HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!I am so excited to share the very first (official) post on my blog with all of you! :) I wish all of you the very BEST that life has to offer to you and your family. Hopefully, the information that you gain from "Nappy Hair University" will be as beneficial to you as it will be for me.
SO, my first post is going to be about the process of making the decision to transition from relaxed hair to natural hair.
But first, I must define what having "natural hair" means to me. I decided to transition from relaxed to natural hair in February 2010, and in those (currently) 11 months, I've come to realize that there are MANY people - relaxed, texurized, natural, etc. - that have a variety of definitions for what they feel is "natural hair". So, when I state my definition for "natural hair", it is just that: MY definition. Do not take it as FACT, it is just my opinion on the matter.
Natural Hair: "Hair that has not been permanently altered by any substance or tool."
It's just that simple for me. Once your hair "permanently" moves from its "natural" state, it is no longer "natural". This means that for me, when one uses relaxers, texurizers, heat (to the point where it permanently alters your hair), "natural relaxers (that permanently alter your hair), etc. - ANYTHING that "permanently" alters the "natural" state of your hair, one no longer has "natural hair".
Now, don't get me wrong, I do not have ANYTHING whatsoever against ANYONE who chooses to do those things. The majority of my friends are still relaxed, relaxer-free (with permanently altered hair - meaning that they keep their hair pressed all day, every day, and the curl patten has been permanently loosened), wear wigs, weave, etc. and I still hang with them, chill and have a GOOD ole time. One of my friends even said, "Going natural ain't for everybody", which completely makes no sense AT ALL to me, and we just recently had lunch and went to a hookah bar the other day. There are a few that are natural, as well. I am not opinionated on whatever one chooses to do with their hair, I am opinionated on "why" one chooses to do it. Do you do it because you TRULY like another type of style (even though that is void because you can do any style you'd like and still be natural), or do you inwardly, subconsciously feel that natural hair is unmanageable, too hard, you won't fit in, etc. BUT, :-), that subject is left for another course.
On to the course at hand: making the decision to transition from relaxed to natural hair. The first question, I supposed, that is asked is: "Why should I go natural?" Well, there are PLENTY of good reasons to do so. Let's look at some of those reasons.
1) Being Chemical Free:
There are wayyyyyyyyyyy too many damaging chemicals/substances/ingredients in relaxers, texturizers, and other products that were created to permanently loosen one's curl pattern. I will make seperate posts concerning the damaging effects of each, but I think we can all agree that those type of products are not healthy for the hair, no matter how less frequently you get them. Yes, I know there are plenty of ladies/gentlemen out there who have a full, thick head of hair, little to no split ends, so on and so on. However, the fact still remains that they do, in fact, damage the hair over time. No matter how healthy hair looks from the naked eye, the true test comes when you look at the internal healthiness of the hair strands. How does chemically altered hair look in comparison to unaltered, natural hair? Drastically different.
Now, I don't want people to think that just because you go natural, this automatically means your hair will be healthy. Just like one has to take care of their hair while relaxed, the same goes when you transition to natural hair. You will still have to clean and maintain your natural hair including washing/co-washing, moisturizing, sealing, and just taking care of your hair in general. No one's hair, natural or not, takes care of itself.
2) More Variety of Styling Options:
With natural hair, your hair has the potential to look any sort of way you want. If you like the look of tiny, tight coils, you can do mini-twists and take them out after they dry. If you want that crinkled look, you can rock a braid out. If you want that straighter look, you can stretch it out, or use a minimal amount of heat to straighten it out even further (even though this has its risks and negative side-effects as stated above - this will be discussed in a seperate post). If you want a big ass afro (BAA), you can stretch out your hair and brush it out to rock that style. If you want big curls, you can roll your hair up using the larger-sized rods (there are many other ways to achieve the big curls look, check out you-tube!!!). Basically, with natural hair, you can style your hair any sort of way you feel like on any given day, while not introducing your hair to harmful chemicals. OR, you could just wash-n-go and rock your natural tresses as they are un-manipulated. Either way, you can look FIEEERRRCCEEEEEE!!!! (I heart Tyra Banks)
3) Standing Out in a Crowd:
Let's be real. Nowadays, if you are rocking your natural tresses, you will be a minority within the "women/men of color" community. You probably won't look like ANYone else. And even when the time comes when natural hair is the majority, no one's natural hair looks the same as the next. Everyone's natural hair has their own mix of curl patterns, thickness/density, length, and so on. Once transitioning to natural hair, you will ALWAYS stand out because your natural hair will ALWAYS be unique.
4) Gain Self-Confidence:
A large majority of men/women choose to permanently alter their natural hair because they feel like they won't be accepted unless they fit in. Unfortunately, in some places, this is true. However, the time has come when, sadly, the majority of people who don't accept our natural tresses is US. The majority of natural men/women that I know have stated that they get the most negative comments from brothers/sisters in their own community. They get most of their postive comments/compliments from members of the "other race". This is sad. How can they see the beauty in our hair before we do? How long are we going to hang on to the "they did this to us/they brainwashed us/They will never accept us/etc." phrase? Because, yes, some folks think that way, but ALOT of them don't. If you find yourself in an environment where they are still not acceptive to you and your natural hair, then maybe that isn't the place for you! Don't feel as though you MUST conform in order to succeed in this world. Maybe back in the day that was true, to some extent. But even though I can't yet say that Martin Luther King's dream has come to full realization, I can at least say that I have seem IMMENSE improvement. I have been working at my current job for a little over 5 months, where the majority of my co-workers are middle-late aged "white folk" and not ONCE have I had a negative encounter in regards to my hair. I have received many, many compliments on my hair from said "white folk". Yes, every now and then I might receive that "hmmm" look but I know it's just because they're wondering. They're mezmerized at how we get our hair to do the things that it does. They're "interested". That's IT. It's not a condescending look. It's not a snobbish, dirty look. It's not a "you need to do something with that look". It's honestly a "hmmmm" look. A "wow...how does it do that?" look. And that's just fine with me :)
These are just a few of the reasons why one should transition from chemically-treated hair to natural hair.
What are the reasons that YOU used when you decided to transition to natural hair? Share them with us using the "comments" section below. :) I would love to hear your reasons for choosing to rock your natural hair. For the next post, we will continue with NPPYHR101: Making the Decision - From Relaxed to Natural Pt. II. We will discuss how to handle those who choose to disagree about your decision to transition and how to deal with that. How do you handle family members/friends/co-workers who don't think you should do it. "You wouldn't look right natural" -or- "Your hair is too nappy for that" -or- the all-time favorite "You look better with relaxed hair" *side-eye* Really? Let's show em how it's done.
Look forward to seeing you next time! Stay Tuned! - TheSuperCoya