About a decade ago I was hair-color happy, blissfully experimenting with a veritable rainbow of semi-permanent shades and relaxing my hair bone straight all the while. Then I made the decision to go natural, and man oh man did I notice a difference in the health of my hair. Relaxer and regular coloring chemicals had ripped up my ends, shortened my hair growth, and left me with a tender, scabby, flaky scalp. It took years of hair rehab and lots of TLC to get my situation healthy and growing again.

Now it’s been a while… but I’m contemplating a change in hair color again. Something sunnier for summertime. I don’t even know what I want — a consultation with a professional will help, for starters. (Chicago natural hairstylists, anyone?)

But all of this brought me to a question for my bellas.

How do you define natural?

For me, natural means an unaltered hair texture. It means embracing your kinks and coils as they are, without using heat or chemicals to change the way your hair grows out of your head.

But what about color? Color has long been beloved by many bellas who would describe themselves as natural. And color can alter your hair’s texture, believe it or not. What about all of the beautiful women who wear locs, and color their locs in different tints and tones? And I know some bellas out there who say natural is just that — 100%. No color, no heat, and even using “curly hair” products can be frowned upon in some circles.

I respect everyone’s opinion, and I want to hear from you.

I had a fascinating discussion on Twitter which then led me to post this discussion on the Afrobella forum. And I got some brilliant responses from forum members and regular commenters, which I’m about to share with you.

Ellagirl believes “being ‘natural’ is a continuum, a journey, not necessarily a destination.” Love that sentiment. My journey is still continuing, that’s for sure.

Chocolate Orchid expressed, “My definition of “natural” is basically hair without a relaxer, texturizer, perm or chemicals of some sort that would permanently alter the hair’s natural texture. I personally don’t see getting my hair blown and/or flat ironed straight as “not being natural”. I think that’s one of the beauties of natural hair. You can mix it up with so many different styles without the damage of chemicals. Having said that, I’ve only had my hair blown-out and/or flat-ironed once since I BC’d in August ’07. It’s not something I choose to do often b/c of the risk of heat damage. Even if I see a woman who wears her hair natural with color, I still consider them natural. Call it an oxymoron but I just do.

Moni asked the question: “Is someone who doesn’t have a relaxer but straightens their hair all the time, so that their hair no longer resembles the hair that grows out of their head natural? Technically, yes. But if you’re hair is no longer the hair that it is naturally, then can it really be called natural? I also consider colored hair to be natural, though if the colored hair is so damaged that it has changed the hair’s texture, then it starts to become questionable.

WYYGBA who asked the original Twitter question (and blogs at PeachCobbler) elaborated beyond 140 characters:

I consider myself natural because my hair has not been through any chemical process that has altered it’s texture or changed the curl of my hair. But I’ve come to see that “natural” is something you have to define for yourself. We can’t put each other in a box. I don’t think it’s fair for women that choose to relax their hair to tell me I’m not natural because I color my hair or choose to straighten it via press and curl. Some people yesterday came off as bitter that because I don’t have a relaxer, my hair has versatility, and I choose to take advantage of it!!!!! I’m sorry if you don’t have that because you feel as if you need a relaxer or choose to get a relaxer…. And on the flip side of that, there are those natural beauties out there that want to exclude those of us that color or press and curl our hair as being natural, and I don’t think that’s fair either. But at the end of the day, as long as I’m sans relaxer/ perm/ texturizer/ texture softener, I am going to call myself natural and fabulous!

Echoing that sentiment, JoyIsHere explained that there’ll always be critics, waiting to speak their piece on how you wear your hair. “Being natural is being true to YOU, no matter what everyone says. Because no matter what you do there will be naysayers: If you loc, you’ll hear that your locs are not natural because you regularly maintain them (twist, roll, etc…) If you’re afro’ed out, you’ll hear that it is not fully natural, because you use texture-assisting products such as CURLS, JESSIE’S, etc…
If it’s not truly wild and free of hair softening products, then it’ll never be truly natural. Be true to you and what you like, whether it be permed, natural or loc’d.

