Monday, July 9, 2012

Culture, Curls, & Confidence: Why I Love the Natural Hair Movement

By: Taria Pritchett of Regal Realness

I love the natural hair movement! It is a new phenomenon that has completely shifted the way many women of color care for their hair. It reminds me of the 1970’s and 1980’s during the Black Power and Black Feminist movements. It certainly has its pros and its cons. Some women may feel left out if they are relaxed, or kinks may seem more valued than curls, society may turn up their noses at the site of a tight curl, transitioning without a big chop can be a ball of frustration, and family members may not embrace twist outs and other protective styles as ‘good enough’. But, despite the many reservations women have about the natural hair revolution there are many reasons why I, a relaxed but soon-to be- transitioner, love this movement:

1. It Inspires and Sparks Creativity
All of the gorgeous photos I see on a daily basis, and the level of confidence that these women have is inspiring! It also motivates other black women to give it a try, and it gives them a visual of results. It makes a relaxed girl consider going natural just by seeing just how healthy, long, and versatile black hair can really be. Additionally, it can shift a girl’s confidence and personal style just by changing her hair! It brings a level of creativity that often gets buried in the normal hustle and bustle of life.

2. It Takes Us Back To Our Roots (Literally!)
Deciding to embark on a healthy hair journey whether relaxed or natural really allows women to learn about themselves, and in the process brings them closer to their culture. By learning about your hair consequently your learning about a part of you that is historical and traditional. It connects Black women back to their culture and roots. It brings a new sense of freedom, especially when getting the big chop or surviving the transition phase. Black hair is political whether we want to admit or not. It makes a statement regardless of our intentions, but most importantly it shouts to the world that you are not afraid to be your true, authentic self. Embracing your hair is embracing your cultural background too believe it or not.

3. It Brings Black Women Together

So many women have started blogs, written books, started online communities, made websites, started Youtube channels, created products, and Facebook pages to share their hair journey and for Black women to come together. It has unified so many women, where in recent years the media has focused on how much Black women don’t get along or are always competing. Instead, this hair movement brings women together! Even teaching one another about our hair, and showing our hair regimens and products we use is a sign of bringing our knowledge back to the community for purposes of advancement, growth, and connection. It will completely change the next generation of black girl’s education about hair care. 
4. It Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy hair is a measure of its care similar to how our bodies operate. The natural hair movement promotes use of natural products, but it also promotes Black women to adopt healthier lifestyle choices as well in regards to taking vitamins, eating balanced meals, drinking water (our hair needs it especially), and moving more! This movement promotes healthy living which is always a debate for African American women as we are more obese then other groups, and more susceptible to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Adopting new healthy eating habits along with a healthy hair regimen can not only help your body, but make your hair grow healthier and longer, a win-win on both ends.

5. It Promotes Black Owned Businesses
Many women who have educated themselves thoroughly, and have been through trial and errors with hair regimens and products have opted to make their own products. As a result, a number of African American women have created healthier, natural hair products, specifically for African American hair. The great part is that Black women are trying these products out and supporting Black owned businesses which always seem to be a struggle in the Black community. This movement has ushered in new ways of supporting and promoting black owned and operated businesses.

Whether relaxed or natural—you could benefit from this movement. This movement has totally shifted how we view hair, style, health, and culture.

Is there anything I missed? Why do you love the natural hair movement?
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  1. With the increase in lifestyle non-communicable diseases in society today, should be enough motivation for anyone regardless of their hair - relax or natural, to want to live a healthier life by eating sensible, drinking water and having balanced meals.

  2. This is true I agree...thanks for responding -Taria

  3. True..But anything that gets people to think about their health is alright by me.

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