There’s Gotta Be Another Way!

After being unimpressed with my first relaxer at age 10, I spent the next three years trying to acclimate to my limp hair. Not only was I unimpressed with the overall results; I was soon to find out how short-lived they were. For those of you who have experienced relaxed hair, you know that the first seven days or so, you may have the “wet dog” effect.

It’s not until after your first wash that your strands and scalp recover a bit and you can have a little fun with your hair. But inevitably, new hair will grow in, and the truth of your texture will re-appear at the roots.

Since hair typically grows about a half an inch per month, most people can get away with getting a touchup relaxer every eight to ten weeks. However, that was not the case with me. My hair grew in fast, and my nappy roots ruined almost any straight hairstyle I attempted.

What was worse though is that combing the roots was painful! It was torture trying to stretch and lengthen my textured roots to make them blend with the relaxed hair. Thus, me and my mom came to the quick realization that I would need a touch-up about every four weeks.

Because the first week after you get a new relaxer it’s hard to style your hair, and it becomes hard to style once you have too much new growth, there was only about a two-week period in between relaxers that I got to enjoy my hair.

As you well know, applying a relaxer is not a quick or easy process—the big globs of petroleum jelly all over your face, the painful parting to make sections in your hair, the mixing, the applying, the washing, and washing, and washing again. Then you must apply a deep conditioner and let it sit, and then another conditioner afterwards, and rinse and rinse and rinse some more. And good lord, let’s not forget the awful smell and the burning scalp!

All of that trouble for two to three weeks of enjoyment? It didn’t seem like a very good trade off to me. I thought there must be a better way and started to ask my mom about alternatives. It was 1988 and Jheri Curls were all the rage, so we decided to try that out. And… well… that’s a-whole-nother story! I’ll share it with you in the next installment.

I am SouLah the Legend,


speaking the universal language of the soul…

Photos by SouLah the Legend

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