If you go on Google and type “The natural hair movement” in the search bar, you’ll get this result from Wikipedia:
The natural hair movement is a movement which aims to encourage women and men of African descent to embrace their black natural afro-textured hair.
Over the years, a lot of individuals with afro-textured hair have joined the movement, which should be a good thing. The more, the merrier… right? Well errm, not exactly.
In reality, it was more of a two is company and three is a crowd kind of situation. The more people who joined the so-called movement, the more it began to miss its purpose, as I will explain.
The afro hair community was built to encourage individuals of African descent to love their hair just the way it is. But it seems that after all these years, black women are yet to accept the uniqueness of their natural curls, EXACTLY AS THEY ARE.
Within the afro hair community, there exists this flawed perception of how afro hair is supposed to look. Certain textures or curl patterns are elevated above others… texturism anyone? This has made many women try to force their hair into a particular mold aka the popular Twist Out.
If you think about it for a second, twist-outs are essentially an attempt to replicate the wavy texture of loose 3c/3b curls. Ammirite?
I tried to have this conversation with y’all a few years ago but y’all were not ready for it. Nobody wanted to hear that the beloved twist out was basically the same exact thing as straightening your natural hair, that is, emulating another hair texture.
Now don’t got me wrong, Twist-outs aren’t the enemy per se. On the contrary, they’re one of the top beloved hairstyles that showcase the versatility of black hair which takes curls very easily.
Yet, here’s the thing: our hair is naturally dry and loves to attract moisture so in the presence of even trace amounts of moisture in the atmosphere, the once-perfect twist-out will gradually unravel and our hair will take on its natural kinky* undefined look. Cue the nightly re-twisting to restore the orderly curls or the headwrap and/or puff to camouflage the unsightly mess.
The real issue here is that many people refuse to accept this little yet important fact about afro hair; For many of us, our hair WANTS to remain undefined or in teeny tiny barely visible curls aka in its truly natural state.
People however want to achieve the “perfect” twist-out, whatever that means. So when their hair acts as it’s programmed to, which is to absorb humidity from the environment and lose the artificial definition, they term it a “failed” twist-out. This kind of thinking is the reason why the natural hair movement has remained at a saddle point.
Many women are returning to the creamy crack now. They’d say it because their hair isn’t manageable, or that afro hair care is time-consuming and they don’t have that time.
Sure, that’s part of the reason, they are expected to spend hours on their hair weekly to achieve this artificial standard of beauty that we have set ourselves. But I say that the actual reason is that they expect their hair to behave a certain way which is far from what nature intended it to be. When their hair doesn’t meet their ideals, they get frustrated and disappointed and give up.
I think the natural hair community has failed in the orientation of its members. What was supposed to be a haven where afro-textured ladies could flaunt their natural hair without judgements has gradually turned to a pressure cooker.
The whole essence of the afro hair movement was to support one another, to learn to love our individual coils, not compare them to some warped standard of black hair that we’ve conjured in our own minds.
If this means not achieving extra length due to hair breaking at a certain length, then so be it. Many of us have also become so obsessed with length and length retention that we are not looking at the cost that this is having on how we view our hair. Ask yourself why your hair is always in a protective style… are you truly protecting it or have protective styles become a crutch for avoiding wearing your hair as it grows?
Even still, those ladies who have dared to accept their natural coils as they grow and wear it in its truly natural shruken state are being ridiculed for daring to wear it like that. They are even judged for admitting the fact that wearing their hair in it’s natural shruken state only seems to attract white men. An obvious attack on black men…?
@hakima_alem Love @Lipglossssssssss sound!! Why do we gotta do 300 steps to fit in with the sleek, laid “done” hair standards fuck yall 😂😂 #real4chair #4chair #goodhair #dense4chair ♬ original sound – Lipglossssssssss
This is clearly a real conversation that we need to have with ourselves. Why is 4c hair in it natural shrunken state not considered a hairstyle in and of itself? Why is a wash and go a long arduous process of applying gel to your hair strand by strand to achieve an artificial result and not what it says in the title… a wash and go? Isn’t this nonsense what is continuing the categorization of black hair into the “good” and “not-so-good” categories?
Fortunately, a lot of ladies have retraced their steps, realizing that the actual recipe for maintaining healthy afro hair is not the products that promise defined curls or sleek, long-lasting ponytails.
It is in full and complete acceptance in our hair exactly as it is. The sooner we accept our hair with its peculiarities, nuances and foibles the easier and more fun our hair journey will become.