Being natural in a relaxer dominated society is challenging at best, but facing scrutiny within the natural hair community is another issue. It’s like being a minority within the minority.
A few weeks ago I chose to straighten my hair. Yeah yeah, I know heat is the devil, yada yada yada. We all know the threat of heat damage that comes with the use of the flat iron (dryness, loss of curl pattern, etc.), but before you revoke my naturalista card, let me explain. About twice a year, curiosity starts to show its nagging head and I begin to wonder how my hair will look straight after wearing it in its curly state for so long. Mostly it is the desire for a different look that takes over and it usually occurs after watching a fly a$ Beyonce video where she is flinging her weave all over the place.
After the battle with my 400 degree ceramic weapon, just hot enough to flatten out my curls one by one, I looked in the mirror expecting to see Beyonce stare back at me. It was almost as if I had a wig on and I took on a whole new persona. My hair was pretty, don’t get me wrong. Tons of movement, lots of shine but I’m no Beyonce, no matter what dance moves I break out into. *cue the “Party” music*. But my straight strands just laid there all sad and pitiful like. As the day went on and I caught a few glimpses of myself, it began to grow on me a little. I figured I might as well make the best out it and rock it for a few days.
When I was in the company of other fellow naturals, there was a change in dynamic. I got the side eye on more than one occasion and quickly began to feel as if I was being judged because my hair was straight. Comments such as:
“Why would you put all that heat on your hair?!”
“Now you look like everybody else”
“If you manipulate your curl pattern, you are not natural”
“I thought you were natural?”
I started to feel as if I didn’t belong or I was being kicked off the Natural Island like on Survivor. I even found myself justifying my decision and explaining myself. I know “it’s only hair” but it appeared that the camaraderie was missing and I was not allowed to participate in round table discussions about natural hair. I was made to feel as if my experiences didn’t count because I was wearing my hair straight. I am wondering if this happens to other naturals when they wear their hair straight.
Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook
lil do people know that she is actually a he. so its politically correct to to say…hes just another bip lipped nigger. he couldnt get enuff dick as a male so he thought he'd try the feminine approach.
145 ways on how to be a nigger
You look much, much younger. It's a nice look.
I'v been without a relaxer for 7 or 8 yrs but only wearing my natural curls for about a year now. I used to press and flat iron all of the time. I still straighten, usually about 2 wks straight and a month or so curly. Except in the summer when I'm mostly curly for obvious reasons. lol I love the length I've gained since I wear it curly more and the health of my hair in general. And you can't beat the versatility of natural hair. Every day my curls look a little different depending on the products I use that day. Sometimes more curly or more wavy. To me wearing natural curls is the best protective style ever because it's my hair and not a weave, etc. I'm not knocking weaves because I wore them when I had major breakage from relaxers. But my hair never got healthy until I put the fake hair away learned how to deal with my hair again be it straight, curly, etc. It's more important for your hair to be healthy. People need to mind their own business and worry about themselves. And the mindset that it changes your curl pattern, well so does constant stretching, etc. It's your hair do you and what makes you feel good forget everybody else because no matter what you do someone will always have something negative to say anyway. Wearing your hair natural shouldn't have to be like you're making a political stance or declaring your blackness. It's just hair and yours to do with as you please. Have fun and be versatile, key word is we have natural curls and using heat from time to time is not going to change that. Water and humidity prove it. 🙂
OMG, overdramatic much? Who cares if you were "kicked off the island." And I'm so annoyed w/ women trying to "justify" why they straightened your hair. "Because I wanted to" should be sufficient. And if anyone says otherwise, so tfw. I don't know why it matters so much to people to belong to a group so much that they would manipulate the meaning so they can fit into it. I imagine it's the same w/ religion.
Straightening your hair is NOT natural. Straightened hair is not your natural texture regardless of its it heat straightened or chemical straightened. But again, I ask "So WHAT?" I have a frickin crown in the back of my mouth which means not all my teeth are natural. Does that matter?
Do whatever it is that will make your happy and stop trying to fit into this mold that you feel is ideal. Natural-haired women aren't any better than women who relax their hair. More enlightened? Maybe, but I've seen too many zealots that would make me say otherwise. Even if everyone is against you, if it makes you happy (and isn't against the law) DO IT!
People are too fascinated with what everyone else is doing and ready to dole out judgement when the only people they should be concerned about is themselves and the people they are responsible for.
Jesus' take on living one day at a time: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof"; in other words, each day carries within it its own trials, and it's pointless and does nothing for you or anyone else to take on the trials of a day you haven't seen yet.