And Word Of Power summed it all up beautifully — “I will never go out of my way to tell someone else whether they are “natural” or not.

That, I can agree with. So often we spend time and effort we should save for things that are more important, on judging and commenting on other people’s appearances.

All that feedback made me feel empowered, and it again reminded me of why I LOVE the afrobella community. SO many intelligent women with varied perspectives, and we’ve all got so much knowledge to share with each other! Love and respect to everyone who dropped knowledge in the forums. Oh! and by the by, I changed the forum settings in an effort to keep spammers out. I’m gonna individually approve everyone who signs up.

I’m gonna look into finding the right method of hair coloring for me, and I’m gonna blog about it all the way. Also, I’m going to try harder to reserve my judgment, regarding another bellas’s hair decisions. Lord knows I hate-hate-hate it when I get asked stupid questions about my own hair, or even worse, recieve unsolicited advice on what I “should be doing” with my hair.

All of this got me wondering — what do you bellas think? How do you define natural? What are your views?

* I got the above photo of gorgeous Wakeema Hollis from Charcoal Ink. Love her style!

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b. says:
June 9, 2009, 8:27 pm
(Made my day to see you quote something I said...thanks!) I'm so glad you brought this up. I try to restrain myself so that I don't sit too high on a nappy soap box...but I do love my hair. I enjoy seeing women who enhance their God-given beauty (features, color, figure and personality) in the best way possible. To me and for me, the enhancement includes my coily locks but that may not be the case for someone else. I do go out of my way to try to encourage someone who *does* embrace their natural texture b/c I realize the positive reinforcement is sometimes hard to find. Whether it's mud, clay, henna, or thread, women (and men) have changed their looks since the beginning of time. I'm thinking of coloring myself and I wish I could find someone willing to henna my hair for the initial run (my bathtub surround would stain). I understand all the historical and psychological complexities surrounding our hair, but if *you* understand your motives for wanting your hair a certain way, and you do your best to keep it looking nice, then enjoy! The main thing is: *stay healthy.* I'm rambling for now...sorry...I look forward to hearing other responses!
Hussyville says:
June 9, 2009, 8:56 pm
I get really freaked about the whole "natural" thing, because my hair is a dark, nappy and as untameable as can be. I never had to bother with the good/bad hair thing because I never had it. All I know is that I hated the hot comb. Spent most of my early years in braids, which means that without an affordable stylist, I am a danger to myself and other with my hair straightened. Am on my second set of dreads (the first time my hair has grown past my shoulders - woohoo!). My captive male and I have been talking about breeding. I'm very sketchy about the idea as I don't think it would be fair to burden a girl-child with a hair-incompetent mother like me, especially as the best hairdresser I ever had is a (straight) white boy who made me look GORGEOUS. UK Bellas, if you are hiding Patrick, tell him that I want him back.
Sharita says:
June 9, 2009, 9:29 pm
I believe that having natural hair is basically no relaxer..I'm a newbie (did my BC in late Nov 08) so I've come across those who feel that if I color my hair - then im not being natural...oh well. LOL I love seeing so many afros of all textures and colors...I don't care how you handle it. You do you.
[fung'ke][blak][chik] says:
June 9, 2009, 9:43 pm
I've been natural since 1994...and yes, I do color my hair, about 3xs a year, and occasionally when I want to do something different, I will blow dry it & roller set it. As long as I'm not chemically treating my hair to alter it from it's curly state, then it's still natural. As far as judging others on what they do w/their hair, that's not for me to do. Everyone has to do what they feel more comfortable with.
NuBeauti says:
June 9, 2009, 9:57 pm
