Natural Hair: Just Hair Today- Or Here To Stay?


By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

In the past month, two of my close girlfriends have big chopped and crossed over to the natural side. They’re having a ball with their teeny weeny afros and are in love with their hair. They told me that seeing my natural hair, as well as other women rocking natural styles, was a big motivation for them. And just this weekend I lost count on all the women rocking afros, sisterlocks, and locks. It was like a natural hair bomb went off! LOL. So the trend makes me wonder:
  • Is this natural hair trend just a fad?
  • Do any of you think you'll ever go back to relaxers?
  • Is natural hair just a style you're rocking now- or is your natural hair here to stay?
Sound off!

Dr. Phoenyx wants to be your curlfriend! Have a question or comment for her? You can find Dr. Phoenyx on her Facebook fan page. And on Twitter @IAmPhoenyx

51 Weigh in!:
kitka82 said...

I stopped relaxing my hair in April 2010, and big-chopped in September of the same year, before I knew anything about a natural hair "movement" or CurlyNikki.com. For years I had wanted to grow my hair to shoulder length and have it not fall out, and did not know how to do that without cutting it off and starting again. I had no intention of turning back to relaxing. I anticipated the day when my 4 year old daughter would ask why I put "that creamy, stinky stuff" in my hair. I could not come up with an answer that would make sense. Even though her curls are looser and silker than my cottony, coily hair--I did not want her to think that her natural hair was anything but extraordinary.

A year and two months later, I know I'm in it for life.

Kara J said...

This is an excellent question. Really I been thinking about this for a while. I can remember when I went natural it was not for some throught provoking reason it was because my hair could not handle color and a relaxer. I am not anti-relaxer, it just was not for my hair. Personally I think people are becoming more aware of their hair so it may not be a fad. I think the best way to determine that is to see after the twa stage. I know for myself after the twa stage it was the hardest because it was in that "in between stage" could not really find the perfect style. But I really think natural hair is here to stay. Since I been natural for 3 years I doubt if I go back to a relaxer but I am definately thinking about dreading.

Alta Angel said...

I started this natural journey because of a simple question by my daughter. I could not eloquently or reasonably explain to a 5 year old (at the time) why my hair was different than hers. The fact that my girls are watching me and see me as their primary female role model was enough reason for me to start this journey. Transitioning for 16 months, reading blogs, and ultimately falling in love with my hair is what keeps me on this natural hair journey for life. I wore my hair relaxed/chemically processed for 25 years. I look forward to spending the rest of my life natural.

Tia said...

For some, it is a fad. I've never had a relaxer so this is all I know and I am 100% I will never get one - they are not just appealing to me. Recently I have actually starting losing more and more of my natural friends back to the relaxed side because they either didn't get the length they wanted or the longer their hair got, the more work it was for them.

Anonymous said...

My hair became a limp noodle when it was permed. Whatever the reason, overprocessing or whatever I don't want that anymore. I love when my hair has body. I have always loved versitiity, one thing I could never do with my hair permed was rock a fro. Bad hair days consisted of a slicked back ponytail. Im not a perm hater by any means, if your hair flourishes with it, thats great. I've discovered my natural tresses and I am in love with them.

TiAnna Mae said...

I know I will never go back to a relaxer, because I enjoy the freedom that being natural gives me. I am pretty much in charge of my hair destiny, and not some crazy, scissor happy, apathetic stylist. I also am anticipating having a daughter, and I don't want to answer to her about my hair.

tiannamae.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

For me its a lifestyle change....hair, eating, exercise and etc. This is my second time going natural, it helps me reveal the true me. I was worried about the upkeep of my sometimes insubordinate locs, but thanks to this site I have been educated on the proper care of my hair. My last relaxer was in April 2010,I bc'ed in March of this year and my hair has been thriving ever since. Thank you my fellow curlies....for making this lifetime journey an easy transition!!!!

LNW said...

