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“Natural Hair’s Not Meant To Be Defined!”

By January 27th, 202160 Comments

“Natural Hair’s Not Meant To Be Defined!”

My Run In With A “Militant Naturalista”
By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

An interesting thing happened to me the other day. I was at a salon, asking a few naturalistas for their individual opinions on a couple hair products. More specifically I was asking them to compare and critique Taliah Waajid’s Protective Mist Bodifier vs. Kinky Curly’s Knot Today– two products that I enjoy using for detangling and curl definition.

That’s when a passerby naturalista stopped by our group. She appeared agitated. And without any warning she interjected with this statement: “Look, our natural hair was not meant to be ‘detangled’ and ‘defined.’ It’s meant to be worn ‘as is.’ And doing things to manipulate it with products is no different than women who have identity issues and get relaxers.”

Hmmmmm….

Now I won’t get into how that conversation ended. LOL. Rather, I’d like to take her statement as an opportunity to open up dialogue on this question: “Do you define your curls, or do your curls define you?”

I’m one of the biggest natural hair lovers around. And yes, I’ll fight a sista or stylist to the death before I let them put a relaxer on my head. But I’m far from what I like to refer to as the “militant naturalista.” What do I mean by the “militant naturalista?” Well she’s the naturalista that feels it’s her mission to aggressively “educate” and even chastise women (both relaxed and natural) about what natural hair “means” as well as how it “should be worn.”

I’ve had a few “interesting” run-ins with these types of naturalistas. In fact, a couple months ago I had an encounter with another militant naturalista who steadfastly declared that “if your hair ain’t natural, you don’t love yourself!” Mind you, this woman was also wearing colored contact lenses and acrylic nails.

While no two naturals are the same, I tend to divide naturalistas into the “live and let live” and the “militant” types. And as much as I love and celebrate natural hair, I could never be a “militant.” Why? Because I love versatility and freedom. I define my curls- my curls don’t define me. And quite frankly, I’m too busy ‘doing me” to chastise other women about how they “do them.”

So if you’re a ‘militant naturalista,” or if you know a “militant naturalista,” just tell her to chill a bit. Every naturalista (and woman for that matter) has the freedom to express her natural beauty the way she deems fit- whether it’s via an untamed afro or defined curls.

Because quite honestly ladies, it’s oftentimes hard enough just learning to love ourselves. So we should all encourage and celebrate each other, regardless of how we wear our natural hair. Don’t you agree?

So what are your thoughts ladies- Do you define your curls, or do your curls define you?
Have you ever encountered a “militant naturalista?” How did you handle them?
Want to leave a question/comment for Dr. Phoenyx Austin? Well head over to her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter. A phenomenal mix of brains and beauty, Dr. Phoenyx is a natural hair & relationship expert, as well as a pop culture enthusiast. She has been featured in Essence and has also appeared on popular shows like The Russ Parr Morning Show and The Warren Ballentine Show.

60 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    I did my BC in May so I've ben rocking my natural TWA for 5 months now. Sometimes after cowashing all i do is put some extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil) on my hair. Other days I put Ecostyler styling gel on my hair, spray sum water on it and go.

    I think my natural curls look better win my hair is moisturized. I don't comb my hair b cuz it is very PAINFUL so i fingercomb my hair which is extremely thick and curly plus i hav 3 different textures growing out of my scalp.

    I think matted hair looks ugly so I would never just neglect my hair & "let it be" b cuz styling my hair and keeping it clean is healthy and attractive TO ME. Also i want my 3-year-old daughter to see that her hair is beautiful and natural just like mommy's hair.

    The only reason why i dont use heat on our hair is because it is damaging and if i wanted to damage my hair i wudve kept relaxing it. I am one of those who respects the fact that how a person chooses to do her hair is HER BUSINESS not mine. I dont judge others.

    If sum 1 wants to shave her head bald or dye it pink or relax it or braid it or wear weave or wigs or lock it or rock an afro WHATEVER thats her choice we are all free to do what we want with our hair. Really….who cares? My choice for me & my daughter is to not use chemicals or heat.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would have told her that im doing this for me, not to impress you or anyone else who has a problem with it; ladies, when you change up your looks to impress other people such as maybe i should not use the perm because others will judge me or maybe i should use it so i can have long silky hair in order to fit in. then and only then, is that called self hate. but if you're telling me what to do for your liking, to hell with what you think! it's on MY head right? why must black people make a big issue out of things that really DONT matter. i could have sworn that back then when we were running from bloodhounds and picking cotton, our hair was the last things we'd worry about!

    get a damn education instead of getting on top of people's head like that!

