By: Tyrah Walker
In the 1970s people rocked afros, popcorn shirts and huge platform shoes. And although the popcorn shirts and platform shoes may never come back in style, one thing has come back and that’s the afros, better known today as wearing your natural hair. Being relaxer and chemical free, black women today have learned to embrace their natural beauty, and refrain from using harsh products that will damage or break off their hair. Women that wear their natural hair show off versatility and a range of styles to reveal their curly, wavy or kinky texture–something to be excited about in our culture.
Women go natural for many reasons. If one were to ask several people, no two answers would be the same. The process in itself can be long if one decides to grow out the relaxer, or cut off the hair and let it flourish. Either way, it is a beautiful journey.
Katrina Davis, a social media coordinator, is proud of her hair and went natural for nobody else but herself. “Our society has created a generation of women who cherish the silky wave of straight hair they work so hard and spend so much money to maintain,” said Davis. “I went natural to feel like myself.”
Being in touch with your natural self and loving the hair you were born with is the message that Meka Sims, a natural hair educator and local salon owner of Salon Suite, loves to share. Sims encourages women that are transitioning from relaxed to natural to have a positive support team, have a consultation with a stylist that specializes in hair care and, most importantly, have confidence.
Most people think that the upkeep of natural hair is easy, but it requires dedication and patience. Moisturizing and trimming the ends of the hair frequently are just a few ways women can make sure their hair stays healthy. “Natural hair requires knowledge and upkeep,” said Sims. “It’s precious because it’s yours and if you want to maintain the health of it, you have to gain knowledge about your particular texture to maintain health.”
Emmali Blye, a local freelance makeup artist, is excited to start her transition from relaxed hair to all natural. After having her baby four months ago, Blye noticed that her long relaxed hair was falling out in handfuls–and that left her devastated.
“I lost most of my hair in the front of my head and I just couldn’t take it anymore,” said Blye. “I am now about five months post relaxer. It’s hard, but I am determined to keep going.”
To some, this is just a trending topic, but to others, going back to their natural roots brings them one step closer to becoming an individual. For Brionna Blunt, a student of Florida State College at Jacksonville, cutting off her hair made her realize her own identity. She admits that she was terrified at first to cut her hair
because she didn’t want to look like a boy or get bullied, but going back to her roots is one of the best decisions she’s made.
“The main thing being…is genuine beauty and embracing the way God made you,” said Blunt. “I began getting rooted in my identity in Christ and I knew that who I was would come from his word and not the length of my hair.”
For decades, black women have been stereotyped for having “nappy” or untamed hair, but they are now taking the stereotypes and embracing their bouncy curls. The best part of wearing your natural hair is the many different hairstyles one can create. Twist outs, puff balls, coiling and braiding methods are just some of the creative styles black women can do for their natural hair.
Erica White, natural hair specialist for Abliss Upscale Styling Studio, believes that natural hair is a better route to go than having relaxed hair.
“I feel like it gives you versatility and that you can wear it straight or curly at your will,” said White. “When you have a relaxer you can only wear it straight. Most hair that is natural is a lot healthier.”
Natural hair is here to stay and everyday more black women are transitioning. Whatever being “natural” means to you, fully embrace and take pride in it. At first it may seem hard, but the results are incredible.