I chose to go natural for one reason and one reason only: I was tired of worrying about what my hair was going to look like post work out. With that being said, I am over 8 months into this natural thing, wishing I had done it years ago! I love the way my fro looks before and after a run. I love the fact that I can workout before work, and my hair can still be on point. I also love the added bonus of being natural: healthy hair. I can not see myself ever going back to a relaxer.

Anonymous said...

I went natural 13 years ago, so this it isn't just a fad for me. I think the trend will continue to grow as more women realize they can enjoy the benefit of natural hair (healthy tresses) without compromising on style and flexibility. I am not anti-relaxer or anti-weave and I can't stand natural hair "fascists". Whatever works for each woman is fine by me.

I do hope the natural hair trend will lead to many more moms opting not to relax their daughters' hair. There are so many fantastic hair care and styling products available for all hair types, so there's really no reason to relax a little girl's hair.

I also appreciate the sistas who work in professional, corporate careers for daring to wear their hair in its natural glory. Racial discrimination and negative perceptions will never change if no one has the courage to challenge them. We shouldn't be forced to alter the God-given texture of our hair to succeed in our careers.

LadyV69 said...

I didn't go natural nearly two years ago for political reasons. I did it because I wanted healthier hair. I was losing my edges and I was tired of the burns and scabs. Plus, my hair never grew past shoulder length with a relaxer. You couldn't pay me to go back to a relaxer. I love the versatility of natural hair. I'll do twist and curls when I'm 90.

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

For some its a fad. But I hope that unlike the 70's it stays around. It's easier for those of us who will choose to stay natural, if there are more natural women around. But when I look at the like of Jill Scott and Tracy Ellis Ross who have recently processed their hair, I'm hoping others don't follow suit.

Anonymous said...

I went natural because i was tired of my permed hair and because I had a girl and didnt know how to take care of her hair. So what better way to learn how to take care of my daughters hair. I dont care if its a trend. I am in it for healthyt hair.

Anonymous said...

I've been natural for more than a decade and have never seriously considered going back to relaxers. I'm noticing way more natural hair on women of color than I did back when I transitioned. While it's a larger segment than a decade ago, natural hair appears to still be very much in the minority or a niche market or "fringe" thing and will always be in the minority/niche market until weaves, chemical straightening products such as relaxers and hot combs/flat irons are banned or outlawed. Even then I believe there will be a thriving black market for them--a market overwhelmingly larger than the natural care product market. There would have to be a major shift in the standard of beauty for it to be any other way. I just don't see natural hair becoming the norm among black women in my lifetime. But the natural niche will remain.

Anonymous said...

I think now that there is so much information and access to products and services, more women will stay natural. All we've needed is an understanding of our hair and products that will help us maintain. Before that product was a relaxer and it isn't anymore. While some women will surely go back to relaxers, I think more will stay with their God-given hair and love it.

Anonymous said...

I have to say for me it is not a fad. This is my 3rd time "going natural" and it has been my longest stint thus far, going on 4 years (the previous two times I relaxed after about a year and half).

However, that is not to say I would not relax again. I just don't think it would be any time soon. I have long relaxed hair and I have set a personal goal for myself to try to get to at least BSL as natural. For some naturals, this seems to be an easy task, but it would be an amazing feat for me. My hair is fine and not very dense, so it just seems to break easily.

After I reach the BSL goal, who knows. I may get bored with my hair again and relax. I've also toyed with the idea of getting loc'd. I guess time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I went natural 13 years ago, so definitely not a fad for me. I went natural due to relaxer damage and once I felt my natural hair I was hooked and have never looked back. As far as the "natural hair fad" and if it here to stay well it depends. I think at this moment there are a plethora of products out here that meets the demand of the natural hair diva which wasn't the case when I went natural. Also there are a plethora of blogs, websites, youtube sensations where a person who is new to the journey and even someone like me who has been on this journey can go and check out ways to maintain health, create styles, etc. It's a fun time to be natural and it's just a matter of whether or not the person who decides to take this plunge wants to stay on this path or choose another, choice is up to them.

Demetria said...