I have only been natural for about 2.5 months. I transitioned for 3.5 months, so I have been relaxer free since Dec 2008. I really didn't know that there was such a divide in the natural community until I started watching youTube videos and reading some of the nasty comments people leave just because someone chooses to wear a wig for a day or two as a protective style or because someone chose to flat-iron their hair for a special occasion. I mean...come on people. Get over it! Don't you have something better to do with your time than patrol the "hair waves". That is just ridiculous how the "hair nazis" feel like they can pass judgment on others just because they choose not to be as extreme about being natural as they are. Don't we have enough stuff dividing us in the black community. We will stay divided because that's what we choose to do. We choose to throw ourselves in categories and hierarchies, just so that we can feel that we are better than the next person and I think that it is just plain sick. Will we ever be able to come together on anything? I feel that if your hair is not chemically relaxed then you are natural. I like versatility so I will definitely add color to my hair in the near future. Actually I have some henna dye that I have yet to try. Great post, btw!
sandra says:
June 9, 2009, 9:57 pm
I guess this is why I don't even like the term "natural": what is natural in this world? seems everything is becoming "adulterated"...Everyone is right and everyone is wrong(the old saying) natural texture, colored hair, natural color, straightened texture. natural skin, with makeup, natural skin without makeup, natural fibers that are ironed; natural fibers worn wrinkled, natural aging with wrinkles, natural aging with lip plumpers. Just do what you like...you're more than natural.
Milaxx says:
June 9, 2009, 10:04 pm
I've been relaxer free for 10 years and loc'ing since February of this year. I initially went chemical free entirely but went back to dyeing when the gray hair started coming in funky. To dye or not to dye is as personal a design as whether or not to transition or do the big chop. It's my hair and it's what's work for me right now, but to quote my favorite India Airie song, "I am not my hair." So if calling myself natural offends, then just call me relaxer free. But trust and believe as soon as my locs had set in I had the loctician coloring theses bad boys.
Shell says:
June 9, 2009, 10:16 pm
I've been natural for ten years now. I do use hair color to dye my hair. I still consider myself a natural sistah. I feel being natural has to be self-defined. Having natural hair "police" telling you what is natural or not is just silly to me.
tuff puffs says:
June 9, 2009, 10:29 pm
Ok so in an effort to allow my hair to grow I, tuff puffs, have been wearing a weave. I take it out every couple of months and examine for healthy hair and scalp or any damage (no damge thus far and my hair is growing like crazy). Now the weave I have is not a cute curly weave or a few extensions. It is a straight up uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-oh-no-no weave and I love it. I have gone natural 4 time already and I always hit a point when I want to do something or see something different ... them I get a relaxer regret it and chop my hair off and start over. I like all length textures and colors and getting a weave let me do that with out a permanent change. I thought that it was a good deal then all the sistas who had fros or locks started treating like I was westly snipes in jungle fever. I made achange because I have long thick beautiful strong curls and I want to see them at their best. Not to use my hair as a raging symbol to counter act the stigma that mainstream has assigned to black women with certain types of hair. The beautiful thing about being a black woman is that our hair serves as apart of our identity and as an accessory so if a sistah wants to weave, braid, blow out, roll, color, press or flat iron her whip then God bless her and I hope she (meaning we) brings the heat and continues to show the world how versitile and fab we are!
alicia says:
June 9, 2009, 10:48 pm
Great title...it drew me right in. For me going natural meant relaxer/texturizer free. I do color my hair occasionally but the texture is still unaltered.
curlybean says:
June 10, 2009, 12:07 am
The first thought that popped in my head was to compare it to vegetarianism. There are so many levels. Vegan, vegetarian but fish okay, vegitarian but no red meat...My BC was 12 years ago and for 7 of it I had it "texturized" because there wasn't a lot of information/products for me out there. Now the only chemical I use is color, mainly because I get bored w/ my hair and want something different. And I cut it for that reason. I try to grow it long but I get bored easily. So maybe I am like second level natural...not quite vegan! =)
L'afrique c'est chic says:
June 10, 2009, 7:20 am
IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE : If natural means no heat, no cream that changes the texture of your hair then noone is natural. Even if you dont relax your hair and use heat on your hair. Putting shea butter on your hair does make your hair softer and so it does change the texture... Any cream, pomade or oil you put on your hair will change the texture. Does that mean its not natural? OF COURSE NOT !!!!!!!!!! Natural should just mean your real hair.. just because your hair is relawed doesnt mean it is not naturally yours. unrelaxed hair should be called virgin hair.
