If I had to sum up my wonderful weekend at the Taliah Waajid World Natural Hair Show this weekend into one overall theme, I am pleased to say that the dominant message was one of accepting and being proud of not just your hair, but of who you are. It was a great demonstration of how the natural hair movement has evolved — it is not just a social rebellion against long enforced notions of Eurocentric beauty and ideals. Who knew that one’s choice in how to wear, style, care for and maintain their hair would be a catalyst towards self-acceptance and self-respect, as well as a lead to a push towards better health and education? This weekend was proof that the trend towards natural hair in the African American community is not just a fad, but evidence of a lifestyle and cultural change that has taken hold within the community and shows no signs of letting up.

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The show was a product junky's veritable paradise. There were well established hair care companies including Design Essentials and Crème of Nature, that are wisely expanding their line ups to include products to suit our unique needs; natural and curly girl favorites like Carol’s Daughter, Hair Rules and Karen’s Body Beautiful; as well as up and coming brands including U R Curly, Oyin Handmade and My Honey Child. Regardless of the size or popularity of the brand, one thing was the same with each representative I spoke to: It’s not about hair envy or striving to achieve the texture on the next girls’ head, but knowing your own tresses, taking care of them and feeling confident and capable of maintaining your own personal sense of style.

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This is obviously a message that is resonating in the natural hair community, at least among those in attendance at the show. As I reflected on the first full day and looked back at all the pictures taken, it was nearly impossible to pinpoint a dominant trend or style. So thinking that perhaps my singular scope was limited and thus not conducive to ascertaining the prevailing trends, I posed the question the next day to all of the brand representatives, vendors and exhibitors I met. Once again, there was a consensus: the trend is no trend. Women, men and children have embraced a sense of pride and individuality that has emboldened them to express themselves in a manner that is intimately personal and unique. No two styles were alike. There were loc’s, twists, braids, up do’s, twist outs, afros and wash and go’s as far as the eye could see. There were bold colors and cuts, intricate mélanges of twists, knots and braids-combined with pompadours, puffs and more.

As much as I was impressed with the vast array of creative expressions, I was even more taken with the number of women I saw sporting wash and go’s. In my opinion, that hairstyle is the ultimate sign of acceptance of your hair in its natural state and texture. There’s no attempt to stretch the strands or alter the curl pattern. It is simply a take-me-as-I-am approach to hair care. But perhaps I'm biased, as that's definitely my go to style. I prefer to see it as a statement of self-acceptance and not at all indicative of laziness on my part, because I really like my hair just like it grows out of my head.

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After spending the weekend at the Taliah Waajid World Natural Hair Show and seeing all of the beautiful styles, receiving valuable education from all of the professionals and seeing all of the products and resources readily available to us all, the wash and go might still be my style of choice, but I’m definitely inspired and equipped to add some more variety into my repertoire!