  • Anonymous says:

    The comments were very insightful. I thought about whether this should be an issue for me, but ultimately it isn't I guess. As long as we choose healthy alternatives, I can't really argue with fashions. Humans pierce their ears and other parts, get tattoos and alter their hairstyles. It is what most humans do.

    OTOH, I really don't like WNGs, my hair is thick and takes forever to dry and it irritates my sinuses. I won't be committing to a wet head every morning.Ill just twist or braid it up. ^_^

  • Anonymous says:

    p.s Nappturality is a wonderful site rightfully against straightening our perfect Natural hair. Shouts out to LBell a fellow member w/ the correct mindset.

    Have a nice day 😀

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm militant and no f*cks are given. If I wanna look down on women who choose to relax, I will. It is self hate so miss me with "oh, I just like the style, it's my preference/ it's more manageable" bs some women spew. Eff outta here. If you relax then you're not as good as a Natural when it comes to hair. This also goes for Naturals whose hair is ALWAYS straightened..b*tch what's the point? Fools. Yeah, I'm abrasive and I don't care. Relaxers are the bane of Black women's hair and there is no such thing as "healthy relaxed hair". It can look/seem healthy but that don't mean ish. Now all that said, I would not be like the woman in the article..not detangle?! Lmfao. Go for it if and only if you want dreds/locs. Use of proper product aids in hair health so she can kill that noise. Sooo, hate me, love me…doesn't matter. Keep being "live & let live" while sisters continue to perpetuate stereotypes of Black hair i.e uneducated on healthy RIGHT hair care, short, broken, unhealthy straight ugly hair(you should only have permanently straight hair if you're born with it)… while some of us speak up.

    Have a nice day 😀

  • Desiree' King says:

    It is a gift for a woman to love herself enough to be who she is WITHOUT having another woman impose her own views. As if women don't already have enough pressures and guidelines to deal with, the last thing we need is another "law". Being natural is a live and let live sort of thing. You can't limit it to one or two particular definitions. Natural is what works best for you-whether you define it or it defines you…

  • JazzFest says:

    Some militants don't realize that the authenticity they claim to protect is something that isn't that authentic. This might just turn into a rant but afros ARE NOT a traditional African hairstyle. Afros because popular in the 70s, they are cute, I like them, I have no problem with them.

    But when my Nigerian mother was growing up hair was worn in thread twists, braids, conrows, etc. It was tucked away most of the time, because she and other women focused on other things.

    Why should a certain group decide what is natural and it's ridiculous that wearing an afro should be the standard.

    My hair is not long enough but when it is I won't wear afros all the time. Why? Because I don't need to deal with all the knotting, which is what will inevitably happen! If I want locs that I put in locs, I would rather have my hair in protective styles with the occasional afro than have to worry about everyday combing breakage and knots, etc.

    *SIGH*

  • CMS says:

    Frankly! I don't like militants. They need to fall back and take a chill pill. All hair types whether its natural or chemically treated needs detangling at some point, and requires P R O D U C T S to maintain it. I've seen white and asian peoples hair knot up from not maintaining and detangling there hair. My hair texture changes with just water, is water considered 'something' that i'm using to alter my curl pattern? Militants often contradict themselves.

    I don't view women with chemically treated hair, as them not loving themselves. It's those that try to front like their hair is naturally that way, when it fact its chemically treated.

  • LUSH LOCS says:

    I believe that within the natural hair community there are a lot of sisters that do try to alter their curl pattern, but along with everything else…that is their option. I am a licensed natural hairstylist and the most common thing I hear is "I want my hair to "look" curlier. What a lot of us fail to understand are curls are defined…even when they are frizzy and it is our choice if we want them to clump so that they are more present. Anyhow…I've been natural since 1994…and I've heard it all. I believe that becoming a natural hair woman is a different journey for each individual…for me it was about my history and accepting myself as the Creator made me, but I do still style my hair, but I don't try to achieve a stereotypical "mixed" look…I am a true 4A…whatever that means…lol. I think the hairtyping is ridiculous as well…because as a stylist that owns her own business and have stylist working for me none of us has EVER use the typing system for healthy haircare…just my thoughts…"Don't remove the kinks from your hair, remove them from your brain." -Marcus Garvey
    Peace

  • Anonymous says:

    Natural hair ( or ANY kind of hair) is meant to be what you want it to be.

