Lately, there have been many disputes about whether natural hair is better than relaxed hair, which is healthier, and which provides for maximum growth. Well, hopefully this helps settle the score.
1. Natural hair automatically means healthy.
This just simply isn't true. Often, the message comes across of natural hair being the route to healthy hair, and in fact, any hair--natural, relaxed, or treated by any other chemical can be healthy--or not. Solely going natural will not save your hair from breaking, shedding, or speed up it's growth.
2. Relaxed hair is not healthy.
This, also is false. Relaxed hair does compromise the moisture hair needs to be healthy. Many factors can do this to hair in general. However, having a relaxer does not mean you are damaging your hair. What it means is, you have to add back the moisture you've compromised. It's not a big deal, and the "creamy crack" is not a setup for unhealthy locks.
3. Relaxed hair is less work than natural hair.
Again, a falsehood. What many believe is, with all the tricks and tips out there for natural hair, relaxed hair is an easy way out; less work and possibly better hair health. The truth is, both relaxed and natural hair require a great deal of work, not just on the styling end, but care-wise as well. Regular relaxers is hardly enough to keep the hair healthy. Healthy hair requires effort.
4. Relaxed and natural hair are nothing alike.
This is far from the truth as well. Both require restoring moisture, conditioning, and regular trims to keep ends healthy. Both relaxed and natural hair require professional assistance--whether from a professional stylist or tips online from someone who shows they are knowledgeable and whom you can trust. Both states of hair need constant attention--not always time-wise, but definitely in thought. You have to be considerate of what you are doing to your hair; how you treat and style it each day, and what products you use.
5. Hair growth is based on 1 or the other.
Hair growth is based on conditioning, protein, and consistent care of your hair--not being "relaxed" or "natural". Hair grows in spurts throughout your life and also based on things like genetics, diet, and daily care. If you treat your hair right, in whatever state is best for you, you will have the length you want--whatever it may be.
Our main point here is 1) take good care of your hair. There are many ways to do it, just find out which is best for you, and 2) be comfortable in what you like. Do not except general or widely accepted standards or pressures of beauty. Do what you like, but do it well. Relaxed, natural, extensions--just take care of your hair and wear it however makes you feel best.
To keep conscious of what to do to, and for your hair, check out:
Foods for healthy hair
Products for healthy hair
Tips for healthy relaxed hair
And some of our favorite hair blogs...
Black Girl Long Hair
For ladies of color, we also recommend The Science of Black Hair, to really get an understanding of what's going on on your head.