Natural Reactions

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Picture this: I’m standing in line at the supermarket last night, about to pay for my groceries. The casher and bagger are both young African American females with relaxed hair. One of them appears frustrated with her hair (judging from the haphazard way in which it was styled).

The bagger turns to me while bagging my groceries.

“Is that your natural hair?”

Yes.

“But you use a chemical to get it like that, right?”

No.

“Cause I saw on the Tyra show…”

You can just imagine my expression at that point. I bit back the “Lawdamercy” that wanted to come out of my mouth, and tried to engage the girls in conversation without being preachy. The cashier started to tell me that she was interested in going natural, but “can’t deal with nappy hair.” I tried to explain to her that it takes time to completely grow out a relaxer and transition to natural hair, it takes commitment and patience, and part of that means learning to love your hair’s real texture, regardless of how “nappy” it may be, it’s yours and it’s beautiful…but of course at that point I was holding up the line, my groceries were bagged and it was time to end the conversation. So I just let them know about Afrobella and BVHairTalk.com, and went on my way.

But I keep thinking about the reaction natural hair inspires.

Every week without fail, I get questions from someone.

What products do you use? How long have you been natural? What made you decide to do *that* to your hair? And these questions are usually followed by an explanation. I like your hair but mine would never look like that. It looks good on you but I can’t deal with my natural hair. My texture is too difficult to deal with. Or, I used to be natural but I wear a weave/use a relaxer now because… (like I’m some kinda natural hair police who is silently judging them for their own hair choices).

To which my response is usually, girl do YOU! Please know that you are beautiful. And if you ever have questions, or feel ready to make the transition — visit my blog or e mail me. Then I usually hand them a business card if I feel so inspired (or if I have some in my purse at the time). I try to respond with warmth, candor, and encouragement… but sometimes the questions get me down. Not because I don’t like talking to people about my hair, but just because I find the ignorance about natural hair to be so depressing. It’s astounding how many beautiful, bright women of color have no idea what the natural texture of their hair truly looks like, and just assume that it’s unattractive and uncontrollable without the use of chemical means.

I was inspired to title this post from a previous one — Natural Attitudes, which I wrote in 2007 about the reaction my hair gets in Trinidad. My location and life circumstances have changed quite a bit, but some things still remain the same.

What’s the typical reaction you get to your natural hair? How do you respond to it?

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Comments

  1. I get those same questions…the main I get is: I love your hair but my hair is too “nappy” to get it like yours. The funny thing is, I thought the same thing about my hair not to long ago. That it was “too nappy” to get wear it in its natural state. Just as you said, it just takes time and patience to LOVE and LEARN your natural hair. I always tell people if I can do it you can do it too. It took me a while to get to accept my hair and those who make comments like that I just think to myself…they are not there yet.

  2. Jamma Mamma says:

    Bella,

    I get comments like that ALL the time. Sadly, I get alot of crazy negative ones too. It’s exhausting and after awhile you feel like you walk out of your house only to be critiqued because **gasp** you wear your hair the way it grows out of your skull….smh…like I’m a creature in a zoo for everyone’s viewing and (good grief)petting pleasure…. I even get stares from relaxed girls who then frown at my hair and fix or play with theirs while watching mine….

    Like you I try to be warm, helpful and diplomatic and when I’m questioned on why I decided to … I keep it simple with the cost factor response. No one can make a rebuttal to that. Sigh….

  3. Girl, I’ve been natural for the past 8 yrs but my love for color is my only addiction! I wear my hair straight, but when people learn that I don’t have a perm I get the questions and amazement too! I love having the option to go back & forth, although I stay straight for the most part…keep educating the un-naturals!

  4. The #1 inquiry I get is what kind of hair is that? lol
    It is rather unfortunate that so much time and energy is spent on finding out how to “deal” with our hair. I get the well you have that good curly nappy hair, or well you’re a designer free spirit type so you can get away with that (what?!?!) I even had one of my best friends ask me to do something with my hair shortly after asking me to be a part of her wedding party. Only to ask her if she expected me to relax my hair for her big day and if I should expect her to reciprocate by growing out her relaxer for my day. It’s all silly to me, love what you are working with be it straight, kinky, curly, or bald and respectfully appreciate the next sistahs hair game

  5. It ranges based on the style, but the questions are really about the products I use, any straighteners, and my ethnicity *sigh*. And, and folks often reach out and touch my hair without asking. The questions come from people who are relaxed and those who are natural. I typically answer people’s questions but will snap back at the sarcastic ones. I’ll never understand why my non-supermodel hair is so interesting to some people.

