What to do When You Don’t Have Support in Your Natural Hair Journey
by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen
When I came back to Seattle after spending a semester in college in NYC, I had a new attitude, some bamboo earrings, knee-high boots, and a blown out afro that had an ego of it’s own. I was “finding” myself and adopting a NY state of mind where any and everything go. Unfortunately, my NY state of mind wasn’t widely accepted by my uncle in Seattle who was quick to assure me that my newly found independence and self expression was a social faux paux in his simple question to me that fateful evening when he took one look at my afro and asked, “are you on drugs?”.
I laughed it off to save face and abruptly went to the mirror for the first time feeling slightly self-conscious. One stupid comment was all it took to bite away at my self-esteem and my identity. How many of you have had similar experiences with transitioning your hair from chemical to natural without the support of your family or peers? Becoming a naturalista is trendy online when you can log on to CurlyNikki, New Naturalista, attend a Loving Your Hair workshop and drop by Fro Fashion Week. But when those communities fade away and your fellow naturalistas aren’t in your day to day life, when does reality set in that you are a rebel in a corporate environment where your co-workers ask to touch your hair, or you don’t get that job because you’re hair looks “disheveled”, or you can’t get a date because you don’t “fit in” to the desirable description of what a good looking woman is?
When you’re feeling isolated along this journey here are a few great things you can do to boost your self-esteem and speak love and beauty into your hair and into your spirit.
- Join a meetup of naturalists! I recently joined Seattle’s Kinks, Curls and Cocktails meetup engaging with new friends from all cities, backgrounds, careers and ages. Now I have a group of natural women that empower me and make me feel great to be natural in a city that hasn’t completely adopted the “lifestyle”. Search for a meetup in your area or create one yourself. Chances are there is someone in your city wishing they had the same type of support network.
- Do a photoshoot! Now is the perfect time to get vain, throw on some heels, a nice dress and do a couple of headshots with you looking your best and most glamorous self. Yes, it’s a little self serving but after a few glamour shots with your gorgeous hair, post your picture on twitter and facebook and sit back as the compliments roll in. An awesome self-esteem booster! (Hey, it works for me)
- Experiment with hair styles! I keep a collection of images and photos of natural hairstyles that I love and save them to try out when I’m bored with my hair. I always get compliments on my hair after trying out a new style, a great self-esteem booster and a great way to fall in love with your hair all over again.
Do you ever feel like becoming natural was a mistake? What do you do to feel confident in your “look”?
Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating OrganicBeautyVixen.com, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks’s beauty and fashion site TypeF.com, Jones Magazine, MySalonScoop.com and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at www.twitter.com/organicvixen and connect with her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
I'm glad to have found this page. I remember the day my dad told me I looked ugly due to my natural hair style. I had chopped off my relaxed hair and was then sporting my natural curls. That comment made my feel ugly despite all my efforts to ignore it and I ended up relaxing my hair to fit in better. Now, about 3 years later I'm going natural again. This time I'm confident in my looks and I know this is the right thing to do. It took me 3 yrs. to realize that ignorant people make commments and judgements about how one looks. Natural hair is beautiful and so are the women who sport them.
I've never made a commment before, but this just hit home. I've been natural since '08 and never regreted it, but just recently (like yesterday) I cut off my hair again, because I wanted a short style instead of long, I realized I'm not into long hair. I was only growing it out for other people. Since I've been thru every style in the book and when I was relaxed I cut my hair quite frequently, I was not prepared for the reaction to my mohawk. OMG they had me crying, and normally I feel natural hair sexy and confident in my hair choices. It was beyond surprising to me that my self-esteem could be hit so hard so quickly. I feel better this morning tho, I love my hair and hair grows back (if I wanted to)
Yeah, this article really hit home with me, especially today when I went to visit my Mom. I have all of my hair two-strand twisted right now, moisturized and soft, looking pretty good if I do say so myself. Anyway I told her that when I get together with her on Sunday, I'm going to take the twists loose and rock a twist out.
Her response: I really like the wig you wore last month. Why don't you wear that?
Huh? Really? Ridiculous. She's asked me a few times when I'm going to stop all this natural stuff and get a perm. She views it as just another phase. Truth be told, it was my intention to stop getting perms and let my hair grow out and then get another perm. But once I saw all my styling options increase by almost 100 fold and I saw that my natural hair was so thick, alive, full of character, I decided to go ahead and big chop and stay this way. That was over a year ago. She still hasn't accepted it. Aw, well, her loss. Her opinion has ceased to matter to me in this instance (and in a lot of others, I'm 30 freakin' years old, for goodness sake!), but it still hurts to have your own mother reject you or look down on your choice of hairstyle. I haven't even thought about perming my hair. It's kind of my way to rebel against her in my old age. Like, sometimes I ask her questions about my hair on purpose, just to hear the negative response, see the look of disdain I know is coming. Then I go home and laugh about it with my husband (whom she didn't particularly want me to marry).
