A relaxer (or commonly referred to as a perm) chemically straightens the hair. It comes with a creme and an activator which is applied to coarse textured hair to loosen the strands and make it look straight.
Sophomore Aviya Payne has been getting a relaxer in her hair since she was 10. She says she uses it to make her hair more manageable.
"Instead of having to do a lot stuff to it, I just unwrap it and brush it and its straight," Payne said.
To maintain the straight look, she brushes her hair in a circular motion and puts a scarf on it so that it stays neat overnight.
But many Elon students are starting to say no to the relaxer, and yes to their natural hair. Senior Alexa Sykes has recently started to embrace her true roots. She made a decision to grow out her natural hair.
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"Natural meant that I was being true to my own identity," Sykes said. "I cut off all the relaxed hair that I had and I stopped putting chemicals in my hair."
Sykes now makes her own products and treats her hair very carefully. She says that having natural hair does not mean a girl can not achieve the straight look. It just takes more hours.
Senior Camille Hill gets her hair relaxed very frequently and enjoys it. She says that going natural is a trend that will not last. "I just make the comparison of bellbottom jeans and leggings. It's gonna come. Everybody's going to want to do it... and at the same time, it's gonna quickly go away," Hill said.
Hair-stylist Tia Shepard at A New Look hair salon in Burlington says that whether a student has relaxed hair or not, she still has to constantly care for it.
"One thing that I stress with a lot of my clients is the maintenance on it. You really have to still maintain your hair. It requires more work and more moisturizing. I'm really big on it being healthy, whether its relaxed or natural," she said.