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Curly Nikki

The Natural Hair Pusher

By January 27th, 202142 Comments

The Natural Hair Pusher
Kari W. writes:

Do you know someone whose hair is severely suffering from ‘the creamy crack’? I know I do, and about 5 years ago I could count myself as one of them. Breakage was a never-ending struggle for me, and it would zip from the front to the back of my head like CRAZY! And when it got tired of those two locations, it made a pit stop at my crown. So couple that with my naturally fine hair, and you could definitely say that I was no hair icon. Sad, limp ponytails were about as stylish as I got.

Now that I’m natural, I have the ability to try so many styles that never would have worked on my thin hair. I recently tried a simple updo (the Southern Tease Bun a la ‘Mane and Chic’), and I loved it on my hair! It was full and magnificent and I took about 50 pictures of it (by the way, I NEVER took pictures of my relaxed hair, as it was nothing to be immortalized through film). I immediately went to try it on my mom, who has relaxed hair that’s a few inches past her shoulders, and I was shocked at how thin her hair had become. I tried about 3 times, and it just didn’t look right. And then, adding insult to injury, a LOT of hair (both shed and broken) had come out just from finger combing and smoothing it. She said that it was shedding a lot because she needed a touch up.

Now, I’m definitely a natural-enthusiast. But I don’t try to convince people to go natural, because it’s a commitment, and sometimes even the suggestion of it gets me a raised eyebrow and the ‘you MUST be crazy’ side-eye. But sometimes I wish I could get people to consider it. They may be surprised at how much healthier and happier they (and their hair) could be!

So my question is:

Do you ever try to convince permies (especially those suffering major damage) to go natural?
And if so, what are their reactions?


  • Thermidor says:

    I dont try to convince anyone anymore. My roommate has stopped relaxing but she wont cut the fried part of her hair off and wont seem to accept that its not just "stagnant"– hair grows. Hers always breaks off since its very fragile and processed. But, she is so obsessed with having long straight hair that she wont stop tying it up, flat ironing it and never having the ends seen to. So, no more convincing her (even though she tries to kill me when she notices my hair growing crazy fast because of zero breakage and zero heat) and instead just rock my head around her. Maybe she will be inspired.

    Hah…I showed her my "Napspiration" Tumblr (total hair porn) site earlier with obvious ulterior motives. Sucks, she has awesome 3c hair too; you can tell when it's wet before she sizzles it half to death.

  • lisasluciouslocks says:

    I've been trying to get my teenage daughter to go natural because of her split ends and slow growth. Even with the growth and health I've achieved since transitioning and BCing, she is not hearing it. I'm hoping as my hair continues to get longer and she see's the variety of styles I can do, it will change her mind. Wish me luck.

  • Anonymous says:

    No not really. In fact I actually have cautioned a teenager from going natural myself.Every natural is natural by choice. You have to factor in the social and monetary consequences along with your decision. I love my natural hair, but will only cautiously tell an interested permy that besides the benefits it's really a life decision. You have to have the right mentality to face some of the backlash. In this day in age it's just not natural to be natural yet.

  • LaChanta Maria says:

    ABSO-FRICKIN-LOUTLY!!! You know some folks may not like my hair natural but i definitly DO NOT LIKE TO SEE MY FRIENDS THAT ARE PERMIES WITH SPLIT ENDS, BREAKAGE, AND BALD EDGES!! Going natural gives that person the opportunity to let their hair grow in a healthy manner which is sooo important. The chemicals in perms eats hair and turns it into mush. Every chance i am allowed i try to encourage natural hair for health reason and i believe everyone should be encouraged to do so.

  • Anonymous says:

    As a current transitioner from relaxed to natural, I did it as not due to a choice or an influence, but because at the age of 31, I had never seen or felt my natural hair texture since being relaxed at the age of 8. Now, the women that work at my company are naturals, and when I told them that I was going back to my natural hair, I went to them for tips and advice. Although there advice was wonderful, I did feel offended by some of their comments, for instance "would you put relaxer on your face", etc. and I said to them that I am a person who puts 50% glycolic and TCA acid peels on my face to avert the wrinkles every 2 months……and of course they were speechless for a change. So, to people that have an opinion about relaxed hair, it is great to advise healthier hair choices, but also, please respect the individuals choice to do whatever they choose to do with their hair, be it relax, perm, color, go natural etc. because that in itself is what makes us unique…the fact that we have so many choices and we can choose to do whatever to our hair that signifies us with our own individual style, whether it be by chemicals or like myself, by finding out what my hair texture was so I can have new hair adventures! :)

  • Natural Hair Care says:

    I don't try to convince them, but rather ask them questions. Being natural is a commitment and a fantastic journey for those who are ready to embark on it.

    I know when I first became natural, people tried to convince me to go back to my relaxer: A lot of people. So I wouldn't do that to someone else.

