…by Gilanda Boreland, The Nappy Journalist
With much jubilee, “I’m going to grow out my hair” I announced.
- “What’s your hair going to look like?”
- “I don’t think you’re going to keep it up”
- “Natural hair isn’t for you”
- “I can’t believe you cut off all your good hair”
- “You’re brave”
- “You’re going to have to press it out”
In my teens, I invested many hours on my relaxed hair to get perfect curls. To achieve this, I slept in soft curlers, or used the curling iron, whatever it took to get it just right. Spirals were my favourite choice of curls. I had even wished to be born with curly hair. Why God? Why couldn’t you have given me pretty curly spirals? – Little did I know!
Ignorance certainly isn’t bliss, it just keeps you uninformed and far from the truth. I was probably 5 or 6 years old when my thick unruly hair was first relaxed and continued to be chemically straightened for the next 30 years. As I got older, curling my hair became less important and straightening my hair became essential. My hair was long, thick and straight and so it was the way people were used to seeing it.
The less than favourable responses weren’t disheartening at all. Mainly because I was now equipped with knowledge about natural hair – unlike my naysayers!
How does that saying go? Oh yes…knowledge is power!
How did people react to your decision to go natural?
Hi, I am African American who has very think hair! I get perms but after a week or two my hair gets back to it's same thick & nappy routine. I have the thought of going natural but honestly I don't think that I can being that my hair is soo thick. Can anyone give me answers for this?
the same people who said I would give up when I started going natural love my hair today I showed them lol
My mom was at first really against it and then alas…a few years later she went and shaved all her hair off at almost 50!
Its funny, I got ALL of those responses … from my black friends. I told my white friends and they said, this isnt your natural hair? I said no, its more like an afro. They said, "Oh, okay." End of it, no more talk or anything, they were fine. My mom, all her friends, all my black friends said, "Why do you want to do that?" "You won't like it." "You don't have the hair type to do that." "Your hair wasnt made for that."
Im like its called NATURAL for a reason, because its how it is naturally supposed to be. All I end up telling them is, you'll get used to it, and go on about my day.
I can definitely say that everyone who matters loves my decision to go natural. My best friends have been so supportive and one of them big chopped and she is loving it. My dad gave me the side eye when I big chopped after a year of transitioning but now he says he likes my curly hair and it reminds him of me 30 years ago. Im a nail tech at a full service salon in the DMV with the best stylist in town. Most of them have complemented me on being natural. Even some of their clients sneak over to me and ask me for tips about going natural. Lol. I'm sure there are some people that are like what's going on with her hair but I could care less what they think.
No one has said anything to me to my face, but I can see the looks I get sometimes on my job.But my last relaxer was on Nov. 6, 2011 and I'm transitioning until I am ready to chop off the existing permed hair. So I'm just going to be independent and strong enough to ignore all the naysayers (if there are any).
My son thought I looked cool when he saw it cut for the first time. My husband HATES it. He wouldn't talk to me for awhile even though I had been transitioning, the BC put him over the edge. Everyone else loves it and he cringes everytime I get a compliment, lol.
I've had mostly positive comments. The exception being an ex who wanted to know why I would do such a thing to my hair. Another lady that I used to be really close to told me that natural hair was for women who had bad hair and their hair couldn't grow with a relaxer and why would I do that since I had long pretty hair.
They didn't care for it at first. I had to go through an entire year of insults, but eventually they came around. Now they can't stand it when I wear a weave. So, to the newbies, there's hope. Don't give up.
People are usually ok with me going natural until they find out that I plan to BC next month. (That's when it hits the fan!) The millions of questions as to why, why, why come and I feel like I'm always defending my decision. uuhggg!
i mean i have heard it all, i have been told that my hair will be hard to handle, why get rid of all that hair, are you nuts….and all i said was, i am going to go natural! lol!… my relaxed hair is thick and full, no damage, or anything…just one day i said to myself i would like to see my natural hair, i mean there is so much more information out there now…though nothing is wrong with having relaxed hair, i have a young daughter and i want to show her that you can have the best of both worlds without the need of chemicals!!! and i can not wait to show her and teach her that
my partner is all ready for me to chop my hair off! he can not wait…and as for other peoples blessing, i am not even worried about that, after all i am doing this for me and my daughter, so, with that being said, i couldnt give a toss what anyone has to say….