My take on this topic: "Sufficient unto every person are the trials of their own existence." I have enough to do to take care of me, and my hair, that I don't have the time, energy, inclination, nor the right, quite honestly, to take on what someone else does with their own person, including hair. And quite factually, whether you agree or not, that applies to you, too: You have enough to do to take care of you that you don't need to be messing with somebody else over whether or not they're "Natural Enough" to suit you. If you're that far into it, you need to beat a hasty retreat, because now you're crossing boundaries that you didn't lay, and you're messing in things that are none of your business. Yes, Natural Hair Nazis, I'm talking to you!
As for those of you who hand them power over you by allowing their attitudes, side eyes, pronouncements, and other general nastiness over your choices to stir up in you feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, second-guessing, and whatever else you feel when you've already made the style choice, you know you look good, and then here they come trying to stir in your Kool-Aid, let today be the last day you do that to yourself by handing them that much power over you. You are at least as grown as they are, and if you are able to recognize where they end and you begin so that you respect others' boundaries while respectfully but definitely refusing them the right they mistakenly think they have to trample down yours, then you've actually got some maturity to you to which they need to grow up.
I've a dictionary that defines "natural" for me well enough, and if you want to apply some other meaning to the definition in yours, that's your business. Let each one do and be herself to her own best ability, and she will find that she also neither needs, nor has time, to define that for anybody else.
I straightened my hair and wore it for the weekend. I honestly missed my curls but I love that natural gives me options. I used heat protectant and my curls are still perfect. Do not let people enforce rules on you, dont forget that this is your hair and your journey. But protect your hair from that heat!
Personally, I think that whatever a person chooses to do with their hair is their perogative. Being natural is a choice, it is not a cult. Straigtening your hair or wearing a wig, weave or otherwise does not mean that you hate yourself or being black; sometimes it's as simple as wanting something different. Women are notorious for changing their looks; in short it's what we do. Everyone's vision of beauty is different and yes the beauty of black women has not and is not upheld as the standard. However, the beauty of black women varies so much because we are so versitile. I think that those women who are natural and have this idea that growing out their perm makes them more black or better or more evolved are just as screwed up as those who believe that straight hair is more beautiful or acceptable. Neither is better just different. The truth is a good weave is beautiful, braids are beautiful, a sister with permed hair that is properly cared for is beautiful, a caesar cut is beautiful, and afros are beautiful. This black on black prejudice is getting old.
I've never understood the need to beat others over the head with your personal opinions…if you believe that someone is "not natural enough" because they are wearing their hair straight, keep it to yourself!! To the author of this post and others who have had similar experiences, please remember that not everyone had the privilege of being taught manners.
I agree, you are still very much natural. I don't straigten my tresses as much now due to my hair being prone to heat damage (I have very fine hair). However you choose to wear your hair should be your decision and yours alone.
I've come across one individual who said if I colored my hair then I was no longer natural. These "natural nazis" take the enjoyment out the experience of being natural. You just gotta smile and keep it moving.
As a 75% of the time straight haired natural (I have been ironing 1x/wk for the past 7 yrs), I agree with many of the previous posters re: doing you. One thing to which I object is the notion that naturalistas will somehow lose their curl pattern, as a result of straightening their hair. This has never been an issue for me (or for any of the other naturalistas I know). All it takes is a really humid day, a bike ride with my helmet, getting caught in the rain, or a quick wash and Boing!!!! Coils snap back!!!
Um….Im doing mine for X-Mas. No judgement.
I thought natural hair meant that the hair was not CHEMICALLY straightened or colored. Even at that, your were born with the gift of choice. Rock your hair whichever way you want.
Like the "natural sorority" BS some girls take it too far. You're still natural
In a perfect world, I wish I could be straight one day and kinky/nappy the next. But my hair can't handle heat at all. Thankfully, at the beginning of my journey, I belonged to a hair board that was pretty hardcore about accepting what we naturally have on our head. I am also thankful to have received early on the message that heat is damaging and that there is nothing wrong in proudly wearing my own textured hair. I can honestly say if it wasn't for that hair board that I shall not name because it seems so controversial, I would not have lasted as a natural because of the 'fear of the naps' mentality I used to have.
I realize not everybody has the same story or hair type or hair journey. I am a pretty liberal person and would not dream about telling another person what to do or not to do with their own hair. However, I understand how it can be discouraging for a group of people trying to maintain the ideology that 'naps kinks and curls are beautiful and so are we' to see another person they thought had the same ideals, straighten their hair.
Are they less natural then the one who doesn't straighten. No of course not. But truth is, we might not be on the same ideological path anymore. And that's ok. We have to learn to embrace our differences and concentrate on how we as individuals can maintain our ideals without looking down on someone who we thought was 'down with the cause'.