  6. This phrase “like I’m some kinda natural hair police who is silently judging them for their own hair choices” struck me the most. I’ve been natural since 1987, and before then, I didn’t really perm much, but not for any political reasons. I can understand the questions, but I really do not understand folks’ need to explain themselves, because I sure didn’t ask them to do so. The weirdest response I’ve ever gotten came to me back in the early ’90s, when I was asked if my hair was natural. I said “yes,” and her immediate response was “well I believe in live and let live.” Huh? WTH?

    If the very act of me walking by you is threatening to your non-natural hair, then that says way more about you, than it does about me. Makes me wanna laugh and cry at the same time.

  7. I have only been natural for six months and haven’t gotten as many questions yet from random people. Thank you for sharing your response to their questions.

  8. I am so happy you posted this. I just went natural and go through this very often.

  9. Another great post around a topic that’s becoming more popular…going natural. Isnt’ this great?!

    I completely agree that everyone should be happy with themselves rather relaxed or natural. But I have seen the conversation growing so much so that my sister asked me to send her a picture of my hair (it’s natural) while she was in the discussion with her stylist. She’s thinking about it and wanted to show him my texture even though hers is finer and would probably be curlier. But she’s thinking about it.

    I agree, it’s not easy especially in the beginning. I realized when I went natural that I had never handled my hair in it’s natural state, my mom did. So I had to learn and educate and understand my hair. And I couldn’t be happier.

    No matter relaxed or natural, be beautiful.

  10. LMFAO @ Zenzele’s “live and let live” experience.

    Bella, i can empathize with this post. i have dreads, and even i get lots of random questions and “don’t yell at me hair police” comments from girls whose straightened hair i think looks BEAUTIFUL. they say, “oh those dreads look gorgeous on YOU but i dont have the patience/hair texture/job for that” etc etc etc…

    its like, im just living life as a person who accepts the hair God gave her as is…but i wear high heels and im not naturally that tall…whats the big deal? you fry your hair to death, i like my legs to look longer by wearing heels. big deal.

    still laughing at “i believe in live and let live” ahahahahaaaa that is a classic!

  11. It is quite interesting to me that i get most of my “hair love” from people of other races and the most “hair hate” from my fellow black people. Just this morning some of my coworkers (white and indian) were commenting on how nice my hair looked and if i had been to the hairdresser to curl it. Funnily enough it was day 2 tied down and shaken out hair. But a girl from another floor asked why i stopped relaxing my hair…she preferred it that way. I had to politely tell her that my hair makes ME happy and maybe one day she can appreciate what god gave her (sans chemicals!!)too.
    Everytime i attend a family gathering these days, there is a debate on who can / cannot wear their hair natural (good vs bad textures)and all that yadda yadda yadda crap that goes along with it. My stance is you won’t know about YOUR hair till you give it a chance and make the investment!!

  12. I’ve been natural for over 3 yrs now. I cant recall any encounters with random people and their questions. The only person I can say who had an issue with my hair was my mom. Before I went natural, my hair was really long and I supposed she felt like what I was doing was wrong and went against everything she had instilled in me in those 21 years. My response, “Mom, its not that serious. Its just hair.”

    However today was the very first time I came upon the “Natural Hair & White People Sceanario”. I usually do my hair and since I’ve been working out two strands have been my friend (although they are not my fav style). Last night while surfing Youtube I came across this updo of two strand twists. It was just okay to be but I put time into it so I figured I’d still rock it. As soon as I walk in the door my boss says, “Oh you got your hair did?” ….what? Then right after that illadvised statement three other w.p’s ask if I had gotten my hair cut. NOO you nosey people its an updo! My hair is still all in tact it is simply pinned up. geesh! Who knew one style would cause ‘Hairgate 09′ in my office.

  13. BELLA! I had a very similar experience yesterday. I question why I felt it necessary to engage two parking lot attendants who INSISTED on telling me that A) My hair was fake and B) I just took down some braids to get it to look this way… I was literally like well thanks ladies for telling me all about myself, I really needed that!

