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Curly Nikki

My Hair Is Too Nappy To Go Natural

By January 27th, 202138 Comments

by Kurlybella of K is for Kinky

I’ve often sat in interesting, long, hair-focused, conversations with transitioners or women thinking about going natural or even those who recently big chopped only to learn by the end of the conversation that they were heavily contemplating going back to being relaxed.

While I’m not 100% anti-relaxer or 100% pro-natural for everyone, I do know where I stand on the “too nappy” issue for myself.

My hair has been described as all kinds of things and for the most part it has been called bad hair. I often got good hair (not that I consider this anything close to a compliment at all, instead mostly a back handed slap in the face) after I learned how to moisturize my hair, but when I was subjected to unwarranted and unwelcomed comments about my hair during my relaxed days, the comments often were reflective of the ignorant thought patterns that still affect our community today.

I understand that women with kinky hair often have fears of going natural; been there, done that. I get it completely. Being natural is a looking glass of oneself and proves to you, even if you’ve convinced yourself that your relaxed hair is your “true” hair, that your real look, your real self, is you with what you were born with. That’s a big pill to swallow for some.

For many, the reality of accepting kinky hair is just too much. It’s “too much” to go natural because their hair is just too nappy, just too bad; if only they had type 3 curls.

As much as we’ve made leaps and bounds in the mental fight against hair hate, we have to be honest here, we still have a long way to go.

The main reason kisforkinky was started was to showcase women with the kinkest of hair textures and the flyest of styles. Kinky hair is not limiting in look and style, nor does it hinder one’s fashion or beauty despite what we are told, by the media, your mama or your daddy.

And though I won’t go into my heavy thoughts on this issue just yet; saving that for later, I have to ask you:

How do you feel about the “too nappy” sentiment? Have you heard it from other women or even said it yourself, that your hair is “just too nappy” for natural life?


  • julia says:

    my friend says this and it sometimes irritates me! The whole natural thing is about embracing whatever you have !! BUT at the same time hair is just hair. where it how you want, but don't say ignorant statements.

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    It takes my 8-10 hours to do my hair on wash days. My hair needs to be in braids while shampooing and conditioning. It takes hours to detangle and soaks up a bottle of conditioner in blink. I wouldn't judge any woman who didn't have the time to go through that plus twisting and untwisting every night/day. I honestly feel since going natural that i spend an unnatural amount of time on my hair doing my hair thinking about my hair spending money on my hair it sucks. On top of it all I just developed carpal tunnel and need to think about a new game plan. My hair is either too nappy or too long for my hands at the moment. Maybe I'll try some Senegalese twists with synthetic hair

  • ABG says:

    Well I guess I'm the lonely one in this pack. I have heard the comment form family friends and loved ones but sometimes I must say I have been natural for 2 years, tried ever product and every style and Im getting a perm! I have 4c maybe for 4f tightly curled hair…. I think our community should understand that natural is NOT for everyone and also that being natural is a more enjoyable for those with looser curls… Now I'm not saying 4c girls don't have fly styles because I have seen some but I'm just saying all that upkeep takes a lot of time! I have to twist my hair ever night just like M said keep my hair looking defined and don't let it be hot. I just think our community doesn't accept that not everyone has a lovely experience and not everyone is gunho about their hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it is ridiculous when people act like nappy hair is a no-no. Nappy was the first hair on this earth(according to science) and a gift from God. The reason I'm natural(and wearing locs)is because I feel it is unfair that black women have to straighten their hair when women of other races just wear it natural! There is no law saying u have to and when black women say they HAVE to straighten it I simply feel sad that some of us feel this way!

  • Scylla Charybdis says:

    My hair has been through so many changes: started off natural (of course), jheri curled, permed, natural again, permed, pressed, natural yet again, and now locs. I have tight curls – maybe 4c (or d, or e, or f – they're pretty tight), but they're also not strong, so adding chemicals and/or heat to it got to be a no-no.

    However, it has only been very recently, like the last year and half, that I've been so aware of the versatility of my natural hair. I learned to take care of my curls when I had already decided to wear locs (and it was too late to implement the things I learned about curls). For instance, a few years ago I tried wearing twists (or some variation), but I'd have to do my hair every night and it always seemed to be so dry.