When I first went natural, I was real gung-ho about it. No heat, trying to convince everyone to go natural. I've been natural for almost 5 years and I have chilled out a lot since then. If someone wants my advice, I give it. I think natural hair is amazing, and the healthiest option for black women, but I don't look down on anyone with straight hair.
Angel, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm 19 and no one I know has these conversations, NO ONE! Just the same older Black women on natural hair sites and forums.
going crazy over natural vs. straightened hair must be something older women do. im 18 and NOBODY i know cares enough to do that.nobody i know has these discussions
This is good…….I have NEVER had a perm/relaxer ever in my life..I have been natural before this movement was popular…I recently had a "Naturalista" tell me that I am not a true natural bc I wear my hair both curly and straight….Being natural is not just about big curly kinky hair..u can have beautiful straight natural hair if that is how u choose to rock it….You shouldn't have to be limited to a certain style all of the time….tell the Natural Police to SHUT UP lol
I felt the same way last week. I was going to a co-worker's 50th birthday party and I found a floppy hat I wanted to rock. I opted to wear a wig because my hair is so thick and it was easier than straightening my hair since I can be lazy at times. I got different responses, one of my male friends/co-worker was like aww you let someone talk you into getting a relaxer huh and my other male friend was like oh you finally combed your hair. I had to explain I am very versatile when it comes to my hair, I will not relax anymore but I will rock a wig or sew-in as a protective style to protect my natural hair in the harsh winter. No I didn't owe anyone an explanation but I felt if I gave a little education on how I care for my hair maybe they would have somewhat of an understanding.
I agree with the last comment. I've been natural all of my life and when my hair was too long for my mom to handle, she sent me to her hair dresser and explicitly explained to lightly press my hair, and it had been like that for years. My mom and I both believe that if you put chemicals in your hair THEN and only THEN are you NOT natural, but straightening your hair with heat doesn't make you any less natural, it shows your versatility. You're a very beautiful person and you don't have to go off of close-minded people about what being natural is. Referring to what my compadre up above said, what you choose to do with your hair is your business, no one else's.
I straighten my hair about 2 or 3 times a year. It helps me switch up my style and trim also. And its always the newer naturals that looking down on me telling me why I shouldnt straighten my hair. Its nobody's business.
I really think that when people feel as though they need me to justify my hair choices to them they need to visit their local Target and purchase a life. I don't mean it in a mean way. I mean it in a "my hair will not make or break your life since I am not a celebrity and you are not on my payroll kind of way."
I really can't add anything new to this convo as it all has already been said. But, I still had to comment!! Just doesn't make any sense why people want to "voluntold" their opinion when it hasn't been requested! Personally, I would never say something to someone about their hair unless they asked. And then, my only opinion has to do with health and attractiveness for that individual. A bad weave or wig … if I'm asked, I'd try to be a cautious and kind as possible and offer options that might be better suited for the individual. If someone is relaxed and has a lot of damage and is asking how to grow longer, healthier hair, I'd talk about going natural or maybe reducing frequency of perms. I'd suggest protective styles, moisturizing and sealing, reducing direct heat and deep conditioning, regardless of whether relaxed, texlaxed or natural as I think these techniques benefit all. But, again, that would only be if I was ASKED. I just don't understand people being blatantly judgmental about the choices of others, natural, relaxed, texlaxed, straight, colored, relaxed, bald or otherwise. As some have pointed out above, it's not that deep for everyone. For me personally, going natural was just far more convenient and less damaging than being relaxed. It had nothing to do with "rejecting society's influence." If that's what it means for some, that is their personal story and has value for self … but that story and the significance of the choice for one person shouldn't be forced on anyone else.
If ppl don't just GO somewhere & mind their business. What kind of friend takes the time out to get all up in their friend's hair business?!? My definition of natural meant Relaxer/Tex free!!! I can do WHATEVA I want w/my hair. I recently put my weave back in & folks had the NERVE to be disappointed. I told them just b/c I'm natural doesn't mean I don't go to my signature hairstyles whether it's my weave or flat ironed & put in a bun. Folks need to get a hobby like crocheting b/c I don't comment on other folks hair business short of saying "Your hair looks nice."
I'd embarrass the HELL outta someone who felt the need to try to get ME to validate my hair choices.
I mean seriously, its just hair. I don't feel less natural because I straighten my hair from time to time. I mean I love how it looks straight, though straight hair gets soo boring, I still love it whether its straight or curly. And the reason most of us love our natural hair is because of how versatile it is which means curly or straight, we can do it all. I will never look down on other naturals for wanting to do other things with their hair. The only time I start to get a little angry with some naturals is when they damage their hair from continual straightening. When people say their hair is heat trained but in reality its damaged. I just feel like if you want to wear you hair straight ALL THE TIME, then get a relaxer, but that's just my opinion.