    Because if you're not ready you will go right back to the crack!

    I think sometimes a natural curly can be the best motivation. If someone who is relaxed keeps seeing your fly hair, then it will convince them to transition or even will keep a transitioner natural.

  • Ms. Sassy says:

    Usually when I do it, I say it in a jokingly manner. I get a lot of positive responses because they like my hairm but I also get "my hair is too nappy not to hair a relaxer" lol. I reply, "your hair is never nappy enough to go without one" lol

  • LBell says:

    Nope. I got out of the natural hair evangelism business years ago. I only give advice if people ask and I can sense that they're genuinely interested in learning more.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm lucky to hve all my friends and immediate family natural. However, most of my friends are stuck on the blow-outs, the hot iron, and the weaves. So even though they are all natural, they are constantly torching their hair or covering it up under weaves. I always wear my hair out in wash-n-gos, and when they try to do the same, there curls are lackluster to say the least.

    The point is you can't win them all. Just do you.

  • CashmereKinks says:

    wow. this post just reminded me SO much of me and my mom.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was born with thick, kinky, 4a hair that I was ashamed of because it wasn't thin and didn't "hang" very long. So until 6 months ago, I relaxed my tresses to fit into what society deemed beautiful. Once I came to love myself, I let go of the relaxer and I am celebrated my one month nappiversary after the big chop. So I believe, like most comments, that it is a personal choice. I have no right to tell someone what they should do to their hair. But I will answer questions if asked.

    BTW- I LOVE this site. The topics of discussion are always uplifting and it is so nice to be a part of a community of POSITIVE black women. You women are so awesome!

  • Leo the Yardie Chick says:

    i prefer to lead by example rather than preach. It took me years to bite the bullet and go natural, and I believe that anyone going from relaxed to natural needs to make that decision on their own. If they want to ask me for tips, then and only then will I open my mouth.

  • Unknown says:

    I have never tried to convince people to go natural, but I do encourage people to be informed about what they put in and on their bodies. Some of my friends / family stopped using the perm for personal reasons and couldn't imagine ever getting a perm. But I also have friends / family with long beautiful healthy permed hair and they couldn't imagine letting go of the relaxer. I guess it is just another case of to each their own.
    Live, Love, Peace. ~Sweetsop
    P.S. I try not to discuss hair with some of my friends, because it is a very sensitive subject and I didn't realize it until I unleashed my big beautiful afro. It was an eye opening experience for a war to start over hair care, but I learned a lesson about relationships and people projecting their own issues onto me. I could only be me and it wasn't my problem if they couldn't accept it. Luckily we were able to look past our differences, but it changed the dynamics of our relationship. I feel like I have to be on my p's and q's about my healthy hair care decisions like it is the grand inquisition, but it has also helped me understanding what I consider to be natural hair care for me (not for anyone else).

  • Lovelyn says:

    I don't try to convince people to go natural. If asked about it I'm more than willing to talk about the process of going natural and the benefits of it. Too often though my friends tell me, "You can do that because you have good hair. My hair is too nappy to wear natural." I'm a firm believer that all hair is good hair and my hair is no better than anyone else's though.

  • mia says:

    Um, yes. That would be my mom. Her standard answer is that the only way she would go natural again (she had an afro most of the 70s) is if there were some world wide nuclear war that resulted in the destruction of all companies that make relaxers (forever). Yes, my mom is a trip.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would like to see my sister go natural but I know she is not interested. I remember speaking with my closest cousin and we were just discussing hair care tips and I explained to her that I went natural recently. She said to me that she is not there yet in her life. Her answer got me to thinking, "I wonder what the world would be like without perms? lol."

  • Anonymous says:

    No, I just let them be. If a permie ask me a question about natural hair I try to give an honest answer otherwise I say to all the permies, "Do you cuz I'm doing me!"

  • Anonymous says:

    I find that I am an example of healthy hair without saying a word. I know that my hair looks great.
    I have even been caught staring at women with unhealthy relaxed hair. When I see a sista with broken and fragile relaxed hair it makes me sad. They have no idea what they are missing.

  • theroseofsharron says:

    This is a great question! I think going natural is truly an individual choice. I decided to go natural and use only natural hair care products because I was on an overall spiritual, intellectual, mental and physical wellness journey. Going natural fit with my new lifestyle! Its been an exciting journey for me. If someone compliments my natural hair or ask why I decided to go natural, I try to give them examples of all the benefits and in general, lead by exemplifying well maintained natural hair at all times. If they decide, I of course am willing to help save them some time and offer my regiment that took me a couple years to get right! My mom and sisters are both thinking of going natural now and will have the benefit of all the knowledge I've learned along the way so their journey will be much shorter then mine was.

