Overly sensitive people in the natural hair community. I know we all have our struggles as naturalista’s, and we’re constantly battling negative stereotypes when it comes to our natural hair. But when we have discussions amongst ourselves, we should be able to speak freely and not be censored by the natural hair police or admins of a group who try to tell you what you can and cannot say, especially when it’s not demeaning or offensive. We all have different thoughts and opinions, and having natural hair is not going to change that. Having natural hair does not mean that we’re exempt from all criticism. That’s not being realistic at all.
I’m starting to rethink being part of natural hair groups on Facebook because I’m finding that grown women don’t know how to have grown up conversations about HAIR. It’s sickening and it’s a shame. I left a group tonight because the admins tried to chastise and tell others how they should and should not feel and what they can and cannot say when everyone was simply stating their opinion on a hairstyle. Yes, a hairstyle people. It was so ridiculous and so petty and uncalled for. And that’s when I said “You know what? I’m too old for this.”
We cannot control what people think, what they say, or how they feel. All we can do is focus on ourselves and keep ourselves uplifted. Tune out the negativity and keep showing the strength and beauty of our natural hair as much as possible. Be supportive of one another and stop trying to make people think and feel the way you do. Those who are natural still have misinformed, backwards, or flat out ignorant thoughts on natural hair, which means not everyone is on the same path or level in their journey as you may be. People can only learn through education, not censorship.
…speaks volumes and sums up my feelings on my natural hair journey.
Hey, lovelies! So a few weeks back I posted a picture of Gabrielle Union with her gorgeous, free flowing twists with the hopes of getting them myself. Well, that didn’t happen. I thought my braider could re-create the look with the same or similar hair used for Gabby’s twists, but that wasn’t the case. I ended up getting my usual Senegalese twists. Yes, I’m totally bummed about that. However, a few lessons (and reminders) were learned from this experience:
- Not every hair braider can do every style you want. Have a backup plan in place, and by backup plan I mean other hair braiders and stylists. It’s ok to shop around and keep an eye out for other talented braiders. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a very loyal customer to my beautician when I was getting relaxers, and I’ve been very loyal to my hair braiders over the years. When I find a good one, I stick with them and follow them wherever they may go…unless they go overseas which is what happened to one of my very talented hair braiders. That’s when the following stops, lol. But seriously, keep this in mind. There are other options out there.
- Braids are not cheap, and every woman who gets them can attest to that. That being said, we pay too much money to not be satisfied with the end product. That’s why it is so important that you find a braider that listens, not one who simply wants your money and gives you what THEY want you to have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. If they can’t recreate a style, are there any alternatives? Perhaps using a different type of hair or technique? If the shop provides the hair and they don’t carry the hair needed to do a certain style, offer to bring your own.
- There is no reason for your hair to be braided so tight until your scalp is in pain for days or weeks afterward. If your hair is constantly being braided tight, even after you tell your braider that it’s too tight, it’s time to look for a different hair braider. Heavy hands and tight braids will leave you bald around the edges and with bald spots throughout your scalp, and that is totally counterproductive (and unacceptable) to having braids in the first place. Braids are used as a protective style to us naturals to preserve what we have and to protect it from the elements and over manipulation. Keep that in mind when getting your hair braided. DO NOT allow a braider to damage your hair and scalp by braiding your hair too tight.
- Don’t be afraid to ask other women who did their braids. Trust me, that’s how I’ve found my hair braiders over the years. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Just the other day at the grocery store, I complimented the cashier on her eyebrows. They were beautifully shaped and her make-up was beautifully done. It looked very natural and it wasn’t caked on. What I loved the most was she was a dark skinned young lady and she used all the right shades of makeup to compliment her beautiful skin tone. Anyway, she thanked me, and before I left with my groceries she handed me her business card. It turns out she’s an African hair braider and cosmetologist! She also has a YouTube channel that I will be checking out soon. But do you get what I’m saying? I now have another option to look into for my braiding and styling needs.
Too often because something is the “norm” we accept it. That should never be the case when it comes to our health, and it should never be the case when it comes to the health of our scalp and hair. Just because braids are typically done tightly doesn’t mean they should be. It also doesn’t mean that we should accept it. Remember, there are other options out there so don’t be afraid to explore them.
Not only are the styles endless for those of us with naturally kinky or curly hair, the hair accessories are endless as well. Some women feel that certain hair accessories are for little girls only. I beg to differ. These days the market is overflowing with so many different hair accessories to choose from that the young and old alike can rock the same thing. Headbands, bedazzled barrettes, ponytail holders, or vibrant African-inspired headwraps.
Having two girls, aged 14 and 12, helps me to stay on top of trends. (Along with my obsession with Pinterest!) My 14-year-old daughter is very picky, but she also has great taste. She’s very fashionable, so it should be no surprise that one of her favorite stores to shop is Forever21. She went from obsessing with flower headbands in various sizes and colors to now obsessing over the more bedazzled headbands. The cool part is, she wears both styles very well with her natural hair and braids. Her younger sister simply follows in her footsteps so she can look cute too. 😉
Here are a few hair accessories that I think are cute for naturalista’s young and old:
Don’t be afraid to play with hair accessories. Trust and believe, they come in handy! Like when your twist out isn’t the bomb or the new style you tried didn’t quite work out the way you had hoped, or you’re simply having a bad hair day. Or, how many of us simply didn’t feel like being bothered with our hair, and our easiest go-to accessory is a head wrap or a headband? Get creative and make your own hair accessories. Old (but clean) stockings make great headbands! Go to the fabric store and find some funky fabric and make your own headwraps. If you need help with getting those creative juices flowing, go to Pinterest or YouTube to get some hair-spiration!