And I just want to comment on the opinion that someone made "If you manipulate your curl pattern, you are not natural. " We manipulate our curl patterns when ever we style our hair. Unless you are wearing your hair in its true natural state, that means with minimal product and basically no defining product, you are manipulating you hair to look like something, in reality, it isn't. But you should never feel bad for straightening your hair. Its your hair and you can do whatever you want. Just watch out for the natural nazis out there who always have something to say.
If someone were to say those things to me, i'd look at them as if I were confused by their question. It's just hair.
Not gonna lie, the way that I feel about my hair is this… I'm a very quiet/painfully shy person, but sometimes, I just want to show it off. lol. I love my hair, I love that it's thick and that it grows long, and I love the things that I can do with it. To me, it doesn't matter what people do with their hair. I prefer natural to curly ONLY because to me natural hair looks healthier… (I also happen to think that people without makeup look better than those with… but that's just *my* preference) not to mention those chemicals can't be good for you.
Does that mean that I think women who are natural are better than those who are not? Absolutely not! That'd be silly. Does it mean that I think that natural women always look better? Absolutely not! Does it mean that I think natural woman are more authentic? Not even… I donno, I'm not sure what the point is, and when I think of possible points of it, they don't make me feel good.
Natural doesn't necessarily equal better (in the grand scheme of things… i mean… really…) I say, straighten your hair if you want to. I straighten my hair every once in a while, and I am proud of my straightened hair. It's what I want my head to look like at that point in time, and it's mine… then I want my curls back, and I go for it. I just love it, I like to think other people like it too, lol… but I pretend whether people are looking or not… people are allowed to feel beautiful, no matter what.
I think that straightened hair is as natural as twist-outs, flexi-rods, etc. It's taking your chemically unprocessed hair and styling it! I don't really straighten my hair because my hair is fine and the ends get all yucky quickly after too much straightening. But I am amenable to straightening it once in a while if I ever find a good protectant. Curly hair is versatile!
This is so stupid. The woman can wear her hair as she chooses. Point blank!
versatility! straightened hair doesnt make you less natural! and @ Syd, Miss Jessie press and curled my hair when I was 10 months natural last year =)
I think that's nothing wrong about straighten hair now and then, that's one of the advantages of being natural: versatility!!! However, I must confess that I haven't straightened mine for more than 1 year. One of the reasons is the fear of being considered not enough natural lol. Controversial is my surname.
I absolutely LOVE this kinky mane. I am never going back. But I feel the pressure associated with judgement when I think of straightening my hair to trim and shape. I think Im mainly afraid of the heat damage.
You bring out an interesting point! I have "natural hair", haven't had a relaxer since 2003 but up until February of this year I blew it dry and then flat ironed it. I wore it in braid out and twist outs but only got Amazing results twice. Once I had my hair done at Miss Jessie's salon in NYC and once I spent 3 hours doing 60 + micro twists on my 4a/b hair. The rest of the time, each morning was a battle and I would even miss work or be super late because I was battling with my hair. I usually wore it pulled up into a "pineapple" but at times I would look like side show Bob from the Simpson's cousin and I was getting tension headaches so I had to stop. In October I went back to blow drying and flat ironing twice a month and I have to say at first I felt bad about it but I just couldn't stand looking a hot mess when my hair didn't do what I wanted to do. If I ever found a way to do it that got me consistent results, I'd go back to wearing it curly (I adore my and others curly hair) but at this point, I am enjoying looking put together and not having to fight with my hair every day. I have a long 12 day break coming up and have an itch to try curl formers. We'll see. Overall I feel that "natural" means no relaxer, no matter what style you choose to wear your hair in.
Tammy: Tell them that it's your hair, your choice, and that straightening is a choice just like any other. If, afterwards, they still don't get that, find some better friends.
Do I ever feel less natural when I straighten my hair? Absolutely NOT. Do I look down on fellow naturals who straighten? If they're doing it because they still buy into the good hair/bad hair BS, so long as they don't judge ME for NOT straightening, I won't judge them.
Truth: I haven't truly straightened my hair in years. One big reason is just that I don't like long straight hair ON ME. Another reason is somewhat political: I'm dark-skinned with 4b hair and (just being real) I'm usually not picked first for the Pretty Contest. In my entire natural hair life I've straightened it maybe 8 times and I've always gotten comments along the lines of "I like it so much better that way" and "You should wear it like that more often." Simply put: I've gotten one too many of those comments for my liking.
I refuse to buy into the BS that says I'm automatically unattractive because I wear my (thick, healthy) hair in its natural Afro state…that says I have to straighten to look professional, to attend a formal occasion, or to do anything that might bring me in contact with non-blacks. Eff ALLA that. I don't wear weaves or wigs either, for the same reason.
