You know a phenomenon is near its peak when you find it being covered by mainstream media.

Unlike Fung Shui, snowmen teeshirts, and “the hyphy movement,” or any other national phenomenon written about in the New York Times and Newsweek, I don’t think naturally curly hair is a craze that might sweep the nation and eventually subside in popularity. I know afros came in and out of style in the Seventies, but I honestly believe that the current wave of proudly natural hairstyles isn’t a mere trend or passing (high top) fade.

My mother-in-law recently sent me a link to this Newsweek article by Evette Collins. “I Freed Myself When I Embraced My Locks” is a well-written but familiar tale to just about every black woman who has decided to go natural.

Her vivid description of hot combs and chemical treatments will strike a chord with any woman of color, and I sincerely hope that her conclusion leads more timid aspiring afrobellas to lay the chemicals down.

One day, about five months after I started wearing my natural hair, I was out getting lunch when I heard words that sounded almost foreign to me: “Your hair is so thick and pretty!” The woman who complimented me not only put a smile on my face, she confirmed something I had struggled to convince myself of—that my natural hair was beautiful, too. I’m now proud to wear it, to show other black women that our hair is gorgeous just the way it is. It took me years to get to a peaceful place about my hair, but in the end, I got it all straightened out.

Amen, Evette!

I remember when I first told Mama Bella that I get so many more unsolicited compliments on my hair now than I ever did before, I didn’t get the vibe that she fully believed me. But she’s seen for herself, complete strangers will approach me to gush about my curls. Just last Friday at the grocery store, a random shopper and my bag boy both told me that my hair was so pretty, and most notably, my husband was amazed at how long my hair is now, after he came to chat with me while I was in the shower. When wet, my curls unfurl down to mid-back! It’s remarkable. I never imagined my hair could be so healthy and strong five years ago, before I stopped straightening.

When I took the big chop, I had no idea what my natural hair texture would emerge to be. I was pleasantly surprised, and learning how to wrangle my curls has been an adventure. Going natural for me became a journey in self-acceptance, which culminated in abiding self-confidence. I would recommend it to anyone, even those reader who write and tell me their hair is “too nappy to be natural.” I don’t believe there is such a thing. There’s a lot to be said for having faith in restoring good health and reducing stress on your heat and chemical-treated tresses.

As you’ll see in Evette’s photo (taken by Jack Bridges for Newsweek), she’s got a head of pretty, dark, thick, and healthy curls to show for two years of natural-hair-love, and she looks beautiful.

As if Newsweek weren’t enough, then I was sent a link to “Taming Frizz and Setting Curls Free,” an article in the New York Times’ Style section that highlights the growing trend of (and market for) celebrating naturally curly hair instead of blasting it straight with heat and chemicals.

The article mainly focuses on Caucasian curls, which can be no less hard-to-tame than natural Afro hair.

I have gotten ’nuff e mails from Greek, Irish, Middle Eastern, and Italian bellas who have expressed frustration with their particular hair issues (and love for Afrobella)! Still, I ached for even more ethnic representation. Perhaps that’s coming in a future NY Times article, I’d love to see Lola Ogunnaike suss out the root of the natural hair issue in black America today (she’s one of my favorite writers, and a real role model)!

I will admit that lots of the products mentioned in the NY Times piece don’t work for my particular kind of curl pattern (figure out yours here) – John Frieda, Redken, Herbal Essences? Ich don’t think so.

But the Times got it dead on in some ways.

It’s not just anecdotal that curly-haired women have more shampoos, conditioners, serums and balms in their bathrooms. “According to market research, curly-haired women spend more on their hair than straight-haired women,” explains Ms. Breyer (of invaluable haircare resource

So, so true! The article made my inner product junkie get the itch for Devacurl. Following Measha Bruegergossman’s glowing and unsolicited rave, I’m seriously thinking about giving them a try. Low Poo and the Set It Free moisture lock sound utterly amazing.

I’m happy and proud to see these articles, and I sincerely hope that the representation of naturally afrolicious kinky-curly-locked women in mainstream media increases.

It’s a big confidence booster to see people who look like you on television. I’ve noticed more curly-haired sirens popping up in commercials for Best Buy and Mercedes, and I can identify (and get hair inspiration from) television personalities like the gorgeous Tanika Ray (who — I’m with Brad on this one — could sorta look like she could be Jennifer Hudson’s more sultry sister, especially after a couple of drinks).

Love Tanika’s vibrant, effortlessly chic ‘do and her spunky interview style. She’s as gorgeous as a young Chaka Khan, IMHO.

I believe the current curly hair trend is here to stay. I hope to see even more products on the market, more afrobellas on the tube and the silver screen, and definitely more of these smart, well-written articles that represent women all shades (and textures) of beautiful!

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