by Amanda Starghill via NaturallyCurly

I always find myself in a position of informing people that this
unofficial natural curly movement is not about rolling out of the bed
and not doing anything to your hair. As I began to read, watch and
interact with more naturals, I discovered that there is a niche of women
who do just that to their hair, nothing.

In every culture and community there are unwritten rules and
standards. The natural hair community is slowly but surely starting to
build its own as well. Imposing your own standards on others is
undoubtedly wrong, but does that notion still hold true when applied to
an occasion? Are there such things as professional and unprofessional
hairstyles? What is considered formal and what is considered casual?

Is the same measuring stick that is being applied to Solange’s
care-free coils also being applied to Charlotte, who’s a partner at
Jones & Associates Law Firm? Is it because of social reasons? I have
no idea, but I have noticed that we might tell Solange to “do yo
thang,” but give our cousin Portia the side eye because she opted not to
do a flat-twist out for the wedding.

Again, is there a standard? That’s between that person, her tresses
and possibly her employer. But beyond that I have noticed that there are
basic unwritten rules in the hair care community that I must say I am way over.

General Styling

“There is this thing about getting your hair done,” Nicole Ari Parker
said on Melissa Harris-Perry’s “The Politics of Black Hair,” and I can
relate to this notion too well. Because women are so excited to learn,
experiment and share incite from their hair care journeys, whatever has
been identified as the staple or go-to product, technique or style has
become the standard. Is there anything wrong with that? Not at all. Is
there anything wrong with applying that communal standard to others? Um,
yes. I’ve learned from experience that the most intricately styled hair
is not a reflection of health. So leave the sista alone who wants to
rock the big, undefined afro! Ask to touch her hair; it might be softer
than yours.

Curl Definition

I get it, I get it. You want to maintain the water-wave look, but why
react aversely to it when it dries? The gel and pudding police is on
patrol, and if your hair has the slightest trace of frizzyness, run,
because they’re coming full force with the flax seed gel & coconut
oil concoction and it’s about to go down! Some ladies don’t have the
best luck discovering a curl definer that doesn’t leave their hair
crunchy. Even more women could just care less about curl definition. How
your hair reacts to high dew points
can be a reflection of dryness, but it can also be a reminder that you
are no longer relaxed. Don’t mistake the obsession with curl definition
for porous or damaged hair. It’s okay. You just look natural.

Smooth Edges

Constantly trying to lay your edges down will be the death of them.
People always tell me I have a perfect hairline and ask how I maintained
it. Because flat-twist outs
are my staple hairstyles, there’s no need to lay my edges down. Not to
mention I couldn’t care less. I’m natural, and hair that’s less than an
inch (baby hair) is bound to stand up. Do I know how to lay my edges
down for a sleek look? Yes, but it’s definitely not a daily concern.

Professional Hair

Can anyone explain to me what professional hair is? I am completely
lost. I guess our picked-out afro is equivalent to the messy bun that
straight-hair ladies wear effortlessly when they go for a quick run to
the store. Is everything else fair game? Does color matter?

Formal Hair

I’m glad that the instinctive reaction to pull out the pressing comb
for the annual gala is starting to whither. Women are slowly accepting
that they can wear their hair in its curly state instead of
straightening it for formal events. Esperanza Spalding definitely
inspired other women when she rocked her signature picked-out ‘fro at
the 2012 Academy Award. When I went to prom, I saw a few straight haired
ladies who only gave their hair a few passes of the Chi iron, so why
would it matter if I opted to pass on the curling pudding?

Final Thoughts

Everyone has thoughts that run through their minds when they see
something that’s not their cup of tea, but I don’t see the point in
making efforts to hold a public discussion around it. Unfortunately,
society teaches us that we should be concerned with the appearance of
other individiuals and even judge them at a higher standard than we
judge ourselves. Discussing the appearance of others has always been a
hot topic in dull conversation, but maybe next time we should think
twice instead of taking it to the the street (i.e. web).

What is your take on unwritten rules and standards in the
natural curl community? What are your own standards? Does the occasion
dictate the style of your tresses?