    I swear the nerve of people. I could careless about how someone else wears their hair however my hair seems to frequently be the topic of someone else’s convo. Annoying

  14. CoilsnKinks says:

    I have heard those and then some. Most of the time I can respond amiably especially if the person shows geniune interest in natural hair and they maybe asking for a little guidance or just simple knowledge of something they think is different (to me its life;) But other times the negative attitude toward their own hair is just overpowering negative it makes my heart heavy and tired. Sometimes I feel like I am battling other people’s battle of self love. Its hard convincing people that they should love their hair despite whether they choose to perm it or be natural. But the one thing that usually bothers me is when people ask me if they can touch my hair! They start looking like a kid in a candy store so I know the question is coming. And then the look of shock when they tell me “Oh its so soft!” They just cant believe it. I think they are expecting it to feel like a brillo pad. So now I smile and answer questions as much as I can. As for touching my hair I politely decline. I no longer feel the need to prove to anyone else that natural hair is just as nice. I love my hair, whether anyone else gets it or not is irrelevant. I just wish everyone could be as happy with theirs as I am with mine!. I love you natural bellas!

  15. I get into this situation all the time, with women commenting me on my dread locs and wanting to touch them, which I politely tell them “no”. They say the same thing…”I want to grow my hair natural, but I don’t have the patience”. While I don’t mind them talking to me about this, I get completely annoyed, because I feel like their wasting my time and I could easily give my attention to someone that is truly interested in transitioning over to the natural side.

  16. It gets annoying sometimes because it seems that people want you force them to go natural. I don’t mind telling them my experience and offering advice and support but I can’t make a person do anything. I usually just tell them to do their research.

    I often get the question “Can I touch it?” Huh? Am I some kind of freak show? My hair is coily and kinky and it bothers me to hear people say “Well my hair is too nappy to go natural.” Huh? So are you telling me that I shouldn’t have went natural. People can offend without even knowing it. I just end the conversation at that point.

    I will offer resources and support if I feel that they are genuinely interested in going natural, but if I can’t see that then I don’t even waste my time.

  17. Brown-eyed Girl says:

    The typical reaction to my hair is very positive. I started wearing locs over three years ago, and haven’t looked back. I receive compliments from all ages and colors of folks, with the exception of black men. (Their non-reaction reminds me of the old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” LOL!) My boyfriend, who is white, tells me all the time how much he loves my hair. Black women often ask me who my hairdresser is, and confide that they have been considering going natural. I always encourage them. It’s the best hair decision I ever made, and I wish I had done it earlier in life (I’m in my late forties). I have no regrets. A dear friend just started locs after two years of observing my hair growth and development, and now she says she feels “fierce!” Every day is a good hair day for me. Ladies, learn to love the natural you, whatever that is, and you will go through life a much happier human being.

  18. Well, recently I was told by a young lady that I work out with occassionally that her hair is too nappy and she can’t even get a comb thru it and that is why she perms her hair. She is going to continue perming her hair even though her scalp is having some serious issues. I really did not know what to say because I remember feeling that way too – and then I did the big chop about 4 months ago, hennaed my hair and basically fell in love with it in its natural state.

    I think folks are scared. They do not want to admit it, but the responses I receive indicate that there is a fear going on. I don’t try to get rid of the fear for them because they must face it, just like I had to face my own. I tell them to look at this site, Curly Nikki etc. and keep it moving.

  19. I’ve been natural for a while now, but find myself approaching other women with natural hair to find out what products they use and their regimen! I’m ashamed to say that I have to visit a salon very often because I haven’t a *clue* how to work with my hair texture.

  20. I thought the same thing about my hair until I went natural. You can’t know what’s under the creamy cracked out hair until you let it grow. It’s just hair. If after a year, you still don’t like what’s growing out of your scalp, you can always perm it back. Odds are though that you won’t.

  21. Just cut off my entire hair and went natural. Right now I am more like Solange or Amber Rose in length but I am wigging it out until it gets to the length I want it.