    The truth is, when I made the decision to get my locs, I made a number of other decisions around the same time: I changed my eating and exercise habits, I started making my own skin and haircare products, and I began to carefully research styling options that wouldn't put too much tension on my scalp.

    Would knowing what I know now about my loose curly 4c hair have stopped me from getting locs? I don't know. I DO know that I LOVE my locs and if I ever decide to cut them or pick them out one day, I will know how to care for my gorgeous 4c hair.

  • girlwiththecrown says:

    I guess I am the only one in here that is team nappy like yo pappy.

    Yes my hair is nappy, and I love every inch of it =)

  • Anonymous says:

    ANON @ August 23, 2011 3:40 PM

    Please check yourself, if you are on this site then there is no excuse for your reinforcement of the ignorance that there is some hair that is 'too nappy' to be natural. May you be blessed with a nappy child to help you adjust your attitude.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just wanna say I too have heard this. I am currently a transitioner and i'm super excited. My advice for those in doubt or just thinking about it, go for it. This is why, transitioning or even the big chop isn't a overnight decision.Take your time in making the decision and if you go for it, be dedicated to the process. Key word "process". The process to being natural happens over time even if you big chop. Obviously because chemically processed hair is way different that natural hair. This is what has helped me in my process. 1st understanding it was going to take time. In others words I know it would take time to see the results i thought I was looking for. Being dedicated to sticking with this over time. Not a overnight sensation. Going to different sites such as this to hear from other woman to know what to expect and how to deal with it. These sites also help with experimenting with different products to suit natural hair and experimenting with different styles to cope with transitioning or the bc and after. Its a totally different thought process in working with natural hair. You can't be the woman trying to style her hair like she has relaxed hair although really having beautiful luscious kinky and/or curly hair.Be an excuse remover there is someone that has been through what you are experiencing now they have succeeded. Yes, this can be done.

  • KeetaRay says:

    A friend and I were recently discussing this very topic. Prior to going natural, I was one who thought I didn't have "the type of hair" to go natural. I thought, because of what I saw and heard about "good hair", that I needed a relaxer. Not remembering much about my natural hair (because although I didn't get my first relaxer until age 11-12, my hair was always pressed the years before), I thought mine wasn't "good enough" to go natural. Of course, my views have since changed. I finally came to terms with what God gave me and realized it was more than good enough, despite what anyone else thought. Once I came to terms with that I was good.

    Now, when I hear other women say their hair is too nappy or not good enough, I do instantly become frustrated or mad. Then I have to stop and realize I used to think the same way. My mindset shifted and theirs didn't. I often wonder the right words to say w/o coming off annoyed to encourage them and let them know that whatever your hair type, it is beautiful, because it's all you.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've heard that sentiment a lot, and no matter what you say, some don't believe they rock a natural look. There's no amount of talking to that will convince them, so I let them be. When I hear someone say my hair won't do that, I don't try to dissuade them differently. Their mind is set.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes I hear this a lot too…UNFORTUNATLY!

    I want to reply like " cuz you're black B*****" like Rihanna did! haha jk

    But I have the nappiest thickest hair ever and my hair looks nice and I dont mind my texture. When people say that to me, I just say "clearly mine is nappier than yours and I'm natural." So what! Who cares about nappy? Is that the WORSE that could happen.

    Like some other ladies said, some women would rather have bald sides and thin hair than go natural. You look MORE of a mess with that! But I guess PERCEPTION guides ACTION. That is why going natural is more MENTAL than anything…


  • CurlyTonya says:

    Of course I thought my hair was too nappy to be natural. That was my motivation for relaxing my hair for over 20 years…my mom did it for 10 years. I have been natural for 1 year now and it has been a challenge to accept my natural hair and just be different. I knew my hair would be nappy (thick and kinky) but I actually said if it was too nappy, I would relax it again.