Moms, in a hushed voice over the phone: "Are you crazy."
It wasn't even a question LOL.
I BC almost 2 years ago because I was underemployed, broke, and no longer saw the point in continuing to straighten my damaged and broken hair. Then it finally dawned on me that I'm not supposed to have straight hair anyway. I didn't care for it super short because it made me look older, but it was what it was. Fast forward 22 months and now it's all good compliments and fascination at my twists and spirals. "You have good hair!" or "your hair is pretty!" means so much more now that it's "all me". Best decision I ever made.
When I first went natural, people thought I was going through something too, and I was. However, I had been contemplating going natural for six months before. People covered their mouths and whispered and talked. My mom's response to me a year or more later was the best I've received thus far. She was like, your hair is so thick and healthy. She even pointed it out to my sister and was like, "look at her hair and how it's growing." I suddenly felt like my mom finally understood why I had went natural. I am happy to be natural.
Some people thought I was going through an emotional crisis after I BCed last year *rolls eyes* And my mother told me not to expect curls like "that biracial girl" [Teri LaFlesh]. And sooo many people wondered what I was going to "DO" with my hair after letting the relaxer grow out! The most supportive people around me were my white and Asian friends at church. And when I first BCed, they gushed over my curls! My family still hasn't totally warmed up to the idea of my hair not being straight…
Many comments and 'stares' in the begining.
'You must be going through something!'
'I wish I was brave enough to do that!'
The first comment was by a male co-worker! LOL! I don't say I love wearing my hair natural, my hair is natural…I love my hair.
I don't even recall. I was encouraged to go natural mainly by people with relaxers if I recall. I went natural during a serious illness while confined to a hospital bed in three different rehab centers. I wore a sew-in,and braids, and when I was released I chopped the perm off and I didn't even realize I'd transitioned from October 2009 to June 2010. It wasn't even a conscious decision.
Going natural is not an issue. I had been natural for 23 years and when I decided to relax my hair, every member of my family told me not to. But I did anyway and less than 5 months after I was suffering a major breakage. I recently cut out the relaxed hair after 19 months of transition. I am glad to be natural again and everyone is being very supportive, but I must admit I do miss my original armpit length Lol.
I only told maybe 3 people I was going to BC. The rest found out after the deed was done. The vast majority either liked it or at least were polite enough to keep their mouths shut. I only had one person openly express their disapproval and it was in a really passive-aggressive backhanded-compliment way. When I went home to my family for Christmas about a month later, they LOVED it.
I have mostly-4b hair, the very kind that everyone freaks out about. No one freaked out.
I have gotten nothing but positive feedback and lots of support from my family. A lot of people were shocked to see my BC, but again I got all good comments.
Hair is good regardless natural or relax
My mother and best friend were very supportive. There wasn't too much they would say negatively because I HAD to go natural. I have scarring alopecia and my dermatologist said that my hair loss would only get worse the more I permed. My husband was 'understanding' but I knew his preference, long flowing and curly. Not kinky curly, but roller set curly. Anywho I was good until I did my BC. My mama and my best friend were still supportive. My husband had questions like "What are you going to do to it now?" or "what are going to do to it to get a comb through it?" Harmless questions, there was no tones of harshness. But nevertheless, these comments made me self conscious and defensive. Those of you ladies who have mates who are truly supportive, you are very lucky. I hope my husband comes around.
I didn't get too much unsolicited feedback. But I have gotten plenty of the eyes popping response from my big hair. But I love it! I hold my head high on the good hair days and definitely the bad hair days. I had this one guy at work ask my co-worker, "Don't you love Kimon's hair?" Her response was, "That's not my favorite style". He said my hair reminded him of Corinne Bailey Rae. I loved his comparison….even though my hair is not even close to hers…..yet!