In a world where black women are told in so many different ways that they're not allowed to exist on their own terms, I feel it's important that I wear my natural hair in its natural state and that I do so with PRIDE.
For the record, I don't recite this manifesto or carry it around with me. When someone asks, I just say, "I don't like straight hair on me." 😉
I'm not sure who the Author of this article has spoken to but I do wonder why there was so much conversation about what she choose to do with her hair. When I first was natural, I had a relaxer mindset in that I always wore my hair straight or in weaves. I would talk to people about natural hair and never felt that they were shunning me. I tend not to focus on what others have to think about me (especially if it's judgmental). Now that I am fully natural wearing twists & braids, I plan to switch it up with a weave and straighten it. If someone has something to say then so be it. They will be kindly reminded that since it is my hair, I will do what I want to do with it.
I spent about 6 and a half years straightening my hair without a relaxer, but still refer to my decision to wear it curly as when I "went natural." I personally can't reconcile putting so much work into temporarily altering my hair's texture and look with the term "natural," though
I don't really have a problem with the women who do and certainly don't think they're not natural if they choose to wear their hair straight. I know that sounds like a bit of a contradiction, but I guess have stricter standards for myself that I don't apply to other people. For me, natural means wearing my hair the way it grows out of my head, but it can mean other things to other people, and that's a diversity we have to embrace.
I feel you but I think a lot of it may be self imposed – at least in my case. I do have co-workers who have asked me what's up with my hair when I wear it straight (mostly because they are just learning about black hair because of me 🙂 but for the most part I'm the one that feels the most self conscious about it. I saw a beautiful natural in Whole Foods today and there I was at the salad bar with this straight style and I LONGED for my kinky curls back. So this weekend…my kinks are coming out!
I'm guilty of sometimes being a hair snob when it comes to my friends. I'm the only one out of us 4 that doesn't have a relaxer, and it's hard sometimes when they talk about hair. But I try to keep the conversation away from my head because they end up saying things like "Your hair takes forever to do!" I get defensive and end up mentally berating them, because at least my hair is thick and healthy and growing. I'm working on it though. But I don't get this whole "naturals can't ever use heat" thing going on. That's a personal choice, and one of the freedoms of being natural – you can choose to use heat or not. I've used heat to dry my hair when it gets really cold & I need it at least 80% dry before I go to sleep. Being natural doesn't mean all coloring and straightening is banned. I don't get this whole beating up on someone when they straighten/color thing. It further divides the natural community, when we actually need more unity.
You shouldn't have to justify what you do to your hair to anyone. That's just silly. If they make comments then just say "good thing its my hair and not yours"
Also that whole less deserving of the natural title comment. I don't ever remember receiving an official title in the mail after becoming natural.
Do any of you?
I don't like that kinda stuff at all. SO WHAT you want to straighten your hair! It's your hair and you shouldn't be judged by how you want to rock it. When someone of another race straightens their curls are we giving them the side eye? Probably not. So I wish we as "naturals" would stop judging each other and embrace ourselves and love the whole experience of being chemical free.
I tell my clients it's all up to you. However you want to rock it, rock it well. It's YOUR hair and how dare anyone else judge you on your decision.
As for me and MY HAIR, I will do what I damn well please and dare anybody to act funny about it! If I decided to Relax TOMM… That's me.. Not you.
…..DON'T JUDGE ME…….
This hair… is MINE! 🙂
I remember when I dyed my hair for the first time since going natural last year. Everyone was like "Why are dying your hair? You're supposed to be natural?!". It's hard because to me, it's just hair. But to everyone else, I'm representing ALL natural hair & if I decide that one day I want straight hair or a new color- I'm no longer natural. SMH. I get bored easily. I like changing my hair. I don't get mad when people say those things though because they just aren't informed.
I'm not a Natural Haired Nazi either so I don't frown upon women who relax their hair or wear weaves. It's JUST HAIR!
If I decide to relax my hair tomorrow, would all my natural hair friends look at me differently? (._.)
*sigh* We versatile Naturals are always looked down upon. *runs out of room crying*
I love the versatility of my hair, whether I wear it in it's curly, kinky, puffy, wild-with-abandon gloriousness, or straightened, sleek and defying gravity.
And I'm happy with and accepting of me in any manner.
I'm joyful that I've reached a point in my life where negative opinions no longer affect nor sway me.
