Why does it seem like such a challenge to enjoy our natural abundance of strands growing on top of our heads? Doesn’t it seem odd how we can perpetuate the division amongst Black women down to the very follicle?
It’s nearly impossible to make collective cosmetic changes without society and others forcing their social issues into the situation. How we “rock” our hair should not be a political issue, but merely a choice on how one styles one’s hair. Sesame Street gets it with their quote and song, “I REALLY Love my Hair.” That song was conceived by a father who wanted his daughter simply to “love her hair.”
It is true that most Black women have a naturally kinky hair type; some have curls that are more tightly coiled than others. Textured hair is unique and requires different care techniques and routines.
Hair classifications were developed to help identify best hair care products. Most textured, kinky, curly and coily hair ranges from a 3c through 4c.
Relaxing the hair permanently changes the structure and or texture of a strand (non-scientific description). When hair is relaxed, it has a loose curl or straight hair texture.
It’s time to get intimate with our hair. Start by getting to know your hair all over again. Really look at it in the mirror and examine the strands growing out of your head. Learn your texture only to know what products could possibly give you the softness, shine, slip or ability to detangle that you are looking for.
Find the hair regimen that works for you. Try to stop pulling and tugging so hard on the hair and scalp. Gently comb with a wide-tooth comb or use your fingers.
Learn styling techniques that promote healthy hair care. Give your scalp a frequent message. Falling in love with your hair takes time, and with any relationship you must get to know it.
Above all, change your attitude on how you view your hair, especially if it’s negative. Stop saying, “My hair is horrible and totally unmanageable!”
Get to know your hair! Find out why it stays dry and won’t retain moisture, when is the best time to apply products, why it falls limp, etc. Let’s release some of our old tapes or perspectives on hair.
For many years, there has been a growing difference of opinion as to why some women want to change the natural state of their hair; whether this is right or wrong, the issue is real. Some believed that when a Black woman embraces her natural hair instead of chemically straightening, she is often considered rebelling, rejecting mainstream, or trying to reclaim her Blackness. Consequently, if your hair is chemically straightened, you are trying to “blend in” and therefore not embracing your Blackness, or you hate yourself.
I understand it’s “just hair,” yet many carry hair trauma and/or past experiences that are hard to erase or put into perspective. Honestly, in my opinion hair is the tip of the iceberg, but that’s another article or two.
Unfortunately, in some professional environments there continue to be occasional surprises with other people’s ignorance or lack of understanding of the culture of textured hair. Although sad, I’m pleased to see organizations and educational institutions in 2014 being forced to change policy to remove the hurtful, negative language that braids, dreadlocks, afro puffs and other hair styles are no longer unacceptable for the workplace or in classes.
Guess what — we have choices on how we want to style our hair. As Bobby Brown said, “It’s My Prerogative.” Everyone’s vision of beauty is different, and yes, the beauty of Black women can vary because we are notorious for changing our looks. It is fun, and that’s just what we do!
I realize everybody does not have the same story, hair type or hair journey. I applaud anyone who has the desire to be their authentic self within, whether you choose to wear your hair natural, straight or other.
My hope is that we get to know our hair and avoid the hair shaming and curl bashing within our community. I would like to see us break the big hair divide of being Team Natural vs. Team Relaxed and get on the bandwagon of loving our hair and keeping it healthy, letting health reflect from the inside out.
Be curly, be straight, and be present at the May 3 Sister Spokesman hair fun event! It will be interesting and HAIRLaroius.
Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!
Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.