African American hair, most cases, is either relaxed or natural. Sometimes there will be weaves or extensions (or even wigs) but most cases it is relaxed or natural. For the past four months I have been working towards natural hair and it is a daily struggle to stop myself from putting relaxer back in.
Relaxer uses chemicals to straighten African American hair. This lasts for about a month to a month and a half. Your roots will eventually grow and curl to show the natural state of your hair. Every few months you are to put relaxer on your roots to keep your hair straight. The only way to get your hair back to its natural form is to cut off all the relaxed hair.
If anyone is friends with me on Facebook, go through my profile pictures album. You will see a cycle of my hair long and straight or short and curly. This is my never ending battle with my hair. I love my hair short and I love my hair straight. I'm not too fond of my hair curly and I don't think long hair looks good on me.
There is no way I would ever get a weave. You basically sew the hair piece onto/into your head. No thank you. I have thought about extensions but those cost a lot and in some places you have to supply the hair you want. I wouldn't even know where to start. I also don't want to make monthly trips to the salon. I don't have enough money to go that often, plus most cases the hair or style I want I can do myself.
One thing I hate about natural hair is that I can take so little or so much time to make it look good, and then once humidity or water hits it, it shrinks back to normal. So my only compromise is to either relax my hair or straighten it with a flat iron.
I've run into problems with both. I cut the last relaxer out of my hair after noticing that after touch ups my hair wouldn't be straight, it would be wavy/straight. I worry that if I use a flat iron a lot my hair will become dry and damaged.
I...what's the word for it...fret over my hair because I want to be different from my sisters. They have either natural hair (afro style) relaxed hair, or braided hair. I like to have different hair because people will be able to differentiate us faster. It is also a way to show my personality and my identity. However, there is not much left I can do to be different. I do want to dye it red one day, but until then I need to decide to either keep my hair natural or relax it.
Right now, I'm leaning really close to the latter.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman