Stay Away from the Relaxer!

Hey Loves!

There has been lots of heated discussion around my recent post.  I want you all to know that when the going gets tough you have options when it comes to your hair. These are 2 tips that I have for you that can help you stay natural through tough and hard times. Please share any other tips you may have for our sisters in need of support.

Share your opinion & Win $10,000!

About Jenell B Stewart

Jenell Stewart MS, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com dedicates most of her free time educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise.com, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2012 she was named one of Essences top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.
  • Khadijah Pace

    Thanks for the vid, Jenell! You gave some awesome tips. Although it is an individuals choice to be natural or relaxed, I feel like a lot of naturals give up too easily and automatically assume that having a relaxer is easier when that is not necessarily true.

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell Stewart

      Thanks for your comments and understanding my POV.

      • MizJay

        It was still very unprofessional to call out Kerry the way that you did. You were one of the first people I followed on YT, and I always thought you were such a professional, however, writing a blog about her was in very poor taste.

        • DrSelina

          Really??!! Unprofessional for a natural hair blogger, an obvious fan of Kerry’s, to BLOG about a natural hair issue? With all due respect, I think you, and the other ladies attacking Jenell are either far too sensitive, or you are looking for something to complain about. IT is distressing to me to see some of you ladies obviously purposefully finding something to complain about. Geesh. Lighten up!

  • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

    I personally don’t want to perm it even though I truly dislike messing with my hair at this point. Whenever I get tired of it, I get braids, I get someone else to do it, or I wash, DC, and then put them in 6 big cornrows and throw on a wig for awhile.

    As much as I love my natural hair, I think it’s fine that people still want them (perms). Sometimes it’s just hair for some folks, some like to switch up. Sometimes folks are legit tired. I wanted straight here and I tried getting a blow out. To be honest, natural hair is so time consuming. So I get it.

  • Adrienne Haynes

    Thanks for this video! Great tips for those with not much time to spend on their hair.

  • talawnda

    I’ve found instead of twisting my hair, I braid my natural hair. It lasts much longer and I can wash it and style it.

  • New New

    There are so many other styles one can do. I personally like crochet braids and faux locks which can both can last 2 months. I also find that the buns and ponytails a person does while relaxed because it’s “easier” can be done just the same on natural hair. I think because people feel relaxed hair is easier they don’t take as much care with their hair and thus wonder why they get so much breakage and damage. It all requires care if you want it to thrive, relaxed or natural.

    • lilkunta

      yes yes! so many styles. put in braids and then a wig if you are tired. put in braid extensions.

  • http://desiremynatural.blogspot.com/ CJeanPoet

    When I would get tired of doing my hair, I would put her into a protective style – either with extensions or my own hair. I would do the tuck and roll, senegalese twists, flat twists, or sew-in. All of those styles saved me and I was also refreshed to love on and do my natural again. I would even BC or bob cut my natural for something different, if my long natural were too much for me. Just like anything else, I feel that being relaxed requires work as well…you have to get it touched-up, learn and perfect a new regimen, and if you don’t care for it – it can break off (just like if you had natural hair)

  • J

    I’ve been natural for 3 years and plan on relaxing my hair this week. It’s not a matter of giving up easily, it’s called changing my mind. I agree, there are plenty of alternatives to not relaxing, but who cares if one chooses to take the alternative so many find to be horrible. I plan to enjoy my relaxes hair and if I decide to go natural again, guess what, I have that option.

    • Loving Life

      Best response!

    • lilkunta

      a great response.

    • Jessica2248


  • Gay

    Taking care of natural hair can be challenging at times, BUT many times I’ve found it to be “therapeutic”, especially when I do my daily massages. My scalp even feels different now ( in a better way).

  • Felecia

    Why are we so concerned or discouraged with what someone “ELSE” decides to do with “THEIR” hair????

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell Stewart

      When watching the video, did you not get the sense that I was offering support to women who were struggling to maintain their hair during hard times? Im not telling others not to relax their hair.

      • dana monroe

        It’s irresponsible as a blogger to make such blatant statements against another blogger. You could have just did a video or a blog offering natural alternatives to women going through similar situations and not linked it in any way to Simplyounique and encouraging them how they can maintain natural hair in a low maintenance way when facing difficult times. You feel you remained neutral bc while you clearly showed disdain for her decision you sprinkled a little positive in. That’s like stabbing someone then nursing the wound.As a married woman yourself you should have been more encouraging bc a divorce really is like a death for many people. So self righteous and so very sad. I hope Simplyounique is not affected by this. None of us know how devastating the circumstances were that prompted her divorce and you somewhere sitting on your high horse in a twistout in Brooklyn thinking you know what this woman is going through and what you would do under devastating circumstances. A baby, a house, a husband may be stressful life events but POSITIVE life events. How dare you compare that to a divorce.

        • Tia

          I agree 100 percent with this. Very insensitive and self serving

          • dana monroe

            I get she makes coins off the BUSINESS of natural hair and some of these bloggers are fearful of losing their extra or in some cases ONLY coins if the need for natural hair bloggers diminish because people start to revert to other options, but she took it too far bringing someone into it that is going through a crisis we know nothing about. She was dead wrong.

          • lilkunta

            jenell is a teacher. she has a BS and MS in education so she is not scared. in fact, she only recently [while pregnant with elle, so late 2013 ] stopped teaching(many would see her on the train) to blog/vlog full time.

            jenell did not diminish kerry.

        • lilkunta

          jenell is not irresponsible. have you read the YT comments.
          simply has a following bc of her natural hair so of course many are sad and upset. if she was jsut another relaxed chick on YT she wouldnt have a following.

      • Elizabeth

        Yes I did.

    • dina

      I think it’s more about trying to educate one another. We could all use more knowledge, right?

    • Kayanna

      Bye, Felecia

    • Jessica2248

      Thank you!! The whole politicizing black hair and the whole movement is crazy. They’re even fighting about hair texture and typing. It’s embarrassing! I always say, do whatever works for your hair.

    • queenbee9

      Perhaps because in the greater scheme of things, blacks as a rule are judged collectively. Because of this, I often have to field comments from white people (who in my profession, I deal with a lot) who say things like “Black women secretly wish they were white and envy white women,, don’t they” and “black women can’t grow hair past their neck, that MUST be a weave” and “you guys wish you looked like us don’t you?”

      This helps to shape our responses as a people and can be grating over time. I will never forget the white woman who not only put her hands in my hair at the mall, but dug them in to my scalp because she “could always tell a weave” then she had to apologize to me for molesting me–I told her that she had a strong learning curve and if not for the fact that I had things to do, I might have her arrested for molesting me. Keep your hands to yourself and all of that–I wish black women did not feel a need to chase other aesthetics–we can either be defined by the times and the dominant culture or we can raise ourselves up as the First people–and define ourselves including what beauty IS (to us) and is not.

  • Natitas New Beginnings

    Relaxed or natural whats the big idea?do what works for you.people trying to be team natural, I’ve seen relaxed healthy hair and healthy natural hair thats all that matters right?

    • dina

      The chemicals in relaxers endager our health. Studies show relaxer use is directly related to fibroids. For some of us, it has a lot to do with over all health. You should look at the ingredients in relaxer. It’s shocking really.

      • lilkunta

        please post the study showing the link between fibroids and relaxers.

        • DrSelina

          The “study” that pushes this idea is a poor study that did not look at other confounding factors and did not at all address the fact that Hispanic women, middle eastern, and Subsaharan African women also get fibroids at rates similar to American Black women. It was a TERRIBLE study that was widely panned in the medical community. Ljeoma, I am sorry your doctor told you that. The evidence does not support it.

      • Ijeoma

        Dina, I have fibroids and I was told by my doctor that the fibroids i had, could be related to to my use of relaxers. I am actually researching this information.

