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the relaxer conundrum 22 July, 2006

Posted by silentpyjamas in blather and claptrap, inflammatory!.

when i was a kid i got relaxers. well, even into adulthood. for white people, a relaxer is the opposite of a perm.  we actually call relaxers “perms”, even though they make our hair straight. i haven’t gotten one in a good number of years, but when i did, i ran into this strange occurrence.

have you ever tried to deny yourself something, knowing that if you didn’t, the consequences could be unpleasant? well, let me tell you. when you get a relaxer, although it’s not supposed to touch your scalp, you’re also not supposed to scratch your scalp because it totally will touch your scalp. if you scratch, even the tiniest bit, it burns.

starts off as a tingle, builds to a full-roar burn. remember in malcolm x when denzel tried to be strong but then dunked his head in a toilet? that is just what a relaxer burn is like. and then it hurts for days. it’s awful because as much as it hurts just sitting on your scratch, it hurts even more when they put the neutralizer shampoo that stops the chemical from working. god forbid your hair is not all the way straight yet or you’re fucked for 6 weeks. the shampoo burns, and finally it stops burning, except for the vigorous scrubbing action that must be applied to get all of the relaxer and shampoo out of your hair. then of course conditioner. burns. rinsing. burns. it even burns that night when you lie down to go to sleep. the burn is really something.

but as soon as i would decide to get a relaxer, my head would begin to itch. as if it were daring me to scratch it. as if it were taunting me. “c’mon. c’mon i can’t take this itching. you feel it, don’t you? is it interrupting your train of thought yet?” already my skin is sensitive to chemicals and i’d get burned by relaxers anyway. scratching only made it worse.
usually i could hold out at first but as the day would wear on (no scratching for at least 24 hours beforehand, but i really recommend 48 hours or better yet, don’t get relaxers. they suck) the itching would become insidious, i would find my hand straying to my head. nothing would be wrong, and i just knew that if i didn’t have a relaxer kit in the house my head would not be itching. by the next day, i would have caught myself scratching several times. i’d know it would sting, but that was the price to pay. you schedule a relaxer around a major event so you won’t put it off. once you have the kit, you have to use it. if you don’t, then you will have a kitchen and your hair will be puffy. it is all very mental.
this is the relaxer conundrum.

(posted under inflammatory but only because relaxers literally are)



1. Jessica - 10 September, 2006

omg i got slight burn on my scalp in the back and my hair keep getting stuck together bcuz it is open it so annoying and i have to go to school and im so conscious of it 😦

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