The Reverse Transitioner: Natural Back to Relaxed

Thinking of going from natural hair back to relaxed?
Royalty-free Getty Images

With all the attention that natural hair gets, you might be surprised to learn that the majority of black women still relax their tresses. Despite the growing awareness and acceptance of natural locks, some ladies still prefer chemically straightened manes, whether it's for manageability or because they like the look of straight hair better.

Some women happily return to their natural roots, but then struggle.

They might have a hard time achieving the length or look they want. They may find natural hair way more time-consuming than they imagined. Still others miss their straight hair and pressing isn't an option due to the ease with which natural manes can revert.

The Reverse Transitioner: From Natural Back to Relaxed

If you're struggling with your decision to return to a relaxer -- due to pressure from natural colleagues, friends, family or even strangers -- you should pat yourself on the back for giving it a try, but you shouldn't feel like a failure if you find your tresses too hard to manage, time-consuming, expensive or not being able to find hairstyles you can easily create. For a lot of black women, having relaxed hair is what they're used to; many had straightened hair longer than they had natural hair. Some simply prefer the manageability they associate with relaxed hair, while others like the way straight hair looks.

Just as there are women who stop relaxing and become natural, there are women who tried the natural hair life, and returned to relaxing. It's your hair, not your friends' -- remember that if someone gives you grief because they're disappointed in your decision to relax again. You have to style it, manage it, care for it and love it on a daily basis.

Hating your hair every day is no way to live.

Whether you've been natural just a few months or you tried it for several years, you tried. You can continue to stick it out, in hopes that you'll finally find something that works for you. If you don't find a style and regimen you're happy with, you'll end up miserable.

Returning to the Familiar

On the other hand, you can return to the familiar with relaxing. Just because some people call it a "perm" doesn't mean it has to be permanent. In the heat of the moment, some ladies decide to relax their hair and instantly regret it, while others embrace their straight locks again. You won't know how you'll feel about the process until you return to chemical straighteners. If you fall in the camp of instant regretters, you'll have to either transition or big chop again, so be prepared for a possible long road.

Embracing Your Decision

In order to be happy with being natural, you need to find hairstyles that you like and that you can style yourself. Not everyone needs to be a master at twisting or cornrowing. Maybe a flexi-rod set is more your speed. A big, fluffy Afro also never goes out of style. You can also wear wash and go's, puffs, plaits or switch it up now and then with a wig or weave.

Some ladies easily master complicated hairstyles while others don't -- and there's nothing wrong with that. Chances are, unless you're a total style chameleon, you'll fall into a pattern of hairdos that flatter you, you love, you can easily create and make the most of your unique texture. Even if you only wear two different styles, there's no rule that says you have to design dozens of looks just because you're natural.

However, if after much thought and consideration, you decide to relax your hair again, be comfortable and secure with your choice. You should wear the hair that makes you happy, whether it's straight, curly, coily, kinky or a combo of various textures..