During the past few years, many African-American women have made it clear that they’re no longer interested in getting or staying relaxed, at least when it comes to their hair. Between 2009 and 2011, the sales of chemical straighteners dropped 12.4 percent, according to data from Mintel, a market research firm, and hairdressers confirm that fewer black women are opting to relax their hair, reported Smithsonian.com.

“Girls are not buying the chemicals as much,” said Camille Reed, a salon owner in Silver Springs, Maryland who specializes in natural hair care. “They’re still buying the weaves here and there because people like options, but they’re not buying the harsh chemicals.”

Many black women have found that the harsh chemicals in relaxers are directly to blame for damaged tresses that lead to hair loss. In addition, a number of African-Americans have become tired of being slaves to the kind of high-priced hair care that maintaining relaxed tresses require.

Reed was one of them. She cut off her relaxed tresses three weeks before her senior prom. She’d grown tired of the maintenance. Eventually, Reed went one step further and locked her hair. Now, at her salon, she offers clients a range of styling options for unrelaxed hair. Reed, who said she uses as few chemicals as possible, works with her customers’ natural hair to create healthy, styles that don’t require wigs, weaves or extensions.

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