I know it's immature, but I just want her to see that she can't control my actions or run my life anymore.
Maybe I have other issues and need professional help. I'm just sick to death of having to worry about what she likes and doesn't like.
For that matter, I don't like the way she wears her hair, same hairstyle for the last 15 years. But I certainly haven't told her so or told her to put on a wig. That's her business.
But, she's always asking me to buy her the same shampoo I use or buy her the conditioner I use or order her some henna. So I guess she must like something about what I'm doing. Unfortunately, her results will never be as good as mine on my hair because her hair is broken and chemically damaged and she refuses to acknowledge it.
OK. Done venting. Thanks for the great article.
The first year was hard for me because I didn't know how to style my natural hair and keep it moisturized (shiny). After about 2 years, I have figured out about 3-4 solid hairstyles that I can do myself and do quickly (about 15-25 minutes). The biggest thing is to be patient with yourself and get to know and love your hair. My Mom also took awhile to catch on but then she saw how thick my hair was getting. I've had plenty of haters, guys telling me how ugly and nappy my hair was, but it only encouraged me to figure it out, and after awhile the rude comments became compliments. Being natural also increased my makeup game, accessories, etc…to girl it up, I think naturals don't feel as pretty sometimes because we can't swing our hair anymore when we dance or do whatever, but so what! I'm still flyyy! Be encouraged! 😛
I am a newly natural. It took two times of me transitioning for me to make it to 100% natural and I'm loving it! NOT everyone in your family, circle of friends, co-workers, or rest of the world will embrace the natural you…but I remind myself of why I did it. You have to love you. When you get to that point, the remarks of others won't really matter.
Overall I have received nothing but love…but there are those who think I should go back to the relaxer….
Curlynikki, Youtube, and so many other sites have been such an inspiration and encouragement. On the days that I run out of options I just check out some blogs or videos and I am back on my journey.
The one thing I love about being natural is being unique. No two heads seem to be the same!
I am new to the natural look (two months to be exact). I love "hair" but wanted a change, so I am tiring the natural "naptural" look. It is a BIG transition for me and I'm not feeling pretty or sexy. A friend shared this article with me to boost my self-esteem. I really needs some pointers on styling and upkeep. I feel natural is more upkeep that straight.
This article helped me today, to stick with it.
I am transitioning and don't live in an area where many Black females rock weaves, extensions and relaxed hair.
My family doesn't say much about my transition, I have received a snide remark here and there, but never anything positive.
I have one friend, who lives far away and is natural, she is really excited about me making the decision to go natural. I know in my heart this is the best thing I could have ever decided.
I love watching youtube videos of my hair crushes and drooling over natural hair in all it's glory.
I know it can be a lonely road for many transitioners, including myself, so I started a social network, where transitioners can reach out to each other for support and advice. I think the internet is a powerful tool to help us achieve our goals and feel good while doing it!
I don't regret going natural for a second. It's almost cathartic, caring for my strands everyday. I don't know what I would do without youtube, curlynikki, bglhonline and so forth.
My mom is not supportive of me at all. I think not having your mom think that you are beautiful as you are is monumentally devastating. Everytime she makes a snide comment or ignorant remark, is a blow to my self esteem. But, as I have persisted in my natural hair, and she has seen my beautiful pen spring coils, progressing length retention, and my persistence, she is growing to accept it. And, I hope, will soon love it, and look at me as beautiful again.
I think it is one of the best things I have ever done! Though I am still learning as far as what works for my hair goes.
When I get frustrated, I watch youtube videos, visit natural hair blogs, and look at beautiful natural hair pictures on facebook! Always uplifts me!
Good luck everyone! ~Blessings to you!!
Wow I wish that we had a curly group where I live.
Peace, Love and Chocolate,
While going natural can be challenging at times; I don't feel like it was a mistake! In fact I know it was the best thing that I could have ever done for the health of my hair!
I think its really sad how people try to break you down for having the courage to GO AGAINST THE GRAIN!:(
Anyways, some of the things I do to overcome my moments of insecurity is:
1. Jump on natural hair site's like nikki's to get some encouragement.
2. Try out some new hair styles, hats, scarves, or accessories.
3. Or braid it up to give me a break for a while.
Lastly, I also like the tips in the article! Maybe I'll start a Curly group of my own.:)
This article is on point! I know the feeling!!! When I ask myself "Was going natural a mistake"?
I remember how thin and fragile my hair was from overprocessing! And on top of that I started to bald on the crown of my head…trust me laides NOT A GOOD LOOK!Lol Not going for my father's look!
If I'm still feeling a bit edgy about my hair; I switch it up. If I'm missing a "straight" look or "Color" I will wear a wig! Or Braids or I use various accessories in my hair. This usually does the trick for me!
Some my not agree with these alternatives but for me it helps to meet my objective…which is to STAY NATURAL!