How Soon Is Too Soon To Relax Your Daughter’s Hair?

little girls 

So, the other day I was having a conversation with my mom and my sister about some of the decisions that my mom made concerning our hair. My sister is 5 years older than me, so for as long as I can remember, my sister’s hair has always been permed.

I, on the other hand, was natural up until I entered high school. According to my mother, she didn’t want to perm my hair because I had a different grade of hair than my sister, and my sister’s hair just wasn’t manageable without a perm.

Which in turn, sparked a discussion on how soon is too soon to perm your daughter’s hair. Could you be harming your daughter’s hair by giving her a relaxer at a young age?
In stores they sale relaxers for girls, which is essentially just a relaxer in a lower strength than the ones for adults, however, it is still a chemical, and if left on too long can still burn and cause irritation.
I still have horror stories from memories of my mother perming my hair in our kitchen and washing it in the sink and the intense burning from leaving the perm in as long as possible, just to make sure every strand was bone straight.
I would even beg my mom not to wash it out until I was sure that it was straight enough, because I didn’t want any waves or kinks to be left curly.  And, at that age I was 14 or older.
I couldn’t imagine being a 3-5 year old and experiencing that pain. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer as far as whether or not to perm your child’s hair, but I do think there are things to keep in mind if you do decide to do it:

Make sure that the perm is applied by a licensed professional
Like I mentioned earlier, my mother was the one perming my hair. My mother never went to beauty school, so the only training she had came from her experience doing my sisters hair.

Licensed professionals are trained in applying relaxers to hair, and know the ins and outs. A relaxer should not burn if applied and rinsed out properly.

Also, when I started getting my hair permed, but hair began to break and shed at massive rates. For as long as I could remember I had long thick hair, hence the reason my mother was so hesitant for all those years to perm my hair.
I’m not in any way saying a perm will make your hair fall out, but what I am saying is that if you are not letting a professional apply it and then treat your hair, then there is a high risk for breakage. Just because the perm may be cheaper to purchase at your local beauty supply store, than to pay a professional, doesn’t mean that that is the best ideal.
Ask yourself why you are relaxing your daughters hair
mom and daughterIn my case, my mother relaxed my hair because I begged her from the time I was 5 until she finally gave in when I turned 14.

However, my mother’s reasoning for relaxing my sister’s hair was because it would make it easier. She didn’t like my sister’s kinky hair, and thought it would look better straight.
With as many youtube videos that are out there, and detangling products, you owe it to your daughter to put in the effort and make healthy hair a priority!

Or at least if you choose to relax your daughter’s hair, go to a professional. Also, just because hair is straight doesn’t always mean it will be manageable. That is a common misconception.

You still have to style realized hair, granted it may take less time due to not having to dentangle, but it will still take time. Also, continuing to straighten a child’s hair could be placing a seed of self hate in her head. It could be teaching or conditioning the child to believe that straight hair is beautiful and curly/kinky is not.
Children do not receive the true texture of their hair until age 5
We’ve all seen pictures, or know people who are relaxing their babies hair at extremely young ages, like 2, 3, or 4. That, in my opinion, that is crazy.

If you are relaxing a child’s hair prematurely, it could ultimately cause irreversible damage to her scalp or hair follicles.

We’ve all seen photos of Blue Ivy’s hair, and how much slack Beyonce received for just letting her hair be, and leaving it in it’s natural state. There is nothing wrong with that! You should embrace your daughter’s hair, and when they are old enough talk to them about their hair.

Maybe your daughter, like in my case, will get older and ask for a perm, or maybe she won’t. Either way, I feel as though it is your job as a parent to make sure you are making healthy hair a priority, and not just what will save the most time on wash day.

Also, inform your daughter on the pros and cons of a relaxer. She may just think it means straight hair. Let her know that that is not all it entails. Embrace your daughter’s natural hair texture, and have fun with trying new styles!

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