Natural hair — what is it?
It is a term used predominately in the black and some Latino communities to describe the natural hair texture of an individual of African descent opposed to a style that has altered its pattern.
Technically, anyone who wears their hair the way it sprouts out of their head is displaying its natural texture.
Growing up in the 1990s, seeing natural hair was rare. Its usual manifestations were dreadlocks or the famous Afro, but they were rarely seen on a girl. For more than 100 years, black hair was criticized and deemed ugly. When straightening style products came around finding ways to alter hair texture, it became a part of the culture. But to step outside the culture, one was faced with friction.
Around the age of 14, my hair was burned with a curling iron. That required an extremely short cut. I didn’t want to wear my hair natural at the risk of not fitting in, and I was already growing out a perm.
There are two different kinds of perm. There is the one to make the hair very curly and another, a relaxer, to make it very straight.
But not having another option to grow it longer because of the scorching, I followed after my mom who went natural first. Mousse, conditioners and oils were used to revert the texture as the permanent follicles were changing to coils. After a while, the hair grew longer than what it was.
Since coming here, I never had a problem wearing natural hair, ’locks, braids, twists or any other style. But it was always in the back of my mind, “what if no one would understand or approve of it?”
The first time I wore relatively big hair to work, there was a bit of concern. I did so to relieve stress on my scalp and tame the unraveled pattern in the front of my mane caused by pulling it back in a constant bun.
“How does it look,” I asked someone who works in the production area. I thought the weather was being unkind to it that day.
“It looks gorgeous,” he told me.
I’ve had comments similar to that and really appreciated them because they validate that all hair is accepted and found attractive. These were comments not given 20 years ago, but now little girls with coils like my own, or kinkier, can find freedom in their hair at school, work and anywhere else.
Natural hair — what is it?
Look in a mirror and see it.