The Great Hair Debate: Pressure to go Natural? Pressure to go Straight? What’s the deal?


I have noticed comments on many of the posts I covered on taking care of African American Hair that’s relaxed, that held very strong positions when it comes to keeping the hair natural or relaxing it.  I’ve seen comments from those who wear their hair natural saying that those of us who relax our hair are not embracing our hair or our heritage.  Others who relax their hair feel that what we do with our hair is our choice, not an indicator of how much we embrace our African American culture.  Both sides of the argument really got me thinking and before I ask what you’re take on this is, I’ll share my opinion.

I relax my hair and have done so since I was 20. Before, my natural hair was fine and wavy (all I needed was a hot comb and I was good!).  When I moved from up north to down south, I started relaxing my hair with a children’s relaxer.  Why do I relax it?  Because I want to! That’s it! It doesn’t go any deeper than that. For me, to keep my hair looking straight as it did up north, I relax it to combat the heat and humidity down here.   I’m not trying to conform to society’s standards of beauty (otherwise I’d be throwing up everyday to be a size 2!).  Do I know that relaxing your hair is a harsh process?  Absolutely and I do it as responsibly as I can.  Do I know my history in terms of what was considered “good hair.”  Yes I do ( I am a history buff in my other life!) With that said, I still relax my hair and do so because I like it.  Am I abandoning my heritage?  Absolutely not!  My hair doesn’t hold that much power over what I think about my culture– what’s under it does!

I don’t knock anyone who wears their hair natural. I actually want to know how they take care of their hair and rock those beautiful styles!  Natural hair is beautiful! And the same way I don’t knock them, I shouldn’t be knocked down because I chemically alter my hair.  Going natural at this point in my life just isn’t for me!  The status of my hair doesn’t determine my status of self awareness and self appreciation of the cultures I come from (afro Cuban and Irish).  Instead of separating ourselves, we need to come together to appreciate all of our beautiful differences, regardless of what’s going on with our hair!

So that’s my take on it.  Let’s open up the floor!  What do you guys think?  Is there pressure to go natural?  Do you feel society pressures you to wear your hair straight?  Or is your hair exactly that and not a measure of who you feel you are?


More on African American Hair:

Keep your hair beautiful! Tips on taking good care of that hair!

“Just for Me” is just for me! Why I use a children’s relaxer

An instant hair makeover with the drawstring ponytail!

Tips for Relaxing Your Hair at Home!

Photos courtesy of:, 

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  1. People do what they want and it doesn’t always have to have some deep ulterior motive. I just went natural because I want my hair to be healthy and I never liked relaxers much anyway. Not up for putting burning chemicals on my head in regular intervals. But it’s not for everyone, you were wearing your hair straightened anyway, so why not relax? not like you were wearing it curly to begin with, and heat all the time isn’t all that healthy either, so go for the relaxer.

    • fiercebeautyandfashion

       /  December 10, 2009

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and understanding! Even when I didn’t hot comb my hair, it was still fine and wavy. There were times I wanted a fro when I was younger and I just couldn’t get one! Even with the relaxer, I use a children’s one and I touch up every three months, while deep conditioning every week. So I do as much as a I can to keep my hair healthy!

  2. Abdelis

     /  December 10, 2009

    I love your thoughts on the whole hair issue. It’s a non issue really, everybody wears their hair differently and for their own reasons. There are people who reject their ethnic background and in order to conform to white society’s standard/definition of beauty they will only wear their hair straight, however that doesn’t mean that it’s a rule. I think that people wear their hair in a way that’s convenient for them and their lifestyle. Instead of judging our fellow women we should embrace and support each other.
    Great post by the way! Love reading your blog.

    • fiercebeautyandfashion

       /  December 10, 2009

      Thanks child for your thoughts! You’re right that they are people that do try to conform to society’s standards but you can’t lump together all people who straighten their hair in that category! I had a girl on Yahoo! bascially state that women with natural hair are more intelligent because they chose to wear their hair that way. *shakes head*

      Thanks for checking out my blog and we must get together soon!


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