Relaxed Hair Vs. Natural Hair: Pros, Cons, & Maintenance Tips

Understand the nuances of your hair type and texture before you make a decision.

Reviewed by Tere Pruett, CT, PBT
By Anjali Sayee

Your overall style reflects your identity, and that includes your hairstyle too. If you have natural hair and plan to relax it, consider the pros and cons of natural vs. relaxed hair before choosing one. You might wonder if it is safe to ditch relaxed hair in an era when so many women embrace their natural hair. Your hairstyle, however, is entirely a matter of personal preference. Our goal is to assist you in making an informed choice regarding the type of hair you want. Keep reading.

What Is The Difference Between Natural Hair And Relaxed Hair?

Woman at a hair salon getting her hair relaxed

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Natural hair is the hair you are born with. It is hair that grows out of your scalp without any alteration in its natural state and natural texture.

However, relaxed hair is hair chemically treated with a hair relaxer. This treatment permanently straightens your hair by breaking the hair proteins that cause it to go curly.

Both natural and relaxed hair types have their pros and cons. Knowing them can help you make a better decision.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Natural And Relaxed Hair Types?

Woman with natural, voluminous, and strong hair

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Natural Hair

Pros:

  • Natural hair can withstand chemical treatments.
  • It has more volume than relaxed hair.
  • It is not prone to breakage.

Cons:

  • Natural hair may get easily tangled due to its natural thickness.
  • It is hard to maintain and requires a lot of time, effort, and money.
  • Even combing natural hair can consume a lot of time.

Relaxed Hair

Woman easily combing her relaxed hair

Shutterstock

Pros:

  • Relaxed hair is straightened and does not get tangled while combing.
  • It is easy to style and requires low maintenance.
  • It stays straightened and does not get frizzy.

Cons:

  • Relaxed hair is achieved through chemical treatments and is more prone to damage.
  • It may eventually look weak and unhealthy.
  • Its chemical treatment may cause permanent scalp damage.
  • It is prone to breakage.

You may now choose your preferred hair type. But no matter the choice, regular maintenance is imperative. In the following section, we have discussed how you can maintain both hair types and prolong their life.

Tips For Maintaining Natural Hair And Relaxed Hair

Natural Hair

Woman combing her natural hair from the root tips

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  1. The key to healthy natural hair is adequate nourishment. Have a balanced diet including protein, vitamins, and other important nutrients.
  1. Natural hair could be hard to detangle. But the process can be eased out with the right tools. Use hair combs that are specific to your hair type and detangle your hair slowly.
  1. While detangling, start from the hair ends and slowly work your way upto the roots. This minimizes hair breakage.
  1. Always moisturize your natural hair as it tends to lose moisture quickly and may dry up fast. You can opt for the oil rinsing or pre-pooing methods to condition your hair adequately.
  1. Your natural hair might feel like it has stopped growing after a certain period. You may massage your scalp to stimulate blood circulation. Regular scalp massage tends to encourage hair growth as well as lessen hair loss (1).

Relaxed Hair

Woman takes care of her relaxed hair.

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  1. Any chemical treatment can damage your hair, and relaxing your hair is no different. However, understanding your hair products can help. Have an in-depth conversation with your hairstylist and understand the different products and processes.
  1. It is important to maintain a consistent relaxing schedule. Your hair keeps growing, and you must relax the new hair growth every 8 to 10 weeks to prevent any breakage.
  1. Take care of your scalp to ensure you have healthy hair growth. Cleanse your scalp regularly and keep it moisturized.
  1. If you notice any damage at the hair ends, trim them. Doing so will ensure normal hair growth.
  1. Relaxed hair may also get dry easily. Hence, moisturize and condition your hair regularly.

Infographic: DIY Protein Hair Mask For Relaxed Hair

The chemicals in creams and lotions used to create relaxed hair can make hair prone to damage. But protein treatments help regain the lost protein. Protein masks help strengthen the hair and repair the damage. Click on the infographic below to learn how to prepare a DIY protein hair mask for relaxed hair.

diy protein hair mask for relaxed hair [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Natural hair is the naturally textured hair (mostly type 4 hair) most African women are born with. Relaxed hair is natural hair that has been straightened with a chemical solution. Back in the day, most African women straightened their hair as their natural hair was not openly accepted in society. Now, many African women have taken a stand and embraced their natural locks and traditional protective hairstyles. Whichever style you choose, natural vs. relaxed hair, it all depends on the confidence and comfort with which you flaunt your locks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does relaxed hair last?

Relaxed hair can last up to 6-8 weeks with proper care and maintenance.

Can relaxed hair go back to natural?

Effects of relaxers are permanent, and your hair will not go back to its natural state. You need to wait for your hair to grow out and go for regular trims. You can also grow out your hair long enough, then chop it off right above the demarcation line.

Key Takeaways

  • Natural hair can withstand chemicals and looks voluminous but often gets tangled.
  • On the other hand, relaxed hair is easy to style and does not get tangled or look frizzy. However, it is prone to damage as it is chemically treated.
  • Both natural and relaxed hair need nourishment, so a proper hair care routine is must.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. A Case Study: Massage Relaxation and Reward for Treatment of Alopecia Areata – Sharon C. Putt Lawrence Weinstein Mary T. Dzindolet 1994
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1994.74.3c.1315
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author
Anjali specializes in hairstyles and hair and skin care and has written over 200 articles in these domains. Her philosophy... more

Tere Pruett

(CT, PBT)
Tere Pruett is a certified trichologist from the United States Trichology Institute. She also has a graduate education in phlebotomy.... more

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