    • queenbee9

      I was a healthy hair cosmetologist. I have never seen healthy relaxed or color lifted hair. I have seen hair that “appeared” healthy but since I own and look at strands under a microscope–I can GUARANTEE you the damage to both cuticles and the cortex when relaxing is both real and lasting and though one can have relaxed hair with some retention, the damage is NOT reparable and you will NEVER find a cosmetologist or hair scientist to dispute that lasting damage.

  • Apple

    Some of the comments don’t assist with the notion that “natural hair” is just a fad. Do what you like but it’s proven that relaxers damage our hair.

  • candi

    I’ve been natural for 10yrs before it was a fad and I will remain after the fad is over however everyone has a choice and if you choose to relax your hair that’s your business noone has to live with the decision other than you and your hairdresser I don’t find it to be the least bit discouraging because im confident in my decision to remain natural and furthermore im tired of naturals attacking sistas that choose to relax I mean quite frankly how’s it affecting you just worry about your own head

  • Kelly

    I just was so taken a back by the fact that she compared this woman going through a divorce with her decision to expand her family. One doesn’t compare and one shouldn’t compare how they handle added pressure to how someone else handles something so horrible as divorce. If anything Kerry needed people supporting her not a person with over 200k followers telling her that was a cop out. That’s when we have to step back and say at the end of the day it’s just hair and people are bigger and more important than hair and I’ll support you through what you are going through either way. Never knew hair could tear us apart like that it was just sad reading that last post.

    • lilkunta

      i think kerry’s divorce and jenell’s pregnancy ARE comparable.
      they are both huge life changes.

      many are supportive of kerry. but remember that she is famous and has followers bc we are following her NATURAL HAIR JOURNEY.

    • queenbee9

      But it was a cop out–Jenelle was just keeping it real. Maybe too real for some–but real nonetheless. Kerry can do what she pleases but just like she enjoyed the fruits of promoting natural hair, she has to be willing to face the backlash if she falls off. It happens.

  • sweetchuck

    Takes some time to get comfortable wearing your natural hair, and realizing it can take more work than relaxed hair. I like to do twists often. Twist-outs or, more recently, flat twists. It was hard at first with the so-called “scab hair” but once I passed that stage, I began to enjoy my hair texture. And, I can still go straight with a professional blow-dry a few times a year. If relaxing works for you, then relax! But, I personally think my hair is stronger without the relaxer and more versatile.

  • Kylasbibi

    Do what’s best for you. If you want to relax, then relax. It is totally your decision and no one else’s. No one can define what is easy or simple for anyone else. Your hair. Your business.

    • Jessica2248

      I agree! I went natural four years ago, not because relaxers damaged my hair, but because I liked the natural look and wanted to try it. I didn’t do it to join a movement, nor to make a political statement. If a relaxer is damaging for you, then don’t use them. When I was relaxing I relaxed my hair every 12-15 weeks and only applied to the new growth, never did this every 6-8 weeks thing…I wouldn’t have any hair if I did that.

  • Nappy n Proud

    Thanks for your video it was very informative. I understand exactly what Jenell has been saying. If you all just take a minute to carefully listen to her, you all will see that she is not bashing anyone decision to perm. When you put your life on social media, you open your life and decisions to be judge. You now take on all the good and bad that comes with being a celebrity. If you became famous for promoting natural hair and then decide to perm your hair (although its ur choice) it still leaves ur viewers who look up to u with alot of questions. The main question is: Why did you decide to go bk to perms? If your answer to that question is that, “Perming is so much easier to handle during the changes in your life”. This is making a bold implication that perm is easier than having natural hair during times of distress. Jenell is just encouraging her viewers to think of alternative options before thinking about going bk to the perm, whenever they are faced with difficult life changes. She is not really addressing SimplYounique decision to go bk to perming but rather addressing her “reason” that she give viewers for perming.