At work someone said, "Aren't you too young to go natural?" (Despite there being many natural ladies of all ages at my job) My mom kept clowning me that I looked like I was out in a pea patch with my twists. She would say "you're going out like that?" During the winter I chose to wear a wig as a protective style and I was amazed at how many people asked me was I still natural, and why I dont wear my hair out. My mom even wanted me to wear it out! I saw that the majority of reactions were fascination. I dont know many women who are not trying to figure out what to do with their hair. I get annoyed when people act so amazed that my hair has grown, or when I get unsolicited advice like, "My sister is natural, I'm going to call her and find out what products she uses." um. thanks. LOL!
I am transitioning, but I live very far from my family. I don't have to deal with their oppinions. My husband has been so supportive. This hair thing has become my hobby and he just loves it. Even if my hair is a HOT mess, he finds something nice to say about it because he totally accpets my decision. Don't get me wrong, he has some good laughs at my bad hair days.. but heck, they make me laugh too.
The only person who really said anything about it was the random hairdresser I went to to get it cut. I asked her to cut it down to two inches, she reluctantly cut it down to three. I cut the rest at home.
I was/am single so no one really had anything to say to me. My niece went natural right before I did and now my sister is too.
I told my husband I was transitioning but I'm not sure he knew what that meant. I also told him I planned to cut off the relaxed ends but I don't think he really understood until I big chopped after transitioning for six months. He just shook his head and said, "That's you." LOL
He was surprised but not shocked. I'm always changing it up. My family said they will have to get used to me with short hair. Co-workers have been supportive and most people at church have been supportive as well.
I got a few side-eyes and some of the weirdest "compliments." A lady at the drive-thru told me, "Oh, your hair is so cute. It really fits you." I told her thanks but was thinking–How could it not fit me? This is how it grows out of my head!!!
a co-worker of mine said, "I don't know…I just can't deal with the naps." I shrugged because I think people prove their ignorance through comments as such.
taking I wearing weaves through the transitional stage most didn't notice. When I went fully natural it was only my grand mother who stated out right dislike but I didn't care because me and grand mother never had a good relationship, or at least not to what she may perceive it. Friends found it cool and different and just thought of it as a new style but they are of different cultures (mostly non-black) so I think it made it more smoother transition.
Everyone just said I had a nice haircut. No fanfare or controversy, and that was just fine by me.
I transitioned for 6 months. It was exciting but the two textures became bothersome for me at least. I struggled with the decision to do the BIG CHOP until I spoke with my husband and my 3 sons because ultimately they were the ones who HAD to look at me on a daily basis. LOL!!! Anyway, my husband was VERY SUPPORTIVE and my boys said Mom, cut it and rock it!!! So this past Saturday (April 14, 2012) I did it!!! And I LOVE IT!!! My husband loves it and my boys also!! Now, my other family members are another story. My sister, who I thought would be the most supportive, don't understand it and has made it known that she doesn't. She asked if I was depressed…LOL!!! My mom said she doesn't know why I want to walk around with nappy hair. I said "UM excuse me, My hair is far from nappy, it is beautiful". I hid behind my hair for a very long time and now, I'm free!!! No more hiding. One woman told me that she can see me for the first time. She said I was glowing!!! Which gave me even more confidence. My husband is always touching it and I can't stop touching my TWA!!!! I am here and free to wear it curly, blow out, puff, or whatever I want to do!!!! I am NATURAL and LOVING IT!!!!