Atiyah says:
June 10, 2009, 10:14 am
I will be coloring my locs next week using Clairols Beautiful Collection in Mahogany Red Brown.
thelady says:
June 10, 2009, 11:06 am
To me natural means not permanently changing your hair texture, no relaxer, no texturizer no jerri curl. It also means the hair you grew out of your own head. Putting styling products such as conditioners or gels in my hair does not change my texture, my curls are still the same pen spring size, products just make the curls clump together more. I prefer hair color or highlights that stay within the natural range of your hair color, say 2-3 shades from your default color. Rainbow hair color or blonde (if you were born with dark hair) are not natural in my book. I will not judge someone who dyes their hair green or flat irons cause I know as women we get bored and like to mix things up with our hair. Right now I'm being as gentle as possible with my hair so I can grow it out but in a year or 2 I might consider high lights or low lights in my hair. My natural color is dark brown. When I had relaxed hair I've had red brown highlights and all over black colored hair. At the end of the day the only person you should worry about pleasing is yourself. I am in no place to judge.
Stardust80 says:
June 10, 2009, 11:36 am
Hey Bella! I recently colored my hair (well, had my beautician mother color my hair) using this technique - http://www.clairolpro.com/techniques/all/blazin_intense_red.php. It turned out absolutely beautiful and it didn't change my 3c/4a texture at all. I hennad for several years and decided that I need something more. Also, I thought you and your readers might be interested in this - http://www.ireport.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=263893. It looks like CNN might delve into the murky waters of black hair for their next Black in America series.
babyarkansas says:
June 10, 2009, 11:36 am
Hi Afrobella, I don't usually do this, but I'm curious, why you chose this picture? Its a little distracting to see the cancer stick in her hand. Being natural is well and good (been natural for over ten years)...but smoking ruins your skin, hair, nails, and of course your over all health. Just my $0.02:)
bella says:
June 10, 2009, 11:58 am
VERY valid question, babyarkansas - I loved her makeup and hair, and the jacket... but HATE the cigarette. And I don't smoke cigarettes, hate the smell etc. But I couldn't bring myself to crop it out because that would mean losing the fab buttons on the jacket... believe me I thought about it. Finally I figured it was OK because the cig is just a prop, it doesn't appear to be lit or smoldering. Still, it is a shame it is in there at all =(
Joi (The Anti Hair Slave) says:
June 10, 2009, 1:58 pm
I'm so glad you brought this up, after watching the video for the re-launch of The Coil Review I thought how is she (the lady with the beautiful red locs) natural? If she's natural then I'm natural too. I use a chemical to change the texture of my hair, and she uses a chemical to change the color. What's really the differnce? We both use a chemical to alter something about our hair - and both are so NOT natural.
Betty Chambers says:
June 10, 2009, 3:09 pm
Outside of toxic products (that can peel the paint off walls, corrode metal, eventually cause cancer, etc.) to keep the hair straight, I have no hard rules. I'm willing to apply heat to my hair to stretch it. The heat doesn't exceed the temperature of a hot shower, and that's all I require. I'm willing to color with Henna, because the other products dry out my hair. I'm a very flexible natural.
Habenu says:
June 10, 2009, 3:22 pm
The difference, Joi, is just that. One woman uses chemicals to change her hair texture, and the lady with the beautiful red locks uses chemicals to change her hair color. I think for African women, the struggle is for us to accept our curly hair textures more than for us to accept our natural hair color. Thats why traditionally, when we talk about natural hair, I think we are usually referring to hair texture. Unnaturally straight versus naturally curly hair. But of course, if I change my hair color , it´s not natural in the sense of color. So maybe using the word natural in reference to hair texture isn´t the best description, cuz we can be natural or unnatural in different ways. I´m just now thinking to myself, telling someone that they are unnatural just doesn´t sound right.
Habenu says:
June 10, 2009, 3:58 pm
