I love writing about dating, personal development, and getting into Ivy League schools, and I often wish that the things I write about were more “hot” right now. Yes, people are always talking about love and relationships. And there will always be people eager to get into impressive schools. But dating and personal development, while popular subjects of interest with millennials, aren’t the hottest thing. You know what is hot right now? NATURAL HAIR! It’s a shame that I don’t care enough to write more about it or to strike out on my own as a Youtuber. I bet I’d have my own mini-empire by now.

I’ve had natural hair since 2003, when I realized that I could feed a small village with the amount of money I was spending on straightening my hair. No longer near my relaxer-wielding mom, I was finally realizing just how expensive it is to maintain the illusion that my hair grows out of my head straight. To make matters worse, my hair never quite looked the way I wanted it to. I wanted my long, straightened hair to look exactly like Aaliyah’s. It never came close. So I did the big chop in 2003, and spent three months getting mistaken for my male colleague as I taught middle school.

Despite having natural hair for the last nine years, and donning “neat” locs that cascade past my shoulders, I just don’t care that much about the natural hair revolution. I’m happy that women are embracing the natural way that their hair grows and learning how to do all kinds of sexy and creative hairstyles. There is a veritable pantheon of natural hair bloggers and YouTubers who can teach you how to do any hairstyle or treatment you can think of at home. In fact, last week, I sat down with a Chescalocs tutorial and gave myself sexy spiral curls using pipe cleaners. However, if it was up to me, I would have gone to a salon and paid a natural hair passionista to wash, retwist, and curl my hair for me.

One consequence of the natural hair revolution that I hope comes to pass is that more hair stylists in mid-sized cities will begin doing natural hair. I live in Austin, Texas where women are still largely afraid of their hair in its natural state, and I have no idea what to tell inquisitive newcomers to the city when they stop me and ask where they can get their natural hair styled. Even though I’d rather not, I wash and twist my hair myself at home while catching up on episodes of Shameless or Real Housewives of New Jersey.

I don’t think the natural hair revolution is anywhere near over. I think that the Youtube stars will continue in their (much deserved) rise to natural hair fame, and more and more women will big chop and begin discovering the myriad of ways they can wear their hair. In the meantime, disengaged naturals like me who are happy for them but just don’t care enough to become natural hair experts will continue to watch from the sidelines, eagerly waiting for one of our natural-hair-loving sisters to open up a salon within walking distance.

 

  • Dreaming

    My hair is natural and I don’t care about the natural hair revolution either. In Fact, I hate talking about hair.

  • omfg

    what i do like about this natural hair trend is the entrepreneurial spirit and camaraderie it has inspired.

    the blogs, the hair products, meetups and online hair shops are great. i am able to patronize black women owned beauty companies (qhemet) whose products are are natural products. a lot of these old black/mainstream companies don’t get it.

    black women are sharing information and supporting each other emotionally and financially.

    this is the part i admire.

    i have to say that some youtubers have a waaayyy to high opinion of themselves. they are in their little yt world they think they are the ish because 1,000 people watch their videos. lol.

    some of them also have made themselves into gurus but don’t know a whole lot about a whole lot.

    been natural more than a decade.

  • Princess P

    I’ve been natural a year next month, and did my big chop this past Dec. I feel like I’ve joined a sorority since then lol. Other naturals (or curious relaxed sistas) will stop me and stike up conversations about routine, products, etc.

    I’ve never gotten this many compliments when my hair was straight or when I was sewing in someone else’s tracks (not that I’m opposed to getting a good sew in come these summer months lol).