    Are we REALLY discussing this? LOL

  • Anonymous says:

    What if I like straight hair? what is the problem with that? What if I look at Kate Middleton and think her hair looks great, doesn't mean I hate myself, just means I can appreciate pretty hair be it straight, relaxed, curly, kinky or in between. Also not only Europeans have straight hair, what if I want straight hair like Indian people is that less self hating??

  • Anonymous says:

    Is not putting chemicals on your hair to PERMANENTLY change its structure not enough to be considered "natural"? I thought that was the definition of natural hair – hair that isn't chemically altered… I wonder if "straight-hair" ladies debate about whether or not their hair is meant to remain straight or if it can be STYLED to appear curly, more voluminous, wavy, or whatever…

  • Anonymous says:

    Personally I don't really understand this debate even non-black people with curly hair buy product to define their hair.

    Soon some will tell us, we can't moisturize our body because we were not born with cream on! lol!

    Some naturals are so close-minded, accroding to them BW are the only ones who can play around with their hair.

    Please, BW in Africa have been playing with their hair for centuries!!!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    My hair is naturally curly/kinky, but my curls are very defined on their own. Therefore, I only moisture and put a little bit of gel in my hair to fight frizz. I don't waste my time defining every little curl, as it is unnecessary and too time-consuming. But, if any other woman wishes to define her own curls, more power to her. I'm not going to bash any natural lady for styling her hair the way she prefers to.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think if you really get down to it, we ALL are a little militant in one way or another. Some of us are just more verbal than others, some of us live on the interior with it. And to that I say, do what works for you. But If your militancy includes you approaching others with unsolicited opinions, go ahead and 'do you'..but just know that you will get the side-eye from everybody within earshot…because none of us want to go around looking crazy.

    Plus, correct me if I'm wrong…but I get the impression that most of the militant naturalistas tend to have issues with their looks. Like maybe they don't have it together yet. Because we sistas who are rockin' it don't have time to get caught up in someone else's lack of swag. 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    Slavery ended how long ago? I wish I would allow myself to be enslaved and controlled by some natural hair nazi who obviously has a mental illness and serious control issues. Just because these people had no real cause to attach themselves to before natural hair doesn't mean others have to tolerate their nonsense. These creeps can talk to me when they become just as dedicated to helping our homeless, jobless, hungry and parentless brothers and sisters. That will show me how "down" these creeps really are about "accepting who we are. Otherwise, they can keep walking til they disappear.

  • MommieDearest says:

    You know, people throw the "self-hate" term around waaaaaaaayyy too loosely. Not EVERY black woman who wears a relaxer hates herself or wants to be white. I wore a relaxer for over 25 years and the LAST thing on my mind was wanting to be white.

    As for defining curls, I don't have a problem with natural women doing that. If you have curls, then by all means define them and flaunt them! Now there is NOTHING curly about MY hair. It's straight up nappy. Not a curl or wave to be had. Nada. Zilch. So for me to spend tons of money on products and tons of time trying to make my hair do what it won't is ridiculous. I learned this the hard way early on in my natural journey. Once I accepted the fact that my hair has no curls to define, I focused on what my hair CAN do and I discovered that my hair is the bomb-diggity.

    I like to do twist-outs, twist-out puffs, updo's, buns, wash-n-go puffs, BAA's, curly fro's, roller sets, flat-twist styles, etc…. And I always, ALWAYS detangle my hair when I wash it. Now if that makes me "less than" a "true" natural, then so be it. The nappy nazi's can kiss my arse.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't understand those militant naturals, who get all worked up over what other people do with THEIR hair. LOL. I'm natural and I'm not opposed to ironing my hair every now and again or defining my curls. That's me. And I don't knock girls who get relaxers, that's them. However I do want to help them make educated decisions and know that relaxers aren't healthy for your hair, but I'm not going to badger someone. I'll help them gather info on natural products and natural hair, but it's up to them what they do with that info. I just think too many black women are miseducated when it comes to our hair and our natural beauty, but it's not our fault. We've been brainwashed to think otherwise.

