so, it’s inter­est­ing how this ties in with our recent dis­cus­sion on relaxed hair. bublnbrn­suga has some of the thick­est, longest and most beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral hair i’ve ever seen. well, had. she chose to relax (motions lye relax­er) in octo­ber 2008.

her hair is gor­geous both ways. but i was sur­prised she relaxed, since i felt she had the best of both worlds — the health of nat­u­ral hair with the option to straight­en if she want­ed a relaxed look. so, i asked her about it…

BGLH: was this your first relax­er? were you relaxed before? 
B: My first relax­er was in 1998, my sec­ond year in col­lege. I snuck behind my mother’s back and got an Affirm relax­er. She was not hap­py!!

BGLH: why did you do it again after going nat­u­ral?
B: I was at a stand­still with my nat­u­ral hair or so I thought. I was not at my offi­cial goal length afer 6 years of being nat­u­ral. My hair at this time would just hang — no per­son­al­i­ty. To rem­e­dy this, I knew I would have to cut my hair but at the time, I didn’t want cut­ting my hair to be a main­stay as a nat­u­ral. So I sac­ri­ficed hair length over health and relaxed. I thought this time, from me being a part of hair­care forums, I would know how to man­age relaxed hair bet­ter than before.

BGLH: so now you’re tran­si­tion­ing back to nat­u­ral. i know you men­tioned some­thing about straight hair frizz… which inter­est­ed me because you said that you liked your nat­u­ral frizz. you also men­tioned shed­ding. could you elab­o­rate?
B: Yes, when I was nat­u­ral I embraced the frizz because my main styles were wild and free. As a relaxed head, my styles are main­ly straight with body, but along with this comes frizz. It defeats the pur­pose of relaxed hair when all it does is frizz. My hair has been shed­ding a lot, too. I can comb my hair dai­ly with my K-Cut­ter and long strands will come out. Some­times I can just rub my hair and I will get a few strands this way,too. Some say it’s nor­mal because the hair sheds dai­ly, but I wasn’t sure.

BGLH: what is your plan for tran­si­tion­ing back to nat­u­ral?
B: This time I am going to tran­si­tion for 10 months and chop. I have been going to the beau­ty shop week­ly to get roller wraps, to main­tain my relaxed hair look.

Bublnbrnsuga’s pho­tos
NATURAL

RELAXED


the frizz (accord­ing to bublnbrn­suga)

inter­est­ing stuff. i also asked her about her hair­care reg­i­men when she was nat­u­ral, but i’ll post those respons­es in a few days. (here’s the link to her fotki page to get your own sneak pre­view.) for now, i want to hear what you think. and again, all views are wel­come.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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35 Comments on "Why I Relaxed My Long, Thick Natural Hair"

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candice roma
I was nat­u­ral for four years when I made the deci­sion to perm my hair again. And it was the best choice for me. I had recent­ly start­ed a gym rou­tine that had me there four to five days a week, sweat­ing heav­i­ly. I couldn’t keep my nat­u­ral hair mois­tur­ized and I was need­ing to wash my hair more than once a week. My hair was con­stant­ly damp, I couldn’t style or pro­tec­tive style (sog­gy twists are gross), and my hair was start­ing to break off. I per­med my hair, but like I had nev­er per­med my hair before. I… Read more »
tpshandu

I per­son­al­ly can count the num­ber of times I’ve had a relax­er on one hand. First one when I was 13 I made the deci­sion to stop relax­ing when i was 15, every­one thought i was crazy but I loved my hair and tex­ture an didn’t see the need to alter it. I have been a nat­u­ral girl for six year and have bc’d twice in between. How you wear you hair or want to wear your hair is a per­son­al and spir­i­tu­al choice. As long as you feel groovy :)

Alyssa

Well, for those who care, she’s done an awe­some job grow­ing it back out. She’s waistlength (or more) now. 

Her’s her YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7RHHYRRp9oFdKAL9JLFKkA

Or look up “ChakaKha­ni­an” ;o)

KekeKool

she per­med again

ElleBella2011

The nat­u­ral hair jour­ney is Not for every­one. Whether you are doing it to be fash­ion­able or spir­i­tu­al it is your call. Anoth­er chap­ter to your sto­ry, Do you!!