  22. I’ve been natural for nine years. I love my locs but sometimes I do get some pretty annoying comments like “is all that YOUR REAL hair?” I have an aunt who always has to ask me this question as if it is impossible to have long hair without buying it. I have also noticed that people of different races are very ignorant about natural hair because I get a lot of comments about my braids. They are not braids, they are DREADLOCS! Its not all negative, I do get a lot of questions from males and females asking how I maintain my locs. I don’t mind sharing what I have learned from my hair and if see someone who has locs I sometimes ask them questions about their maintenance and products.

  23. I’ve been natural all my life, but shaved my head when I was 17 because I couldn’t figure out how to style and cut my hair living in an all white town with interracial parents. It has taken me the next 17 years to figure out how to take care of it. It is a real process, and I admit sometimes I do go straight for a week, just to see the response of people, and let them know I can go either way, but choose curly. Thanks for your website and your crusade!

  24. LOL@ “hairgate”

    I have been natural for about 6 years and usually don’t have too many issues, I mostly get people asking me advice.Last year though, I went a few times to get my hair trimmed and straightened. Usually, I went on a Friday and it would be in a fuzzy updo by Monday, but one time I went during the week. You wanna talk about hairgate? All of my colleagues of a different persuasion were in astonishment, one going as far as asking me if it was a weave–while we were on the elevator with other people. Another one came up from a different floor to see it. I could not believe it was that serious. Some of them seem to hint that they really liked my hair (better?) that way. Guess who hasn’t had it straight since then? I wanted to make a point that I was not phased by their sudden interest in my straight hair. It shouldn’t matter, but I want people to know that I LOVE my natural hair and don’t need it straight to feel beautiful.

  25. Soul_Sunshine says:

    I’m not natural at the moment but I was on and off for the past 11 years. I’ll grow my hair out, relax it, shave it low, grow it back natural again…that’s my hair cycle. I happen to be in my relaxed phase. I love it just as much as my napptural state. Hair for me is a accessory, I change my hair like people change purses and shoes. That’s the beauty of being a black woman.I get tons of compliments either way. I People have always been very positive and they just know not to get use to any look for too long. When people put to much emphasize on their hair be it relaxed or straight, cause for some introspective thinking.

  26. Soul_Sunshine says:

    *excuse the typos, I was typing rather fast*

  27. I still cannot find a good response to “you have good hair, so you can wear your hair natural,” without getting into the long good/bad hair debate. It’s really frustrating and time consuming to explain natural hair facts to people who have so much ignorance about natural hair. Now, I just say to them “too bad you got bad hair,” and go on my merry way.
    Love what you do, AfroBella, Thanks for all your information!

  28. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, my family and friends are pretty supportive of me going natural. My mom even got some advice from a natural co-worker of hers and helped me put it in twists. Although the last time she helped me she said, “Remember when you cut off all your hair? It’s all grown back now, if you put a relaxer in it, it would look really healthy.” I chose not to start an argument over that comment, but healthy? Really? *sigh* She means well.

  29. Under the Radar says:

    I’ve gotten mostly positive feedback on my natural hair.

    Sometimes it comes in the form of side-eye staring or what I call complimentary insults, but I know that’s just curious awe–lol–so I take it all in stride.

    I find that people assume positive stuff about me due to it–that I’m confident, healthful, peace-loving, intelligent.

    Not that I’m not those things to a large (and sometimes lesser) degree but their assumptions are amusing and keep me on my toes!

  30. I’m from Baltimore and I’m happy to say sisters do a little of everything hair-wise and it’s all good. I’m in my mid-40s and I’m lucky that one of my grandmothers, my mother and a bunch of aunts were/are natural hair wearers. The only hate I’ve ever got was from a sister who owned a natural hair care salon – “I know you didn’t come in here with those chemicals in your hair!” No love for a transitioning sister LOL!

  31. I have been natural for two years. What’s sad is that the most annoying and rude comments are always from my own people. Although I get complimented on my hair more often than I receive negative comments. The most depressing things I hear from sistas are “I wish I could do that but my husband/boyfriend/mama/profession would not like it.” or “I don’t have your kind of hair.” I am deeply saddened by these statements. It always boils down to acceptance. Women should have the freedom to do what they want without feeling like something so small as a hair style will be the end of the world. When I went natural I had certain family members and friends tell me I would not get a job because my hair is too nappy and white America would not take me seriously. I just trusted in myself and did what was best for me. Although I straighten occasionally, it will be a cold day in hell before I ever go back to the creamy crack! LOL.