  • LBell says:

    Sorry, I should have said: "I just KNEW somebody was going to use "Nappturality" and "hard-core" in the same COMMENT." Don't want any definition/clarification Nazis coming after me…

  • LBell says:

    I just KNEW somebody was going to use "Nappturality" and "hard-core" in the same sentence. lol…obviously somebody hasn't been to visit in a while. Let me educate you:

    1) Nobody's going to jump on you for describing your hair as curly, coily, kinky, nappy, or anything else. You might get looked at if you say straight…see next point…

    2) It is FAR TOO EASY to lump type 4 hair in the "impossible to care for" category. In fact, if we want to be really real, that's the default programming for a lot of black women regarding hair texture — some of the comments in this very post testify to that. Being really real part 2: Many of the people I see featured on this site have the very kind of hair textures that most black folks proclaim as "good" and "desirable." NP is all about deprogramming one's mind from the notion that so-called "bad" hair — hair that doesn't look curly or coily from a distance — requires chemical or thermal alteration to be beautiful or manageable. That's why threads on heat straightening are not encouraged, as well as extended discussions on curl/coil definition….because it's TOO EASY to come in as a new natural with that "bad hair" belief. Due to its stance, NP has gone a long way towards changing that belief in a LOT of women. If that's "militant," I'll take it. Now that said:

    3) People do talk about hair type on a fairly regular basis. It's not taboo. And there are PLENTY of people on that site who would fit neatly in the type 3 category; people aren't necessarily bounced for not being type 4.

    One more quick thing: Not all sites are for all people and they don't have to be. If chasing the "good hair" beast is what you want, there are PLENTY of other sites available for you to check out.

    To the topic of this post: For the most part I personally do not have a problem with women defining or not defining their texture. Hell, I've been experimenting with it myself for the last year AND I've discussed it (briefly) on NP. But I'm a realist PLUS I didn't grow up with the good/bad hair bull-ish. It's very easy to see how someone could look at some of the more popular blogs and come to the conclusion that black women are still hung up on the good/bad hair thing ESPECIALLY if they're type 4 and trying everything short of household cleaners to "define" their hair into a type 3. Being really real part 3: For some folks it's just styling, while for others it's denial.

    Have I ever had to handle a "militant naturalista"? Nope, 'cause usually I'M the most militant in the bunch, lol. But some black women are so freaking sensitive that anything I say that doesn't follow the script is seen as militant. I say "I love my hair" and I'm seen as a militant, lol…

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm weird about my curls. I think it's just that i'm not at a place where I really understand my hair. From what I've seen, when my hair is really curly, it's moisturized but I think I am wrong about it. I NEVER use gels or anything that enhances curls just because I hate the way it feels after. But I automatically think my hair is unhealthy if it's not perfectly defined and if there's frizz. I have found (natural) products that create insane curls in my head but I'm training myself not to ALWAYS expect my hair to be this way. Anyone else in this camp?

    Anyway, I'm definitely against people who go out of their way to define curls (meaning they spend 3 hours defining the curls in their hair or slap on a quarter of a tub of gel on their head). and see a curly head of hair as the ONLY way their hair can look desirable outside of twists and braidouts or whatever. I feel like we all need to get to a place when we UNDERSTAND what our hair looks like when it's healthy and happy. Sometimes it might be frizzy, curl free or curly…just knowing how it looks when it's healthy is important I think…it's definitely will be a personal journey and I hope people give their hair a chance to show them it's true nature. I'm going through that right now 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I only think it's a problem when people are trying to drastically change their curl pattern, like trying to go from a 4c to a 3b. That's just foolish.

    But some manipulation of one's appearance is normal. Some women wear makeup, some shave their legs and armpits, some paint their nails, and some *gasp* do their hair!—it's not self hate. That woman was too extreme.

  • MsPooh says:

    @Sweet T…LOL at "napppy nazis"

    @fuzzypuff…totally agree…when ppl start contributing financially to the "Beautify Ms. Pooh" fund, then I'll pretend to care about their comments regarding MY hair

    I believe in 'live and let live' in every area of life. I'm not gonna jump down anyone's throat for doing what they do…with their hair, with their clothes, with their nails…whatever. I think ppl that get all emotional about other folks' business have some serious issues of their own that they can't fix or control.

    Mind ya business…that's all…just mind ya busienss!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Chez Cerise, anon 1:37, and anon 4:49. It does bother me when people do so much styling to change to or create a desired curl pattern. I, too, think that a number of naturals have not yet accepted their texture and spend a lot of time and money trying to change it to what is accepted. It's hair. It is what it is. I don't understand spending all those hours styling. I am WNG all day. I love my curls, and water and some type of oil are all I need for my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Defining your natural curl pattern is fine. Trying to completely change it into a texture you weren't born with in order to meet a standard of beauty that has nothing to do with you is not. I define my curls with water and organic olive oil to make them stand out instead of combing them completely out. I also define them with hair coloring – right now I'm rocking a color called brown sugar. I don't know how this is wrong or makes me less natural.