I have been natural going on 4 years and I wouldn't change a thing.
I love my natural hair and it is so refreshing to see the images on tv changing. I first noticed it with commercials now more celebs are getting it. I went to cosmetology school because of natural hair, I love it just that much. My teachers are amazed at what can be done to natural hair and I'm glad that I can educate. I believe with more education and more products geared toward natural hair that it's here to stay. No shade to the relaxed sistah's if that's your preference go for it, but it's nice to educate yourself on the pro's and cons of both natural and relaxed hair.

G said...

I've been natural 9 years and it fits me perfectly. Can't see myself ever changing that.

Michelle said...

NEVER...I'm never going back to relaxing my hair. I love my curl pattern. It's very managable (which I didn't even realize while I was relaxing). I also love how my hair is coming back to life after having no relaxer for several years.

My mom's hair is very thin after years of relaxing. she's now all natural but the damage has yet to be reversed. BUT we are henna-ing this weekend together :-)

everythingiric said...

It's difficult to go natural as a fad because "natural" is so much more than just what you do to your hair.

Those who go into it thinking it's a phase will learn quickly that it's much too time consuming and intricately tied to other aspects of one's life for it to be so.

From my perspective, going "natural" forces you to reevaluate everything: what you eat, what types of bad habits you have, how you take care of your skin, how you maintain your health, and so forth.

I personally don't see myself moving away from it because of how it affects everything else I do.

Does that mean I will never non-chemically straighten my hair, or wear a weave? No. Sometimes I just want a change. However, this doesn't mean that I'm giving up on what has now become an extension of myself.

Dara said...

And then you have our young girls who are highly influenced by musicians like Nicki Minaj...and in one of her songs, she states "These lil nappy headed h#@s need a perminator" and they are saying things like I'm gonna throw "a just for me perm" at your head, and just going on and on about it. That goes to show you that it is a movement, but for those who are easily influenced, it will be a fad.

KeetaRay said...

For me, it's definitely not a trend. I don't ever plan to go back to relaxers. I am truly enjoying being natural and the freedom that comes with it. Being natural has also affected other things such as what I eat, for example. I'm just more conscious in general of what I put into my body, what I use on my skin, my scalp, etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't think so, I believe we didn't have enough access to information on how to take care of our hair and straight hair for some reason was the acceptable way to go. But with FB, YouTube, natural hair blogs and websites, we now have a wealth of information on how to look after our hair and people are so willing to share that information with you. I believe we now have the means to try and look after the hair we have been blessed with and try and see if we can make it work.

Lisa said...

I honestly think it's a fad. The explosion of natural hair (and ethnic clothing) will die down just as a new trend takes hold. I've been natural for about 5 years and I can say I'm really enjoying the versatility so I doubt I'll ever perm again, but I don't see the general popularity of being natural sticking around for more than a few years.

Naturally Twisted said...

I just wrote about that subject on my blog - Naturally Twisted! For me, I'll never say never to any hair style. I went natural 10 years ago, and relaxed my hair after a few years. I've now been natural again for 4+ years. I love my hair in its natural state, and now that I do more with it, I don't see myself going back....but I don't know what the future holds. I just want natural hair to be considered normal, and for us all to stop judging each other for our hair choices.

mangomadness said...

Is this natural hair trend just a fad?
--Not for me. with that daid it may be for some.

Do any of you think you'll ever go back to relaxers?
--Never.

Is natural hair just a style you're rocking now- or is your natural hair here to stay?
--Natural hair is not a "style"--It's ones non-chemically altered hair texture. My natural hair is here to stay.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had any caustic soda (relaxer, lye etc) on my scalp for more than 10 yrs and i have had a fade for at least 9 of those - a bit obsessed with my head shape - everyone says its beautiful. Plus I hate paying someone huge sums of money to fry my thick gorgeous kinky coils!

Chan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Never had a perm/relaxer, so I wont be getting one. I can still straighten it though and make it look like a perm LOL.

Chan said...

I starting going natural in 2008 before I realized there was ever a movement or fad. And I"m actually not into fads. Many of us had NO IDEA how great our hair was. Many of us never thought we could do it, until we saw others do it successfully. I feel that it's more of an awakening than a fad. We've been tricked all these years to believe our hair was bad??? I love my natural hair SO much better than my relaxed hair, so, I will never go back.