    I have to say that I love my kinky curly nappy hair. People ask me how I get hair to curl and say that if thier hair actually had curl definition they would go natural. Curlier textures definitely have it easier… especially WNG during the TWA to 1 year mark. However, all type 4 hair can rock some twistouts and braidouts.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have heard this a zillion times! There's so such thing as too nappy to go natural. BUT some natural styles may be more difficult to achieve depending on your hair type and that goes for both fine/loose and kinky/coily. Regardless, there are super cute natural styles for all hair types if you choose to have the patience to learn them. The simple truth is that you don't really know if natural hair is for you if you don't actually try it for a while.

  • Anonymous says:

    I guess I'm on Team Better Nappy Than Bald…

    I figured if I'd ever been anything other than nappy I would have gotten some kind of hint beforehand. Like maybe I might have had a parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle…but ERRYBODY on both sides going back 3 generations has nappy hair. Plus I remember back when relaxers weren't the be-all end-all of black women's hair care so I knew some of those old folks' naps very well.

    So I knew what I was getting into and I went natural ANYWAY and it was by far the best thing I could have done for my hair and (at the time) for my self-image as well. And yes, I AM as nappy as they come, and I could NEVER imagine going back to straightened hair…

  • Anonymous says:

    After a lifetime of relaxers, I big chopped one year ago. I soon discovered that my hair is as nappy as it comes. The more it grows, the nappier it gets. Right now my hair is big, thick, full, healthy, beautiful and so very nappy. I'm completely in love with my hair and I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks about it, positive or negative.

  • Anonymous says:

    That is sooooo sad! EVERYONE has beautiful hair, EVERYONE is beautiful, because that's how God made ya, and He is beautiful! It really upsets me to hear someone say that they are "too nappy to go natural" is like saying they are too ugly to wear their face, or too brown to wear their skin. That's how we were born, and we need to take care of our hair to make sure it's healthy, and learn to love it. Forget the straight-haired people out there, they just look boring!

  • luvzit says:

    I bc'd in may 2011, so I have a twa of about two inches. I dyed it honey blonde for some spice. I went to church with my mom this past Sunday and a lady stopped me to say she loved my hair color. I thanked her.

    My mom asked "What did she say?" And I told her she liked my hair color. My mom said "Well I don't, I just like hair to look natural" I said mom my hair is in it's natural state, she said "I like natural hair, yours is just nappy."

    These past months have been pretty hard because my whole family thinks like my mom. I have 4b hair and they think it's the ugliest thing! I've had to be my own rock and I'm so glad I have curlynikki and others for encouragement! I love my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    This is so funny because a friend of mine just said that to me! I'm a recent natural ( I bc'ed in July) and I have a more coily/curly texture. A friend of mine always comments on how great my hair looks and says she could never do that because her hair is "too nappy and thick". I told her it would be BEAUTIFUL! Some thick kinky hair on her head. But what really got me is when she said her stylist told her that she could never go natural because her hair is too nappy! I wanted to tell her of course a stylist specializing in relaxed hair would say that, but I left that alone. It's sad to hear women say that. Even sadder to hear so called hair professionals say that.

  • says:

    I've heard this comment from a family member. She has a cropped relaxed pixie and when I told her I was going natural she told me she'd always thought about it, but knows that her hair wouldn't look good natural and that's it's too nappy.
    I totally agree with the author's points, that even within the all natural community, some grades of curls/curl types are not fully embraced. I am totally fine if a person's reason for not going natural is because they prefer their hair relaxed (to each his/her own). However, I get a little annoyed when I hear the "my hair is too nappy" excuse.

    It's time that women alike natural and relaxed, just accept our hair for what it is, beautiful, whether 3c or 4c.

  • Anonymous says:

    Now you do have some people that do have nappy hair, and shouldn't really go natural. Even with a perm an you can see the new growth coming in and such. But I think having nappy or thick hair is better than limp or nonextinct hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    @August 23, 2011 2:05 PM
    Anonymous said…

    "I challenge some die hards to literally wash and GO. No eco styler, miss jessies, shea butter or coconut tangle teasers, twists or curformers..ur natural hair in the buff as God intended."

    That'd just be damaging my hair for no reason at all. Black, white, asian hair it all needs care to prosper. Ours just crave coconut oil and other hair goodies. Just like God gave us fish and meat to grill and cook to eat to stay alive. I believe he gave me coconut oil and shea butter to keep my hair in it's best possible condition. And for those who use non-natural products.. that is fine too. I know God understands when I step into my car and go to work, instead of walking. Shit, I bet Jesus himself would've traded that donkey he rode into Jerusalem on for a Porsche Carrera GT in a seconds if they existed back then..

