consider one of the in salon or at‐home hair smoothing treatments, such as the Beautiful Textures Texture Manageability System or the Huetiful nano SMOOTHING Treatment. While research has shown that these applications will chemically alter your hair, they are still less harmful than a relaxer, and even more so when the application and follow up is done by professionals.

 

A Second Big Chop

alex elle big chop

Remember the days when your natural hair was fun and carefree? You only needed 10 minutes to style (if you didn’t include the 2 hours “prep time” you spent on YouTube), 30 minutes to wash and actually used a quarter sized amount of product? If you’re thinking about the relaxer again because you want less drama with your natural hair, consider cutting it to a length that is more manageable. The reign of #longhairdontcare is over as naturals are increasingly choosing style and comfort over length. So shave it low, fade it out, get it tapered or just cut off a few inches all around.

 

Long Term Protective Styles

DoneDo Senegalese Twists

Maybe your hair isn’t damaged, but you’re just going through a season – say a job change, new baby, or personal life woes – that just makes the thought of a two hour weekly wash process sound like purgatory. Taking a six week break with braids or twists with extensions, a full head weave, crochet braids, cornrows under wigs, or other long term protective styles buys you the same exact time as a perm (which would need to be touched up in six weeks), but maintains the health and integrity of your strands.

 

Locs

loc picture option 2

If you don’t want to sacrifice length with a big chop, you don’t like the added weight and heat of hair extensions and your least favorite thing about your hair is the detangling process, then you should consider installing locs instead of getting a relaxer. You can maintain your natural look and your hair’s health without getting entangled (pun intended!) in many of the knotting, split ending and shedding struggles that naturals who wear their hair loose have to struggle with.

 

If you’ve thought about going back to the relaxer, what styles or methods did you use to get through it?

 

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world.

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About Klassy Kinks

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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Araina
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Araina

I’m not fond of my 4C hair type so I tend to keep my hair in a protective hairstyle, which actually needs to come out as we speak. Thank you for the tips and hopefully this article comes right on time for someone who is about to give up and return to the perm.

Miss Mo
Guest
Miss Mo

Rod Sets, Weave and Braids.

Need to be careful with braids though cos of my fragile temple.

Maureen
Guest

After three year I did the big chop again, part of me sometimes regrets it but I know how many mistakes not to make again this time round, and hey less products and time being used at the moment.

Caray
Guest
Caray

Whats the reason for big chopping over n over again? I see a lot of natural do it (BTW, I never big chopped) do u think it may grow faster??

Imani-Ife
Guest
Imani-Ife

My 4c hair hates being touched and manipulated, that causes it to thin and break. I keep it braided in afro kinky for about 2 months at a time then give it break for a month before rebraiding.

fancycoils
Guest
fancycoils

I’ll never return to relaxers, but sometimes, my hair does give me the blues. Sometimes, I can make it all better just by washing with shampoo. Other times, call for a different hairstyle like a comb out or more drastic measures like a trim.

Stace
Guest
Stace

Yes every time my hair starts acting a fool is when when it needs to be washed with shampoo. I really think more naturals need to revisit shampoo from time to time.

naturally Tee
Guest
naturally Tee

I get so many compliments on my natural hair more so than when I had long relaxed hair that I wore pretty much in a wrap everyday of my life for years. I would try a sew in or wig if I was itching for a straight look instead of compromising my own hair for the style. Whenever I get a protective style though I am always like I can’t wait to see my curls again within two days

Toni
Guest
Toni

Twists, curlformers and updos for me!

Cryssi
Guest
Cryssi

This fall semester I’m going to crochet in faux dreads using Marley hair and style them like the above picture, so that I don’t have to mess with my hair or go around campus looking homeless because I haven’t seentouched my hair in weeks.

Jacqueline
Guest
Jacqueline

I did braids because I was being tempted to relax. Glad I didn’t though. I’ve been relaxer free for 7 months and at the one year mark I’m going to big chop.

Alisa
Guest
Alisa

I think that these are all great alternatives to relaxers. I personally chose to loc my hair, because I was tired of the 6–8 hours it took weekly to detangle, wash, deep condition, and style my hair.

monisola gbadebo
Guest
monisola gbadebo

I am getting sisterlocks for this very reason. Fine fragile 4c hair that isnt very full and even if it grows long I wont have the full afro look I want. The best look i can hope for iss not worth the extra care it takes to grow loose strands. I believe my best aesthetic choice is sister locks given my hair type texture and density (or lack thereof)

Sisie
Guest
Sisie

If you have fine fragile 4c hair, you might want to think super hard about getting locs‐ especially sisterlocks (they can’t be taken out as opposed to other kinds of locs). I have fine 4c hair too and although I admire locs, I know I can’t ever get them because my locs will never be thick and full, just a head full of scalp! Do mini twists on your hair and see how you like the look… It’s a good test to see if you’ll like the results of locs.