  32. I usually get “Oh, you can do that cause you have GOOD hair! Lord chile, you were BLESSED!”

    I just smile cause I don’t know what to say that. Especially to older folks that I’m not supposed to talk back to. :/

  33. Geez I’m well over 40 and I remember going through what you all are talking about back in the late ’60s. I thought It was over. But then again I have a cousin that still speaks of people having “Good Hair” so maybe it’s not over after all. African Americans don’t teach or hand down enough positive self image info. I thought hair these days was all about the look I didn’t really believe black women were still self conscious about our curls. Welcome to the land of the free ladies Congratulation on kickin’ that creamy crack.

  34. See, when folks start with the hair questions, I start answering their questions w/ my own questions. “How do YOU get your hair like that?” “What do YOU do to YOUR hair to make it look that way?” They don’t think it’s funny, but I crack myself up. And it stops the nonsense before it starts.

    It can be tricky too, because many times, it starts off with a glowing compliment “I LOVE your hair”, then the “but” comes in, & from there, the descent into Dumbassville.

    Bella, these types of encounters are exactly why I refuse to discuss my hair with anyone who isn’t either natural already or seriously considering making the transition. I am not the Natural Hair Answer Gyrl, take all that random curiousity mess to someone with the time or patience to answer, I am not the one.

    As Chatty Patty said, it’s just a waste of time to try to explain to them & many times, frustrating & disheartening. I’m not here to handhold, coddle or convince you that your hair is beautiful in its own state, regardless of your natural curl pattern. You gotta get there on your own, if you’re so inclined, just like I did. But neither am I here to judge (not overly anyways),I could care less what you do, one way or the other.

    @Zenzele & Miko,
    I feel you. I also feel that a lot of chicks with straightened hair feel like they have to explain their hair choice to me, like I care. “You can wear your hair like that but my hair won’t look like that”, “It’s just hair”, etc. Okay…I never said anything about your hair, knock yourself out…

    So, I’ve just learned not to engage from the beginning unless I pick up on some genuine interest & knowledge seeking going on. I keep my replies short & monosyllabic & that usually kills it.

  35. Recently I had a co-worker ask about my natural hair specifically if I had anything in it (i.e. relaxer). When I told her no, I am all natural and have been for almost a decade she said to me” WELL YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT, YOU AIN’T GOT NO HUSBAND”. I was stunned into complete silence. Now while it is true that I am NOT married, it has NOTHING to do with my hair being natural. Oooh Lawd, just typing about her insult got me steaming. But I digress… Long story short….not long after her comment she attached via glue or needle a curly haired weave… Coincidence.. I THINK NOT!!!

  36. I’m a biracial baby and I have curls that turn into a wannabe afro puff if left alone for a couple of days and start to locc up at the ends if I get REALLY lazy (read: stop brushing). I enjoy all the things that my hair does on a day to day basis (never the same … EVER) and have grown to look forward to the next day’s shenanigans.

    When I was younger, I didn’t know how to take care of my hair that well. It was either leaving it in a bun or in pigtail braids for school and was a frizzy mess otherwise. I hated getting through all the damn knots & that after I was done I semi resembled a poodle. My mom didn’t budge though. She told me if I didn’t like my hair she could always shave me bald (8yr olds love that… not!).

    But then I deep conditioned, gelled, moussed, glossed, and detangled. A whole new world opened up and I started wearing my curls out as much as possible, or managing my frizz into a pretty puff. In my life I only straightened my hair 2.5 times (the .5 was a failed attempt that was washed out within hours).

    When people see me, they always ask if that’s my real hair. Then they ask if I ever straightened it. Why? Why does it matter? I LOVE it AS IS!!

    When I was younger and people directed questions at my mom as though I wasn’t present, she got tired of it and started telling people she spends thousands of dollars on my hair to look that way. She said if they were asking outrageous questions, they deserved outrageous answers.