  • lulu

    i like it – i was natural when there was no support, no products, natural hair was not in the magazines, infact the magazines said the straighten your hair if it was natural, people used to tell you to do your hair when it was natural, “do” means straighten- i love it and i care about it

  • Tami

    I used to wear my hair natural in the eighties & nineties…Wore braids & twists…was ahead of my time…Now it seems as if everyone is into natural hair & I have since switched to weaves & wigs…It’s nice seeing black women embrace what is naturally theirs…I like seeing that…But for me, hair is hair & since I have damaged mine, weaves & wigs are what I embrace now…But I like the idea that my five year old grand-daughter will see her natural hair as beautiful & God willing, won’t feel the need to perm it, unless of course, when she gets grown & wants too.

  • Kacey

    I love the natural hair movement!

    I’ve been natural for 4 years now and its actually my 3rd try at going natural. Thank God for YouTube and various natural hair blogs – they made this last time much easier because during the previous two tries I had no clue what I was doing and relaxed out of frustration. Now, I can definitively say that I will never relax my hair again thanks to the wealth of information, products and support.

    Like someone else noted, it has really fostered camaraderie between black women. I’ve been stopped by new naturals while shopping at Whole Foods and Target. They ask for recommendations on routine and products, and I am always happy to help.

  • Gigi Young

    Fastforward to the 4:00 mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFUGxJIbezU

  • http://www.purplekeychain.blogspot.com purplekeychain

    I am pretty fed up with the “natural hair revolution” myself. In and of itself, it seems like such a great thing. But it’s also super…. I don’t know, competitive and divisive. I blame Andre Walker, and all the sisters who are so entrenched on that hair-typing shit. However, I will say that all the YT videos and natural hair communities helped me to realize many things about my own hair.

    And that’s one of the things about this so-called “revolution” that I despise — the lack of acceptance of varied and multiple types of black hair that don’t necessarily fall under sir walker’s system. And, just like everything amongst black women, if the majority of the women don’t understand or recognize your personal experience, then it doesn’t exist AT ALL. I mean, look at all the women on the hair boards (especially BGLH which I HATE) who STILL continue to deny and criticize the hair type “C Napp” that many, many women have used to identify their OWN hair. Or those women whose hair just doesn’t grow all that damn fast, whether natural or relaxed, or their hair is half curly and half nappy, or whatever.

    I mean, damn, it’s just HAIR. Some people politicize their hair, which is great for them — I overheard a really interesting conversation the other day with these 2 sisters who both had waist-length locs seeing eachother for the first time in months, and one did a BC and the other one started to cry and said “but you know what this hair means to US” and I was really gobsmacked. For some of us, hair is another way to take control of our outward representations and manipulate it to say something about who we are. But for some of us, hair just another accessory, and natural hair is just ANOTHER WAY TO WEAR IT. And I desperately wished that all women would just respect one another’s decisions to do with their hair whatever they wish without trying to read something into it.

    One more rant before I finish is that I wish more black hair care professionals would get a damned CLUE about the various forms of black hair, whether its straightened or natural, and that they would cut that old school bullshit out. Like hair grease and pink lotion and and “dirty hair grows faster” and the belief that all healthy hair is shiny, and all that other ignorant foolishness. I got my hair braided last week (YUCK) and the braider slathered hair grease all over my scalp. So despite the fact that the braids were tight on my scalp, I still had to go home and immediately wash my hair! ARGH!

    :)

  • I got sense!

    It’s okay, a lot of naturals don’t care about the natural hair revolution. Much like omfg, I am more interested in the entrepreneurial and the economic opportunities is has presented. I truly hope (and am actively doing my part) that this movement turns into the black community being able to have a stronger presence in hair care since we buy so much and so little of the money come back to help those people.

  • I got sense!

    And I desperately wished that all women would just respect one another’s decisions to do with their hair whatever they wish without trying to read something into it.

    I agree^^^

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    +1 I look going back and forth from press to natural…but my “natural” sister keeps urging me to stay natural …forever. As long as I’m happy with my hair I don’t see what’s wrong with being free to decide

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    yess! you don’t know how many times I’ve walked out of the hair salon fuming mad because my fresh press was drenched with some kind of grease by the stylist because they didn’t know how to properly straighten hair without it….I’m always surprised by how little people know how to do a simple blow dry and press!

