The long walk to natural has been fraught with the problems of change. Wherever there’s change issues are close behind as there remains a window of uncertainty whilst people acclimatise to the new. During this stage, some won’t like the change, others will, but need a hero to lead the way and show them what to do. Thanks to social media, many heroes have emerged and changed the landscape of the natural hair community.
Texture discrimination started when loose curly-haired naturals became the epitome of what natural hair should look like. It felt as if we moved from one box and placed ourselves smack in the centre of another. Problems started to arise, as most people watching the heroes, do not have the same hair texture. In trying to make their natural look like someone else’s natural, they were again bristling with problems. This led them back to the perm or further damaging their hair with products that were not made with their hair type in mind.
Thankfully, many have changed their view on what natural is supposed to look like and have gone on to embrace all types of natural, including the ones not deemed to have perfect curls, or satisfy society’s prejudicial view of ‘presentable hair’.
No hair type is better or worst than the other, regardless of how it may seem. The hair typing system was created, like all labelling, to control a narrative, the ones who wrote the narrative ultimately controls it. The typing system used by many is not hard and fast because your hair may straddle between two or even three of these types. From my own experience, I have three textures that range from tightly curled to straight, some in the same section of my head, others in concentrated sections. I also have hair strands that go from fine to course. I have the full medley, which makes caring for my hair challenging, but not impossible. It has taken patience and the willingness to understand my hair so I can make the best choices to take better care of it.
The heart of the matter is that your hair is your hair, no amount of manipulating will make it what it isn’t, therefore the best course of action is to know your own hair, treat it as well as you treat your skin, and exercise patience. I know we haven’t always loved our hair, and we haven’t been the main carer for it because as it was someone else’s problem (first our parents, then our hairdresser).
There are people who have never washed their own hair because they find it time consuming and too much work. Nothing is inherently wrong with this, but you should ensure the person you trust with your hair knows how to care for natural hair as opposed to hair finishing. We know how harsh some hairdressers can be.
It feels great to walk down the street and see the plethora of young women embracing their natural curls in whatever state of curly it is. It feels amazing to scroll through social media and see the myriad of positive comments on all types of curly from tight to loose. We have a ways to go in embracing our natural hair as it is, but we are moving in the right direction, and moving forward, no matter the pace, is progress.
Keep learning about your hair and loving your crown. I will continue to share and help you along your healthy hair journey as I’ve been helped in mine.
Be Great x