In general, afros, twists, locs and natural hair are nothing new. However, it wasn’t too long ago that these things weren’t as widely accepted as they are today. Sure, in the 70s and 80s, afros and twists were pretty popular, but for about 20 years following, natural hairstyles were often seen as taboo.
Beginning a few years ago, though, these styles started making a real comeback. Today, it’s not at all unusual to see many ladies sporting these hairstyles. So we have to ask: is this a generational thing, a trend, or is it the texture revolution in action?
Blast from the Past
As a biracial person myself, I grew up wearing my hair in its natural state primarily because my straight-haired mother (the only parent I lived with) had absolutely no idea what to do with my hair. She tried, bless her heart, but really, she had no clue. There were't websites like NaturallyCurly and CurlyNikki to help her figure it out, and there certainly weren't the hoards of YouTube videos that are available today.
In the 70s, African-American women, and all women to that extent, were more comfortable wearing their hair in its natural state, be it wavy, curly or coily. However, did you know relaxers have actually been around for over 100 years in some form? While they weren’t available in boxed kits at the local market until the 1970s, women have been relaxing their hair in some fashion for over a century. Yet, repeatedly natural hair has come in and out of style.
Most recently, we’ve seen quite a boom in women donning their natural hair. In cities such as New York and Atlanta, you would be hard-pressed to not see multiple women sporting their natural texture or a natural hairstyle. The boom in the industry has spawned hundreds of companies and encouraged even major hair care companies to spruce up their natural hair care lines.
But is it just a trend, or is natural hair here to stay?
Hurting Our Natural Hair
As hair relaxers became more available and commonplace over the years, some women forgot, and still are unaware, how to care for their natural hair. In fact many women wouldn't even be able to tell you what their natural hair looks like.
For me, like for many of you, the transitioning phase and the want to go natural isn't about a trend, like the industry often leads us to believe, but about being healthy and embracing our natural beauty.
If you’ve been relaxing your hair for years, you may not even have any “natural” hair anymore, aside from what grows in at the roots. My natural hair is somewhere between a 3c and 4a, but because of relaxers, my entire head of hair falls somewhere between a 2b and 3b (depending on how much I scrunch it), while still growing in 3c/4a at the roots. How’s that for combination hair?
The upside to this is that I have experience with a variety of hair types. The downside is that it’s challenging to figure out just what natural hair care regimen works with my hair.
Now, while I haven't fully transitioned to my natural hair, I have embraced my texture as I allow it to grow out. For me, like for many of you, the transitioning phase and the desire to go natural isn't about a trend, like the industry often leads us to believe, but about being healthy and embracing our natural beauty.
Benefits of Going Natural
The truth of the matter is that by staying away from relaxers, coily girls can avoid damaging their natural hair. Part of why we see a boom in the natural hair community is probably less of a generational thing and more of a technology thing.
Previously, the only thing we had to go by were our friends, family members, a couple of magazines geared toward African-Americans (though not necessarily geared toward being natural). These days, we have blogs, websites, message boards, mobile apps, Facebook/Twitter (where we find natural hair care groups), and magazines catering to naturals. There are also a ton of products out there and more product lines coming out on a regular basis.
With so much help available, there’s no shortage of information out there. You just have to take advantage of it!
In conclusion, this curly girl says to heck with the idea that this going natural movement, this revolution that we have created as a grassroots community, is a trend. The only trend here is the one that major brands are following in trying to get our attention, our money, our love and dedication. Truth is, we have come a long way from the natural hairstyles of the 70s that perhaps were just a trend.
We are going natural for all the right reasons — and so will our daughters, and theirs after them. The texture revolution has only begun, and I'm one natural who is proud to be a part of it!