  37. Kandice Alston says:

    I’ve been growing out my perm since June this year and last nite after taking down my Marley twist, I did my big chop. I went to see my mother so she could help me cut all the str8 ends out.The whole while she argued and debated with me on the decision to go natural. Well, like always, Mama has an influence on my thoughts and decisions. So this morning I have a wig on that I made. I feel horrible and not at all how I wanted or expected to feel. This isnt my first time with the natural look. My 2nd semester in college I used the clippers and cut ALL my hair off because of a “Stella” moment. I had just gone through a bad breakup and just needed a change. I used texturizers and products galore on my hair to get the wave pattern I desired. This time, I want to wear MY HAIR! No creams or anything unnatural. When I get in the mirror I enjoy what I see. I think it’s so different and pretty dang cute on me. I want to feel free. Im not sure if I have made the right decision tho because Im still concerned with other people’s comments. I live in a very small town with people that have very closed minds. How do I break my shell.

  38. I usually wear my hair in braids and take a break from them every two months. Hardly many people recognise me unbraided and when they do – the questions start! I don’t mind it as they are eager to learn.

    Glad to see you are focusing on hair-related topics again.

  39. I don’t get it.. why haven’t we moved past this has it been that long since “black was beautiful” and we had “black-power” and the afro was the dream of every little girl… after wearing my hair natural for 10 year .. i permed it.. at the same time..my daughter left for college (HBCU)with 14 inches of relaxed hair..healthy mind you.. to have an “epiphany” one morning getting ready for class.. and decided to cut it down to less than an inch..her dad tripped, i flipped and in the end.. it’s just hair ….. she does regret it.. every single day…she wants her hair back..every one isn’t meant to be happy nappy.. at this point in my life.. i love my long relaxed hair, it’s me..for now.. my advice to my child.. is this.. natural or relaxed it’s your’s ….the thing about being a person of color.. we are all so ver ..different…and free to just “BE” as different as we are.. black as a berry, bright as sunshine and happy… nappy or not..

  40. salimandra says:

    I get you misu, my 21 y/o daughter did the same thing.. she’s finally finding the right products and loving her natural hair, I hope your daughter finds what works for her. For me, my coworkers reacted to my short afro as if I did something criminal. I can honestly say that people who look like me are worst than those who don’t. They think I set us back years, in this corporate environment where I am the only natural person on staff. It’s funny, how awful one glance from a permed sister can make you feel. We are our own worse enemies sometimes..

  41. Such a timely topic, Bella! I’m asked questions DAILY about my hair. So much so, I often enjoy the non-issue my hair becomes when it is straight.

    The questions are all over the map. From the harmless “what products do you use?” to the reee-damn-diculous “Sooooooo, are both of your parents black??” As if my african american mother and father could not possibly mix dna to create a child who has hair like I do. Really?? Are we really that hair ignorant in ’09??? * le sigh *

    It amazes me that when my hair is in its natural state that people feel compelled to give me their unsolicited opinion. I don’t walk up to chicks with weaves to their booties and give them my opinion (for the record my motto to is: its hair. either grow it or sew it! So I could care less about someone’s weave unless I see tracks..lol)

  42. I get crazy comments all the time especially from the women in my family. My own mama did not want me to go natural b/c she remembered how “bad” my edges were when I was a little girl! But honestly, I do what I wanna do, when I want to, so I just smile and say God made me & my hair and everything God touches is GOOD! Probably what irks me more than anything is someone making negative comments in front of my 4 year old daughter. My husband and I make sure that she understands that she is beautiful and so is her hair and that she does not have to hair that “hangs” and that “puffy hair” is great. I pray that our talks and positive reinforcement will stick with her as she continues to grow.

  43. crystal g. says:

    When i wear my hair in it’s curly state- black women usually say “if my hair could do that i would wear it like that too; by the way is that all you (all my natural hair)”. When i wear it in a afro or afro puff… i usually get half who hate it and half who love it; more or less depending on where i go.I usually get compliments from other races when i wear a afro- it’s a funny reality. But black people always tend to ask “is that all your hair?”

  44. I have unquestionably NAPPY hair that’s currently about 8″ long. Usually nobody says anything to me about it. Every once in a while I’ll get a compliment from a nonblack person. If people have a problem with it, they at least keep it to themselves. All of this is FINE with me. I truly could not care less what people think of my hair.

    Now, if someone asks me about natural hair and I sense that they’re genuinely interested, then I’ll give advice. Otherwise, if I start hearing defensive statements from black women like “Oh, I couldn’t do that,” etc. I say, “Okay,” and change the subject.

