Hairdresser Tales: Natural Hair IS Soft & Beautiful!

I have been natural for nearly five years this spring. My years of relaxing my hair were unpleasant, it burned, it hurt and I was basically coerced into to the styling chair every month by my mother. The worst part was that my hair never grew. I had brittle, weak, thin, short hair that was just below my ears. I looked at all my friends with their long hair and I wondered why my hair didn’t grow as long as their hair did. I grew up  being told that I had to relax my hair, going natural wasn’t even an option. Subconsciously, I was being brainwashed to accept that my hair was inherently inferior and it’s natural state was unacceptable. Finally, I read about Cathy Howse and how the most important thing that African hair needs to grow is moisture, once I started moisturizing my hair it did grow a bit more, but still not below my shoulders.

When I got into college, I saw a video by Kola Boof where she talked about natural hair and how our hair was “the proof,” that we were made in God’s image. I never thought about the politics of natural hair. Soon, I realized that I had been brainwashed by society to hate my natural hair texture. I had never even really given it a chance, I just presumed that it was ugly and unacceptable to wear out in public. After learning about the history of African hair, I decided to stop relaxing my hair. This was the turning point. Initially, I had no idea what to do with my natural hair, but I went to natural hair forums and watched videos on Youtube and that helped me understand how to care for my hair. My mother was horrified by my decision and my father said “you’ll have natural hair and no husband.” Years down the line, my hair is the healthiest it’s ever been and it’s actually longer than it’s ever been. All those people who thought that my natural hair wouldn’t last were wrong and going natural turned out to be a great decision. Most importantly it was a huge step toward loving myself as a Black woman.

Once I embraced the natural texture of my hair , it seemed  like I was able to embrace other aspect of my identity as an African-American as well. I can honestly say that I no longer desire to have the hair that is so common in other races. The straight hair. It doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I love thick, big, African hair. I think it’s gorgeous, I think it’s unique and I feel blessed to have it and that I can do pretty much anything with my hair. The stunning thing is, I had wanted long hair so badly when I was younger, but by relaxing it I was actually causing my hair to break off. It wasn’t until I went natural that my hair became the longest it’s ever been, ironically, I seldom straighten my hair now and I really don’t have a desire for straight hair.

I realize that I was so brainwashed to hate my hair that I didn’t give it  a fair chance. I think a lot of Black women grow up the way I do where we’re given no choice, but to relax our hair because our natural hair is deemed inferior by others. I can see this mentality play itself out even today as a  Black woman with natural Hair. When I go to the hairdresser to get my hair braided, I go to a regular salon. Therefore, the salon has Black women getting weaves, Black women getting relaxers,  I am one of the few natural Black women. However, I was fortunate to get a stylist who knew how to do natural hair, so when I go she’ll usually just cornrow or roller set my natural hair.

However,  when I go to the salon, I notice other women staring at my hair. When I tell them that my hair is natural, some of them tell me how long my hair is, or that it’s “soft,” and I even had one Black woman tell me that I have “good hair.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had Black women say to me “you can go natural because you have good hair, I can’t go natural.” First of all let me tell you the type of hair texture that I have. I have 4b type of hair, thick, coily, kinky, the curliest hair that there is.  My hair is similar to the texture of the woman in the picture.

 

My  hair texture is very common amongst Black women, so why do I have some Black women telling me that my hair is different than their hair is, when really it’s not? Not once growing up was I told that I have “good hair.” First of all when someone says “good hair,” I hope that they mean my hair is “good,” because it’s healthy and natural and not because they think that my hair texture is somehow different or superior. As I said, my hair texture is very common amongst Black women and I have kinky or “nappy,” hair if you want to put it bluntly. I think the reason that people tell me that my hair is different than their hair, when it’s actually not, is because we’ve all been so brainwashed to believe that our hair is ugly and inferior that we can’t imagine that a Black woman with African hair texture can wear her hair in it’s natural state and look beautiful.