  • Dreaming

    I learned on my own that grease is bad for one’s hair. I’m surprised more stylists, specifically hair braiders do not know that. African hair braiders are the worst when it comes to how they manage natural hair. I’ve had my hair yanked on, because a too small come was being used to comb it and/or they don’t know that they are supposed to comb the ends first and then comb from the roots.

  • runtelldat

    I totally agree @purplekeychain.

    I’m 28 and have been natural since 16. I had no clue how to do my hair…I just knew that I didn’t want perms anymore..esp after getting a scalp burn (that is still there..just smaller) and my hair always breaking.

    Up until about age 25, I went back and forth with heat, kinky twists, combing dry, using small combs, using products that were meant for relaxed hair, and always wearing my hair out in its fro state.

    Thankfully, I now know what my hair needs..due to a lot of trial and error and natural hair websites…so I’m retaining a lot more length…the big thing with my kinky coarse hair is that the strands wrap around each other and break..so I pretty much only wear my hair out 1x per week if that…and oh lawd…the comb is somewhat of an enemy..even if it is super wide..finger combing is my friend.

    My hair also grows slowly and is sensitive to change (heat, dry air, cheap products) I’ve found that a lot of new naturals are really concerned about length and like to compare…so for me to have been natural for so long and not have hair down my back confuses them..curl pattern is big for them too…I have no curl pattern…kinky coarse is my curl pattern.

    No I dont know my hair’s porosity..no I don’t know exactly how long it is, no I dont co wash, no I dont balance ph levels…I’ve always liked math better than science so why do I have to become a faux scientist just to do my hair.

  • Joan

    I have been natural for two years and 1 month. I really don’t mind all of the attention that the so-called Natural Hair Revolution is getting and I am so grateful that I was able to find those women on youtube. Some of them I like, some of them I don’t, but I admire all of their courage. I wish I had been that confident in my late teens and twenties…the thought of how much money I could have saved boggles my mind. I had no idea that I could look pretty with my natural hair. (The irony is that I have never felt so beautiful and feminine in all my life and I used to have long relaxed hair. I don’t even miss it.) Those younger women on youtube showed me something about myself (I’m 41) and I can pass all of that on to my daughter (age 9).

    I think it’s great that some women have been natural for so long that the “Natural Hair Revolution” is not a big deal to them. I wish I had the confidence to “go natural” when I was younger. However, I am glad that there are others out there like me who are relatively new to this and want to talk about it and pass on information. I get stopped by other black women all of the time and asked questions like “How’d you get your hair to look like that” and “what products do you use” or even “Do you think I would look right with natural hair?” Any information that I pass on is helping some other black woman improve her life and it’s also helping the businesses owned by other black women. Plus, it’s an opportunity to provide encouragement to other black women; every natural hair exchange I’ve had seems to be so uplifting. When I stop to think about it, I can’t think of many other exchanges I’ve had with other black women that involve so many positive things going on simultaneously. I also like the people that I’m meeting. The women tend to range in age, however the attitudes are always very positive, curious and humble. I think my hair is attracting positive people and experiences. LOL.

  • CCurious

    I don’t understand the purpose of writing an article talking about how much you don’t care about a topic you don’t care about. Just don’t care about it, it’s okay.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    Is it me or has anyone else noticed that almost all of the Blk women in commericals have natural hair???

    Yet when you look at TV and esp movies most women wear weaves or str8 hair.

    What is that about???

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    *bangs head into monitor*

    Where is my comment?

    Urhhhh

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    @runtelldat

    I don’t get the thing with waist length hair. Even when I was relaxed, as long as my hair touched my shoulders I was good. I’m BSL now but I’m not sure if I’ll jump in any of these challenges to grow my hair longer.