When I decided to go natural people just told me that i would have to do my hair either everyday or everynight.. unlike when i had pressed hair and all i had to do was wrap it everynight and wake up and comb it out and go .. And thats one of the things that i realized quick but im willing to do so to see how my hair can grow natrually
My mom said "But WWWWHHHYYYYYYY???? You're hair is SO THICK!" Now she smiles and calls me "Ms. Au Naturale". My dad said (with a HUGE smile on his face) "Are you going to wear an afro? Then he commenced to showing me all his old pics from the '70s with HIS huge afro! LOL. My brothers, sisters and most friends are supportive. One of my bosses at work saw me checking out pics of different natural hairstyles while still transitioning and asked me if I was going to cut off all of my hair. When I told him no, I was letting it grow out, he said "Do you need me to help you find a style?" LOL. Mind you he's going BALD!!! LOL
So far only one of my cousin's is hating, but that's just her style! Been that way since we were kids. (Once she CUT MY HAIR while "helping me take down my braids! I think we were around 10yrs old at the time. Her reasoning was that she KNEW how long my hair was in the braid! Girl stop! SMH.) I get back at her by telling her how much my hair has grown, how healthy it is, and sending her pics of the various styles I wear my hair in! I also have to let her know that, yes, I did this style MYSELF, because for some reason she thinks I'm completely helpless when it comes to hair. SMH Meanwhile my other cousin that's like a big sister to me always says "Oooohhh, I like your natural hair girl!". 🙂
Alot of the people who thought/said I was crazy for going natural 5 years ago are the very same ones who are asking me for advice on transitioning and natural styles. I feel vindicated! LOL!! Some people still don't like it but I stopped caring a long time ago. I love my hair and I don't miss the cycle of "patting-burning-scabbing."
they were like…"You had such pretty hair" or "Look at this. She done gone and cut all her hair off", and my favorite, "Are you trying to be Jill Scott or something? lololol
I didn't care. I looked sexy then and I look sexy now. *four snaps in Z formation*
I have the support of the women in my family.
My mother-in-law is fine with it. But, she pushes for me to press it sometimes.
My husband can be annoying about it. While he supports me, he wants to me to get it done – despite watching me braid it up for cute braidouts or cute buns/updos.
Most of my family asked me why I cut off all my pretty hair. The people that I knew who were natural totally embraced the change. I still get mixed reviews about it almost 2 years later.
Well, my family hated it along with my ex, but my friends loved it, and supported me.
Since I've gone natural, and hearing all these stories from fellow naturals, I didn't realize how prevalent it is to relax children's hair(I mean from when they are like 5 or 6). Is this an American thing you think? I'm from the Caribbean and I remember a lot of my friends didn't get their hair relaxed until they were 13 or something. I didn't even do it until I was 16.
I digress, for the most part reactions have been positive. I never really paid attention to it. Mostly people are upset(imagine that!) that I cut my hair not that it's natural.
I am currently transitioning after my hair breaking. In January it was drastically cut into a pixie/Halle short cut. I have not been back to salon. My bf misses the length. He's Dominican and used to seeing me with long straight hair (I'm Jamaican). I would like for him to like my natural hair (which is probably type 4 something), but if he doesn't that's ok because I like my hair. He does think that since I cut my hair, I've been dressing more girly. My effort to try not to look like a boy…
My hubby was very supportive and encouraged me to BC. My co-workers were like, "Why did you cut off all your hair? What are you gonna do with it? Are you gonna dread it or something?"
My own mother asked me why I felt the need to walk around with my hair looking like that….ugh.
Thanks goodness I went natural for ME and not for what I thought other people would think!
I only announced I was going natural to few ppl and I basically said "Im no longer relaxing my hair" & each person I told that to was said "ok" very supportive family n friends 'cause they love me regardless of my hairstyle.
One person did ask me "how am I going to wear it" & my reply was how ever I want to!
I think the process u take with BC or transition makes a difference, with BC its immediate one day relax the next a drastic hair cut. I plan on never BC just letting it grow out and its working out nicely 7 and a half months later.
@ Ms. D you had to be there! You would have been on the darn floor if you would have seen this man! He was so EXCITED to be picking out my hair! lol AT LEAST HE WAS LOVIN IT INSTEAD OF HATIN IT!
For the most part, it was all positive but I did get a few ridiculous comments like the ones below.
"Awe, and you had such nice hair."
"You're not going to get all dashiki on me right?"
"You're going to put a texturizer in it right? cause that's the only way you're going to be able to comb it."