Anonymous said...

I was natural my entire life until I went to college, after a year and a half of relaxer, it couldn't take, I had to return to my natural state. The relaxer was the fad for me, but i know going natural will be a fad for others.

Anonymous said...

I can't say the same thing for everyone, because some individuals do follow trends and may only be natural for the short haul.

For me, this is for life. I can't image going back to relaxers. I haven't regretted my decision ONCE since I big chopped a a year and a half ago.

I LOVE the styling options that I have, the fact that I can exercise intensely and STILL be able to maintain a beautiful hairstyle the next day, and the uniqueness of my own hair.

I never felt this way about my hair when it was relaxed. I actually take care of my hair... i'm really careful of how I treat it, what I do to it, what I put into it, how I manipulate it, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I liked my hair when it was relaxed and straight all the time. I got my hair done every two weeks. But it is SOOO DIFFERENT now that my hair is natural. I won't let anyone touch my hair besides myself, cuz I am afraid that a stylist won't but the care into it that I would. THAT is how much I LOVE my hair. :-)

I'm natural for life.

honeybrown1976 said...

I'm through with relaxers. My hair has had more health in my transition than it has as a relaxed head. So, I'll look for other alternatives to avoid relaxers.

I'm sure for some it's a fad; but, I'm focusing on myself.

Anonymous said...

My natural hair is here to stay!!! I've been natural for over 10 years. I do not miss the creamy crack (LOL)! Well,anyway I love my natural hair so much that I recently did a self challenge on my straight versa curly. I went to the Dominicans hair Salon got my hair super straight after wearing my twist outs for most of the spring and now summer. I wanted to see how people reacted to the straight versa the curly. People love the curly natural style better. Strangers were looking at my hair more than having it straight. Oh, the men love the curly look. I get so many hello(s) with the curly versa the straight. I guess the straight is the norm and the curly makes me look exotic and more vibrant. Recently, I ran into an ex…..he kept smiling and complimented me on my curly hair. When we were together he loved me in ponytails (Please don't ask me why...I guess the little girl look turned him on) I was rocking a beautiful twist out and I knew I looked hot that day. Please keep it natural ladies. You hair will thank you for it!!

Anonymous said...

I think it could be a fad or trend. I think the fashion of hair could change in a few years and take a lot of naturals with it. I hope to never use relaxers again because I like having a healthy scalp and I am enjoying the look of my hair. But I honestly don't think I would have been one to go out there and be a trendsetter if others weren't doing it first.

Anonymous said...

I went natural for one major reason. I didn't want to be bald as I got older. I"ve seen many (too many) older women still relaxing, but they are almost bald. I didn't want that to be me. I was tried of burning scalp, and having chemicals placed into my hair. I played with the idea of going natural a year before I actually did it. I finally had my last relaxer in February 2010, and I haven't looked back. For me, the creamy crack is no longer an option. I won't looked down upon my sister who is still relaxing her hair. It's her choice. My curls/coils/kinks are here to stay.

Imogen said...

I will NEVER go back to a relaxer. The only reason I used one was because it was put in my head when I was too young to say "no merci." If I want to wear my hair long with loose curls: BAM! I can! If I want to wear it in sweet curling locks: shaBAM! Done! If I want a fro, I just step out of the shower and keep playing in it until its dry!

No relaxer! No thank you.
It's unnecessary, unhealthy and unwanted!

But you know, I did think that going "natural" was only wearing your hair naturally curly and not straightening it. But I think I'll still straighten my hair sometimes; I like to keep it fresh. And I love that curly hair gives me the OPTION of doing that. Plus, I don't have to go to a mean beautician who really doesn't care about my hair, just giving me an $80 perm. If I ever go to a beautician now, it's my cousin who specializes in natural, healthy hair.

Anonymous said...