Man can all that noise! lol To the folks that always say "theres so many other things to worry about like world hunger, and crime in our community and…" yeah whatever if you think of anything on that scale then mostly everything will seem unimportant. If its really like that then you wouldn't even be on a hair board in the first place, you'd be too busy out there stopping world hunger so miss me with the high and mighty blah blah blah. The point is,if you let other people dictate to you what is or isn't natural and you want to be apart of that group then go ahead. Do what needs to be done to be accepted by that group you're wishing acceptance from. If you just want to wear you hair however… then know there will be people that have an opinion about it and you can choose to let their opinions affect you or not. THE END.
Someone wondered if these post are made up and I have to agree! Or maybe people are just living in these horrible places where people care about dictating the hairstyles of other people. Please let me know where you are so I know not to visit.
There is no Natural Island, Natural Title, or Straight Haired Natural Title. All there is, is the hair on your head, and what you chose to do with it. Just do it and stop expecting/anticipating validation or degradation from others.
Do you, Boo.
But totally unsolicited opinion, I think you look younger with your curly hair. Maybe because the volume draws the eye up. But whatever ever way YOU choose is up to you.
I hate when people say its just hair… the whole going Natural thing is more then just hair is women finally embracing themselves rocking their real hair instead of perming it.
Grown-ass women can do what they want, but straight hair's not for me. I love how versatile natural hair is, but I've only straightened it out two or three times in the past 10 years. For me, embracing natural hair went hand in hand with embracing the real me; IMO, straightening it out takes me farther away from that.
It is your personal decision. I have been natural going on 3 yrs and have never straightened my hair because I am scared of messing up my curl pattern, but i have been tempted to straighten it just to see how long it is. People shouldn't look down on you and if they do that is their problem. Do you, if you love it thats all that matters.
your hair is beautiful straight and curly!
people need to stop worrying about other people's hair. Its just hair.
@ Anon 2:12 PM – AMEN! It'll be a truly wonderful day when we are as passionate about things that really matter as we are about as we are about how we (and others) wear our hair.
I would never look down on a fellow natural who chose to wear their hair straight. One, because that's their decision (though if it looked unhealthy and I suspected it was because of heat damage I may start a convo with them about the importance of deep conditioning, using a heat protectant, etc). Two, because I will be one of those naturals.
I've had a relaxer since I was about 8, wore my hair down since about 13 or so, and got a roller set almost every two weeks from 15 until last Thanksgiving when I started transitioning. So I do like the look of straight hair, and will straighten my hair occasionally once I complete my 2+yr transition. The ratio of me wearing my natural hair to it being straightened will probably fall between 80/20 and 90/10 since it will be the first time I'm really experiencing my natural hair and I'll just be so excited about it. But I refuse to feel guilty about straightening my hair when I want to.
Whenever I'm made to feel excluded I just say to myself, "Well, I don't want to be where I'm not wanted or appreciated". It is also at these times that people's fakeness comes to light. If your natural hair buddies are that quick to change their tune, find new company.
I think it needs to be written in stone, decreed and signed in blood that when someone decides to go "natural", the rest of the world should just mind their damn business. My choice of how I wear my hair is not open for discussion. Your opinion does not count if I do not ask for it. My philosophy about everything is "if you can't put me in heaven or hell, I don't care what you think about me personally".
People really need to get over it! I don't know why what someone else does to their hair gets people's backs up. Especially the fact that you only straighten a couple of times a year. Even if you did want to straighten all the time, or if you HAD relaxed, SO????
I also don't understand this "natural hair should not be manipulated" theory. Surely if that were the case we probably wouldn't even bother with products, heck even shampooing. Wouldn't we all be rocking freeform locs by now (not that there is anything wrong with locs, freeform or otherwise, but you catch my drift) I mean, how far are we going to take it??
Your hair rocks both straight and curly! Ignore the haters and the natural nazis, and just do YOU!!!!
I really get annoyed by these so called holier than thou naturalistas who think that to be considered natural you can't do anything to your hair. Really? I mean seriously, if I want to wear my hair straight for a few days how does that make me any less natural than I was the day before with my curls?
By that rigid standard, if you're so "natural" than you shouldn't wear makeup, or paint your nails, or get your ears pierced, etc, etc because you would be altering the natural appearance that you were born with. How stupid and petty can we be?
People need to start minding their own business and quit judging people for what they wish to do. We are so ridiculously divisive to each other for no reason!
Girl, don't worry about other folks and their issues. You have the right to do whatever you want with your hair. Do you and rock it!
It doesn't matter what others feel or do. Just DO You. Why do you care about being on an island anyway? Are you natural to belong? There is really nothing to belong too. Life is that simple.
Really!?!?! Debating over straight hair vs. curly hair? We have young kids killing themselves over bullying and teasing because someone percieves them to be different and some of us in the natural hair community are only reinforcing this issue by trashing someone that wishes to wear thier hair straight or relax. Who the F cares!?!?! why you concerned with want another woman is during with thier hair? For real though? I wish a ninja would step to me with this nonsense….