Vee
Afro tex­tured hair is hard work, no mat­ter what style it is in. Why any­one thinks oth­er­wise con­fus­es me! If your hair is relaxed, then try­ing to get body, vol­ume, and life can be a prob­lem. If nat­u­ral, try­ing to find a comb­ing reg­i­ment that doesn’t leave you exhaust­ed. Mois­ture and Pro­teins are the key, no mat­ter what style your hair is. Get­ting the right prod­ucts for your hair, hav­ing a solid regime that works for you, and imple­ment­ing it with patience, all of the­se will allow for your hair to flour­ish. Frizzy hair, if your hair was frizzy as… Read more »
ida voyder
It depends on your per­cep­tion of it. It is true that some tex­tures are eas­ier to take care of — but at the end of the day if you were raised being told that tak­ing care of it is hard work, then for you it will be hard work because of what you were con­stant­ly told. To me my hair isn’t hard work at all, it’s to the point where in the sum­mer ( I don’t take to the heat very well) I rin­se my hair out dai­ly, my hair was long and yet it was done dai­ly, I nev­er… Read more »
Vee
Afro tex­tured hair is hard work, no mat­ter what style it is in. Why any­one thinks oth­er­wise con­fus­es me! If your hair is relaxed, then try­ing to get body, vol­ume, and life can be a prob­lem. If nat­u­ral, try­ing to find a comb­ing reg­i­ment that doesn’t leave you exhaust­ed. Mois­ture and Pro­teins are the key, no mat­ter what style your hair is. Get­ting the right prod­ucts for your hair, hav­ing a solid regime that works for you, and imple­ment­ing it with patience, all of the­se will allow for your hair to flour­ish. Frizzy hair, if your hair was frizzy as… Read more »
JuJu

I don’t under­stand why she thought that get­ting a relax­er meant she did not have to cut her hair. We loose 50–100 strands of hair a day & it’s will be fizzy & shed­ding nat­u­ral or relaxed when you save dead split ends. Curly hair hides imper­fec­tions & straight hair will show what you been hid­ing.

hilary
I am texlaxed but real­ly it has noth­ing to do with any­one thinks, but because I find it eas­ier to man­age my hair that way. I wear my hair in a lot of dif­fer­ent styles, and because my hair still has tex­ture some peo­ple think its just stretched nat­u­ral hair. I think its just sad that peo­ple think when you relax your hair then you want to be like a white or his­pan­ic wom­an. Then why is it ok that nat­u­rals are stretch­ing their hair, flat iron, dye their hair or use curl for­m­ers? Because at the end of day… Read more »
Anonymous
Nice site. Some of you all have real­ly grown your hair out and it looks great. I was some­what nat­u­ral until I was 18 yrs old.(i got it pressed) When i did get a perm my hair nei­ther grew or fell out.I would like to go nat­u­ral (only to grow my hair out healthy)then perm it. I think peo­ple (some) that choose nat­u­ral is beau­ti­ful. I mean there face is just per­fect for that style.. Me on the pther hand…I have a huge for­head and can not wear my hair of my for­head. I know i would have to for… Read more »
Elizabeth
I am 17 years old and have had a relax­er since I was about 3 or 4 years old. I was in pageants, and my mom couldn’t deal with it. So, i have prac­ti­cal­ly had a relax­er all of my life. Unlike what seems to be the com­mon stig­ma, my hair is incred­i­bly healthy. For exam­ple, just last year I some­how went with­out a relax­er for about 4–6 months. While some peo­ples hair would be falling out by then, the only prob­lem I had was the fact that it was unman­age­able for me. My hair wasn’t/isnt’t falling out, my hair­line… Read more »
CVB
I 2nd that Black Girl Long hair..JC you should sent in your pho­tos. I would love to hear your expe­ri­ence Okay, on the pos­i­tives. I praise the fact that the girl in the pho­tos went back to nat­u­ral hair. Regard­less of people’s opin­ions on why she relaxed, that says a lot in and of itself. I’m a HUGE fotki stocker..lol. I’ve been nat­u­ral for 4 years and I’ve noticed that some of the girls who jour­neyed with me, end­ed up per­ming their hair. But like bublnbrn­suga, they’re back on their jour­ney to being nat­u­ral again. May­be I may be a… Read more »
Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

jc: it sounds like you need to send in your own pho­tos for an inter­view, lol.