  • cellotlhicks says:

    I am pretty girly and like to play in my hair, so it looks very different depending on what I do with it. Not detangling sounds like a mess. You cant not comb your hair. Even non blacks do. Its called grooming. You want to be neat and together and presentable. Have not talked to a natural nazi and don't care what other people do. 2 people in my family have hair that was once thick and now almost see through in spots. I have mentioned that stopping relaxers could help, but they dont want that so it is what it is. I went through all that myself, and no ones opinion would have made me stop getting the creamy crack. I made the decision quite independently.

  • Franki says:

    I define my curls. Part of it is that I've been natural my whole life, so my journey to hair-acceptance was much shorter and, to an extent, simpler than many other women's. And part of it is that I've always loved to play with how I look. I joke about my closet being a "costume room," and I think of my hair the same way. I've remained natural my entire life not because I think I have anything to prove to anyone, but because I love versatility. Any one who wants to take my natural card for that, well, they can have it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Okay at times I would tell my relaxed friends to go natural when they complain about their hair problems but I try to not kill them with info unless they ask!! I do not agree with forsaking all equipment and products for use hair because I would tell you to stop using deodorant and don't eat fast food and go live in a cave because these things were made to assist us in our daily living so to be so drastic… you are on your own there!!!
    The point of being natural for me is to prove to your self that your hair is beautiful in its natural state and you do not need to live in the salon to look great!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Very interesting conversation, but there are 2 sides to this story. On one hand, it's wonderful that women have started to become more open and accepting of themselves (hair included). We should encourage each other to continue to explore that idea and not get stuck in doing things that "seem" the most acceptable. That is, our hair in many respects is not just hair. It reflects trends, culture, attitudes and values of those involved. So there is validity in the concern for "us" as a people with relation to hair. It loosely correlates to values etc, but certainly not directly. On the other hand, no one can visually assume anyone's intention when it comes to their own hair. Instead of repelling people with a negative attitude, it would certainly be more productive to any topic to create dialogue. Whether you want to talk about styling options, the connection between hair and culture, reasons for being natural or wearing a particular style, a conversation is always better than an argument. I personally do all of the above when it comes to styling, but I recognize the ineffectiveness of being close-minded on either end of the story.

  • Anonymous says:

    Can't stand militants and this is exactly why I stay off of sites like Nappturality. They are to hard core for me. You can't talk about heat, you can't call your hair curly only coily, and you can't talk about your hair type, because it's just saying that one type of hair is better than others. SMH!

  • Nikkia says:

    It's called grooming… We weren't born with a bar of soap in our hand but that doesn't mean you shouldn't bathe…Ugh, I remember when I wore my hair relaxed I would get the side eye from some naturals with the "she must not love herself" attitude which I just laughed off. I feel as natural hair gets more popular I find there are those in the community trying to use this very personal and liberating experience to to be a demigod. I don't understand how someone can get on their soap box and wail against the discrimination of natural hair in society while throwing stones at someone else for not living up to their ideology of being "natural." The hypocrisy of it is astounding.

  • luvmylocs says:

    interesting. i've been natural almost 12 years, 6 of those years in the middle with locs. i love my hair. it's my choice. that said, when i cut my locs in dec 06 i felt like i was starting over in terms of knowledge because there were tons of blogs and more books and a bunch of products that didn't exist before. i'm still trying to figure out and work my hair so that it looks good without me having to wear twists to achieve nice, supple, "out" hair. i'm not trying to change my texture but i am trying to maximize the beauty of MY hair. i don't think there's anything wrong with that. i don't spend hours on my hair, i have a day job and a side hustle so no time, but like anything else a little effort toward beautification is what women do. i also spend time caring for my face at home, does that mean i don't like who i am? no it means i want to look and feel good in the skin i'm in.

    the best advice with a militant type is to ignore, not debate. they won't change their opinions because they couldn't fathom not being right.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh wow, no one has approached me about my natural hair being in twists most of the time, and I dare someone to do so. I just wonder why people have to be so judgemental. The beauty of having natural black hair is the endless styling options that we have, from cornrows and two strand twists, to a bushy afro and a wash-n-go…..we can do anything we want to our hair, unlike our non-black counterparts. Let's embrace our hair on every level! As long as it is healthy, it shouldn't matter what style you choose, because it is YOUR CHOICE!!! I'm having a great time with my hair and I won't let anyone's opinion, positive or negative, make me change my mind. So if someone asks you a crazy question about your hair….just say, "Hey, I'm doing ME. Do you."

  • julia @ simple truths says:

    People like that are exhausting.