  • Steph...In Motion says:

    "My hair is too nappy to go natural."

    Women say this to me ALL THE TIME. I hate it. They usually say it while sizing up my kinks. Then they say, "but it looks good on you though." When I respond with "You've been taught to hate your hair" that shuts the conversation down. I don't want to get into a discussion with someone who actually believes God made a mistake. Relax your hair if you want — I did for almost 30 years — but don't come at me with that "too nappy" nonsense.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post :). I love how natural40plus commented that, "Nappy hair trumps NO hair any day of the week!". I also have type 4 curls and since getting a relaxer in the 5th grade my hair was always short, broken, and thin from the relaxers-hence I was labeled as having "bad hair" from most of my family members. After college, I finally got tired of the breakage cycle and went natural and my hair is flourishing! It is actually the longest it has ever been in just two years natural since I no longer have to deal with breakage. Sadly, I have noticed many side eye glances from other older black women at my job since going natural and having kinky hair type 4 hair. Unfortunately these women also suffer from broken, thin, and balding hair spots most likely due to relaxers and choose to cover their hair with wigs. After reading this post, I might just say, "nappy hair is better than no hair" at the next side eye glance I get!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm 29, and I've had a relaxer since I was 6 years old. My hair is VERY thick, very tightly curly, and (for most of my life) very long. Last year I got the courage to chop off nearly a foot of length, so I'm still getting used to that. My stylist has natural hair, and even she said my texture would be extremely difficult to maintain in a natural state (hence the relaxer at 6 years old). Since the only memories of my natural hair involve lots of pain and crying, I'm scared to even think about ditching the relaxer!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Such a good post. I've had this conversation with so many people who just don't believe their hair will look good natural b/c they don't have "good" hair. It's really hard to convince them otherwise but you're right, a lot of it has to do with how you take care of it ie. moisturizing, how to detangle, no-poo, etc. ~KF519

  • Anonymous says:

    It really is ok if you don't love your naturalhair,really. I pluck my brows, mani-pedi my hands and feet, subject my body to all manner of exercises in order to enhance my God given beauty. Hair for me is no different. I challenge some die hards to literally wash and GO. No eco styler, miss jessies, shea butter or coconut tangle teasers, twists or curformers..ur natural hair in the buff as God intended.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work at a popular restaurant and I am often approached by other Black women about my hair. Long conversations ensue, during which I am questioned about how I care for my hair or how I get it to be so curly. The women are usually stunned when I tell them that my hair curls naturally (I am a 4a/b) and that I do not use chemicals to alter the texture. Many women then reply that they think my hair looks nice, but they wouldn't try the style on themselves because their hair is "too nappy" to look good in its natural state. I often find myself trying to convince them that if they stop relaxing and focus on hair health, that they will begin to love their hair. I used to relax and do very unhealthy things to my hair. I have been totally natural for over 4 years and after shaving my hair completely bald about a year ago, it has grown back thicker than it's ever been. As a result of the hair health methods I have learned on this site and others, my hair looks exactly how I want it to look and I don't have bad hair days. If only I could convince these women…..

  • Anonymous says:

    Your welcome anon 1:17PM. Just trying to keep it real up in here! lol

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    Immediately after someone says, "my hair is too nappy" they more than likely will say that I have good hair. I let them know my hair isn't necessarily good, I just put time and effort into it. I also tell them that my hair is kinky, thick, tangles easily, and everything else, but I love it. Also, too nappy = I don't want to work that hard.

  • Anonymous says:

    I unfortunately heard this exact sentiment from my aunt the first time she saw my TWA at a family gathering. She asked me whether I thought I had the "right kind of hair" to go natural. When I politely asked her to explain what she meant by that, she actually told me that I don't have the "proper texture" to forsake relaxers. To be honest, I can't say that it was shocking to hear those sentiments from her.