    I think this round of natural ladies are pioneers and HATS OFF TO ALL THE NATURAL GIRLS! Most natural girls today have no desire to convert back to the "creamy crack". We've paved the way for the next generation and have tons of information to pass on to others and our kids regarding good hair maintenance.

    As "angelarose" said, women in general can get defensive about what they do to their hair, so I don't think pushing it on anyone is a good idea. However, I do think that so many women are embracing their natural hair now and because there are so many GOOD products available for natural hair, there will be a lot of "converts" in the coming years, without the need for "pushers". ;)

  • Anonymous says:

    I tend to not discuss my natural hair unless asked. My mom is seriously considering it, and I occasionally check in with her, try and make helpful suggestions about products, etc. It's hard for her to give up the straight hair and I don't push her; she'll know when's ready. My cousin and a workmate are more enthusiastic about going natural and I just support by giving encouragement, answering questions, and complimenting their transitioning styles. If they relaxed again, I wouldn't criticize. Going natural is personal. I echo with others that it often doesn't help to push.

  • Anonymous says:

    Like angelarose said above I want to be a natural hair pusher but I try not to be. Initially I decided to go natural because I started to thin really bad at the top of my crown and did want to be bald! Once I experienced all the benefits of being natural and the new found health of my hair I naturally wanted to share the "Good News" with others.

    While I was surprisingly able to convert two of my cousins and maybe a good friend I found that this "going natural" thing is a "Very Touchy" subject! Got into an argument about it once and decided that I wouldn't try to convince anyone anymore to come over to the Kinky side! lol however when people ask for advice or assistant I always try to help.

  • Unknown says:

    As a breast cancer survivor, now that my mother is going through chemo, I am trying my hardest to convince her to let her hair stay natural once it starts to grow back. I am having THE hardest time doing so!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey check out this Gorgeous Natural Chick with the biggest Big Afro Hair on under story name Natural Hair Story: Aevin.

  • angelarose says:

    I want to be a natural hair pusher but try not to be. I am definitely vocal about the beauty of naps and how damaging relaxers are, but I try not to direct this at an individual person or their hair. In my experience, many black women get extremely defensive about hair so its hard to get through that defensiveness and just have a discussion about hair grooming practices and aesthetic preferences within the black community. Having discussions like this automatically puts most "relaxed" women on the defense and makes them uncomfortable. Yet, these kinds of discussions need to be had, because that is what is at the heart of this "hair" thing. I think with awareness comes progress. Many black women I know who relax don't want to acknowledge the truth about why they (as a group) permanently alter their hair. I emphasize AS A GROUP, because there is always that one person who wants to make any and all discussions about THEIR individual experience, thoughts, practices, etc… and use that as an argument against explanations that refer to the general group. Which is exactly why I try not to push "going natural" on any individual person. Many people will make it personal even if you don't.

  • skittledittle11 says:

    I don't really try to convince people to go natural because often,even when they have brittle and damaged relaxed hair they hold on stongly to the fact that its straight and sometimes "long".

  • Anonymous says:

    I tried once with an old friend from high school that I had happened to run into one day. Never again! She started going into that "good hair" nonsense, "if my hair looked like yours I would go natural." Since then, I have kept my mouth shut. If you want my advice on going natural, I will give it, but I no longer engage in hair conversations with permies because it just results in a headache.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would agree with the ladies who say that the journey of naturality is definitely a personal one. No one should have to try and convince you to take that step; it will lead to frustration if that person wasn't willing to do it in the first place. And nothing breaks my heart more than when I see a sister with breakage due to lack of knowledge of how to take care of natural hair. Instead of pushing (and dare I say coming off condescending), those who show interest, tell them about your own journey. It’s not a walk in the park by any means but the results are extremely satisfying.

  • Jeannette says:

    I don't try to convince 'permies' to go natural because I would be pissed if someone tried to convince me to return to relaxers. My way of having them see how liberating it can be as a natural is telling them how much I love being natural. I will only tell them if they ask or if someone mentions something about their hair, then I mention how I like being natural and it's benefits. Once I do that, it starts a conversation and many women confess to thinking about going natural. However, I don't know if the area I live in but MANY of the women I associate with are natural.

  • Anonymous says:

    not really. but, when i hear of someone hinting at going natural, i am the first to chime in about the benefits. and apparently i am an inadvertent natural pusher. a couple of people have seen my hair and told me it inspired them to go natural.

    what i am though is anti-weave/wig. i have a real voice when it comes to that and will automatically preach about it's detriment to the hair.

  • modest-goddess says:

    Hair is a personal choice, I'm not out to convert anyone. People will change when they want to.

  • Kimmy says:

    No, I don't try to talk any permies into becoming natural. I just be the change I want to see! I don't even have say anything to my female family members or friends before they say 'i'm not going natural'. I feel that it's a very personal decision for a woman to make, and I will be here for guidance if they want me to be.