    I’ve long since stopped trying to talk about this subject (natural hair) to black women and in a way it’s a good thing I don’t have the kind of hair texture that generates the kinds of comments mentioned here. It’s obvious I DON’T have what ignorant people deem “good” hair, so maybe people stay away from me because they think I’m crazy, lol.

  45. Blogreader says:

    I’ve been wearing my hair totally natural after growing out a very light relaxer for 18 months. The response has been quite positive. If people ask me how I do my hair I send them an email with suggestions, including links to http://www.naturallycurly.com and this blog.

  46. I’m an afro-latina (Puerto Rican) and I’ve been natural since I was 15 years old (with some creamy crack weakness in between). I’m 26 now and it wasn’t until now that (thanks to sites like your’s) that I’ve been able to take care of my hair.

    When I was 15 I had my BC after an embarrasing hair faux pas in highschool. I got so frustrated with relaxers that I chopped it all off. That’s when I got more respect from my classmates. After my hair grew out a bit more I got dreadlocks. Let me tell you, everybody loved them! I was complimented non stop for years! People were even sad to see me chopped them off. LoL. They were getting to heavy for me and my migraines.

    I’ve been sporting a TWA and I get compliments all the time. My BFF who is white loves to touch my hair. Personally I like having my hair touched because it feels like a massage! XD

    I’ve never got many of the questions on how I got my hair like that/is that really my hair. I like in/near the city and its very diverse and so are the hairstyles in my area.

    The only “negative” comment I can remember at the moment was when my mother in law said I’d need to cut my hair down because I couldn’t grow it out because I’d look like Don King. WTH?! She is white, but she meant well. It was about the whole being accepted in the workplace thing. I’m not going to sweat it. She’s seen my bedhead and I think that’s what she thought my hair naturally looks like. ROFL!! It is until I find my afro pick! XXXDDD

    And my fellow Puerto Ricans also have embraced my natural hair. My relatives used to ask if I was going to “get it done” but, those stopped as soon as they saw how happy I am with my hair. Same with with all my sistas and brothas out there.

    So its all what you make of it. Turn negatives into positives and like everybody here says: Do you!

    God Bless everyone! <3

  47. I wasn’t going to comment on this thread, because my sentiments have already been said by other posters. I was at a speed dating event last night and these two women kept going on and on about my hair. They liked it, but of COURSE, the knew it wouldn’t look right on them. They just kept going on and on about how they just can’t wear natural hair. I was unsure of how they wanted me to respond. Either you want to do it or you don’t. If you don’t feel you can do it, there’s no reason to pontificate on your hair texture and it’s “unruliness.” I’m not standing over you with a pair of shears, waiting to cut off your relaxed ends!

    I’m glad my martini was kicking in otherwise, I’m sure I would have been openly rolling my eyes.

    Most women in my family are natural, so my transition was not a big deal. and most of my friends are relaxed, so I never got any pushback from those who I am close to.

  48. O! how I enjoyed this article, so many many valid points, I couldn’t have written it better myself.

    It made me smile because I know change gone come (sam cooke).

    Light the way Ladies.
    Light the way.
    Leading by example is the only way.

    Thanks for sharing.

  49. SmileyFaceInAlabama says:

    Salut! I’m a black girl in Alabama who just turned fourteen and has worn my hair natural all my life. I don’t get all that much love for my hair… in fact I kinda get a cold shoulder when I wear my hair out(my favorite) instead of in braids.
    Then there are the kids who call my twists “spaghettis” in that sugar-sweet ‘joking’ way that 15-year-old girls have. A few ladies of elder generations firmly hint that I get a perm. The few compliments I get are from people out of town…
    I’m prolly going to do the Baka Beauty naturalaxer thingy and then just flatiron my hair…mabye experiment with color, I’m thinking pinks or reds…(this is not because of peer pressure, btw…it’s totally my choice!)

  50. I didn’t have any issues with friends or family about going natural. Plus I do not feel like I have to please anyone or get validation from people about my hair. I always felt that it is important to do what makes you happy. I gotten compliments from people of all races. It’s how you carry yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. I enjoyed reading this article and responses. Bye Beautiful Bellas! :)

  51. Malaika B. says:

    Hai all!