We can’t accept or fathom that our hair is actually MORE beautiful in it’s natural state ,so we rationalize away the beauty by telling ourselves that the Black woman must have “good hair,” meaning loosely coiled or “softer,” hair that is why she is able to wear her natural hair and look beautiful. It’s similar to the racist mentality where some people believe only mixed Black women can be beautiful. We know that’s not true, so why do some of us believe that only Black women with a certain quality of hair can be natural and be beautiful? I want to tell the Black Women who believe that their hair isn’t worthy of being natural that my hair isn’t any different than your hair is. Your hair would look like my hair and would grow thick and long too if you gave your  natural hair a chance.” Natural African hair is soft and beautiful, it is.”

Any Black woman who goes natural will realize that she has been brainwashed and lied to because we all have beautiful hair. I want more Black women to wake up and accept our beauty. Since I have gone natural, people’s opinions of natural hair around me have changed. My mother now loves my natural and cannot believe how much it has grown. She keeps telling me that she wants to see how long it is when blown out, but I rarely ever put heat on my hair and like I said, I have no desire to have straight hair, even though when stretched my hair is down my back.  I had a picture of Brigid Turner on my computer and my brother  looked at it, asked who it was and thought that she was beautiful.

That same brother later stated that he didn’t like relaxed hair anymore. When my mother asked what he liked, he said “natural.” My other brother brought home a  Black woman with natural hair that she wears in an Afro puff. So, men do find our hair attractive, I simply think it’s a matter of them seeing it on us more and  loving it. Black men have been brainwashed not to appreciate natural hair, just as Black women have. But, when more Black women start giving our natural, God-given hair a chance, I believe more Black men will develop an attraction and even a preference for natural hair just as my brother’s did.

I want Black women to wake up and stop falling for the okie doke. Don’t believe that it’s not possible for your hair to be beautiful in it’s natural state. Don’t convince yourself that a Black woman who is rockin her natural hair must have a better quality of hair than you do and that’s why she can go natural. No, you can go natural and  look just as beautiful with your Afro-textured hair. Give your hair a chance.

Now, if you just want to change your hair up and  have a straight style, that’s your decision. I do not believe in bullying people into going natural, but if you truly are brainwashed and believe that relaxing your hair is your only option because your hair is too “nappy,” or “bad,” to be natural, then you’re misinformed because our African, coily, kinky, thick, tight, nappy hair is gorgeous and we don’t need relaxers to have beautiful hair. If anything, relaxers dull the beauty of our hair. So wake up Black women and know that you DO have options when it comes to your hair and you CAN go natural.

Not to mention, one of the beautiful things about being natural is you have options. There is nothing wrong with changing your hair styles. Sometimes I want to rock an Afro, sometimes a twist out, sometimes cornrows, and I can do anything with my hair. If you want to straighten your hair every so often, there’s nothing wrong with that. Cathy Howse is a Black women with natural hair who teaches Black women how to care for and safely straighten natural hair with a low temperature flat iron. I don’t think there is anything wrong with changing your hairstyle, but it is a problem when you think that your natural hair texture is unacceptable and inferior.

Check out these videos below of Black women with natural hair. Both of these women Rusticbeauty and mwedzi have Youtube channels where they give hair tips. These women rarely straighten their hair, but when they do straighten it BOTH of them have long hair. So, Black women if you’re looking to grow your hair out, going natural is the best route in my opinion. In time though, I think you’ll realize that you’re going to love your hair in it’s curled state even more than when it’s straight…just trust me on that. But if you’re truly stuck on having long hair, gong natural is the best route. The third video is Cathy Howse and she talks about relaxers.

MORE PICTURE OF BEAUTIFUL NATURAL HAIR

Hairdresser Tales: Natural Hair IS Soft & Beautiful!

28 thoughts on “Hairdresser Tales: Natural Hair IS Soft & Beautiful!

  1. Zipporah says:

    The videos on youtube are a Godsend! I had someone at a beauty school give me a relaxer but she left it in too long…it fell out and what i got was a version of the BIG CHOP. since the i had my natural hair and im finally seeing what the real texture is RELAXERS: 13~49..MO MORE! IF i want my hair straight i just flatiron it or wear a wig..its past my shoulders

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    1. i am so sorry to hear about your hair falling out! yikes! that is why I stay away from relaxers, it burned my hairline every time i would get one it would burn in the same place and that is where my hair fell out. I liked your other comments I am going to reply more to them later. thanks!