It is very natural for us as humans to try to make ourselves as attractive as we can. That´s natural. I prefer to wear my hair in it´s naturally curly state. I definitely use products to moisturize it and keep it healthy. That´s a natural thing to do since humans throughout history and probably pre-history have used substances to moisturize their hair and skin and beautify themselves. I guess people could decide not to put anything on my skin or hair and not cut my nails and walk around barefoot all the time so that I am a completely natural animal. Okay, thats fine. But it´s also natural, as in human nature, to want decorate and soothe our bodies. When we talk about living natural, I believe it implies living healthy. For women with kinky curly hair, it can be healthy to accept our hair as it is because for so long, we were taught that it wasn´t good enough. We have been taught to have unhealthy ideas about out hair. Living healthy can be choosing not to put hair relaxers on our hair because those chemicals are not healthy for our bodies. Searching for safe products with which to color our hair is healthier than doing it with these mainstream chemicals which are toxic. I use indigo to keep my hair a beautiful bluish black color. My hair is basically black, but indigo makes it more vibrant. So maybe we should think of it as living more healthy. Living with less chemicals. African communities had disproportionally been exposed to chemicals in this country, whether it´s in contaminated soils in black neighborhoods or even in the products targeted towards black people. I´m not saying I don´t use chemicals for different things and I don´t judge other people who do, but I´m trying to think of what could define natural.
mzahmad says:
June 10, 2009, 4:49 pm
I like Tuff Puffs used a weave to grow my hair out, and it's now a little longer than shoulder length and un-permed as I call it. I get a lot of static since I have fine wavy hair and have been told on more than one occasion that because of my hair texture and the fact that I will sometimes flat iron for that bouncy look, my being natural is moot. It's a joke to me really. my hair is the color and texture i was born with and to me that's natural!
Bronxgirl says:
June 10, 2009, 5:05 pm
I think if you want to color your hair while remaining natural you should try henna or some other form of vegetable dye to color your hair. I don't think you can go more natural than that.
paradisebird says:
June 10, 2009, 6:16 pm
hmmm, this is a difficult one. i would say that being in a natural state means- per definitionem- changing nothing about the texture, the colour and the length of the hair. it also means not to remove hair in -ahem unwanted places. being natural means changing nothing imho. but-the term has become political and part of contemporary culture. in this terms it means a woman who wears her natural texture. and it is judging, separating the relaxed from the natural-headed people. and as a word in these days it is hard to use it without its loads of different meanings on it. so does being natural means to put down the hair colour, the deodorant, the wax or the shaving blade? i do not think so. but i think it means to know exactly who i am (and be aware of the fact that this can change, will change as long as i live)and be honest- with myself first and with everybody around me. to maintain my opinion and make my own mistakes and avoid judging .its a well known fact that relaxing or chemical colouring damages hair. so if i do this i am fully aware of it and take the responsibility of this step. this means to be natural for me.to be honest with myself and love myself while being honest.
Lebone says:
June 11, 2009, 6:15 am
Most of us grew up being told by society that our hair was ugly. Most people who consider black hair ugly are not looking at the colour (brunettes have dark hair and some black people's natural hair is blonde) but they are mainly referring to the texture. When I started transitioning, I wished and prayed that my hair would be considered 3C, even 3G, anything but a 4. I don’t ever remember caring, or even giving thought whether it would be a lighter or a darker shade of black. (I hate the hair typing system but sometimes it helps in explaining) Your hair could be blonde but as soon as there's a bit of kink in it, it's "bad" hair. When you turn your head sharply and the hair doesn’t move an inch, or the only way to get it to hang is by some (minor or major) manipulation, it’s considered ugly. (I know I’m trading into the dangerous “why did you loc” territory) I think is why a lot of people, natural or not, consider mainly the texture and not the colour when determining whether someone is natural or not. Most people never had to think twice about being out in public with their newly coloured hair, but ask around and see how many naturals at some point thought twice about being seen with their natural hair, especially if it's short. This is part of the reason why you still find natural women not willing to let go of the weaves or heat straighteners till they get to some “acceptable” length. For me, it's a huge step for someone to embrace their natural texture, because there is so much adversity (openly and otherwise) out there that one has to face. Were not yet in a place where relaxing is an option and being natural is the norm. Once we get to that place, maybe then can we start looking at colour as unnatural.