To the writer of this article…I know it's easier said than done but do you boo? Do not let this nonsense get to you…you are beautiful either way. Just take a look at CNN or your local news and see the real issues that are taking place in our world to put things in perspective. This ish here we talking about? Nonsense.
I'm really tired of the a) "Us versus Them" mentality that black women seem to adopt in every aspect of life ("real" natural vs. them, Curvy/Thick vs. them, light/chocolate skin vs. them, young vs. them, single vs. them,etc.) and b) the fact that some women can only be confident in themselves when they set themselves as the standard and find a way to regard everyone else as below par (e.g. I'm the ish b/c I have 2 degrees, they don't, I make $XXX/yr, they don't, I'm curly, they're not, I'm thick/brown skin/etc. and they're not). Get over yourselves, find confidence in the face you see when you look in the mirror, and DO YOU!
I don't care about what someone does to his/her own hair. I don't get into other people's hair business. So no judging.
how stupid. Their concept of natural hair must be very rocky for them to be so shaken up by you straightening your hair…hopefully this is something they get over after being natural for a much longer period of time…I think many are still in "worship mode" of natural hair…give them 10 years with a head of natural hair and they will get over it and come back to reality.
The Great Natural Hair Divide…. Silliness at its finest!
I have been natural for six years and I have never straightened my hair. Personally, I do not care if another natural put heat to their head. I do not judge nor do I condone being judgmental to other naturals who straighten their hair. Nonetheless, I can understand why some naturals who straighten their hair receive unpleasant comments.
As I see it, when you decide to go natural, it carries a philosophical meaning with it. I know this is not the case for all naturals. Some naturals simply go natural in order to have versatility in hairstyles. However, for many others, they went natural because they decided to go against the imposed standard of beauty (i.e. straighten or relaxed hair) and embrace a lesser known yet respected beauty that exists within and outside of themselves. For others, being natural is a way of life. It does not just stop at hair but includes food, clothing, living and so on…
So, for me, the debate is not worth debating because I understand where people are coming from. I respect it too. However, I just simply do and worry about me.
No. As a matter of fact I am over my natural hair and will be going straight permanently!!!
I feel jealous of people who wear their hair straight and then curly a few days later. I got my hair flat ironed by a stylist so she could trim it. This was in July of this year and there is still a whole section (about 4 inches in length) that won't go back curly. There is also a section or two on the sides that are doomed as well.
@ M.Z. Dido! I have been natural since 08 but when my hair isn't in braids I usually wear it straight. One day I decided to switch it up and where it curly and it blew my relaxed friends mind! They had no idea that I was natural and was amazed at how straight my hair could be without the chemicals. I even inspired some of them to go natural themselves. If anything tell those naysayers to get off their high horse and come back down to reality. By critizing you, they're doing the same thing society is doing to those who don't follow their idea of the norm. The whole natural hair movement was founded on having HEALTHY hair not just one style.
Like honestly, who really cares????? This is just ridiculous that people actually spend time on critiquing someone's hair texture. I no longer put a relaxer in my hair because I simply do not need to nor want to. I love my hair when it's straight and I love it when it's curly/wavy/kinky/coliy….whatever. I love my hair various ways and if someone has an issue with how I wear my hair, I could really care less. Thank you;)
Let's get this straight: you in no way, ever ever ever, need to justify [of all things] your hair wearing activities. It's yours, do whatever you want to it [even if that is perming it], and let sad people who think a) it's their place to comment b) who wear 'fros but often still have pent up hair issues c) who don't own your hair d) who would be furious if anyone commented on the way they choose to wear their hair determine what you do. and certainly, don't feel guilty.
I totally agree w Anonymous at 12:39 those comments were ridiculous. And quite frankly I probably would have laughed in their faces. Natural hair is the hair God gave u…whether u cut it or straighten it (non permanently) it's STILL natural hair. This stigma of "U can't be in the group" attitude is absurd n if u feel like u get so much more ridicule than girls tht wear their hair straight…tht sounds like a Personal problem. Nobody said u cnt straight ur natural hair. It's like wearing red lipstick versus a nude color….their still ur lips! Lol I had my last perm 10 yrs ago n I'm 24 now and I wudnt DREAM of only wearing my hair curly the whole time.
In conclusion, be Free, be who u are n don't let others define u! And most importantly stop being so critical n judgmental of yr sisters
Whether you are natural, relaxed, straightened (via flat iron)…whatever, if it's what you like then wear it with confidence. It bothers me how some naturals create boxes, for fellow naturals, then get angry when "non-naturals" make comments to them. It's all very silly. In my honest opinion, if it's what YOU choose, then it's a part of you…naturally you. Happy Friday All!
