Apart from fitting into the given standard of beauty, another reason for perming our hair was making it easier to manage and maintain. Our natural course hair was capable of breaking a comb and totally unmanageable!
After 15 years of permed hair and over 5 years with natural hair, I look back in retrospect and wonder if permed hair was really easier to manage or just an illusion passed down from generation to generation.
In order to come up with a coherent answer, I had to analize the two experiences – Permed hair VS Natural hair.
Maintaining permed hair:
- Roots have to be retouched at least every 3 months. This requires going to the hair salon where you can find an experienced hairdresser. Since perming is “controlled damage” the possibilities of having your hair burnt by an amateur is pretty high.
- A visit to the hair salon at least once a week is required to keep your hair looking nice and sleek. That could strain your pocket in addition. But once your perm is nice and fresh, combing is made easy with finger slipping smoothly through your hair.
- After a fresh perm or retouch you mustn’t wash your hair within 48 hours. Washing with shampoo ( and even getting your hair wet) can disturb the hair proteins as they are locking into their shapes in those first hours.
- Extra tender loving care is vital to maintain a healthy looking perm- shampooing, extra conditioning, extra oil and protein treatments. This is because perming, forcibly and permanently breaks down the protein in your hair in order to keep it straight.
- Permed hair is constrained to simple everyday styles without visiting the salon. There is a limited variety of things you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Maintaining natural hair:
- Regular visits to the hair salon aren’t necessary for a retouch or treatment and the closest you get to burning your hair is bending over the gas cooker!
- Natural hair doesn’t need to be washed every day. It’s enough to wash it once a week or every other week with a detangling session. Once detangled and styled, combing every day isn’t neccessary. This guarantees peace of mind throughout the whole week.
- Nevertheless, combing and detangling can be an ordeal! You dare not comb your kinky mane when it’s dry. It must be damp with water or leave-in conditioner and sectioned into smaller parts before attempting to comb. Running a comb through your kinks is a no-no.
- Protein structure is retained in natural hair. This means, regular oil treatments aren’t a must and can be done in the comfort of your own home leaving you with a few extra pennies at the end of the month.
- The versatility of natural hairstyles are numerous- flat twists, twist outs, high bun, high puff, two-strand twists, frohawk and bantu knots just to mention a few. In addition, you can wear it straight, wavy or kinky curly.
I used to have a perm for over fifteen years and I had a difficult time sticking to the rules of maintenance. I guess that’s why it stayed at shoulder length and never grew beyond.
I have been natural for over five years and hardly visit the hair salon. My hair has never been this long! It’s now bra-length and still growing. Keeping my hair moisturized seemed to do the trick. In my opinion, the myth of permed hair being easier to manage has been crushed. Natural hair rules! It’s easier, cheaper and more fun to manage! What’s your take on that?