    Have you checked out Sera2544 on Youtube and Cipriana from Urban Bush Babies. Both women are 4C textured. There is one more sister from Haiti whose name escapes me but she has a full head of 4C glorious naps.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    I’m a long time natural. I’m happy that more sisters are becoming natural even if it’s only for a short time. I can’t with the money it takes to be weaved up. My hair grows and it’s pretty darn nice if I say so myself. So what it grows up and not down.

    *pats afro appreciatively*

  • Doctora E

    Lol! I thought i was the only one to notice that. I really wonder why so many commercials favor the curly look…

  • tightlipped mary

    i agree with your entire post.

  • anon25

    I’ve noticed and I love it! I’ve gotten so tired of Black women’s hair always being straight on tv.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I love my hair. I am not going to lie or be ashamed of how vain that is to admit because I love my hair a lot (lol). But, I also love being able to patronize black-owned businesses and finding this community of wonderful black women with natural, relaxed, and everything in between that come to share hair tips, makeup tips, fashion hauls, career and educational goals, and just banter about life in general.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I think you are bringing your own baggage into this. I have been on a couple of natural hair forums and blogs and I have never gotten the impression people were dismissive of certain “curl patterns”. I first learned there was a thing called “curl pattern” and how useless it was to understanding hair from these forums and blogs you deride so much. I discovered what I needed to know to care for my hair – porosity, texture (thin, medium, coarse), and elasticity and what I could ignore for the most part – curl pattern.

    Maybe it is because I didn’t grow up with hair baggage, I never felt any pressure to have certain curl patterns nor felt my kinky-coily hair has ever been derided.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I have noticed it. I understand it is to identify the women as black. They tend to use very light skin black women and the hair is able to identify the woman as black to the viewer, especially in commercials where there are two or more women.

    I guess win some, lose some. As long as we continue to depend on them for exposure and validation, we will never win.

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    This^^^

    I was trying to post a comment saying as much earlier but the filters where not trying to here it.

  • http://www.purplekeychain.blogspot.com purplekeychain

    /eyeroll

    Anon, I’m not sure what you mean by my bringing “hair baggage into this” — I stated that the online natural hair community CAN BE divisive. And your comment merely proves my point when I talk about folks being dismissive. Because, you know, since YOU have never seen divisive behavior or flippancy towards certain “hair types” that MUST mean it doesn’t exist and I am just making it up. Right?

    I don’t think my personal experiences of being, and seeing other women being, dismissed in natural hair “communities” because my hair didn’t have Andre Walker’s arbitrary “hair type” means that I have “baggage”, and it’s offensive AND dismissive of you to suggest that it is just because you haven’t experienced it yourself. Calling ANYONE’S personal experiences, whether they be traumatic or silly, “baggage” is absolutely ridiculous and is a slap in the face to the “community” that is being fostered through comments on places like this blog.

    So yeah, whatevs.

  • Evie

    I think Madison Ave. fancies themselves more progressive than Hollywood.

  • Sue

    It might also have to do with “mass consumer appeal”-people want to someone like them in an ad but maybe this does not apply to movies maybe because the movie stars’ status is seen as somewhat higher or unattainable by the average person…maybe…I don’t know…?

  • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

    the best anon ever They tend to use very light skin black women and the hair is able to identify the woman as black to the viewer, especially in commercials where there are two or more women.

    Huh?
    I see plenty of brown-skinned Blk women in commericals.

  • Roxanne

    I have a relaxer. I don’t understand the natural hair explosion. It’s just hair, rock it how you want. No need to talk it to death, form groups, organize a march, etc. Use that energy for some more pressing issues in our community.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    @ TheBestAnonEver, Part II

    *shouting and hollering like a mad woman* HEYYYYYYYYYYY girllllll long time no see!! Hope you good mama!

  • C

    It is just hair but it isnt

    The community is fab and encouraging

    Black women look good in all ways if they take care of their hair but IMO Black womens true beauty will not be seen until the hair is natural…It just fits. Sometimes I see a jacked up perm(whoever invented it should be punished) and cannot imagine going through my whole life with a perm and no shade to the women who choose to perm..Thats your choice.

