One of the biggest myths about natural hair that well-meaning-but-clueless relatives and friends might tell you is, there’s a lack of versatility to your style options. In my experience, it’s often the people who tend to wear their straight do’s in the same tired old styles anyway who have the audacity to say these kinds of things to you, but I digress.
I try not to buy into those natural-negative statements, but when it’s a relative pouring them into your ears, they can kind of get to you. I am totally speaking from experience, here. The dreaded “what are you going to do with your hair” discussion usually crops up before a big event, like a graduation, job interview, family reunion, or yup, you guessed it – a wedding. Which leads me to a recent Ask Afrobella question!
My name is Shantise. I’m a brand new bella; I had been transitioning off and on for roughly 3 yrs. I was gonna let my hair grow out more ,but I couldn’t take it anymore so I cut my hair. It is maybe 1 or 1 1/2 inches long. Well anyways, my best friend is getting married in January and I have no idea how to style my hair. I wouldn’t care if I was just attending her wedding. The problem is I’m in the bloody wedding and so I respect her enough to try to do something for her wedding. Besides I don’t want my mother getting on my last nerves about it. I don’t even have anyone I trust to do my hair, so I’m truly at lost on what to do. There is only one natural stylist I know of and the rest are these African ladies who braid hair but I’m not the most trusting person with my hair, between my mother and her enlisting people to destroy/’improve’ my hair. Please help me my only choice really is to press it if I cant find an alternative.
Shantise also sent a few pictures of her blossoming TWA, which looks so healthy and adorable. Good for you, Shantise. I think more than a few of the bellas who read this site can identify with those feelings of insecurity that family can give you about your hair decision. It’s not necessarily that they mean to hurt your feelings, most times they are just “trying to help” and because they believe that their hairstyle is best, that’s what they want for you as well. The most important question to ask yourself at that juncture is, am I keeping my hair natural for me, or for them? Forgive me if I’m presuming incorrectly, but your final statement, “my only choice really is to press it if I cant find an alternative” makes me think you really would prefer not to do that, and perhaps this has been suggested to you in the mistaken belief that straight hair = the only form of beauty that’s acceptable for fancy occasions.
I’m happy and proud to debunk that theory and share some afrobella inspiration for your wedding day ‘do.
Meet Nichelle — a proud afrobella who wore her free form fro in a unique style at her wedding. I answered her wedding hair question back in April, and here are her photos! Beautiful, bella!
She says, ” I decided to get my hair cornrowed a couple days before the wedding so it wouldn’t feel so tight. The lady who braided my hair did an excellent job and was careful not to pull my edges too tight. I found some cute hair pins at Claire’s of all places, and she put them in for me when she was done. The back was braided into a criss cross design. That was my favorite part of the style. I opted not to wear a veil just so I could show it off.”
Nichelle didn’t have any great pics of the back of her hair, but I think you get the picture from the photo above. And great tip – don’t sleep on Claire’s! I can’t tell you how many cute hair accessories and earrings I’ve gotten there. And even though you might feel silly picking out earrings alongside a nine-year-old who’s on a Hello Kitty shopping spree, you can still score some really chic (and cheap!) items. The best part is, no one will guess that your fly headband or clips are from there. For example, this lovely wedding headband costs $53, and you can score a rip off at Claire’s for less than $10. Nobody will be any the wiser.
Because your hair’s short, Shantise – you could wear these butterfly clips, and they won’t get lost in the mass. Or you could rock this gem hairband, and work the look with big earrings — they look striking and great on bellas with short curls, and could really set you apart at the wedding. Just don’t show up the bride!
You might also want to work your ‘do with a styling product — have you tried Miss Jessie’s yet? Now that there are smaller sizes available for less, you could get the 2oz, $7 size of Curly Pudding just for the occasion.
Make sure you try out your hair, accessories, dress, and makeup at least a week before the actual event, just so you’re completely sure you feel as beautiful as you are on the special day. Wear your natural hair with pride, and I am confident that with time, your mom will quit enlisting people to “improve” your hair. And try not to get mad at her for it — sometimes moms have old-school ideas that really center around Eurocentric standards of beauty. Give her time. She’ll get it eventually and back off. Mama Bella did, and now, finally, after years of back-and-forthing over “what are you doing with your hair,” I actually think she likes it this way and realizes (and accepts) that this is who I am.
If you’re preparing for a fancy event and you have slightly longer natural kinks and curls, you should check out the Hair Zing. It’s basically two accessory combs attached by beautiful beaded stretchy hair jewelry. I have the kind for short thick hair — I personally wish they had more of a hair texture variety on their site, because short STRAIGHT thick hair is completely different than short kinky curly thick hair… but anyways. The combs give good grip, and the in-between beaded jewelry part is indeed stretchy enough to rein in my crazy curls.
My Zing is similar to the diamond large black and turquoise, and it does help me create a chic updo of cascading coils. Word to the wise if you have dark hair — the darker Hair Zings won’t Zing as much for you. If you really want an eye catching look-at-me wedding day (or holiday party) do, go for a light, bright zing like the clear and gold or large tortoise. They’re pretty easy to use, the website comes laden with step-by-step photos and videos, and they’re cheaper than $15 – sweet!
Most importantly, have fun at the wedding, Shantise! They are such beautiful, memorable, magical occasions. Enjoy the day, send pictures and let me know what you went with. Hope my two cents helps. And THANK YOU Nichelle for allowing me to share your photos with afrobellas everywhere! Any wedding day do’ advice for her, bellas? Share your knowledge!