LBell says:
June 11, 2009, 9:15 am
I know I'm about to make some folks mad but oh well... From a purely biological perspective, natural hair is the hair your follicles are programmed to produce. If it makes people feel better to call that "virgin" hair then fine. If you put a chemical on your hair to change its texture, your texture is no longer natural. If you put color in your hair to change its color, your color is no longer natural. THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON or somehow "less than"...unless you've decided to attach yourself to the notion that "natural hair" has some kind of extra meaning outside of the purely biological. Which is your right...but then you might be unnecessarily setting yourself up for some emotional struggle when or if you decide (as humans often do) to change your mind. This really is not that complicated. I don't understand why people make it so complicated.
Natural Hair Product Researcher says:
June 11, 2009, 1:08 pm
I just don't understand why it is relevant to question the level of someone's naturalness. I mean I haven't heard people of lighter shades debating their degrees of naturalness. They get perms(curls), straighteners (relaxers), weaves and color as well. Point is I think we should spend more time loving and uniting the naturalness and less time being critical of it.
Purple says:
June 11, 2009, 4:10 pm
For me natural means no texturizer, perm, relaxer or jheri curl. But more than the chemical alteration aspect, it's important for me as an African to display the kind of hair that I naturally have. Why? Because I want to affirm that my hair (and everything else about my Africanness) is OK and more than that, is beautiful. Therefore for me natural is not just the texture of my hair, but the way I interact with the world. It is saying: "This is who I am, and I am worthy as I am."
Sumatra77 says:
June 12, 2009, 9:45 am
I say we relax, relate, release, and play with our hair. If we don't like it, cut it off. If we love it, keep it. It's just hair. As with our bodies and our minds, the primary concern should be health. If the hair is healthy and strong, then the rest is semantics. Why be restricted to one way of being?
M.dot says:
June 13, 2009, 1:20 am
This is a really great question, especially given the fact that I ride for self definition. Natural hmmm, off of the top of the head is the state of one's hair closest to that which we were born with. I like to root things in history so that may be my working definition for now. ~m. www.brooklynmagic.com
MissWhoever You Are says:
June 13, 2009, 4:04 pm
'And Word Of Power summed it all up beautifully — “I will never go out of my way to tell someone else whether they are “natural” or not.”' I tried going natural by not relaxing my hair (I've never colored) and instead of finding this "enlightenment" or "happiness" black women supposedly find, I was unhappy and stressed about my falling hair. I felt kind of "forced" to go natural. Not that anyone physically threatened or anything but with all the talks of going natural, finding happiness, being true to you blah blah blah, I felt guilty for relaxing my hair and that I was doing something utterly wrong. But I was extremely unhappy, so it didn't really feel worth it. I did not feel like putting myself through all that. So I went back to relaxers and I'm quite happy. My hair= naturally me. If you're coloring your hair, that's not your natural hair color therefore you're not natural. My opinion. Relaxed hair, altering texture, not natural. Period. People are trying to get around the issue "my hair texture is natural therefore I'm natural if I color"...whatevs. That's all. It's my opinion. PS: I get so annoyed with this whole "debate". The only time I've ever heard anything nasty (personally) about black hair is from black women. Women with natural hair put down women with relaxed hair...why??? I just don't get it.
joycekane says:
June 15, 2009, 10:46 pm
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Tyrika says:
June 16, 2009, 3:44 pm
