Chanel T.

The world would be better off without the invention of hair relaxers. Hair relaxers or perms are a way of chemically changing the structure of one’s hair to achieve a style or pattern not natural to the person’s head. Perms were a big trend in the 80s when many males and females wanted curled hair. Perms are not specific to one ethnic group; however, many African-American women use hair relaxers to change their curly textured hair into a bone straight style. Perms are not as popular in today’s society; however, the world would be better off without them. 

Perms contain many harmful chemicals damaging to one’s natural hair like lye or sulfates. Products like keratin have even been banned from certain products because of its link to cancer. Not only is it linked to cancer, but relaxers also colligate with hair breakage and loss of natural pattern. Aside from being destructive, perms also contribute to the notion that people are physically imperfect and need to alter themselves to become perfect. 

Perms are another way for society to tell people, mainly women, that the hair they have is not good enough. It is inherent to want what you do not or cannot have, which may resort in one using hair relaxers. The myth in relaxed hair is that changing the texture of one’s hair will somehow make one better. This is a trap set by the beauty industry to tell consumers what we have is not enough, and the product they are selling will upgrade our look or lifestyle.

I have never had a perm, but for a long time I hated my natural hair. I dreaded what I would see in the mirror after washing my hair, and could not stand my short, tight coils. Fortunately, in the last year, I have fallen in love with my natural hair. I embrace its texture and I am grateful various styles I am able to wear. Recognizing the beauty of my natural hair was a very freeing experience. 

The world would be so much better off if people were content with the looks they are given. As a result the beauty industry would lose billions in cosmetic plastic surgery and other methods of permanent physical changes. Even if one wants to alter their look it is important that they are safe. Perms are not safe and there are many safe ways to protect one's natural hair such as braided styles, sew-ins, and heatless styles. 

Imagine a world without hair relaxers. There would be women and young girls walking confidently with the beautiful hair God gave them. Imagine the versatility of styles from bodacious twist-outs to beautifully curled sew-ins. Hair would be nourished and healthy and people would be able to recognize the beauty of their given hair. It is my hope that every woman learns to love every strand of hair that graces her head and does not see a need to permanently alter the hair she has.