    On You Tube:

    Sera 2544
    Rustic Beauty
    Hair Crush
    Kimmaytube
    Long hair dont care 2011

  • C

    Napptural 85
    Mahogany Knots

  • C

    Glam Twinz
    Fusion of cultures
    Alicia James
    Nerissa Irving

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Hey Mami!

    I have been so busy at work and too tired for online drama and going back and forth on the same topics 50x :) How have you been? I see you are holding down the fort.

  • http://twitter.com/fixedwater fixedwater

    Thank you for sharing that, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire video.

  • Jackie

    Thanks for sharing your opinion. I’m sorry that, after a year when the most black women, ever went natural or that relaxers are shown to have a correlation to uterine fibroids, that you “don’t care” about the natural hair takeoff. I think that, any time African-American woman can continue to love ourselves, whether pushing new trends or just embracing what God gave us, it’s a good thing. You don’t have to “care’ or “not care,” but I don’t think declaring that you “don’t care” is of much consequence.

  • http://beckiehasablog.blogspot.com Beckie

    Hair is a hygiene factor to me. It’s something I tend to because I don’t want dirty messy hair; I’m not interested in new styles, products or techniques. Wash, twist, dry, goodbye. The End.

  • chastize

    I cut off my natural hair and sported my afro when was a teen. One day I looked in the mirror after an afternoon of riding my ten speed and saw that dozens of tiny little green
    bugs were stuck in my fro. The rest of the story is just pure vanity.
    Lesson learned? Keep your hair covered if you are zooming aroung on a bike!!!
    All is vanity.

  • http://www.RealTalk123.com AlesiaMichelle

    People b!tch “I am not my hair…” but talk about their hair ALL THE TIME… I’m over the facebook play by play updates on Black women’s hair… wgaf

    It is just hair

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    It sure is a revolution that has revealed to me that there is more than one Oprah. Like chicks be preaching!!! and getting all humbra humbra, Aubrey Graham like about hair follicles. Lawwwwwd hammmmercy, it wasn’t like dat when I first went back to my normal state of hair! Oh well…..oh yeah, shout out to the revolution for having spurred entrepreneurship and in effect employment opportunities for my sistas!

    STAY STRONG MA SISTAS, STAY STRONG

    * does a black power fist, looks upwards to the heavens-getting my deep on*

  • Syd

    Thank you, Thank you and thanks. Methink that the author does protest too much. Its okay not to care, but to write about it is a bit much. From reading the article I figured that the author must be feeling left out because she’s been natural for sooooo long and just needed some acknowledgement.

  • RENEE

    I wore cornrows for about 7 years. I am now wearing 2 strand twist to give my hair a break from the braids. I am real new to the ‘natural revolution’ and am enjoying learning about all the new styles and products. I don’t do my own hair ( too lazy) and always go to a stylist. Some are good, some only so-so. Despite that I do enjoy the styles I see on other sistas with natural hair and I really enjoy the videos on U-tube. It sounds like the author would feel differently if she had access to a good stylist to do her hair. That would no doubt take the pressure off as it can take some time to shampoo, condition twist ( or braid etc ) alot of natural styles. My friend is natural and she lives in San Antonio down the road from Austin. She goes to a good natural hair stylist. Maybe she should look up one in that area.

Latest Stories

Watch: ‘Black People Mate’ a Parody About the Ridiculous Stats on Black Women & Dating

by

University President Under Fire for Wanting to Make School Less White In the Future

by

Taraji P. Henson Says European Men Are Less ‘Bitter’ and ‘Jaded’ Than American Men

by

Style Inspiration: Casual Work Outfits

by
Read previous post:
Beauty is subjective. Period.
Watch: Venus vs. Mars, Ep. 2 – A UK Web Series About the Ups and Downs of Dating
Close