    I’m 22 and been natural all my life. My parents wore their hair in dreadlocks so I’ve always loved my hair and never felt the need to use chemicals, even though the pressure to do so was overwhelming

    Growing up in the Caribbean it seemed most people of color couldn’t understand and would always question my parents and my choice to be natural.’..O wauw! Her hair is so full and thick, when are you going to relax it? It would look so much better!!!’ Thankfully I loved being different and have always been proud of the natural state of my hair, so I’d always turn to them,laugh and ask why I would do that?!
    My family has always loved me for that.

    The ‘Hair’ situation’s different now. Living in the Netherlands people LOVE my hair.They see how much fun I have with it and sometimes even seem jealous.Because I love reading blogs ,such as yours, or checking youtube for inspiration I get creative and have fun with my curls. Strangers now walk up to me and ask for advice how to get there hair like mine. Their remarks about their hair being to curly or ‘nappy’ just make me happier I never felt that way. I always smile and suggest these blogs and reassure them that with some effort, they’d look AMAZING (just like me;)).
    {It’s always better then that burning sensation I’ve heard of!!!}

    And yes, for the few that don’t like my hair, well that never bothered me in the past, so why now..

    Peace!:D

  52. I’ve had this conversation way too many times to recount. I get annoyed because there is no point in me trying to tell you YOU need to love and accept the texture God has blessed you with. So many women that I’ve encountered wanted my hair texture, and it makes the conversation next to impossible.

  53. I’ve been natural for about 6 years now. Transitioning was the hardest part, especially being in corporate America. The funny thing was that is was my “sisters” who gave me the most grief with questions like, “Soooo, what are you doing with your hair?” and “Is THAT the style you were going for?

    After 2.5 years I transitioned to locs and that was another trying time for my co-workers. Now that my locs have matured and are shoulder length, I get… “Well, I like YOURS cause they look neat.” or “How do you keep them from looking nappy and dirty like my neice/nephew.” And these are the compliments, well they are supposed to be. LOL

    There are a lot of women who have never known the texture of their hair. Parents are so quick to pull out a “hot comb” or put a perm in infants hair. The wrong products and tools are used, those that strip the hair of their natural oils and combs that tear and tangle.

    I too was addicted to “creamy crack” years ago. I over processed my hair when the slightest new growth made its appearance. Not realizing that that hair was damaged by chemicals and not my actual texture.

    When I transitioned I wasn’t aware of Afrobella.com, but did a lot of research on various sites and google groups which helped me through my transition.

  54. I went in Victoria’s Secret a few weeks back and the store clerk just had me baffled. She walked up to me, said she liked my hair, and asked how I got it like this. I was thinking “are you serious, you’re black too, you should know”. So I just told her I was natural and had been for going on 4 years. Then she said she liked the “spongy” look and her daughter’s hair looked the same…smh. Last time I checked my hair didn’t look spongy, actually my hair is not that thick at all, especially when it’s flat ironed (only twice a year is all I can take). I have like 4 different patterns in my head I have yet to figured out what my hair type is.

    • Hello sister, just wanted to say that whenever you flat Iron your “Natural”hair, it sets your hair texture back, again, that is what I found out from those who have done it and professionals.So I just pass on that because I dont want to keep prolonging the objective.Now there are some who are natural but keep their hair flat ironed, that’s their objective..But I prefer the natural curls and waves and afro so again, I wont experiment with the flat irons.

  55. Ha, ha. Some of those questions sound like they came from me. I’m transitioning to natural since June 09 and now I find myself seeking out women who are natural. I usually ask the same generic questions: How long have you been natural? How long did you transition? What made you decide to go natural? I totally agree with the ignorance some of us women have about our own natural hair. I personally could not tell you how my hair looks natural but I’m really anxious to find out. ^_^

  56. i know this is about hair but i think this noseyness and rudeness extends to all area…i cant tell u how many women come up to me ask WHY are u not pregnant yet or WHEN are u having a baby…also question WHY do i think i want a natural birth,,,i think people want to question anything that is diffrent for the norm…and i gt the hair stuff to….sigh

  57. I spent a few months in Brazil last year and many of the women constantly asked me when I was going to get my hair straightened. I had to explain to them that I enjoyed my twists and twist outs, but they found it hard to believe. All the haircare products I saw there were for straightening. There were plenty of stares when I wore my wash and go fro. I stared or smiled back. lol

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