@ Anon 11:42- The story about your ex had me dying!!!!!!!
When I decided to transition to natural hair, it took me 2 months to call my mom and tell her. Now, I'm a grown woman but I was still a bit nervous. My mom's respond to my call was, "How are you going to comb it?" LOL.. now, I do not recall what my natural hair felt like since I relaxed when I was 13. My dad's respond on the other hand was "Did she cut her hair?" I directed my mom to my blog –
– After she saw how well I was taking care of it and all the interesting things I am learning about hair, she was VERY impressed.
Better than I thought! I will be six years natural this November! Yes!!! When I initially did my BC…it was my Ex at the time who basically FORCED me to cut off my relaxed ends!Lol That man was more excited than I was! He came to the Salon with me, held my hand while I got the cut, he kept telling me how beautiful I was while kissing my hands! The next morning,lol, this crazy fool scared the bagizzas out of me! I woke up to this man staring at me with a hair pic in his hands waiting to pick out my afro! lol Imagine, still sleeply as hell with someone pickout your fro! however, It was a great experience for me!:)Unfortunately, we didn't work out as a couple,but I will NEVER forget how much he encourage me to except me for me!:)
Lastly, my bosses and other people at work embraced my "new look" as they called it. My family liked it a lot as well. Plus, my mom wore her hair natural all of her life! As it stands me, my sister, daughter and a few cousins are natural now! 🙂
@Anonymous 9:28 AM:
You know that was his sad, pathetic little way of trying to talk to you, right? Totally off topic, but it's amazing how certain men (not all, most have better game than this) approach a woman they want to get to know better and start off by insulting them and making them mad. He is not only ignorant, but socially inept and more than likely "thirsty."
On topic, I only had one "naysayer" and the rest were waiting to see what I would do. When I big chopped they were shocked. When they saw my growth months later they were amazed!
I had been wearing a lowfade for a bout a year when i decided to grow my hair back, most people were estatic because they had already given me all the stresss about cutting it off fin the first place. bUT THEN WHEN I STARTED THE GROWING PROCESS i WAS GETTING PRESSURE LEFT AND RIGHT TO FLAT IRON OR "DO SOMETHING WITH IT". My people were not feeling the TWA but now its been over a year and people are loving it! lol!
Everyone around me thought I lost my mind! I have always had long, thick hair but my edges were terrible and I never did anything with it. It was just there in a ponytail. I forewarned those closest to me that I was going back to natural. Guess no one believed me. One night, I was alone and I went in the bathroom and cut it all off. Put a satin cap on it and went to bed. Nonetheless, my boyfriend and family members were NOT pleased. In the past 7 months, it has grown ALOT. It is healthy, thicker, and my original hairline is slowly coming back. Sad to say though, my boyfriend is yet to embrace the natural hair only because he is looking at the length. I think if they could have committed me they would have. So my support system is not the biggest but I love it and that's all that matters.
ERY VERY VERY supportive. Honestly, I don't recall anyone opposed to me going natural in my community. I come from a family who wore afros in the 70's, got vigorols in the 80's, relaxers in the 90's and chopped off their hair to go natural in the new millennium. During a family function, I surveyed all the Women and Men in my family and realized that the majority of Women in my family are wearing their natural hair and many Men a few Men wear locs. Apparently we are some natural hair loving people. As for my friends, I got so much love and respect. Although among all my friends I am the only natural person, they always compliment my hair and I think that what makes us accepting is that I never force my natural hair beliefs on them and they don't force their relaxed hair beliefs on me, there is just a mutual respect for our own individuality.
When I first decided to go natural, I told very few people. I shared it with a couple of my close friends, who were natural, and they were very supportive and excited for me. My mom was my biggest skeptic and she kept saying that my hair would break off and that a lot of women would pay for my long hair, that black men love long hair, etc…lol!
Since the time that I transitioned and big chopped, I have received nothing but love. I've had a couple of people say that were mad that I cut all my hair off, but overall, the people I work with, my family, my friends, and even complete strangers have been very supportive and complimentary. My mom has now decided to go natural herself b/c she sees how mine has grown and the response to it.