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  2. leigh204 says:

    Peanut, I must say this is a post I can relate to. When I was a young leigh204, I desired the curls so much, I permed my hair as well as dyed it constantly. Of course, I did a lot of damage to my hair. When my hair was permed, I’ve had people tell me I looked better with waves/curls then straight hair. Mind you, my hair is not naturally straight despite my being Asian. Yes, most Asians have straight hair, but I was not one of them. My hair is actually wavy. There is one thing you should know about many Asians and their hair. A lot of Asians seek out permanent hair straightening treatments to achieve that glossy, straight look. It’s quite expensive to have it done and as for the upkeep, forget it. Now I would use a hair straightener every day and I could see the ends of my hair breaking off, feeling brittle and coarse. I’ve come to a point in my life to do away with all the crap I’ve done to my hair and now I’ve accepted my hair the way it is. If I want curls, I simply twist my hair in little rolls when it’s damp and I get fantastic results. You are right! It’s so much easier going natural. And I feel so liberated. 🙂

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  3. leigh204 says:

    I also meant to add, black hair is indeed beautiful. Whatever the texture, whatever the style, work it, ladies. Work it! 😀

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  4. lil'vina says:

    Natural hair is beautiful but I don’t think straightening or putting a weave in it makes you brainwash or ashamed of your hair. It’s a choice to do what you want to your hair, as long as you know what to do with it. There are days when I where it naturally and days when I have it straight. One thing about our hair is that it is versatile and can do so much to it. Wish we as black people didn’t have to pick on people for what they do to their hair. But that’s just me. Love the post.

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    1. exactly, you can change it up. but it is a problem when you think your ONLY option is to wear your hair straight and you have a problem with your natural hair texture.

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  5. This was an excellent post! It totally reminds me of my natural hair journey and now I prefer natural hair too! Straight is just too boring for me and I love collecting online pics of huge natural hair. When I was relaxed I don’t remember getting any compliments on my hair but now I get them almost every day! The more people see it on women looking good the more they will begin to see it’s beauty and like it. It was really surprising that I haven’t gotten any negative comments on my hair and it gets me tons of attention. But there are a lot more naturals now so it might become “normal” and not so shocking when people see it…which is good…and bad if you want the spotlight only on you lol! I do want to see it become normal though. I love seeing it on the street and complimenting women on their hair. I love touching my hair, braiding it up for braid outs, and fluffing it up. It really is soft and amazing!

    I like your blog 🙂

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  6. Luna Sky says:

    Nice post. With me, the only reason I decided to get a relaxer had to do with wanting to fit in. All my class mates had relaxers, but my mom was still using the hot-comb on my hair. So in 5th grade I finally got one and it turned out to be a huge mistake. I should have just been an individual and not worry about what everyone thought of me. I am proud to say now I have been natural since August 2008 and I am not looking back. For the first time ever I am actually in love with my hair, lol. I just need to learn to keep my hands out of it. 🙂

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  7. vindicator says:

    So this is your blog, Peanut……… Pretty cool.
    I like your post on black women’s hair. Allow me to say a few things about this subject.

    I think at times the term “Natural Hair” for black women can be a little bit confusing and misleading. Some black women are born and have naturally straight hair. for example, a lot of Horn of African women, some Sahelian West Africans like the Fulani ethnic group. Hell, even the Igbos of Southeast Nigeria can have naturally straight hair. Oh btw the ethnic groups I’ve mentioned have little to no mixture at all (In fact your average black american is more mixed than the ethnicities that I’d mentioned!)

    I know what you are on about though. You mean black women that have naturally curly and afro “woolly” hair. Personally, I love a sista when she wears her hair “natural”. I think it looks gorgeous, straight up sexy and it drives me wild. I especially love the type of hair texture like the beautiful honey on your 3rd pic is wearing. The “very curly but not too curly that it becomes an afro” type hair is jsut to die for.

