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In recent years, there has been an explosion in women wearing their natural hair. Women, particularly women of color, are not just rocking ‘70s afros and jailhouse cornrows...many have truly embraced the hair that naturally sprouts from their scalps, in all of its sophisticated, crown-like glory. And naturals are looking spectacular! I think it’s safe to say, natural hair is not a fad…it’s here to stay…but, what is the experience like for women who wear their natural hair, woman to woman? Does the natural hair movement suck?
Women choosing to don their natural coils subscribe to a full spectrum of different beliefs. Natural textured women can range from the purist, who has not only banned the use of chemicals used to straighten hair, but does not utilize heat, protective styles, or color. On the other end of the spectrum is the liberal, she may have banned the use of straightening chemicals, but is open to using just about anything else to achieve the looks she desires. Which is right? And what about the naturals who have sported locs or have been natural for their entire lives, are they somehow less qualified to be a part of the (fairly recent) natural hair movement?
No matter where one identifies on the natural hair continuum, a common experience many natural women share is receiving criticism or judgment from other natural women. Some natural women routinely project their hair ideals on other women and even judge women that abide by a different set of natural hair rules. The judgement naturals experience amongst one another can be downright rude or snobby. In many women’s natural hair journey, this judgement causes division and negative feelings towards other women, and in some cases within themselves.
If judgment is commonplace amongst the natural hair community, it may be time to take a step back and make the natural hair movement peaceful again! For hair, as in life, we cannot impose our preferences on others or judge them when they do not subscribe to our beliefs. Likewise, while it can be tempting to listen to what works for one woman and seek the same success using the same methods and products, we also cannot expect to blindly implement the practices of others and get Instagram perfection.
The natural hair movement is all about the personal journey. It is about self-discovery, self-confidence and ultimately, freedom! No one can say what is “right” or “wrong” because everyone’s hair journey is individualistic. Each woman must define the best hair regimen for herself (and her hair type, OK!).
The secret to having the most fabulous natural hair experience is to do what works for YOU! So, stop judging and stop being judged…use what makes YOU feel beautiful and confident! In life and in hair, Shakespeare summed it up best when he wrote…”to thine own self be true.”
Share your thoughts and natural hair movement experiences in the comment box below!