On my crowning glory

I relax my hair (why do we also call it perming ?), and have done so for about 12 years. At first, my mom used to do it using those kits you can buy and all was well. Then I started going to a salon and that’s when the trouble started.

My scalp. It gets burned. Every time.

Yes, I once made the rookie mistake of booking a hair appointment first thing in the morning, right after I had showered for the day, and the resulting pain around my hairline was understandable and almost unbearable. But even when I make my appointment for the evening, I still get burned badly. My scalp scabs and I have this compulsion where I must pick.my.scabs. I don’t even know how it happens, I just do. I have plenty of scars to show for it.

I take all the proper precautions yet still I suffer: I make sure I haven’t washed my hair for days (usually at least three) before my appointment, even though going that long without washing makes me crazy and paranoid because I’m sure my hair smells and I avoid standing in front of people and anywhere where a breeze might waft some unpleasant odour from my hair towards an unsuspecting person. I make sure my hair is dry and not the least bit wet. Sometimes I add some extra grease to my hairline the night before my appointment for protection’s sake (but admittedly, I’m not diligent about this). I’m not a fan of those petroleum-based hair products because I want my hair to be touchable but perhaps that’s the secret? My sister has been relaxing her hair for as long as I have and she rarely gets burned (and she loves her grease). Sometimes I request a gentler relaxer (but then my hair doesn’t get fully relaxed). I can’t win!

I don’t hear anyone else complaining about scabs or burning on their scalp but is that just because you’ve accepted that one must suffer for beauty and you guys suffer silently while I whine and behave like a three-year-old?

I’ve already determined that I can never shave my head because all the currently hidden scars would scare passersby-woe is me!

19 thoughts on “On my crowning glory

  1. I used to always burn. Then I found a new hairdresser who uses Mizani (spelling?) and haven't burnt since.

    I don't know if it is my hairstylist or the product that was the trick. Try both and see.

    Btw, I'm new to your blog and loving what I see. :)

  2. U probably have a tender scalp or u have a bad hair stylist. I think u should try someone else, just to see if u have a different result cos ur hair shouldn't burn regardless.

  3. I have heard great things about Mizani as well, and most people who use it don't complain about their hair.

    Also, I have a question: do you wash your relaxed hair everyday? Isn't the time too short?

    When I used to relax my hair, I would usually not wash it for at least a week prior to the relaxer… Try it maybe it will work?

    If not, you need a new hairdresser. :)

  4. Hey GNG! You probably have a very sensitive scalp and your hair stylists don't know how to deal with it. I suggest you switch to gentle products that won't damage your hair and scalp or change your hair stylist. I stopped relaxing my hair three years ago because it was getting so weak and damaged. I recently cut it so I'm rocking a low cut at the moment. For a change, try braiding your hair and relaxing it after taking the braids out, that it won't be too "clean".

  5. I dont think anyone's scalp gets burnt as easily as mine babes…retouching is a real pain for me..I wake up the next day and my hair is wet, limp and lifeless…

    But I have used a couple of relaxers that didnt burn ….African gold and organic relaxers…try them…

  6. Sweetheart, I really feel your pain cause for several years I was also in that situation. C, I have extra 'stubborn'/thick hair and a very very very… sensitive scalp.

    How did I end the nightmare of retouching? Well I cut my hair and left it cropped for several years,(oh the joy of water running through my scalp when I shower daily, can not be described).Then I discovered a nice hair stylist who does not linger while retouching my hair! In 5 minutes, she has the relaxer applied and she does not comb it endlessly like some other stylists.

    However, now the drying part is serious problem for me. How I hate dryers of all sorts! So I just retouch, towel dry and I am out.

    I wish i could cut my hair again but my husband does not like the idea.

    Take care, stay blessed!

  7. eyah pele o…i used to have burns to as well..i think ur scalp is tender.

    am also following FG's route o..am going natural….the whole relaxing thing is tiring! still a long process for me..might even blog about it…

    Sorry i am not of much help:)

  8. You might have to check a different relaxer. try Mizani mild, or Wella which is not very cheap. Also i would recommend letting ur hair stay dirty for about a week b4 you perm it.

    G-luck next time.

  9. Yeah, I agree with trying a different relaxer. D&L used to burn me no matter what! Also I feel u about washing ur hair every 3 days but I have to go at least 5 days no wash b4 my relaxer or I will burn, regardless of what I use. IMHO, unless u have oily scalp 3 days is not enough to accumulate enough sebum on ur scalp to protect it from the relaxer.

  10. @Nenna

    Thanks for the recommendation of Mizani. I'm going to see if they sell that brand here.

    And thanks for liking my blog :)


    There are three salons that I rotate between (actually the only three I knew about up until a week ago). I'm going to try this new one that just opened and see if they are any better.


    Hmm, care to share anything special that your stylist does?


    Ok, two votes for Mizani—I'm going to look for it.

    I was my relaxed hair every other day or at most, every two days. I have never gone a week without washing so I'm going to try that for the next one. How do you keep the itching at bay though?

    @Vera Ezimora (look how much time I take to write out your entire name now!)

    See above. I wash too often abi?

    @Favoured Girl

    I think my face is too round for a low cut (though sometimes I'm tempted to lop the whole thing off!).

    I like the idea of trying braids…I think I'll get them done when I'm in Nigeria :)


    Ouch…pele o! Organic relaxers eh? More to look into. Instead of letting my hair dresser pick I'll look through the ones she has to offer and see if she has African Gold or anything organic.


    Ok, you've totally made short hair sound absolutely wonderful!


    Oh! I'd love to hear about your natural journey…hair is something I love to talk/hear about.

    @Pink Gloves

    Wella? Never heard of it but will see if Canada is up to date on carrying all the best relaxers. I still don't know how I could survive not washing for a week…teach me!


    My hairdresser used to use Dark and Lovely but now she uses this other brand (I need to see what it is). Ok, I'm convinced about going as long as possible (and longer than 3 days) without washing before relaxer. I just want to know what anti itching remedies you have!

  11. I burn all the time like you my hair does not get relaxed with mild and still I get burned and gets relaxed by super but still burns

    Just get burned that all… Have you tried Brazilian treatment ?

  12. i relax MY hair every 3months

    sometymes i go as much as 4 months

    honey i dont hink it works if u wash ur hair 3days before u relax

    me thinks it helps to have dirty hair before u relax

    after u take out a weave or braids

    u relax and i'm sure u will have no pain

    i've got sensitive scalp too and i hardly get burned

    anyways i do braids a lot so

    i'm cool

    hope something works for u soon!!!!!!!!!!

  13. You wash your hair every other day????!!!!

    I don't know any black girl with relaxed hair that washes her hair that often. Wow. That may be the problem.

    I never do my own hair any more. I just go to the hairdresser weekly and have her wash and press it between relaxers. She does a better job controlling the poofiness than i do. It's expensive but it's a price I must pay.

  14. Relaxer palaver!!! Mayb u shd use kit (ie with all its shampoo etc) try Organics kit it has aloevera. Dere is d option of putting ur relaxer in d fridge like 2 hrs b4 ur visit to d salon.

    Hmm…anoda option is to get to d salon n go under d hair drier for a while to dry ur hair well before d rub d cream.

  15. Natural hair is not for everyone. Beauty is a very sensitive subject among black african women. We are living in an age of white supremacy and we all feel like we just have to make it. Relaxers that don't burn are expensive and hard to find. Wigs are simple. Google information on hair care. Good luck!!!

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