Hair with this texture is one of many taboo topics in the black community and it is rarely discussed in an historic context.
The term “nappy” was used to insult African slaves and is still used to describe the natural texture of black hair that has a coil. However, more and more women are starting to embrace their natural hair after centuries of being told it is unruly and unattractive.
Within recent years, natural hair has become a trend. In light of social issues in our community, black pride has strengthened and women feel the need to celebrate their natural hair, as it is symbolic of their black heritage.
From a personal perspective, I feel natural hair can be difficult. Maintenance is one issue. Natural hair requires patience, time and lots of upkeep. It requires the hair to have a routine which usually includes things like detangling, washing, conditioning, moisturizing and various treatments. In comparison to alternatives such as protective hair styles, natural hair simply demands more work.
Luckily in this new age, “Naturalistas” are emerging and using social media to share their hair care routines with women all over the world. Lots of women struggle with not knowing how to achieve and maintain healthy, natural hair. Back in the day, people did not have as much access to information about proper hair care. Fortunately, we are now in the position to purchase products strictly made for our hair types and learn tips from women who have experience with a range of hair care techniques and styles.
Another issue centered around natural hair is that it still incites discrimination. There are multiple news stories of black girls receiving punishments like detentions, suspensions or even getting kicked out of school for wearing natural hair. Black women have been denied job opportunities for wearing natural hair styles.
The military prohibits cornrows, braids, twists and dreadlocks. The regulations do not single out black women but it is easy to see that these are hair choices favored by black women who prefer naturally textured hair. White people involved in these instances feel as though the hairstyles are “distracting” and “unprofessional.” However, punishments for these hair crimes can only be applied to women of color and therefore have been deemed inherently racist.
Black hair is very versatile and black women are creative about their hair choices. As aforementioned, natural hair can be a task when it comes to maintenance.
Protective styles such as weaves, wigs, braids and twists can be used to dramatically decrease the maintenance factor of black hair. As opposed to having a daily routine for natural hair, protective styles allow women to wear the same style for extended periods of time with little to no maintenance. In addition, protective styles also keep natural hair safe from heat damage, dry weather and chemicals.
Protective styles also receive negative criticism because people view wearing extensions as a form of self-hatred. People perceive protective styles as a way to hide the dislike for an individual’s natural hair. People (men especially) also feel like women who wear protective styles often do not have nice hair.
All in all, black hair can be a sensitive subject. However, regardless of how anyone feels about the style you choose to rock whether it is natural or protective, always wear what makes you feel and look your best.