contro_versial@hotmail.com

Jc
To the last com­menter, As a mil­i­tant nat­u­ral, I’d like to say that the abuse that you suf­fered is unfair. I would nev­er par­tic­i­pate in degrad­ing anoth­er human being nor would I con­done it.  I’ll tell you why I am mil­i­tant. I want a world where wom­en do not feel that being relaxed is the ‘only’ option. Cur­rent­ly relax­er man­u­fac­tur­ers are ban­ter­ing a fig­ure that around 80% of wom­en are relaxed (google it, its a fact). It is for this rea­son, I say, for a large major­i­ty of wom­en, relax­ing is not an option but a com­pul­sion. I remem­ber peo­ple say­ing… Read more »
Anonymous
i don’t under­stand mil­i­tant nat­u­rals who were relaxed before. i am 25 and i was always nat­u­ral until age 21 i was mil­i­tant in my teens and twen­ties. i soon dis­cov­ered that i didn’t have to me tied down to my hair and what some­one else did to their hair wasn’t my busi­ness i was nat­u­ral before nat­u­ral became a trend before the boards i nev­er even heard of creamy crack lye etc we should be uplift­ing each other.trust me i didn’t see oth­er nat­u­rals in my days except the ras­tas and none of the black girls liked me in… Read more »
Anonymous
Hi I’m new. My work col­league has just intro­duced me to this site. This is a great dis­cus­sion. I feel the pas­sion behind the words.  I think too that the hair ‘looks’ good but as has been point­ed out, it is not healthy. I guess the lady want­ed straight hair.  I think for myself, I wouldn’t give up my napps for noth­ing. I would like to get a straight style on occas­sion so may­be when Jen­teel has time, she can give us some advice on this. I have tried flat iron­ing once but I didn’t like see­ing my hair steam­ing so… Read more »
Cyssy

This makes me won­der if nat­u­ral girls here think that one day they will come back to relax­er.
I know, we all change, our moti­va­tions to come back to nat­u­ral hair too, but for my part i real­ly think that i will nev­er go back to relax­er. I don’t see what relax­er can give that nat­u­ral hair doesn’t.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

ugh, i don’t know that we should feel sor­ry for bublnbrn­suga. she’s obvi­ous­ly a beau­ti­ful and con­fi­dent black wom­an who is shar­ing her sto­ry.

i guess i want to be care­ful how we crit­i­cize her. plus, as i said before, relaxed or nat­u­ral her hair is gor­geous, and a good exam­ple for all of us.

Jc
That made me laugh Jen­ny :). I do love my soap box and fatigues:)  Leila put up her fotki link and in there Suga’s own (very harsh) words speak vol­umes. I would also high­ly rec­om­mend read­ing it. I felt a lit­tle bit sor­ry for Suga because I think with some effort and learn­ing all her relaxed styles could have been achieved with nat­u­ral hair and she would not have to go through the hair break­age expe­ri­ence. I real­ly think that she is mak­ing the best of the expe­ri­ence she has cur­rent­ly but she has deep regrets.  Nat­u­ral hair is not always… Read more »
jenteel
wow i hear you jc i real­ly doyou make excel­lent points!but we can’t all be so mil­i­tant all the timeif it looks good, it looks goodthat’s itno one saidwell excuse me (i’ll speak for myself)i nev­er said i “take looks over health” i don’t think we each had to go thru an assess­ment of the dan­gers of relaxed hairwe han­dled that in the oth­er postnat­u­ral hair is health­ier!!!yay!!! :)we agree jc!!! we’re all here for the love of nat­u­ral hairthat’s what brings us all togeth­er i am hap­py b is going back nap­pybut i don’t per­son­al­ize her deci­sion but go… Read more »
Anonymous
I am nat­u­ral and lov­ing it! My hair was much more high main­te­nance when I had a relax­er. I hat­ed gett­ting touch ups and when I did get a touch up the hair­dresser would lop off all of my pro­gress, even when I told him/her that I want to let my hair grow with a cen­time­ter trim. I would walk in there with hair longer than my arm pits and leave out with it just skim­ming my shoul­ders. WTF??????? I laugh at relaxed heads when they run around look­ing for a hair­dress and are pissed off when they don’t like… Read more »
Mrs. Lilly
You are so right! I did a big chop 3 years ago and my hair was armpit nat­u­ral and I did have a hard time press­ing or flat iron­ing and so went to a relax­er with an expen­sive new hair­dresser through a co-work­er. She not only cut off 3 inch­es but also did my hair bone straight when asked her not to. It’s been 3 months and I don’t want to go back to her. So yes, BUH HAHAHA to me! Now, I’m not sure what I want to do. Yes, I’m shed­ding long strands also. My hair is shoul­der… Read more »
Loveothers4ever

I nev­er go to the­se hair­dressers. They always cut off your hair. They don’t even under­stand how to take care of nat­u­ral hair.

GoldenAh

She’s stun­ning. She want­ed longer hair? Wow.

Although I am a Nat­u­ral Hair Nazi (smile), this is some­one who obvi­ous­ly knows how to take care of her hair with / with­out a relax­er. To me she’s the kind of per­son that should do it if she wants, she can man­age it. 