    The only goal I have for my hair that is outside of myself is to demonstrate to girls (little and not so little-my new daughter included) that no one 'has' to get a perm. That our hair is awesome; and what healthy cared for hair looks like.
    Long, short, defined or not, heat or no heat – those are all style choices.

  • Anonymous says:

    I do understand what she is saying about "curl definition" going too far. I think a lot of naturals have not yet grown to love their hair and spend so much time and money trying to make their hair something that it is NOT and will never be. But that is something beyond just trying to define your curls.

    Im a live and let live natural, I could never tell someone what they should be doing with their hair, natural or relaxed. I even have trouble offering advice as I am still a novice and no one has all the answers. I have no problem with defining your curls or doing sets. It bothers me that people put SOOO many rules on black woman about their clothes, make-up, hair color and style. Last I checked, everyone else can style anyway they please, so why do WE have to restrict ourselves??

  • Anonymous says:

    Unless she is/was the creator, how does she know how our hair was meant to be worn!!

  • Unknown says:

    Knots galore is not what I want for my hair, not at all, which is the only thing that my hair would achieve by not tangling for an extended period of time. Locs are not matted hair, those are dreads. But everyone's hair is different. Most of the oils we use in our hair today, our ancestors were using too, so to say that our hair was meant to be tangled is completely untrue. I'm not militant and I'm not preachy. I do whatever I want with my hair and don't watch the next woman at all.

  • Anonymous says:

    Personally, one of the most liberating things about being natural is experimenting with my hair's "personality"; styling and appreciating how my natural texture responds to different methods and products – as opposed to the limitations of being a relaxed head.

    I feel bad for militant naturals. they are trying to alleviate their own issues and insecurities by popping other people's bubbles.

  • Raven says:

    I always thought there was a spectrum involved with natural hair. You had those who just let their hair "be" and those who do everything in their power to manipulate and change their way their hair looks. And, those in between. I think all women (interested in their appearance) go up and down along that spectrum. Granted, the real question is: why does it bother the militants so much when women want to take advantage of the flexibility in their natural hair? Why care at all?

  • Anonymous says:

    i define my curls and there is nothing wrong with that. We should be able to do want we want to our hair. It is OUR hair. The lady who said that we shouldn't define and detangle idk what is wrong with her. I will never go without detangling my hair unless I'm trying to loc my hair. I dnt understand putting down other naturals. People put u down when u have a relaxer and when u do go natural they find something else to complain about

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with the other sentiments expressed, some women are becoming hair Nazi's and are obsessed with what others do to their hair. Styling and detangling are aspects of SELF CARE that should be taken care of. Not everyone has natural hair that won't dread up on its own, I for one do. So detangling is a MUST.

    As far as defining, some are obsessed with it some are not. But it sounds as if this lady needs a shot of something! LOL

    Good point Anon 11:33

  • Anonymous says:

    If you supposed to be so natural according to her views, what was she doing in a salon anyway?

  • StaceyMarie says:

    I define my kinks/coils/curls! I'm the main one in my natural circle who wears mine loose or in "natural" styles, rather than locked or straightened. My hair is the cherry on top of my signature style.

    I have a friend who frequently complains about militants* while ignoring the fact that she IS one! She's adamant that the ONLY true way to be natural is to use NO products(because even "conditioners contain chemicals") and avoid any kind of manipulation. I explained the difference between chemicals and compounds and physical and chemical changes to no avail. She feels that you shouldn't promote all-natural hair care if you're not also eating healthy foods and are acrylic/gel nail free. I think she says all this to justify her own decision to texlax her natural hair after being frustrated with her own texture and her guilt about it. I basically told her that I'm not going to continue to debate the issue with her because at the end of the day, I'm gonna co-wash, detangle, seal, and twist my hair anyway!

    I'm way more concerned about whether or not a natural is taking care of her health than whether she is altering her curl pattern.

    *(I don't like associating something as ugly as natzism with something as beautiful as natural hair)*

  • gloria says:

    I am a live and let live Natural.I don't even knock the sister who still chooses a relaxer. We all have to come to an understanding of who we are and how we want to move in this world.The first thing that came to mind when I read the comment from the militant natural sister was "ignorance," now before someone gets offended the word Ignorance means "lack of 'Knowledge. I didn't say stupid which is a whole different thing. She is ignorant (lacks knowledge) about the long history of African women styling their hair, and not just in locs. The Intricate braiding and twisting that we do to our hair goes back to the Mother land, centuries before we set foot on the shores of North America.