    What I don’t get is where do black women get this idea of black men not liking black women wearing their “natural” hair. I think it’s bullish. While there are some brothas that don’t go for the “natural” look. I’d say the majority of brothers be they from the motherland, caribbean, latin america or the U.S.A. love the “natural” haired sista.

    By and large whatever a black woman decides to do with her hair. I don’t really have a problem with it, so long as it’s done in a healthy and proper way.

    After seeing my little sister’s hair fall out and burning her scalp when she first had her hair relaxed at just 13 years old. I can honestly say that if I ever have a daughter (as you know from Abagond’s blog, I’m Black Jamaican) I will never have her hair relaxed and if the mother wants to have my daughter’s hair relaxed……….. they’ll be trouble. LOL. Luckily my sister’s hair has grown back (not fully though!) Now if she want’s long hair, she just puts in funky colourful extensions. However, she looks so damn cute with her “natural” hair. Unfortunately she’s very shy and self conscious about her hair.

    Wow. I’ve written quite a bit. I was gonna write about the “Good Hair, Bad Hair” nonsense that plaques black people’s sub conscious but I think that’s enough for now.
    Oh btw, what’s the name of the sista in the 3rd pic? She’s hot!

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  8. Tann52 says:

    I received a sample of this wonderful product called the Shielo Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo and experienced significant improvement in my hair with just one use. I decided to buy a bottle on line and my hair is now much softer and the smell is also great. I recommend this shampoo all the time. For me, it’s well worth the price.

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  9. I was natural til the age of 19…after years of relaxed hair, I did not want to workout cause it took too long to look my best…i gained weight, was not healthy…enough…i cut relaxed hair only 2 inches of natural hair. Started workout program, loss 125 pounds…look younger, healthy body, back to natural-freedom!! HUGS&LOVE, MS. SMILEY AN UNIQUE LADY ON A MISSION

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  10. FX says:

    I love this post Peanut. I’ve been natural for about 10 years now but I’m just now learning to actually style my hair. I agree with you, this is a big step in learning to love myself as a black woman.

    Over the years, I’ve saved so much money and time by not relaxing my hair. I only use products with natural ingredients now and I rarely wash my hair opting instead for a warm-water scalp massage. If my hair feels dull I massage in some teatree oil and it feels clean without the dryness that shampoo causes. I’m also a 4b.

    My favorite youtube natural hair videos are by Naptural85: http://youtu.be/lS4X_c7I-8A

    Finally, I want to say that I believe that the chemicals in relaxers and styling products are part of the causes of MS and breast cancer among women of color. That stuff leeches into our skin and is slowly poisoning us! I’m trying to follow the same rules for what I put on my hair that I have for what I put in my body, if I can not pronounce it it’s probably not good for me.

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    1. Peanut says:

      thanks for the comment, that is a good rule of thumb, if it’s too difficult to pronounce, then you shouldn’t use it. I love the texture of my natural hair, I wish I could do more elaborate styles though. I did take a natural hair course at church, but I missed so many classes because I went to brazil that I didn’t learn how to flat twist, my cornrows need work and I just wish I was a bit better at styling my own hair, but when I go to a stylist it looks really pretty.

      that is an interesting point that you made about the hair products causing cancer in black women you may have a point, it’s bound to do SOMETHING to your body one way or another, if it causes ur hair to fall out it could be doing other damage too

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  11. […] My natural hair journey is sacred to me.  My natural hair journey wasn’t just superficial, it wasn’t just about not seeing my beauty represented in magazines or on the big screen. It wasn’t just about cutting the relaxed tips off of my hair and it certainly wasn’t as simple as taking my hair tie out and proudly proclaiming myself “a proud natural!” No. Embracing my natural hair was the beginning of embracing my Black identity. Once I went natural, I started researching about my African roots, I started reading about my history and I started taking pride in who I was. I questioned all of the lies that I had been told about my heritage. I learned that my western and central African ancestors had a rich history and still have a rich culture. I learned that much of what the media shows about Africans around the world is untrue…and I started to love myself.  So, my natural hair journey was more than just superficial, it was sacred. It was a catalyst that led me to embrace all parts of my Black identity. […]

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