    Sadly, my aunt's hairline has been wiped away, and her hair is now extremely thin and damaged. I don't know whether some of these issues are genetic or whether they are the results of decades of chemical and heat treatments. However, despite the fact that she now wears hats to cover her bald patches, she still felt the need to belittle my hair choice. If thinning hair is in my DNA, then that's all the more reason to go natural and learn how to nurture and take care of my hair now.

    Well ladies, if I could have found a respectful manner to say it to my aunt, then I would have told her that "Nappy hair trumps NO hair any day of the week!" Peace and blessings.

  • Anonymous says:

    In my earlier post I stated that if our men (black men) were more respecful and excepting more of us would wear our hair natural.

    I want to make it clear that I do understand that their are some "black men" that actually love natural hair an encourage some women to embrace their curls as well.

    I don't want anyone thinking that I'm dumping on all black men that don't fancy natural hair. Plus they have a right to a preference and there are other races of men that don't like it either. However, I don't care much about their opinions.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous August 23, 2011 1:01PM

    "I think the "Too Nappy" statement is an excuse for some naturals to NOT face who they really are"


    Thank you! So impeccably well stated and just really a direct hit at the core of some of these subconsciously dishonest excuses. Great positive reply to a negative sentiment!

  • Anonymous says:

    I think the "Too Nappy" statement is an excuse for some naturals to NOT face who they really are. If it wasn't such a TABOO thing to wear your natural hair and our men (black men) were more respectful and excepting of us embracing our hair. I believe more women would be apt to wear thier natural hair. it would be easier to block out the other critics.

    It's more than just wearing our natural hair. As most of already know. It's everything that it represents and all the negative things that's assoicated with going natural. It really is a personal journey and each individual have to deal with it within themselves.

    But thank God we have supportive site's like Curlynikki's to make it easier for people to go natural. No matter how NAPPY you think your hair is! We got you boo!!!:)

  • A.Erika says:

    I think there are so many products to try before you can make comments like that. Products that will detangle, moisturize, condition, etc. A little care can go a long way. Plus hair is "trainable". The more you work with it, the more manageable/ "less nappy" the hair will be.

  • Anonymous says:

    First, I think it's so UNFORTUNATE how afraid we are of our natural hair or how we think we would look sporting it!:( With that said…I was a victim of this circumstance as well.

    You see, I was one of those girls that took Major Pride in keeping my hair on POINT! Always in the salon and keeping up with the latest styles. The good lord himself couldn't have come down and told me I would be natural and would LOVE IT TOO!

    I would alternate with my hair as well. So it wasn't unusual for me to were braids for a few months, get new grow and relax again. It never dawned on my to go natural. Then one day after taking out some braids I looked in the mirror at my new growth; my hair was in an afro and it looked really cute to me!:) But at that time I still didn't have the courage to step out of the door with my natural hair. I can still remember how that idea seemed so UNREACHABLE! It was like a "secret" thought but I knew it could never ever happen! so sad! But I was so forreal!!!

    fast forward about a few years, and the relaxers were doing a Great job at doing what it do best…DAMAGING YOUR HAIR! I started to thin bad on the crown of my head. Well…that was it for me! I refused to walk around with a bald spot on the top of my head…lol that's when the health of my hair took presidence over relaxers! That was when my light bulb turned on.

    My hair have thank me ever since. I remember how shallow my thinking was…not speaking for anyone else but myself. Going natural forces you to deal with who you really are!

  • Anonymous says:

    I heard this comment from one woman who herself did the big chop and had a twa. As she complimented my hair she said she couldnt wait for her hair to get this long but then she said her hair was to nappy for my style(I had a twist out and straw set I transitioned) I said thank you but I explained to her I had super coily kinky hair, more kinky than hers. She was shocked. I explained to her what I did an all the care I put into my hair and the time I took to learn from my mistakes and to just learn about my hair. But I'm sorry to say she didn't stick with it she still claimed her hair was to nappy. I think the too nappy thought comes from not knowing how to take care of it

  • Yirssi says:

    That's what I used to think. I didn't remember what my natural hair looked like, and when I felt the naps on the back, I thought it'd look hideous if I went natural. Not curly. I'm glad I got over that and cut it, because it was one of the most freeing things I've ever done in my life.

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