Greetings Nappies and Wannabes!

I have always maintained that I’m a stylist of words — not hair. I try to fashion my words into positive messages about self-appreciation. But my disclaimer about not being a professional hair stylist has not stopped readers from seeking me out for facts about their follicles.

Since I promised never to leave you ‘stranded,’ I will occasionally use this space to answer your questions about hair care. But you won’t catch me waxing poetic about relaxing or pontificating about perms or other hair care matters without consulting my stable of cosmetologists and natural hair care practitioners who have agreed to assist me. They will make sure that my advice is sound and that I remain on ‘coarse!’

Q: I am toying with the idea of going natural. I'm 54 years old, almost completely grey, and I spend lots of time covering the gray one week and perming the it the next. It's a vicious cycle that I am really tired of. I have shoulder-length hair. Is there a way to make the transition to natural hair without cutting it all off? Any suggestions for easing into it? Keep in mind that I am African-American businesswoman serving a 95 percent European clientele. Any advice will be appreciated.

Mosetta: I asked Gretchel Johnson a natural hair stylist and owner of Thegreatestyou.com in Euless, TX, to respond on my behalf. Here is what she offers:

“You can wear your hair in a style that is known as ‘tree braids.’ That is a process of braiding hair a couple of inches from the scalp, adding some human hair and leaving the ends to flow free. This method must be repeated about every eight to 12 weeks.

"Sisterlocks is another way of wearing your natural hair, and the styling options are unlimited. Sisterlocks is a natural hair management system. The hair is maintained in a natural form and in a structured way without adding any chemicals, gel or weaving."

Those who want the Sisterlocks style should go to someone who is certified and trained in the technique, Gretchel says. It is not necessary to cut your hair to start your Sisterlocks and the best part about this method is you never have to take it down. If you want to eliminate the coloring process, she says, have patience. It will take some time.

Q: I am white. I have straight, boring hair. Recently I used the expression “nappy” to describe my daughter’s boyfriend’s hair (which it is, but it's blond). They both exploded at me telling me how racist I was to even use that term. I think they are wrong, and I was certainly not coming from that angle when I said it. So please, am I ignorant?

Mosetta: You are not ignorant and you did nothing wrong. You were simply describing the hair texture of your daughter’s boyfriend. Nappy hair is not bad hair and nappy is not a bad word. What is bad is the stigma attached to the term. We have been conditioned to believe that something is wrong with tightly curled, kinky hair that is not chemically relaxed. While there may be some racist thinkers who will use the word in a tone intended to be demeaning, the word itself is not racist. Once again, the word simply and innocently describes a hair texture. And it’s all good.