Since some never had the opportunity to experiment with their hair, they didn’t learn to do afro-textured styles. Believe it or not, some can’t do a proper two strand twist much-less an intricate cornrow style and unless one is desirous of spending their entire life detangling, a perpetual afro might not be practical. Enter the stylist, except, many stylists are still in the novice category when it comes to knowledge of proper afro-textured hair care. Think about it, how many cosmetology schools offer afro-textured hair as part of the curriculum? Google it, we’ll wait…
In fact, it was last year that we saw how Isis Brantley had to fight a legal battle for the right to have a braiding studio that also teaches care of natural hair. Given all these factors, if I worked so hard to nurture my hair, I would not trust stylists who barely know what they are doing to try to style my hair for fear that they would root out the precious strands that took so long to grow.
Another issue is the availability – or lack thereof- of sufficient salons or stylists dedicated to the care of natural hair. I spend loads of time listening to my fellow naturalistas in my Type 4 Naturals community asking if there are any natural salons or stylists in their area. Sometimes when you do find a knowledgeable stylist they are pressed for time since they don’t want to turn down business and they end up rushing sometimes, leaving you with mixed feelings. You might like the finished do but notice that some of your strands were broken because of the rush.
Did I mention that sneaky practice of some stylists slipping relaxer into your shampoo or conditioner? So some find it easier to grab some heat protectant*, a blow dryer*, and a flat iron* and rock a DIY straight style.
While we’re on the topic of stylists, let’s also talk about how some of these stylists want to charge more for natural hair. They take a look at your head and all of a sudden a $20 style becomes $80-$100. It’s as though they are punishing you for being natural. Well some of us can’t take that kind of pressure on our pockets when we’re just a few dollars away from being broke so it’s easier to straighten it and rock that for a while.
Sure natural hair is the bomb. The shrinkage is fun once we embrace it and many of us love the versatility of natural hair that comes from it being so voluminous, but sometimes we just want to switch things up for a few days and wear a straight style to lay off twisting and combing – read manipulation- and let the hair be.
It’s not that an afro isn’t the bomb, but we do get a kick out of seeing our length too. It’s at this time that we get to reward ourselves for the time and patience we put in, stand in awe of our progress and share that with others who never knew natural hair could be so fun. Is that so bad? This way, we get the best of both worlds and I can’t see anything wrong with that. In fact, doing so enables us to show that there is an alternative to permanently damaging your follicles with creamy crack.
I can’t tell you the number of people who have taken a serious interest in embracing natural hair when they recognized they could get the straight look without a relaxer. This is perhaps because many black girls have always wanted long hair and didn’t think it was possible to grow natural hair long. They more than likely thought that what little length they had would only be shown if they wore relaxed hair.