Natural Hair Trend for Black Women: No More Relaxers!?


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Could it be true? Are the days of hair relaxing, perming and chemical processing by colored women finally coming to an end? Not only are these treatments expensive and time consuming, but they can put your health at risk too.

According to New America Media, studies have shown that chemicals found in many African-American haircare products may be linked to frightening diseases such as reproductive effects and birth defects, breast cancer, heart disease, cognitive disorders, premature puberty and altered immune function. If that’s not enough warning, maybe the threat of hair loss will steer some women away from harsh styling like braiding. Dr. David Leffell, a Dermatology Professor at Yale, says that the constant pulling from tightly braided hair is a major cause of hair loss, particularly in African-American girls. After all these findings, it’s no surprise that a more natural approach for haircare is becoming more and more popular for black women.

The natural hair trend is not just in social media and magazine articles; market statistics prove it. Expenditure data from 2008 to 2013 shows that “The natural hair trend is driving an increase in sales of styling products such as styling moisturizers, setting lotions, curl creams, pomades, etc., but the increase has caused the relaxer segment to decline in sales,” says Tonya Roberts, multicultural analyst at Mintel. Women are buying hair products to embrace a more natural look rather than using harmful relaxers.

So, what can we learn from all this? Be daring, go au naturel! It’s beautiful AND better for your health! But before you raid the beauty store for haircare products, make sure you choose wisely. Not all products are made equal. Choose ones that are effective, but as natural as possible. The lesser the chemicals, the better! Aside from relying on store-bought remedies, see below for some simple and practical tips from Dr. Leffell.

  • Don’t shampoo excessively-once a day is fine.
  • Avoid the excessive use of chemicals for conditioning (conditioners just coat the hair shaft).
  • Avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
  • Do not wear tight braids. Tight braids, especially in children, can result in a form of baldness called traction alopecia


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