Relaxer + Blow Drier + Hot Comb + Curling Iron = Good Hair
In the African community, the problem is that many women do not know what their God-given natural hair texture looks like, let alone know how to maintain it. Many have been conditioned from day one that it needs a relaxer.
I personally grew up with relaxers and hot combs. I got my hair relaxed and flat ironed on a regular basis and thought nothing of it. As a kid, it was just something that I knew I had to do. If I started feeling that crinkly curly hair growing in, that meant I needed to tell my mom to make a hair appointment for me so I could get my new growth relaxed. If I missed a hair appointment I would be upset. Of course I dreaded the half day process of getting my hur did, but the end result was soft straightened hair that I couldn't wait to show off at church and at school on Monday. I began wearing braids in middle school and began self styling my relaxed hair in high school. It wasn't until college that after having worn a braided hairstyle a bit longer than expected, I started noticing my own natural hair growing out. It felt so strange to me, so... curly. I heard that it was healthier to braid your hair without getting a relaxer, so I did just that. I slowly grew used to this 'new' hair texture of mine that was slowly growing in and later that year when I took a break from braids, I decided to keep growing out this interesting hair texture of mine (read more in "My Journey").
In all honesty, I am not against other ways of wearing your hair... and these days, even relaxed hair can be seen as natural hair. I simply encourage women to give their natural hair a chance and learn to work with it because that is absolutely the most healthy thing you can do for your hair. Cut out the excess heat from your hair routine. Allow your roots to grow in a little longer. Learn to work with your hair's thickness, or lack there of, without having to use extreme methods that involve chemicals. All in all, let the heat and chemicals be a last resort when it comes to "managing" your hair and instead keep them as secondary styling options.