  • Anonymous says:

    The great irony, of course, as Dr. Phoenyx mentioned, was that this woman was wearing acrylic nails. I wonder if the other woman had issues with women wearing make-up? False eyelashes? Anything that changes one's physical appearance? Or would she want to dictate the proper way to wear acrylic nails? False eyelashes? Contact lenses?

    I just started my natural hair journey. I had my last relaxer in January, and between January and March I blow dried and flat-ironed my hair. It wasn't until March that I decided to do away with the heat (for the time being, anyway. I can't predict the future to know if I'll ever use my flat iron again). As I'm in the midst of this process (and as I have a professional job), I'm not going to walk around with my hair matted (which is what is suggested by never detangling) to prove something to the random militant naturlista I see on the street or in the metro or at the grocery store. I like learning about what my (transitioning) hair can do, and what I can do to it. So, no, I'm not going to concern myself with someone's narrowminded beliefs about HAIR (and my hair, for that matter)!

    You know why? Because if it's not about the hair, then that random chick will find something else to complain about. Plainly stated: She's the kind of woman who would never be happy, regardless.

  • Breanna says:

    My hair was meant to be detangled,and being all militant and pro this and that is not flying with me. I can't walk out the house without perfecting my hair just right, especially can't do a WNG because that will leave my hair with to many tangles in it. I do think that we should leave our how alone and let it do what it's suppose to do, but not detangling is a no no. I like having some curl definition whether naturally their or improvised with twists/braids.etxs..
    **********************************************

    This is a cute hairstyle that I thought you ladies would be interested in trying out. I saw this while viewing blogger www.itsjusthair.com It's called New Figure 8 Updo which has an video of how to do it as well from youtuber Forevercurlycatrina.
    http://www.itsjusthair.com/2011/04/preview-new-updo-copied-off-web.html

  • Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed that article. I really ignore the negative comments and tend to focus on what works for me. I am a working wife and mommy to two girls…21 months and age 3. Because of my hair type (4 with mad shrinkage) and length (shoulder length), I have to focus on definition and strethching now….I HAVE TO prevent the tangles. An afro is the last resort because it takes too much time to detangle. Focus on what works for you and what you like!

  • Curly Film Chick says:

    I liked this article. I can't stand when people police others about their natural hair. I've had my run-ins with folks too and I pretty much just keep it moving because it's my hair and I feel like with the policing thing it becomes too negative…

  • Unknown says:

    I don't define my curls. Mostly because it's time consuming,it doesn't show length, and i usually don't wear my hair out. Anyway i would NEVER in this lifetime attack another woman about their hair because its theirs not mine. Yes i'm natural but i don't feel its my duty to convert anyone! for me hair is hair natural or relaxed it's beautiful to me as long as its HEALTHY hair i'm fine with it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don't understand what this lady meant by not detangling … as everyone is saying that would eventually create locs.
    Personally, I like a happy medium between defined curls and fluffy curls.

    I don't like to be miltant naturalista because I'm not about to fight anybody about hair. I have more important things to concern myself with. If anything I like to compliment a fellow naturalista and ask them what products they use! On the rare occasion if I meet someone whose having "issues" with their natural hair (can't find a certain product, looking for more info on how to maintain natural, thinking about transitioning), I like to share what I know. ONLY if I'm prompted.

    Although, sometimes when I see someone with a relaxer whose hair is breaking or someone with a damaging weave, I wish I could go up to them and encourage them to go natural but that's just too aggressive/invasive for me. You never know how someone will react.

  • fuzzypuff says:

    Its MY hair. Not yours, not some stranger's, not my cousin's down the street. MY hair. I will wear it how I want. If I want to slather Lets Jam and Kinky Curly on my hair at the same time to try and make some curls pop, I'm gonna do it. If I want to take a pressing comb and a relaxer to my hair and then try to two strand twist it the next day, I am entitled to do so. I really wish I could find this elusive Natural Hair Handbook that so many people like to refer to because I sure as heck haven't read it. Even if I did read such a thing I wouldn't follow it because its MY hair. Now when someone starts investing time and money via sponsoring each hair folicle on my head, and investing products toward my personal hair journey THEN they can say something to me. I really can't with this….

