3 Myths About Going Natural

Let me start off by saying I officially giveth not a fuck what you do with your hair. I’m not combing it, paying for it to get done, nor running my fingers through it so do you boo. What I do give a fuck about are the false prophets spreading their Natural Nazi rhetoric among the disillusioned masses willing to engage their foolishness via facebook posts, bougie conversations, and twitter rants with the hashtag #teamnatural. Some of the nonsense is just not true, so I consulted with my hairdresser – who wears and cares for natural hair as well as the relaxed – to help dispel some of the bullshit some folks kick.

Myth #1 – “Your hair will grow back thicker, healthier, and longer”

First of all, taking away a relaxer doesn’t change the rate at which your hair sprouts from the follicles. “Despite all the shampoos and other preparations we put on our heads, hair growth is ultimately limited by biological factors.” Nothing except your DNA can change this, so blame it on your bald headed mama if your hair won’t grow. What gives the illusion that your hair is longer is that if you’re not straightening it regularly, you have no clue how long your hair truly is. As far as health is concerned, relaxed hair isn’t necessarily less healthy than natural hair. Over processed hair causes damage. Dry, brittle hair causes breakage. Dying those locs blond causes damage. Basically, anything besides juices and berries can cause damage to black hair. What keeps hair healthy is maintaining a regimen established by a licensed cosmetologist; not your girl, not the chick at the bank, not a girl you follow on the twitter. Unless a PROFESSIONAL has been in your head, the advice you receive from a girl whose hair you think is fly can do more harm than goodh. I get my hair done professionally every few weeks, my mother does her own natural thing. My hair is WAY healthier. I cut my hair damn near bald on one side in November of 2010. My mother has been wearing her natural since 2004. I’m draping again and well, hers is about where it was in 2004. As far as thickness is concerned, my hair is from the Motherland and no amount of relaxer will change that. If your advice is coming from anyone other than a licensed hair stylist, they haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

Myth #2 “This isn’t a fad.”

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Really, boo? A fad is a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group, in this case, a group of black women. Perhaps you will be wearing your hair natural til the end of time, perhaps not, but to pretend as though the sudden influx of women making the Big Chop isn’t a fad is ridiculous. Remember back in the 70s when all of our mamas were wearing big Diana Ross afros and wigs? Remember the 80s when everyone wore their hair like Salt n Pepa? Remember the 90s when everyone wore Janet Jackson Poetic Justice braids? Remember the 00s when everyone wore cornrows a la Alicia Keys? Right. I get that more and more women are going natural for really good reasons, but seriously, y’all not gone sit up here and act like Black women aren’t more comfortable wearing their hair in natural styles (not just chemically untreated) because other women are doing it too. It’s not just about not using a relaxer and still wearing your hair straight. Black women change our hairstyles like we change our draws, often and with a vengeance and the self-righteous “For me, this is more than a fad” is just that, self-righteous.

Myth #3 “Black women who still relax their hair have a Eurocentric sense of beauty and aren’t comfortable with what they look like naturally.”

I have thick black girl lips, a wide black girl nose, a large black girl forehead, and a round black girl booty. As a matter of fact, the lightness of my skin is the only thing about me that ain’t from the West Coast of Africa. I think Black women are the most beautiful creatures on this planet and I’ll be damned if someone is gonna judge me because I like wearing my hair in a bob, a hairstyle I’ve been wearing the late 90s. Most of the white women I think are pretty have darker skin and ethnic *read not Aryan* features. I think blond hair is kinda scary and pale skin just a tad bit scarier. And on another note, many women who relax their hair do so not because they don’t think they’ll be attractive with their kinky hair, some of us just don’t feel like dealing with that shit everyday. It takes me approximately 28 seconds to shake out my wrapped hair and fluff it to the right shape. Every once in a while, I’ll flat iron a little bend into it. AND I still don’t see the correlation between natural hair and a sense of Africanness… Ain’t shit natural about make up, tweezed eyebrows, and push up bras. We all do things to enhance our beauty, so if you really wanna go au naturale, don’t shave those hairy ass legs this summer and tell me how natural you really are. By the way, dying those locs blond and training your hair to get that perfect curl ain’t natural, either. If you’re doing more than letting your hair grow straight out of your scalp, you’re altering your “natural beauty.”

Like I said, I could care less what you do to your hair. I’m actually proud of some of y’all for doing something different with your hair…although it’s not really different if everyone is doing it, now is it? Women with relaxers don’t sit around bashing women for going natural as often as the converse occurs. We don’t go around yelling Team Perm and Team Flat Iron. We don’t exclude y’all the way some of y’all exclude us. We’re not about that divisive nonsense Willie Lynch keeps throwing into the mix. Most of us don’t give a shit and we’re not making a big fuss about the hair style choices of others. I will continue to carry my happy little ass to the beauty shop every six weeks to take care of my new growth…and I have a lot of it. I will continue to appreciate the beauty of the Black Woman without bashing women who opt to make different hairstyle choices than my own. I will continue to ignore the Natural Nazis who go online and belittle women who opt not to wear their hair any other way but relaxed. Y’all do y’all but I am telling you, I’m not going.

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