Readers will remember that I announced my intention to go natural a couple of weeks ago. I’ve worn natural hair before, after a long stint of texturizing my short hair, which followed braiding my hair, which followed a period of wearing the cutest darn permed boyish haircut you ever did see!
Of all my styles, I got the most compliments and felt the most confident about my texturized hair. After my braiding stint, I reaped a head of thick, black, shoulder-length hair. I loved the length, and the fact that it was all mine! But I didn’t know how to take care of natural hair. I also had a demanding job. Being perpetually short on time, I kept pressing it. Without proper maintenance, it quickly became unhealthy and broke off.
As a matter of fact, the only reason I permed my natural hair three years ago was because—once again—I had a demanding job, had just had a baby, and couldn’t dedicate the time to reading blogs, forums, watching videos and meandering through the aisles at natural food stores to find the essential oils that my natural roots like so much. As for texturizing and going bone straight, the knowledgeable stylists I relied on to help me maintain strong, thick hair became unavailable to me, either because they moved on, or I moved out of town. Same thing with the braids. My favorite stylist was harder to get to, once I moved out of her town, and I couldn’t find a replacement as talented as her within an easy distance of me.
I was actually inspired to explore natural Black hair care after a white woman told me about naturallycurly.com, which I used as a resource to find out why my biracial daughter’s hair was falling out. Otherwise, I had resigned myself to being one of the unlucky Black women with ‘bad’ hair. Hard to grow, dry like chip, impossible to maintain, just ‘cream it and done’ hair as Jamaicans might say!
It is different now. There is an amazing wealth of natural hair care resources on the Internet, ranging from dark-skinned Black women working it with their teeny weeny pretty Afros to dark-skinned, no-I’m-not-mixed, in fact I’m Nigerian, women with hair past their shoulders and damned near their waists.
Most of them are committed to growing and grooming natural hair for the foreseeable future, even if it requires putting in tons of time and effort. Of course, you have the bandwagon-jumpers on the natural kick, who go grow out their unpermed roots mainly to experiment for a few years. Some are quite enamored with seeing themselves in Web videos, but have little to offer in the way of concise, instructive well-edited videos. They get bored and perm again, and they are perfectly entitled to do that, enough said. I steer toward the women with hair textures in the 4 grouping, because my hair is similar. Not ‘a one’ of them has expressed the slightest intention of going back to perms. JoStylin’ the YouTuber, even posted a clever rant (mild as rants go) about her natural hair fatigue. She’s not about relapse into using the creamy crack, but her admonition that maintaining natural hair—long natural hair—requires a lot of work was refreshing.
So, after a day at work, settling Baby for bed, maybe a little work I’ve brought home, or writing out checks for bills, I click onto my favorite blogs and YouTube pages to see what some of these ingenious women have come up with next. At this point, I am voracious for information, so I check the Internet almost daily to get the tips and information I want to sustain my coming leap back into natural.
One last thing: Big ups to you talented artists, fashion designers, and hair stylists whose information I’ve sopped up with a biscuit these last five months! Not only does your hair look amazing, but your generosity of spirit has vastly expanded my knowledge of and appreciation for holistic and purpose-driven living. TruKinks for instance, has started a charity to help provide easy access to clean potable water to citizens of developing countries. TruWater is a worthy humanitarian cause that I encourage other naturalistas to check it out at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TruKinks#p/u/4/jsLn7zDI0m4
Also, treat your eyes and senses to Fourborne Art’s blog. The link is in my blogroll. I supported TruKinks’ charity, and I’ll support the small Black women-owned businesses I’ve stumbled across as I’ve explored this option for my hair. Some might scoff at the notion that it took something superficial like hair care to enlighten me to all of the small Black businesses out there, but here is my comeback: Our hair, this fine-stranded, thickly cropped fiber we are just coming to fully appreciate is not frivolous. Neither are we. Our hair, like us, been misunderstood, called course and uncivil, enslaved in a Euro-Asian beauty standard, and written off in some cases. Actually, it is as shiny, bright, fine, and delicate as hair—and women—you’ll find anywhere else in the world. Quite natural that it would bind us, too, no?