I think going natural has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and one of the most courageous. It is something that I decided to do for me and I'm glad that it has inspired others along the way.
Some friends and families didn't understand and still won't be supportive.Initially, I tried answering questions but I've stopped explaining and giving reasons. I just say that's what I want.
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Surprisingly, my family is very supportive. In fact one of my cousins (we grew up like sisters) has now decided to stop getting relaxers as well. We both noticed that our moms' (who are sisters) hair has gotten thinner with age and we don't want it to happen to us. 🙂 I love how thick my transitioning hair is. I'm 14 months into my transition so far and there's no stopping me now! LOL!
My mom is my biggest skeptic so far. She is worried that I'm going to look like a 'hot mess' and not take care of my hair. I was not surprise, however, that my husband was so supportive. He LOVES my natural hair & has really become interestsed in taking this journey with me. But more importantly – I LOVE my hair. Going natural has made me feel so much more free & it has encouraged me to be even healthier in terms of working out & drinking LOTS of water. Excited for the process! I look to this blog & the posts of other women to keep me motivated & I wish you all the best in your natural journies 🙂
I got a lot of positive feedback from my white coworkers and classmates. My parents were excited that I was going to stop relaxing my hair. However, they were upset at the fact that I cut it super short since I wasn't interested in transitioning. My black friends didn't too much care for it, but never said it directly. But I didn't let anyone's reaction, positive or negative, phase me. This decision was all about pleasing me, and only me.
No one has said a thing!I've worn my hair so many ways. My kids know i change my hair but they were excited that i was letting my hair be natural.
My friends and family accepted it. It was kind of like a "duh" for them seeing as how they figure all people who are natural are the hippy, vegetarian, barefoot chicks. It was easy for them to accept the natural as long as it was braided or twisted which is how I wore my hair intially and through transitioning. Once they saw that I could wer my hair straight, any type of curl pattern, afro, twist/braid out, flat twist, two strand, cornrow, is OUT OF THE QUESTION for some of them, especially my aunts. I hate the comments, but you're hair is so much pretty straight. Men like your hair better straight. Why not go to the dominicans? What is wrong with a flat iron? I love love love my curls so they can kick rocks.
I have had positive reactions mostly. I am the only black person in my company and the only woman. So the white men really didn't even notice. My hair was in a pixie in the beginning so my big chop wasn't a big deal to them.
The other day a black gentleman came by to pick up some freight and he noticed that I had cut my hair. I said yes, I decided to get rid of the relaxers and he responded with "are you gay". He proceeded to tell me that women in Atlanta who go natural are gay. I laughed at his ignorance.
All through high school and college, I had so many hair styles, cuts, colors…I tried it all. So when I told my friends/ family that I was going natural my last year of college, they thought it was just another "phase" and that I'd be over it soon enough. Four years later…still natural! LOL! What they didn't know is that "natural" doesn't just mean I'm rocking a fro all day every day! My hair is just as, if not more, versatile as it was before!
Alot of my friends and coworkers love it. I experiment with a lot of styles like twist-outs, wash n'go, bantu knot-outs, etc. and I am always complimented on how nice and jazzy my hair looks.
Now my family members are another story. I am Dominican and Black and my hair is REALLY thick and curly so all of the women in my family have always relaxed their hair to have a more straight and manageable style. Once I went to college, I decided to go natural and my family members were not happy at all, especially the women. "Why do you want nappy hair?", "You know you won't get hired after graduation with your hair looking like that, right?", and so on and so forth.
At first these comments were very discouraging because I wanted positive feedback from family members. However, after a while, I didn't let the shade bother me because I made the decision to go natural and I have to deal with the consequences. And besides a failed twist-out once in the blue moon, going natural has yield nothing but positive results for me! I have less breakage and my hair is A LOT healthier. Can't beat that 🙂
When I told my friends I was going natural, they replied "Oh, Okay" lmao