I am keeping my hair natural hands down. When I had a perm (relaxer) whatever you want to call it. My hair was hot a** mess. My hair was ruined and my Mommy knew it. My Mom cared so much for my hair. I have curly, wavy and soft hair. Growing up my girlfriends would say you have good hair. I dislike the term good hair. What is bad hair?? For some reason as we get to be a teenager when think a perm is better for our appearance. A relaxer (perm) does not make your hair relaxed. It takes away your texture. I am so glad I am back to natural (8 years and counting). My hair looks better, smells better and feels better. When I had a perm, sure it looked nice, but it didn't smell nice and I kept dry flaky scalps. I wear twist outs now and I have the most beautiful curls. If you are thinking about going back to a relaxer, please give it some serious consideration. Keep your natural hair, because it’s the right thing to do. I love being natural. I am a natural for life!! Thanks Nikki….you did it again keeping it real for the naturals.

Star said...

I'll be glad when natural hair will be considered the "NORM" instead of a "TREND". Its kinda sad how we have hair issues more than anyone else & that we have more pressure to change our hair other than what it naturally is. As for me, I have no plans of going back to relaxing anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

I've been natural for 9 months. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. I feel so beautiful and authentic. I know you can never say never, but...based on how I feel right now, I never plan to relax my hair again.

Anonymous said...

I agree with several posts on this question and that is natural hair may be a fad for some but I think for those of us who have had damaged, relaxed hair, it will be here to stay. The key for me is that we are more knowledgeable about our hair and we have options!! Many of us did not believe we could wear our hair in a natural state. I am going on 4 years being natural and wore my hair relaxed for 25 years! I had no clue how to handle my hair in its natural state and did not recall what it was like before I got it relaxed (except it was very thick and I had a lot of it that my mom eventually, after 4 girls, got tired of pressing and braiding!!) I wanted to stop the relaxers like 10 yrs or so ago but didn't know what to do because that was all I knew...I started noticing my hairline thinning at that time and would ask my stylist to put the mild relaxer on and not to let it sit.

Now with all of the blogs, companies, websites that have created products and provided information about caring for our natural hair, it is much easier for me to work with my natural hair and it is much healthier, thicker, longer...I have NO hair issues and love doing my hair myself!!

I love my hair in its natural state because it is ME the way God intended me and no one can go get their hair done to look like me...we all are different and we should celebrate our differences and choices/options that are available for styling our hair.

I do believe it may be a fad for the younger women who may not have yet experienced what years of relaxing your hair (and aging) can do to your hair. But for me being over 40, I know I will never go back to relaxing because this is the best state my hair has been in!

If I want to rock a straight style, I can roller set ir, wrap or flat iron it...I can twist it, braid it out, bun it, etc. but my hair really is at its best in its natural curly state...most people think I am years younger when I wear my natural fro!!

Keisha said...

I dont see how natural hair can be seen as a trend or a fad, when its something that you are born with... How something innate ever be considered a trend or a fad? Having a relaxer is the trend and fad... being natural is not.

Anonymous said...

No fad here because this is the real deal. Each time I got my hair permed I felt this cold, foul smelling substance on my head and I would question myself as to why I was sitting through this. Untile two years ago I said enough and started to transition (not knowing what that was), with braids.

@ everythingiric you raise some good points. I actually had stopped wearing nail polish and make up, gave up red meat and only eat fiah and organic chicken, and had been excercising for a while before I thought about going natural. It was definitely a progression.

Camille said...

I've been natural my whole life. I've never straighten my hair, never put heat on my hair, and never put chemicals in my hair. I'm pretty sure these curls are here to stay =)

Anonymous said...

I didn't go natural because of a hair movement my hair was over processed to a point that I had a bald spot in the middle of my head and I said enough. I don't think i will go back to a relaxer. I did that the first time I went natural 10 years ago and I kinda regreted it. My second time around I'm a year in and loving it and learning so much. I may go straight again but only by pressing my hair and not often. I'm in it for the long haul.

Anonymous said...

I tried natural ( 2 months) and had a hard time with the nappy thicker curlier hair. I might try it again after my hair grows back down my back. My daughter love the nature style. She is 23 years old and it is the trend.

