Monday, April 7, 2008

So my hair is natural: Part 1 The Background

So I wear my hair natural. For all my white homies reading this post, that means I don't chemically straighten my hair with relaxers or perms. (Perms for black people=straightening)

Some years ago I became very bored with my chemically straightened hair. I highlighted it and started to wear it in straw sets, roller sets, cornrows, braidouts, headwraps, whatever I could to not wear it straight.

My senior year in college a scientist from Loreal, which owns Soft-Sheen Carson, presented at the Women of Color Conference. She noted that contrary to popular belief African-Americans' coarse hair is actually weaker than all of the other races. She also noted that relaxers, which "relax" your hair's natural curl pattern ACTUALLY weaken the hair further. Then when you add color, you guessed it, weaker still and then everyday styling (flat-irons, hot rollers, blow dryers, etc) weaken the hair even more.

So in the fall of '06 a lightbulb went off in my head like "If you're not going to wear your hair straight EVER, why do you relax it (thereby making it weaker) every 6 weeks?" Thank you light bulb! Fast forward to today and my hair is completely natural and I LOVE IT.

I'm sharing this little hair background with the blogosphere, but please note: I HATE THE QUESTION: "Why did you go natural"

It's a dumb question to ask. My hair texture and/or style at any given moment is a beauty decision. Never before have people noticed and/or felt the right to ask me questions about my beauty decisions. In college, I decided that I look much better with a pointed eyebrow arch than a rounded one. No one ever stopped and asked "Hey what made you decide to change the curve of your eyebrow?" Also, in college, I decided to let my square toe boots go and traded them in for a bunch of pointy toe boots (and pumps). No one asked me about it.

In the last six months or so, I've started to wear matte lipstick instead of shiny gloss. To date, I've not received one question about my lip stain choices. I update my look as I see fit, but never before have people felt so entitled to know what motivates my beauty decisions.

Let me also note that the only people who ask me these ridiculous questions are women with relaxers. People with natural hair tend to ask me my hair care regimen or my favorite products. People with relaxers tend to ask me very pointed questions and almost seem to be luring me into a conversation about black nationalism. (*Sarcasm oozing from my fingers as I type this: 'Cause clearly, I'm the militant type) They SEEM to want to hear me say I think I'm better (or blacker) than them because my hair is nappy.

Too bad, I can't do or say any of those things. I'm not a black nationalist, I don't think I'm better (or any blacker) than the next person because I decided to wear my hair the way it grows out of my head.

I simply made a personal beauty (and finance) decision that happens to be noticeable to the general public.

Don't get me wrong if someone is interested in wearing their hair natural and they have tangible questions, like how long did it take, what's your hair care regimen, do you have any regrets, then I'm all about answering them. But if someone is just being nosey, minding my beauty business and trying to get ammo for their next discussion board post, I have no interest in entertaining their shallow questions.

Next Up: It's just hair...


Brown Girl Gumbo said...

Right on!!! :-)

I am sooooo loving your blog!

antithesis said...

so...ive never had chemical in my hair (as far as straightening. i do play around with color). and people ask me the same question. what am i supposed to say? i never "went natural". thats just how my hair was when i was born and my mom refused to put anything in it. i had to beg for a hot comb. so i feel you on getting that question and not knowing how to respond.

Vicki said...

I get the same question, why did you decide to go natural? I get tired of explaing that perms started taking my hair out. I wear my hair in 2 strand twists now, most people love, but there are still those that have a probelm with it. "Oh you're wearing those braids again"(This is from a black woman) I don't understand why my hair choices are everyone's business. Especially those that don't like it. They aren't paying for my hair so why do they care what I do with it? :/

Cris said...

Dang I am late, but I guess I found my answer (read TT's blog for a ? I asked you on the comments about natural hair)

I get that question too but you would be surprised how many relaxed women really want to go natural. They just don't have the patience. Let me read part 2 of this then I will comment more, LOL.