  • Janelle

    I really enjoyed this video. I’m torn between going natural, or continuing to relax my hair. I really want to stay away from harsh chemicals, because I know in the long run it will damage my hair! My issue is I workout very frequently, and therefore my hair is always drenched in sweat and I don’t know if there are any tips to maintain and not damage my hair. I really don’t like having to choose between my hair and the gym.

    • Dananana

      So don’t choose! Never put your hair over your health! That being said, I find it easier to be active as a natural. When I really work out, I sweat like a man. As a relaxed head, that meant washing my hair 3-4 times a week, blowdrying my hair 3-4 times a week, and sweating out $80/mo. NO. Now, as a natural, I wash/condition/DC once a week, keep my hair in twists or a puff, and just spritz&massage my scalp with water+aloe vera juice+glycerin+ tea tree oil between workouts. I’m not overworking my hair or my wallet…just maybe my muscles :P

    • Ijeoma

      Janelle, I went natural for the third and final time last June. I hid my hair in braids for a year after i did the big chop because I was fearful of what I would look like, and what would happen when I exercised. Needless to say, I got over it. For me, what I love most about being a natural is the versatility, the creativity and the experimenting that comes with learning MY hair. Yes, we have several gurus that are available to guide us and there are several commercial products ready to help us, but I love learning what my hair likes, learning what it does not like, and playing around with different dos for different occasions. I work out everyday, because of the job that I do, and I find that for me a cute up do with my twists in the front stands the test of the sweat as I get my gym game on.
      Don’t be shy, you have nothing to worry about, go for it. But if I may suggest, while you are in the process of deciding, seriously look into other you tubers that have gone natural or watch the ones that have footage from the beginning and see how they progressed. There are so many of us from different walks of life that somewhere down the road, one of us experienced what you are curious about. Good Luck!

  • dana monroe

    And…let’s keep it all the way real…NATURAL HAIR IS MORE WORK. I wish ppl would just admit this and just say its more work BUT WORTH IT. I don’t care how many fast routines ppl invent, it would still take a fraction of the time on relaxed hair. Even if she protective styled her natural hair she is still going to encounter detangling sessions that are essentially non-existent on relaxed hair. Now relaxed hair is not for me and I pray I personally never get the idea to relax again esp since I find them unhealthy for myself personally. BUT I would NEVER judge or tell another woman what to do with her hair or what she should have done. If you ask me some of these other youtubers would’ve prob tex- laxed by now if being natural was not stuffing their pockets so lucratively. #truth

  • Ladylanita

    1. Read up on the science behind hair so you can sift through the BS on the web.. and there is a lot to sift through. Almost 10 years ago I went to this site called salonweb.com and they had an entire section devoted to understanding the science behind shampoo’s, the main building blocks of your hair, the purpose of various products and what properties they should possess, etc.. etc… It was like a book that I ended up printing up and still use for reference to this day.
    2. Come to site’s like this, Blackhairinformation.com, LGBH,etc… and look for people with similar hair to you and see what they are doing and what they’re using.
    3. Watch Naptural85′s Cowash-detangle in 25 minutes youtube video. Changed the game for me.
    4. Watch Shidanatural’s video for doing a wash-n-go on 4a-b-c hair. Revolutionized my game!
    5. Pick and choose your products based on this research. Don’t buy up the store! Oh, and you shouldn’t have to spend oodles on products or on shipping, unless you live in the middle of nowhere.

    • MagnoliaGirl Phillips

      Thanks Ladylanita good tips!

  • Andrea

    I think those who say natural hair is more work should say natural hair is more work “for them.” Not the case for everyone especially if your hair needs to be washed frequently like mine does. I mean at least twice a week. Maintaining straight hair when you have to wash or at least rinse often sucks!!. I need it because of my scalp and I know now relaxers made it worse. Some people need to for exercise.. It can be time consuming too because most of us when relaxed follow with a blow dry then flat iron or rollerset. Who wants to do that several times a week? Most relaxed women go to great lengths not to get their hair wet because they are trying to make the style last. Actually my whole life if my hair is straightened then curling my hair in the morning expect them to fall out by mid afternoon. Now I do believe in to each his own but we don’t all have the same hair, same issues, same needs so blanket statements that natural hair is hard to maintain bother me.

