Thursday, 6 December 2012

Re-Post: Your 1st Relaxer Poll Results


When I first started this blog last year, I used to hold polls. 
The pie chart below is a breakdown of the responses to the question:
"What Age Did You First Relax Your Hair?"

The poll shows that most women (45%) were aged between 11yrs - 16yrs when they first had their hair relaxed. This was followed 28% of women who were aged between 6yrs - 10yrs when their hair was first chemically straightened.
I was surprised as I think those ages are very young.
It got got me thinking why this was? I was 18yrs when I had my first relaxer. My aunt said I had "come of age" and took me to a brilliant hair dresser. I agreed cos I thought it'd be Fun. It looked good but I hated it. It just felt uncontrollable and too floppy to work with. However, over the next 7yrs I got so used to having straight hair I began to loose appreciation for my own hair. (tut tut)
The night before my 1st relaxer
Getting my very first relaxer
(Excuse the poor quality photos.
These were taken when cameras still used film)

Now, nearly a decade later, I'm back on track.
But I'm still curious about why so many Black women have their hair straighten so young?

Why Do So Many Black Women Get Relaxed So Young?
Feel free to let me know if you think Im right or wrong, but here are a few of the possibilities that came to mind...
Willow Smith
I think it may have something to do with being in secondary school. Those important years when you begin to express yourself and take control of your own appearance. 
During these years many girls long to be older and view straight hair as a sign of sophistication.Which leads to the question - why does straight hair equate to sophistication and beauty in the eyes of young girls? I think this is due to the following reason...

Celebrities & Society
Tyra Banks
The majority of black celebrities in popular culture wear their hair straight and the idea of straight hair being more desirable is so often reinforced in everyday western society.

And of course, there's the isssue of managability. Without knowing how to really take care of natural hair, many people tend to think it'll be easier to straighten it. Having said that, I think parents have a large part to play too, as a high percentage of women first had their hair relaxed between the ages of 6-10yrs. At those ages it's not impossible to conclude that the decision to relax was made by a parent.
Again I think manageability is probably the main reason for this.
What Do You Think?
(If you wana go back and read the original post you can check it out >here<.)


  1. I feel it's what see in society. Young girls seem them as having everything and wants tp grow up to be just like the them!!

  2. For me it was manageabilit. You start secondary school which is the age where you start ironing your own clothes making your own lunch and doing your hair, I never learned to manage my hair as my mother always did it for me till I started school and it was a struggle to get ready and to be at school on time so it was permed. I wouldn't be surprised if other women experienced the same thing.I went natural at the age of 18 as I realised through research that it wasn't good for you and expensive. I later convinced my mother to do the same.

  3. I saw all my friends at school had relaxed hair (I was 8) and begged my mum for a relaxer. I think it's a combination of a lack of knowledge about natural hair care and styling, as well as what they are commonly exposed to

  4. I was 13 when I had my first relaxer. Now I want to be a role model for my daughter so she does not have to be ashamed of her hair.


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