I don't know how I feel….. I don't look down upon those who straighten their hair but I thought you were truly natural when you wear your hair in its natural state with no heat or chemicals. To each it's own. But I have never straightened my hair. my best friend only wears her hair straight and she doesn't consider herself natural because her hair will no longer curl.
Your hair looks lovely straight & curly. The color looks nice too. I Don't let ppl get to me on the topic of hair. It's on my head & I'ma make it do what it do folks. So straighten yo side eye & do you.
I agree that wearing natural hair is not a status, and we as black women can't add anything else to the list of crap that divides us. How you choose to wear your hair is a choice and nothing more. My hair was beautiful and healthy under a relaxer. It grew wonderfully. I had a great stylist. I simply wanted a change. When I want my hair to be straight, I will straighten. Anyone who has an issue with that will receive the following reply: It is my hair, and I will do as I please. I'm sorry the writer received those comments. We are not better than anyone else just because we choose to wear our how in a natural state. Step down from the natural hair pedestal if you are on one. It's not becoming.
Sometimes I wonder if people just make up these stories to get a reaction cause I've never experienced any of these over the top comments or scenarious that I continue to read about on "natural" hair blogs ever
I will choose to do whatever I want with my hair. If I straightened my hair, nobody can say a damn thing about it, it's MY hair. Some of these women amuse me to no end, who made you supreme ruler of natural hair that you can tell someone else that they're not natural if they manipulate their hair? Who do these people think they are? As long as there's no relaxer in their hair, it's natural to me. End of.
The comments you got were silly:
“Why would you put all that heat on your hair?!”
Because you can. Free will is one hell of a drug.
“Now you look like everybody else”
Nope you look like you–with straigtened hair.
“If you manipulate your curl pattern, you are not natural”
-So wash-n-goes with gel, twist outs, braid outs, etc are not "natural". Really?
“I thought you were natural?”
-You still are. Natural = hair with the no texture-alterning chemical process. Not all naturals rock their natural hair in it's natural texture or out in the open free of weaves, wigs and extensions.
I agree w/ anon 12:13. I wouldn't worry about what people would say or how they would react. It doesn't make you any less natural if you wear your hair straight. That is so dumb! Wearing your hair straight is just another styling option point blank. IMO, when you start putting chemicals in your hair to PERMANENTLY make it straight than you are no longer natural. As long as you are using heat protectants to prevent heat damage I don't see the problem especially if it can revert back to your curls/kinks/coils.
I also don't like it when folks assume or suggest that you straighten your hair. It's my choice wheter I do or don't.
Q: Do you ever feel “less natural” when you straighten you hair?
A: Nope. I don't straigten my hair so I always feel "natural".
Q: Do you look down on fellow naturals who choose to take a break from their curls?
A: If one wants to use heat to straighten their hair, they should do so. It's a lot healthier than slathering caustic chemicals on your scalp…
Also, I don't think curls are a burden one needs to take a break from.
@NATURALLYCHELSEA: Tangles and ssks are natural occurances in curly/coily hair. These are not marks of "unhealthy" hair. Just saying…
What people do to their hair is their business. Why some people choose to get invested in what others do is beyond me. There are so many options with natural hair and if some people choose to exercise the option of straightening their hair, that's their right.
Your hair is beautiful whether it's straightened or in its natural state! Your hair is you expressing yourself, and if you're feeling like a straight-natural today, rock it. The natural hair movement isn't a gang, it's the way you choose to live your life.
@Anon 12:12pm I had no idea that was a Natural title that we were trying to achieve. Straight hair is just another hairstyle. It's just hair!
Honestly, I do look down on fellow naturals who wear their hair straight. I know it is wrong (?) I think that naturals who wear their hair curly every day and deal with the public reaction that goes with that, are more deserving of the full Natural title.
I've recently started to wear my hair straight. I guess as of now I'm a straight haired natural. It is hard finding advice etc from other women on the hair boards because I feel that a while back these women were chased away for not being natural enough. I love the versatility to rock it curly one day and relaxer straight the next and to be honest my hair is healthier now. No more ssk's, splits and tangles.
I think the beauty of natural hair is it's versatility. We always boast that natural hair has style options, why not take advantage of them? Each natural hair journey is an INDIVIDUAL one. What someone else does to their hair is their choice, right? It should be a fun, creative journey. Let's not put natural hair in a box!
No, I don't feel like they are less natural. I feel like I am more lazy! Lol!
I just can't go through all it takes to heat straighten my hair. I actually admire the fact that they have the patience to do the work to vary their hairstyling options.
That's the versatility of being natural. You can straighten it whenever You get ready. Don't worry about people – just do You!