  • NaturalArtMaven says:

    Ugh! Can't we just be? Period.
    Like Anon 8:24 said, it's like some fanatical religion. I don't like those types either. I love my hair and I'm glad I decided to go natural. I am absolutely loving the journey, even the bad days. I am an artist/designer/photographer and I love the versatility and how creative you can be with it. Natural hair can do so many things. It's like an art piece on my head. Lol. It does not define me, it's an extension of who I am.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm gonna be real on this one..i can't wear my hair down without gel i need my wash n go's because i don't like my curl pattern (don't judge me) twist,briad-out's look weird ON ME( i like them on other ppl) so a wash n go is the only thing i wear..i think ppl are takin this natural thing TOO SERIOUS it's MY hair so i can wear it how I like it..it's not a crime

  • gs says:

    Oh the elusive "militant natural hair-ist". I swear for every person pointing at another for being a natural hair natzi, there's probably 4 pointing back to a person who is just insecure about themselves because that person's choice forces them to re-evaluate and actually think about what they are doing. If people criticize anyones hair choices they are going to defend themselves, Perminator militant or natural militant – that's just how it is. If that's being militant, so be it.

  • klgoodson says:

    Before I decided to go natural, there were several of my friends who were natural before it was even popular on YouTube. None of them even approached about going natural until I asked them. I wasn't even cognizant enough to understand the journey you go on. Everybody doesn't like natural hair. Everybody natural isn't gonna wear an afro. We should people to express who they are without our opinion. By the way, how is sista walking around with untangled hair? Talk about unkempt! SHEESH

  • Anonymous says:

    Interesting post. As far as I am concerned I think that being natural is very personal and depends on how you see yourself and expect from your look.

    What I mean is that I love to discover techniques like braid out or twist out that can change for a moment my curl pattern. I am like a little girl discovering that she has opportunities that she never knew about.

    That is called freedom. Because, I was told before by "specialists" (hairdressers) that it was not possible to change my curl pattern without perming it or texturising it.

    It was like a pitiful "Do you still believe in Santa Claus with your nappy hair?". The problem is that I am stubborn and I kept on looking for natural solutions:-). In Paris, it is still difficult because most of the products are chemical ones from big US brands to relax. Even finding a curl activator is difficult. People, women, in general seem to be obessed by straigthening and not generating curls.

    To put it short there are more and more natural women, still, in Paris. The problem is that natural hair techniques like yours are still confidential and they do what they can with their hairtype. The ones with naturally well defined curls and that accept them show them. The others wear afro or protective styles.

    Personnally, I still don't master the braid out technique correctly because I can't keep my hair moisturized enough (I am a DIY addict beacuse of lack of correct and inexpensive products choice). Protective styles help me to keeep my lengths and maintain them moisturized so I try braid out or twist out just once in a while not to damage my hair.

    As a conclusion, I think that being natural should be a choice and a freedom. You do as you like with your own hair. What should be important is their health. If you can keep your hair on your head without detangling them good for you. You hair (hairtype, curl pattern, length, reaction) are very unique and you should not impose your way of thinking and doing to others.

    Being natural should be about accepting oneself and every choice for your hair and not joining a battlefield to envy, judge and accuse people.

  • Na says:

    Some ppl relax for the sake of having more ease with their hair, not about looks or self esteem issues! We all can do whatever we want, stop forcing your beliefs on others and worry about yourself.

  • SweetT says:

    so is she suggesting that the only "natural" way to wear your hair is locs? because as chez said, that's exactly what will happen if you don't detangle.

    why are so many people so invested in the way that others choose to wear their hair? they criticize women for relaxing. then, when women go natural, they're derided because "it's become a trend" or they're "not natural enough."

    i can't with the nappy nazis. i just can't. apparently no one can.

  • Anonymous says:

    I define my curls. I look at it as styling, not as self hate. Or maybe it is self hate…I don't really care. LOL. I enjoy seeing what my hair can do when manipulated without a relaxer. I'm sure that some other natural haired women feel the same way about their hair. The reality is that not every woman who goes natural wants to wear her hair exactly the way it looks without some sort of manipulation. Self hate or not, she should be able to make that decision for herself. So what if I am not that crazy about my natural curl pattern: at least I no longer have a relaxer. That was a huge step for me. LOL. Seriously, people really need to mind their own business. Some of those women remind me of religious fanatics trying to push their beliefs on others. They act like buying some Kinky Curly Curling Custard is like buying some crack…Like doing a "twist and curl" is like smoking weed.

    I don't think I'll got to hell for defining my curls.

  • Unknown says:

    I'm far from militant but I hear what she's saying.

    I check out these blogs and see all these women going natural so that they can spend 12 hours on a Sunday trying to change their curl pattern. It does make me shake my head but frankly, I don't really give a damn.

    And as far as detangling goes…I'm not trying to grow locs so yes, I do detangle and that's not going to change.

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