Oh my! I'm loving the discussion in the comments and points made in this post. Thanks for such a thought provoking topic sis! The uproar, in my opinion, will always be in existence for the simple fact that everyone will always have an opinion and often people are inflexible and intolerant of each other's view points. Being natural is what it means to YOU, and it often extends beyond just hair. For me, wearing my hair in its natural is my choice to not chemically alter the texture of my hair. Yes, I proudly wear color because wearing my hair natural is more about decreasing the amount of chemicals I apply to my hair regularly. Coloring every few months with a product line that I feel is less damaging than its competition (I chose to color with Aveda products) is leaps and bounds away from relaxing every 3 weeks which is what I was doing to maintain a short hair cut prior to my BC in May 08. At the end of the day, the focus should ultimately be on the amount of love and care that is being given to our natural hair. Otherwise, the focus on 'what is natural' becomes pointless when your hair is no more healthy in its natural state than it was in its relaxed state.
suziebee says:
June 17, 2009, 11:40 am
oh afrobellas!! this is just the topic i wanted to discuss. so...im the maid of honor in my best friend's wedding which means im getting a first hand view of the craziness of weddings. we've successfully tackled the big things - church, reception site, dress, invites - but one thing is still hanging in the balance...the hair. she did her BC about 8 months ago, but her hair is still pretty short. the dilemma now is whether to wear it low (we're nigerian, so that will likely be frowned upon), add a natural weave to supplement for the low do, or braid. we want to stay as natural as possible, but she also wants to look amazing for her wedding. does she need to weave it for that, i dont know, but its damn near impossible to find cute weddings styles online. she wants to still look like herself, but is stressed bc she feels like she has to weave it to look stunning. thoughts chicas? to weave or not to weave? is that still natural? what are some other style recommendations?
Samantha says:
June 17, 2009, 5:05 pm
Suziebee, there are some great Natural styles in this month's Sophisticate's Black Hair Styles and Care Guide magazine. I often have a hard time finding cool new styles because I like to switch things up. This month, Sophisticate's Black Hair magazine added a great deal of Natural styles compared to previous issues that I have bought. But, you'll have to hurry up and pick it up soon. The issue only stays on newsstands up until July 7, 2009. I hope I helped some. I read your post and really wanted to help you out. And I hope your best friend finds the perfect style because I know how difficult the decision can be when you are Natural and a big event comes up. It's hard finding styles, let alone really dressy ones. Good luck and take care. :)
Celeste says:
June 18, 2009, 11:27 am
I believe that natural is wearing your natural HAIR TEXTURE unaltered by chemical processes. I see nothing wrong with adding color, or using styling aids to enhance the beauty of thick, tightly coiled hair. your hair and your personal style are expressions and celebrations of you. Love is Life, C
Celeste says:
June 18, 2009, 11:32 am
I'm sure there are also natural hair color techniques. Has anyone tried Hemp to color their hair? Or any other natural methods? Love is Life, Celeste n-gredients.com
Curlychronicles says:
June 18, 2009, 12:34 pm
I don't see a problem with coloring your hair if it's a natural dye but I would still consider someone to have natural hair if they didn't. It's the same as putting color on your eyelids or your lips or your nails. If you wear your hair natural most of the time, you're pretty much natural in my eyes. If you wear your hair straight 99% of the time and cannot under any circumstances be caught outside with a wash and go ..you're not really embracing the naturalness of your hair..even if you don't have a perm. Just my two cents. However, I don't really care that much to be all in someone's hair biz..if they got a question, I'll supply my answer lol. Oh and if locs aren't natural because of the twisting, neither is the afro because you have to pick out your hair to achieve that look. So let's squash that, please? :P Let us not forget... ancient tribes from around the world used plants to color their hair way back..let's not act like we're doing something new here. Where do you think we learned this from? herbatint and henna are way more popular now but it's been around since the beginning.
suziebee says:
June 19, 2009, 8:05 pm
thx samantha! ill grab copy tonight
UnalteredBeauty says:
June 24, 2009, 9:59 am
I agree, Bella. "Natural" as we use it, refers to hair texture. True, if a natural textured sista puts color in her hair, her hair color isn't natural but the texture is. Remember, it isn't the color of our hair that has been ridiculed for centuries. It's the texture. So when us naturals, "brag" about rockin' our natural hair, we're essentially saying that we don't buy the hype about "bad" hair because again, "bad" refers to texture not color.
De says:
July 4, 2009, 2:10 am