Matl
Guest
Matl

I wouldn’t give up on sisterlocs just yet. When my friend first did it, it was so sparse she wore a hat everywhere. It’s now much fuller (although I would describe her hair as medium rather than fine). Also my stylist said her locks have gone from ‘thin to fat’. I think locs generally swell up perhaps through the hair shrinking up as time passes.

Moe
Guest
Moe

I was so over my hair until I recently had a stylist straighten and trim my hair. The straight hair was fun for a week, then I washed my hair and it’s like my hair has new life. I’m loving my curls again! Definitely recommend if you’re in a rut.

cnj
Guest
cnj

4 years after I first went natural I got frustrated so I relaxed my hair and cut bangs. I don’t know what hair type I have but I suck at doing hair and hair will never be something I want to focus a lot of time on so I couldn’t take it. Right after I got that relaxer I thought “why did I do that” and never relaxed again. That was about three years ago. Over the last three years I have been frustrated but I just got it pressed a few times, got color, and Solange had me in… Read more »

mimi
Guest
mimi

I’m never going to relax my hair, but it’s properties got me feeling like, one gust of wind and it will break off… So for almost a year now, it’s been in Cornrows under a wig, right now I have a curly u part wig.. Where I crocheted the leave out, and added some crochet hair to the wig itself, basically during the day I have a fabulous style… When I get home… I take it off and moisturise my hair.

Miss Gina Ray
Guest
Miss Gina Ray

Why was there no, take time to learn your hair answer? If you cut off your hair to a taper (I’ve just done it) it isn’t going to change certain issues people may have with managing it especially 4C as I can see that a few here have had frustrations with our hair type. If anything, the taper is higher maintenance than longer hair, only the time to wash it has shortened. With longer hair, you can put it up. If you don’t know how to handle your hair longer then that won’t change with shorter hair. It just means… Read more »

Stace
Guest
Stace

My sister got locks because she was tired of short hair that didn’t seem to grow. She got them because she was tired of relaxers burning her scalp and breaking her hair. She got them because she was tired of her hair falling out above the ears. She didn’t get them because she was tired of her 4c hair though. Matter of fact she is thinking of combing out her dreads and wearing her 4c hair in loose styles. Im kind of sad that the bulk of the comments to this article have become about giving up on natural hair… Read more »

Jakookie
Guest
Jakookie

The article is about alternatives to relaxers, some people have spent years trying to learn their hair and still don’t know it, what do you do when u just don’t want to deal with it anymore? So many ppl have just given up and relaxed after being natural for many years, this article is giving us other options.

Caramelcurls
Guest
Caramelcurls

I just want to say that the lady’s locs pictured above are GORGEOUS–I especially love the cut and the color! I will reach my 3 year natural hair anniversary next month and it’s been a fun journey with ups and downs. I had a set back at the beginning of this year when a lady installed senegalese twist and was too rough with my hair in the process, and when I took the twists out I had to trim quite a bit. But since then it’s grown back and is healthy. I’ve learned that my 4a/b hair likes to really… Read more »

luvpinkchic14
Guest
luvpinkchic14

I have been relaxer free for 27 months (and natural for 18 months) and my wash days used to take 6–8 hours…Sometimes longer (like when I kept a donut bun in for two weeks). Now that I prepoo by twisting my hair in conditioner and washing my hair in twists, the time reduced to just a couple of hours like it did when I was relaxed. I started blow drying my hair on low heat using tension method and it felt good to be styled within a couple of hours. I have found youtubers who use heat responsibly and have… Read more »

Joki
Guest
Joki

I’ve had natural hair for the past twelve years, chemical free since i was 19. My hair was short, then long, then medium, then long and straight, then long and 4b fro’d out…now I’m done. I’m rocking 1/4 inch of hair and can’t see growing it back out any time soon. I’ll still keep it short in the winter but I’m excited about maybe get a wig. I’ve gotten to the point where it’s just hair and it’s time to have some fun.