  • Elizabeth

    I believe once you find out just what your hair needs and responds to, that is jackpot. You have already conquered. I don’t believe you need to use everything under the bathroom sink or in the cabinets to get success, less is more. The main thing is moisture, condition, and for some oil, preferably natural ones like coconut, olive oil, etc.

  • nulynat

    I just figured out how to hot comb then flat iron my natural 4c hair! Care routine: Carol’s Daugher (CD) Black Vanilla Sulfate-free shampoo; Aphogee Intensive 2-minute keratin reconstructor (no more than 2 minutes!!!); then 7-10 minute deep condition, heat applied, using CD Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie. Blow dry with heat protection product and an argon oil mixture (a few drops of rosemary and lavender oils added to my argon oil spray), hot comb, then flat iron to shape. ‘As straight as when I had a relaxer. I usually have to touch up with flat iron once the next morning but that’s it for heat for up to two weeks! Roll and/or wrap every night, and apply some coconut oil every few days. I now have diversity of style options, from super straight to my natural 4c fro, which I love, and everything in between: twist outs, braid outs, etc. No need to relax my hair ever again. I share this post to say we sometimes might “miss” the straight relaxed style once we go natural, but that that style can still be achieved with even the possibly thickest hair type.

  • bella

    very poor taste Jenell. You had the makings of a very positive video but drawing Kerry into it like that has really made you look small. you dont know what she is going through, it might not be just the divorce as horrendous as that is (and no it does not compare to a positive experience like childbirth new job etc) very disappointed. and while i will keep following Kerry on her continuing journey I will not be following you.

    • queenbee9

      Downvoted. Did she mention Kerry’s name? Kerry has to take the sweet with the sour–it does not matter what her personal life is like–we ALL ALWAYS have personal lives–she made her name based on natural hair and so she will also reap the fallouts when she falls off–that is Life. Jenelle, I WILL keep on following you and as usual, will try to bring at least 5 more subbies to you per week because I believe in your site and the advice here.

      As for Kerry– nothing to say–she’s taken herself out of the natural hair game for now–we are not in this for “club ” or :celebrity status–so no point in getting upset just because Jenell kept it real–it needed to be said and she said it far nicer than many are saying it off the internet.

  • DubaiDee

    I am totally against relaxers as I did them for many years and as a result of relaxing and wearing extensions, I was going bald but I was lucky as my sister did get bald from spots from where the relaxer burnt her scalp.

    I have now stopped relaxing for 1 year now and my hairline was refusing to grow in and some parts of my scalp was shiny and my hair was very thin. There wasn’t much hair left to actually cover the tracks of the weave, so I decided to stop wearing all types of extensions.

    I struggled for 7 months with wearing my hair out, it was dry and prone to breakage and styling it was a losing battle until I started doing Max Hydration Method, it has been a miracle for me. I completely understand someone getting so frustrated that they would want to go back to relaxers, I almost did but thank goodness I found a better way to relax my curls by moisturising my dehydrated hair. I will post some pics of what relaxers did to my sister’s hair after longterm use and what MHM did for her in 5 days!

    • DubaiDee

      1st pic – Before MHM (twist out)
      2nd pic – With Clay applied
      3rd pic – No product applied

      • queenbee9

        Bella. (Beautiful)

        • DubaiDee

          Thank you very much Ms.queenbee :) Still using the BS and no adverse effects so far but will keep you posted…

  • Monica PrinceFam

    If I knew that relaxing my hair was going to give my horrible, painful fibroids then I would have never relaxed my hair for 30 years. My scalp is scarred from burns, and it is extremely sensitive now. My hair is curly now it is so easy to manage, I had no idea what texture my hair was. I have wash and go hair now and I use Dark and Lovely Au Natural product line.