For those with reced­ing hair­li­nes, scalp dam­age, extreme break­age and going bald, while I know it is their choice, it is sad to see black wom­en put them­selves through that kind of agony.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

oh, and anoth­er cool thing is that bublnbrn­suga sticks to the facts:

OBJECTIVELY speak­ing the relax­er was bad for her hair. she doesn’t attach any emo­tion­al val­ue to the state of being relaxed or nat­u­ral.

i mean, i can be mil­i­tant (i con­fess… again, PLEASE don’t take offense), but i think it’s impor­tant for us to look at the facts of being nat­u­ral and being relaxed.

emo­tion and rhetoric can come lat­er.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair

well, i think the relaxed hair is pret­ty. but i got­ta go with jc on this one.

bublnbrn­suga did state that she chose length over health (first blun­der), and that the relax­er caused her hair to frizz and shed (sec­ond blun­der)…

she’s very open about admit­ting that the relax­er wasn’t a good choice. which i respect sooo much. this inter­view is actu­al­ly kind of mild. bublnbrn­suga is a lot more mil­i­tant on her fotki page. you should def­i­nite­ly check it out.

Jc
This is incred­i­ble to me. Do we val­ue hair appear­ance over health?  She said and I quote, ‘My hair has been shed­ding a lot, too. I can comb my hair dai­ly with my K-Cut­ter and long strands will come out. Some­times I can just rub my hair and I will get a few strands this way,too. Some say it’s nor­mal because the hair sheds dai­ly, but I wasn’t sure.’ Yet we still say that that her hair looks good both ways. Why does she notice this shed­ding now that her hair is relaxed.……hmm I won­der? She uses some extreme terms… Read more »
Lita
It is gor­geous. I won­der whether part of the rea­son so many go back to the relax­er, is this com­ing ‘to a stand­still’. Once there are no more aims, we can’t deal with just hav­ing hair, there needs to be a new chal­lenge. Its inter­est­ing. It’s also the aes­thet­ic. I went nat­u­ral because I no longer pre­ferred straight hair. To relax is to take that extra step. To be nat­u­ral is to stay, if you get my mean­ing. As long as you like the way straight hair looks on you, you could forever go back and forth, with no real… Read more »
dasia

Her hair is still pret­ty nat­u­ral or relaxed. Most peo­ple don’t have it like that.

SLY
i agree with every­one else. Her hair is full either way. Every­one has to do what works for them. When I first went natural..it had noth­ing to do with want­i­ng to be free of the lye or any oth­er “good” rea­son. It was out of lazi­ness. I was tired of hav­ing to get a perm. Tired of wrap­ping it up. Flat iron­ing. Curling. Blow Dry­ing. Mak­ing sure it didn’t get wet. Mak­ing sure every strand was in place. I just didn’t care about my hair enough to give it that much time and I want­ed some­thing sim­pler. So some­times peo­ple ride a… Read more »
Gabby
Whoa!!Her hair is just gor­geous either way …Its always so inter­est­ing to me how we are nev­er sat­is­fied (“we” = humans in gen­er­al).We all want the Kim Kar­dashi­an Booty, the Angeli­na Lips, the Bublnbrn­suga hair, LOL!I think her hair is close to per­fect and i am a bit bummed that she relaxed as I know that its a cycle of I am tired of my naps so I’m tex­tur­iz­ing to make it more man­age­able, but now the tex­tur­iz­er is over­lapped so I am relax­ing … Now I am tran­si­tion­ing back to nat­u­ral or cut­ting it all off because the relax­er… Read more »
Kinky Rhonnie

She’s a real beau­ty regard­less of which way she choos­es to wear her hair.

I’ll admit that I was very dis­ap­point­ed that she chose to relax her healthy nat­u­ral hair. 

Many wom­en would give any­thing to achieve her length nat­u­ral­ly.

But, she was able to deter­mine that the relaxed hair is not for her so she’s wom­an enough to admit it and go back to being a true nat­u­ral beau­ty; AGAIN.

That’s won­der­ful news to my ears.

Rhon­da

Wildfiyah

I think her hair looks great both ways. As a pro-choice nat­u­ral, I real­ly try not to judge, and she’s a great exam­ple why. When I see wom­en with dam­aged processed hair, it makes no sense to me for them to con­tin­ue down that road; how­ev­er, this sister’s hair looks quite healthy. To me, I guess it’s all about options and what works for her lifestyle at any par­tic­u­lar time in her life.

jenteel

gor­geous hair all around!

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