Napturally Kia
Guest
Napturally Kia

i was on the verge of relaxing. i had 3 options 1) relax 2) color or 3) cut. i colored and the novelty wore off within a few months. i cut my hair into a twa from BSL/MBL (i was an in between stage) and i’m back in love with my hair. less work and time. cant say less product bc i’m really heavy handed and im doing wash and go’s everyday. hth someone out there.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

This post is right on time! I have battling the urge to relax for a couple of months.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/image-19.jpg[/img]

Cupcake
Guest
Cupcake

Your fro is so full beautiful!

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

Your curls are amazing! I wouldn’t want to relax either if my hair either if it looked like yours!

Marissa Allen
Guest

I have my days where I just get tired of the shrinkage and detangling. I blow my hair out and do a length check; that always makes me feel better! I recently put up a post about all my super easy natural styles on my blog!
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/IMG_2390.JPG[/img]

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

I have my off days I do want to relax but quickly shake it off. I had a “Diva Process” but be warned in warm weather my hair reverted back to its natural state. Trimming helps. High puffs, curlerforms, twist, or I just braid/twist it and add a decorative scarf/head wrap on super lazy days or when I am “not feeling being a natural” days!

Lisaa
Guest
Lisaa

Thank you! Just itching for a change.

Lori
Guest
Lori

Whenever I get frustrated or bored with my look, I freshen it up by washing and styling. Also, I cut it to make styling easier. I feel like the shorter I keep my hair, the happier I am with it.

Likewaterforchocolat
Guest
Likewaterforchocolat

Funny thing is, I have many moments (like currently), when I get tired of my natural hair, but relaxing again has never entered my mind. When I got my last relaxer 6 years ago, I pretty much knew I wouldn’t be getting another one. I have been mulling the idea of doing another BC, though. Those were pretty exciting times for me, when I first went natural. But and thinking about long‐term protective styling instead. I have been really wanting to try crochet braids for a while and am glad a few weeks ago that BGLH decided to do a… Read more »

immaturesally
Guest
immaturesally

Just perm that nappy s@#!! just kidding.

N
Guest
N

I am at this point now and I have decided to texlax so I can keep some body in my hair now since I will be wearing it straight from here on out. I have been a short hair natural by choice for over 5 years due the ease of not having to style. Now I want length and a new look and I don’t want to have to do twists, detangle, or do any major styling. Relaxing I think is the solution for me because I can wrap and go.

Monzi
Guest
Monzi

That’s exactly what I did!

I did a big chop (it’s actually my first one) because I got fed up and impatient with doing my natural hair every day to achieve a certain look.
Now I have so much time on my hands I can finally have time for breakfast in the morning!!! LOL

Tamara Charese
Guest
Tamara Charese

It pains me that women even consider relaxing anymore. Relaxers are so toxic for hair. This is coming from a woman who’s hair “took well” to relaxers. I never had more breakage, split ends, and dry scalp than when my hair was relaxed. Ugh! If you need a lazy style, loc your hair. I loc’d for nine years and my hair was amazing. You can also wear wigs… It’s not just about fighting the stereotypes and self acceptance, it’s also about hair health. Keep that creamy coroding crap off your head pls!

Chrissie
Guest
Chrissie

Haha soo glad I’m not alone in the 2 hour YouTube style search *blush face*

BionicWoman
Guest
BionicWoman

Actually, The Beautiful Textures Texture Manageability System does NOT chemically alter your hair. It is an amino acid treatment, which is not a chemical. As soon as you wash your hair, your curls come right back. Only a relaxer can chemically alter the natural curl of your hair.

Diamenrose
Guest

I have started wearing weaves. I think my hair is 4b (or 4c?)and I used to put oil (also itching oil with almonds and other good ingredients) under my weaves (the braids). When I removed the weaves my hair felt soo soft and it didn’t shed that much. Maybe some of you know this trick already but for me it was really new! My hair is fuller now and maybe i can encourage those who wants to become natural to take tthis method seriously:-)

Tyeisha harris
Guest
Tyeisha harris

The Beautiful Textures system is horrible. My curls did not revert back and in fact made my hair unmanageable. I would detangle my hair and end up having to detangle again an hour later. I did everything I could to fix but eventually had to do another big chop.

A Johnson
Guest
A Johnson

I came across this article because I’ve been trying to grow my hair out after doing the BC years ago. I didn’t have hair or scalp problems when I had a relaxer and I had long hair. I stopped getting relaxers because I was pregnant & nursing for several years, and then I was on a budget that couldn’t afford touch‐ups every 6–8 weeks. I have been natural for about 8 years. My hair is thick, my scalp is itchy and sensitive to synthetic hair (even after cleansing the hair), and I like minimal effort in my hair care routine.… Read more »

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