  • queenbee9

    Relaxers are not natural. It is going to the extreme to embrace an aesthetic that most of us have grown up with (white girl hair is better … the straighter the better, and oh yeah, the blonder the better). It says more about us than we truly realize and all the defense of relaxer in the world will never change the FACTS that:

    1. Relaxer and lifting colors damage the hair shaft and cuticles
    2. the damage done to the disulfide bonds in the hair is NOT EVER reparable though there are products like protein treatments and shines that can hide just how much damage we have done
    3 Over 85% of the worlds population regardless of race are naturally curly and yet they have embraced the aesthetic and are ruled by the desire to emulate the minority.
    4. Straightened hair is not just about choices it is also about self analysis and rejection. we try to argue that it is NOT THAT DEEP.. but actually it IS just that deep. We have been taught to run after white women and look to them as the barometer for beauty–black men see that aesthetic and many run after it too and many woman chase that even though it is a FALSE BEAUTY.

    The number one reason black men go after white women is NOT because they are nicer (many try to emulate and act like black women) It is not because they are sexier or prettier or any other reason than one–if a black man has a baby with a white woman, it may have “nicer hair”

    This type of thinking was pervasive during 4 hundred years of slavery but any recent subscription and succombing to this mind set is totally voluntary.

    Yes we can have choices with our hair just like centuries ago, many painted white lead on their faces to make their skin more white and creamy looking (popular in the 16-18th Century in Europe) the net result was a lot of dead and BALD people as the lead destroyed their skin , poisoned their blood and ate out their hair–they weren’t just all wearing wigs for nothing.

    FAst forward to now–can we be beautiful? Of course we can. CAn we define our own beauty aesthetic? Of course we can. Can we eschew creamy crack and other negative chemicals and drugs that can destroy our lives and cripple self esteem? Of course we can.

    The Next time someone tells you that your hair looks like Pubic hair–laugh and agree “that’s right, I’m sex from the top of my head to the sole of my feet” YOU can regain your own power and I guarantee most have nothing to say to these remarks except to look furious.

  • queenbee9

    When my hair was waistlength my grandmother died, my aunt died, my great aunt died and my mother died, all in the same year, then the next year, I relocated me with my 5 kids (and hubby). I had to sell my beloved home (including getting my house ready) etc.. then my dad died. Braids were my hair style of choice. I remember when Jenelle was struggling with her hair shedding and then being pregnant and having a toddler–she did not go to relaxers.

    NOW. I did go to a relaxer when my husband and I did our last move–it lasted all of about 10 months and in the end, my hair was badly (sadly damaged) I had to start all over in 2011. we don’t have to go the relaxer route. If that is your choice–so be it–but I never found relaxers easier– I felt fake and like I was subscribing to an aesthetic foreign to my very DNA. It was as fake as fake nails or fake lashes and was a commentary on me.

    There is a certain level of freedom that is afforded to women who can embrace who they truly are and anyone can say anything about relaxed hair–but it is NOT REAL it is manipulation and it is running after a white aesthetic–we can say it is for convenience–I guess going blonde and getting blue eyed contacts is for convenience too–what is sad is not the fact some go back to relaxer–that is a personal choice–it is the type of LIES we tell to ourselves on why we want weaves and relaxers in the first place.

    A race does not win when they enslave you or belittle you–and evil does not win when evil happens to you–BOTH ONLY WIN when the victim of either takes up and does what was done in evil to themselves–this time with no prompting–sisters who relax or skin lighten or other white emulation need to really think about that.

    • DubaiDee

      Hi queenbee9,

      How can I follow you? Everytime I come across one of your posts, I feel as if I am being ‘taken to school’…your posts are so informative, I just want to read more :).

      Please keep up the good work, I for one thoroughly appreciate all the effort you put into your posts, it is such a refreshing change. Bless