  • DreamchaZer says:

    Initially I was. I was so excited about MY hair growing in a healthy fashion. In addition as a nutritionist, I always mentioned taking care of ones body and spirit by what we put into our bodies. But, after all the side eyes, and snickers, I just let it go. If they ask, I tell. If not..that's cool. They can just admire from afar…cause I know they are :-)

  • bludini1 says:

    No, no, no, no, did I say no. LOL. Going natural is a personal commitment, deeply personal. No matter what I think any true friend of mine will come to that decision on her own. Of course, once the decision is made, I will definately be her biggest cheerleader. However I will never be that person to make what is right for me, right for them. It is like a non smoker trying to convince a smoker to quit. All of the information on how bad smoking is for is readily available and yet people do. The thought, the idea and decision has to come from the person.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been natural for a year and have been trying to "convert" my best friend for a year. But about a month ago, i gave up.
    She just can't understand that the only way to get healthy hair is to let go of the perm. PLus i feel like if she can't understand how thin and ugly her permed hair looks, there's nothing i can do.

  • Hillerie Camille says:

    I don't try to pursuade anyone to go natural, but I do encourage my friends who are considering it. You know how it is, when you say you want to go natural, trying to make it through the first inch of new growth without getting a touch up. It can be scary.

  • D Alexandra says:

    I am definitely a natural hair pusher. I have a friend who has gone from relaxed to natural and back to relax so many times in the 3 years I've known her. I even offer to buy her some products to get her started. It's to no avail. You're right, it takes A LOT of patience. And I have to be a little more understanding; I never went through the transitioning phase so I don't quite understand. I have to keep that in mind.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, I have tried to convince my sister to go natural. She often times go long periods without doing touch ups and I suggested that she just let the perm grow out or simply chop it off. Of course, she dismisses the idea and damage her hair with breakage. So now, I encourage anyone who has the idea to go natural and just inform them of my hair issues during my relaxed period and how it is now to show them how much healthier our hair is and can be.

  • SweetThang says:

    I don't try to convince others become natural. It's a personal choice. I do my thing. Other women do theirs. Some of the women I know would rather die than be seen in public with their natural hair texture.

    But on the rare occasion when I do flat iron my hair and you can really see how long it is, these same women will ask me how I got my hair to grow so long. Like I have a magic growing potion I put on my hair. I have to tell them that my hair started growing once I stopped using the creamy crack. Then they will say, "I could never do that, my hair is too nappy and it is too hard to take care of natural" Thus the cycle continues, they continue to relax their hair and the breakage continues.

  • Anonymous says:

    i used to try and convince my friends with relaxed hair to go natural but i stopped. i stoppe because:
    1. even though my hair wasn't relaxed- i always had it tonged. so i thought it was a bit hypocritical of me because i was kind of doing the same thing to my hair as they were- except with no chemiclas
    2. when i did stop tonging my hair, although i had done all my research – i still didn't know exactly what worked for my hair- and what to do with it etc. and kimmaytube said something on one of her videos that i agreed with completly-i don't reemmber the exact words but she basically said ther'es no point convincing everyone to go natural unless you know what to do with your hair – you know the science.

    and at the end of the day – it's just hair so each to there own

  • Aliza says:

    I have one friend in particular who I've tried (for years!) to convince to go natural, but she won't do it. Her hair is very thin, her crown area is almost bald, and she has no edges. She insists that her hair is "healthy" because it is shoulder-length, but I insist that with "healthy" hair a woman shouldn't have to do comb-overs to hide a bald spot. She also continues to put micro braids in her hair which aids in the thinning and balding process. I just can't convince her to stop!

  • aaliyah says:

    i can't speak on the side of trying to talk others into it, as i only speak on it when people tell me they "love me being natural but couldn't do it" (which i argue but am unsuccessful). my ex-bestfriend talked me into going natural after i was tired of the hairbreak merry-go-round. it took some convincing on her side and some research on mine before i got the courage to do it.

    i think the person you're talking to has to be fed up with the state of their hair. not perming is so hard to do if you've been doing it your entire life. my mom permed my hair at 9 years old but was natural herself. i never considered going natural until 3 years ago when i finally took the plunge. the unknown is scary.

  • CC or ccomo79 says:

    Yes, I do try to convince permies to go natural. When you think of not only your hair being healthy but your body being healthy and free from toxic products that could cause cancer or anything else, you want to inform. I think you have a duty to inform and then the rest is up to the individual to take the information and apply it.

    I get some laughs and some ppl are like oh no here she goes again. Some eventually come around and others just ignore me and keep doing what is familiar. I think ppl are afraid to step out of the box and program themselves to so something different. It's a frightening thing but rewarding in the end.

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