Undefined curls or undefined afros is something I’ve been hearing about for a while but never really paid much attention to. I don’t feel I can continue to ignore it because it’s really starting to bug me since these terms are actually targeted towards those whose 4c hair may not curl up and bounce like other natural hair types. Apparently to some, undefined curls or undefined afros are deemed undesirable or even unkempt. All I want to know is why? I know unkempt hair when I see it, and no it’s not attractive at all. But if a woman decides to just rock her beautiful afro with no particular curl pattern in it, what’s wrong with that? Why do people think that only curly natural hair is pretty?
There was a discussion on FaceBook yesterday regarding an article that had several pictures of women rocking their undefined afros in very elegant ways. The point of the article was to show that women with 4c hair can rock their hair without defined curls and still be beautiful. I think that is a great message to put out there and we need to hear it more. In the comments following the article, one naturalista made a very powerful, eye-opening statement:
“Curls are the new relaxer for natural women.”
I emphatically said “YES” when I read this statement because it is so true! There is a curly hair obsession reminiscent of the creamy crack (chemical relaxers) addiction among many in the natural hair community. There’s an insatiable thirst for curly hair. This, in turn, breeds product junkies because they are constantly searching for that magic potion to curl up their hair and give it the best definition. Somehow, curly naturals have become the standard of beauty to which we all should strive for, and again I want to know why? Please don’t think that I’m bashing those with curly hair because I’m not. I know there are many who have naturally curly hair, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are also those who go through painstaking efforts to make their hair curl. And then there are those who are ok with just letting their natural hair do whatever it is it does.
Many of us became natural because we knew it was the healthiest decision to make. We have educated ourselves and have personally experienced the harmful effects of chemical relaxers. We’ve vowed to get and maintain the healthiest hair possible by going natural. Somewhere along the way, the belief that curly hair is the only hair and the most beautiful hair to have has taken over. Maybe that belief was always there but I ignored it because I was so wrapped up in my own natural hair journey. I never cared about having curly hair because I knew from the beginning what my hair could and could not do, nor was I interested in trying to make it curl up.
As if we don’t have enough fighting and dissention amongst us as black women, it saddens me that we still have to deal with this very old, poisonous belief that kinky hair is ugly and undesirable, but curly (“good hair”) is beautiful. If less emphasis was put on having curly natural hair and more focus is put on natural hair health and the beauty of ALL hair types, then maybe there wouldn’t be such an obsession with achieving the ultimate defined curls. Maybe more naturalista’s would simply love their hair regardless if it can curl up, or if it’s just in an amazing afro standing tall and proud with no emphasis on curls.
Looking back on my natural hair journey for 2015, I noticed, and you’ve probably noticed too, that I was fixated on protective styling. That quickly got trumped when I discovered my bald spot and breakage. The bald spot, though traumatic, ended up being a blessing in disguise. It made me take a closer look at how I treated my hair. It made me realize that I was being too rough on my hair and on my daughter’s hair. I had to rethink my hair care regimen. I was also forced to look at the products I was using, even though I take the minimalist approach to my products. I’ve incorporated more natural oils into my routine, and I deep condition more. Positive changes definitely came from my bald spot scare!
Since starting this natural hair journey, it’s always been about learning and embracing. You have to take the good with the bad no matter what. I will admit that when my bald spot was discovered, the thought of cutting off all of my hair did cross my mind. I felt this would only be an option if the breakage had spread to other parts of my head, and it never did. I’ve read many blogs and watched many YouTube videos on breakage and the steps some have taken to deal with breakage, and cutting off all of their hair is one step some have taken, depending on how severe the damage was. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go to that extreme, but I was prepared to do so if push came to shove.
Overall, I believe 2015 was a good year. Towards the end I got hit with the bald spot drama, but it all worked out once I got a solid hair care regimen in place. I love the natural hair community because through me sharing my experience with my bald spot, fellow naturalista’s rallied around me and let me know that I wasn’t alone. They’ve experienced breakage and bald spots, and they’ve gotten through them. I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful advice and constant support and encouraging words, and I will forever be grateful for that. I don’t know what 2016 will bring, but I pray it’s full of positivity. Here’s to healthy hair!!
With the current state of my hair, I’ve decided not to have crochet braids installed. Instead I’m going to focus on getting my hair healthy again. I don’t think the tension and pulling of my hair is the best idea right now. One of the top things on my to-do list is to find a natural hair stylist who can give my hair the full treatment it really needs. If it means cutting off more hair than expected to get rid of the damage, then so be it. Next I have to find a really good moisturizer that is specifically good for the 4c hair that I have. If any of you have any suggestions please let a sista know in the comment section!
I have a funny story to share! Well, I can laugh about it now, but at the time it scared me to death! Last week I dreamed that I went to a shop and got a relaxer put in my hair. *GASP* The horror, right? There was no rhyme or reason for me doing it. All I remember from the dream is looking at myself in the mirror with all this hair on my head that was straightened and styled, and I was so upset because my afro, kinks, and coils were all gone. When I woke up I felt so upset and stressed as if this really happened!
If that dream isn’t proof that I’m in this natural hair journey for the long haul, I don’t know what is. Just as in life, there will be bumps in the road. There will be highs and lows, but they don’t last forever. My hair woes are of my doing, but they are fixable. It’s simply going to take time. So while I won’t be having another protective hairstyle installed just yet, I’m going to work hard at getting my hair healthy again.
Thank you to my fellow naturalista’s who have reached out to me with your encouraging words here on my blog or via Facebook! Thank you for your positivity and support. That is so needed in our community, especially for the newer naturalista’s like myself. Let’s keep encouraging one another and lifting each other up ladies. 🙂