What actually defines ‘natural’? Does it have a ‘hip-hop‘ definition? Is it a culture, a movement associated with style/ fashion, or is it a state of mind? I decided to take my question into the natural hair community and I discovered some insightful viewpoints.

Crystal Z. Perry – Dallas, TX

My definition of natural is hair that has not been treated with any chemical designed to alter the texture. I like to make that distinction because the chemicals in hair color developer alter the texture. However, the purpose of hair color is not to alter texture, i.e. straighten, curl, etc.

I consider myself natural even though I color my hair. I know that a lot of purists do not agree with me on this issue. I decided to stop relaxing so that I could ensure my hair was as healthy as possible. When I see sisters with locks that have been colored, I still consider them natural as well.

Maxine Edwards – Tampa, Florida

Natural means no chemicals to straighten, or curl hair. I have been without a wig, weave, perm, silkener, jherri curl, relaxer, since 1994. I have worn my hair in a big fro, twa, twists, braids, and now this is my second set of locks. Personally, I believe that most people put chemicals in their hair because we were taught not to love our natural hair.

Wearing my hair in its natural state helps me claim myself and remove the “whitewashing” that was done to me since childhood. My goal is not to have long hair, but healthy hair. I feel that if you wear a wig or weave, you are still natural. You haven’t altered your hair from its natural state.

Tereneh Rodriques – Toronto ON Canada

Natural means, original state. Unaltered. Nothing removed, nothing added. In regards to a human, and in this case a black female, natural includes more than just hair. To me, it means no piercings, no tattoos, no make up, no jewelry etc. Unedited, basically the way God originally meant for us to be. Natural hair is “relaxer free”. That would also include hair colors and dyes.

Another thing, it has to be hair that is grown from YOUR scalp… buying a nappy ponytail puff and pinning it to your hair does not turn you into a natural head – no matter how much you paid for it.

JC – London, England of www.thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com

Natural means unaltered to me. Natural hair is my calling. I have a need to reverse this idea that the altered form of black hair is the norm. I think it is important for people to recognize that while altering your hair texture is not bad (in my book), it is very wrong to criticize someone who chooses not to or to alter their hair texture.

Therefore, natural in natural hair means sacred, fluent, beautiful, passionate, self affirming, confident, successful, soft, bouncy, cute, chic, sugar and spice and all things nice……..oh and FIERCE (finger wiggling Tyra style!) all lengths and textures.

Kerr-Ann Dempster – Chicago, IL of imhisdaughter.blogspot.com

For me [natural] is about letting go of people’s opinions and all the pretensions around me. It is about me just accepting me! Doing what is right and healthy for me! It’s a lifestyle of learning to accept who I am and no longer trying to be what I am ‘suppose’ to be. Natural hair to me is about acceptance of who God has made me to be.

I have spent my whole life seeing my natural hair (and the color of my skin) as something negative, thinking that it wasn’t good enough, that I was not enough. Finally, I decided what was beautiful for me. Having natural hair has taught me to accept who God has designed me to be, His Word says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Tamara Floyd – Houston, TX of www.naturalhairrules.blogspot.com

Being ‘natural’ is a lifestyle and not a hairstyle for me. Initially, natural was growing and cutting the chemically straighten hair off of my head. It was not until I realized that I could not properly care for my natural hair with the typical hair products or relaxed hair products did I become fully natural.

I sought products with main ingredients that came from nature. These products were free of sulfate, silicone and alcohol. This awareness urges me to be more conscious of everything I put on and in my body, mind and soul. Hence a natural lifestyle vs. natural hairstyles.

Ayo Fashola – Dallas, TX

Until you can deal with being authentic within, how you wear your hair or the term you call it is irrelevant. I consider myself natural because I have total clarity on who I am and my identity, which I call sensuous cultivated.

The sensuous part of me represents anything lush, sexy and that stimulates the senses, highly feminine and vibrant. My own natural hair allows me to express this specific part of me, anything else and I’ll be contradicting my genuine identity. The cultivated part of my style statement allows me to always maintain a level of grace, refinement, so my hair will always be done, well conditioned and treated with the utmost love and care so that my hair can cultivate (grow). I’m in sync and in tune with who I am, so I’m ready to call myself…natural.

* Some of our favorite naturals. We know some of them are not natural at this time, but they all have inspired millions to go natural.

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  • Bree

    Natural means as close to nature as the hair you entered the world with. Unaltered, unpretentious, untouched by chemical or false character. The exception is heat, since Prometheus stole fire from Zeus to give to us mortals, I think it’s our duty to ensure that his suffering isn’t in vain.

  • Harlem Chic

    I’m currently natural (curly afro) but I’d like to add that some of our natural sisters can be Hair Nazi’s….often critical and judgemental to those who choose to wear their hair straightened/wigs/Weaves…what really counts is the person inside for I have met me some low self esteem having so called “natural” chics in my lifetime.

    Just wanted to point it out there that natural doesn’t always mean beautiful from the inside out.

  • Love this article! My hair has never been better since I went natural 3 years ago.

  • Lish

    I just started going natural and I hope clutch keeps on providing articles such as this because it is very helpful to me.

    It is true that some “natural Sistahs” are just as critical as the women who relax their hair. It reminds me of that scene in school days when jasmine guy ‘dem were singing.


  • LP

    As a natural, I too get annoyed by the “hair nazis”.Nothing is more condescending than someone who swears they are “dropping knowledge” on people about perms. In this day and age, most people are fully aware of what relaxers are and the damages it can cause, so to each it’s own. I love my natural, but I am not my hair…I refuse to be boxed in by other people’s expectations.