I think, who cares, natural not natural. What makes you feel good about yourself? Do that; i really like the term natural, though i relax my hair every month and a half, i would love to be what natural sounds like to me. And it doesn't sound like un-relaxed un-dyed hair, it just sounds like a beautiful black woman. It sounds like reverence.. if that makes any sense. My hair even when it's relaxed but not straightened or anything else looks as you say "natural" and it makes me feel so good that way, i feel "natural" even though apparently i am not My dad always tells me to do what makes me happy, so that's all i think matters. Be natural if that rocks you, or not if it doesn't and for me natural is standing 5'5" beneath my messy, HUGE, relaxed, "unnatural" 'fro
kechylyn says:
July 10, 2009, 4:59 pm
lets put in this easy and simple way. i am "natural". i've stoped using the relaxer and stuff but if you really look into this natural thing you see that relaxed, unrelaxed, texturized, jherri curled etc hair are all natural hair as far as its growing out of your scalp and its not a weave or a wig. i think if there needs to be any crucifixation it should be on weave and wig wearers but come to think of it what's about the fuss of the hair on the head. we've got our whole bodies covered with hair and instead of growing it we shave them and give alot of preference to the one on the head for Christ's sake its just an effing dead cell. so what if someone wants to relax, wear a weave/wig or go all out natural, does it matter. why should we be taking medicine for someone else's headache? i wonder. all i'm saying in a nutshell is that we should let eachother's hair be and stop breeding in eachother's neck. simple!-
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July 20, 2009, 12:29 am
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Willow says:
August 10, 2009, 2:29 am
Hello, all my fellow afro-bellas! I love this site and it helps me a lot, even though I am only 13. I guess my hair could be considered all the way natural, because I've never ever had a perm in my life and have never colored or highlighted it (I pleaded with my parents for a while for blonde highlights last year, but they fervently dissented. Now I'm glad they did). But some would call me "unnatural" because I blow dry it every two weeks. Thing is, I don't even wear it straight. I blow dry to add length to styles like french braids and twists. So I really think judging people on minute differences in what they want to do with their hair is silly, and just another form of black women making other black women feel bad about their hair, just the same as relatives and friends ragging on you to get your hair "fixed". Plus, people of other races- white, middle eastern, hispanic, irish, etc... they don't give each other flack about how "natural" their hair is, even though they do the same processes we do (japanese straightening treatments, perms, relaxers, blow drying and flat ironing, cremes and products to alter texture, and yes COLORING). So why should we, as black people, do that? It just creates a schism in the Black community. I would say my natural is not exactly at the point I want it to be at. It's two inches past shoulder length when I blow dry, I don't know how long it is flat ironed because I haven't flat ironed it in two years. I love vintage 40's and 50's styles, which I obtain with either blowout twists plus curling iron, or blowout plus rollerset. I don't like having to blow dry my hair to get the length I need for the styles I crave, so I'm still on the lookout for a product that will help my hair to grow. Any suggestions?
Toya says:
December 6, 2009, 1:36 am
i agree with commenter #12 (L'afrique c'est chic) so many of us say that natural hair is not changing your texture, but you have SO many natural hair sisters who go out and buy curly puddings like Miss Jessies or make up their own kind of concoction to change their hair texture, whether it's gels, butters, etc, so that they can make their curls "pop"....or wear twist outs, braid outs, or coil outs.... why not just wear the texture you have? and why would the same women who have are using these methods of styling their hair and change their texture try and look down on someone who colors their hair, wear a weave, or straighten it? so like i said i agree with Comment #12, cuz that means o one is natural, because i know alot of us wear twist outs, and are product junkies trying to find the product to make your "curls pop' or color your locs, etc. i'm natural, never did it for political reasons and been natural for the majority of my life. i don't care about who's natural or who's not, let them just do them. that's something with self that they'll have to come to terms with.
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