Anonymous said...

I never had a relaxer. I've never really been a press-n-curl type of girl either. Only during big events was I able to get my hair straightened. I thought I looked awkward with straight hair, anyway. When I found this, I had to smile. Natural hair is here to stay as long as one woman is willing to keep her hair the way it grows out of her scalp.

Anonymous said...

I learned to never say never, but I went natural around 2004 and stayed that way for around 3 years or so and didn't know what to do with it so I went and got a relaxer and a fly haircut. But I missed the texture of my natural so I let it grow back out after my wedding in 2010. Now it's just me, and I want to see it reach lengths it never did before.

Anonymous said...

This is about my fifth time going natural and each time I went back to permed hair was sorry. I guess you wonder why I went back so many times. Mostly for career, but for brothers too! I attracted more fellows when I had permed hair. But I never really like my hair unless it was natural. I love the way it feels, no rollers, and long waits at the hair dresser. Well any I think that natural hair will more3 than likely be a fad; but for me I will never perm again. my hair is an extension of who I am. Black, beatiful and proud. Fad time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I have been natural for about 16 months. I love it! I really think it is here to stay for me. I do not think I will go back to a relaxer. If I ever want the straight look I will get a press out. I am in love with the hair on my head so I will continue to embrace it!!!!

Anonymous said...

I never had a problem with my hair when it was permed, not much breakage always long and had lots of body. I am the color girl, i love hair color lol, but with that requires more hair care and lots of conditioner lol ( wasn't a problem). As i continued to grow in life picking up a few more resposibilities (no longer into myself or time spending on hair, lost patients for doing my own hair)I began with the pin-up do's and the go to ponitails or braiding my hair when wet and allow to try then take out the braids to rock the wavy look. I didnt want to go out the way spending time on my hair, having to gey up extra early to prepare self and commute to ny for school. (those in between perm moments started on my nerves especially around the time of the "RED" weeks lol i didnt like anything. i conitnued with the ponytails and pin up do's for a long while. My BF complained that i didnt do much to my hair and perhaps i had just got comfortable in our relationship (some nerve!). For him o tried to keep up the hair, but eventually failed for it is costly, dont have the money to continue to spend on hair stuff and the upkeep of it. i didnt feel like dealing with it. Long story shortened I found myself not perming my hair. i always joked around saying i was gonna cut all of it off and be bald, never had the real nerve to do so. I came home one day and washed my hair decided i was going to do my hair (night before work) and got aggravated because the hair would not work with me at all! I had about 4 inches of new growth and trying to comb through both perm n natural hair was a mess. I took the sissors and parted my hair, i cut my has where perm met new growth! did this parting my hair starting from thte back to the front. when i was done it hit me lol i cut off my hair! thats when i paniced a little bit. My hair was blonde at the time with dark brown roots. I rewashed it put some hair lotion in it and walla! curly fro was born! I have been natural for going on 8 months now. must admit it is a challenge (if trying to come up with styles) but well worth it. I dont have to do anything to it if i don't want to. Wet and go!. In time i found the wetting my hair with waater eventually made it dry more, so started using a leave in conditioner/detangular (can't remember the name of it at the moment but its a old school hair product in a brown bottle) that seem to work better. doing very little to my hair, just 4 months of my transition i decided to blow dry my hair and flat iron it, and to my suprise i had plenty of hang time lol although uneven because of how i went about cutting it, still lots of hair growth. so again i took the sissors and cut my hair in layers making each layer across the head as even as i could without cutting too much. my 6.5 month of being natural i went to the hair spot and had my hair blown out (dominican style). Shoulder length hair, my shortest layer is a little passed my chin. I still have not reach that luxurious curly ponitail, how much longer to i have to wait! my ponitail with hair isnt straight is so small has no lenghth or poof to it! so istead of wearing one ponytail i wear two. those are fuller that trying to put all of my hair into one. But in all, I love my decision, i dont regret the chop, but i have to adnmit i get annoyed that i do not know how to style it too many ways (that is when i am in the mood for styling) sheesh!

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