I can’t claim to speak for all my lovely ladies who rock hair that is free of chemical relaxers. Such a wide array of hair styles and types falls under the umbrella of “natural hair” (for the purposes of this piece we will define natural hair as sans chemical relaxers). Afros, braids, twists, curls, locs, waves and puffs are just a few of the styles and textures where relaxer-free hair may be found. My personal style of choice at the moment is a huge fluffy afro that I just love to pieces. I haven’t had a relaxer in about nine years. My hair has many different textures and it’s enormous when I let it loose in all of its glory. As an expert on (my) natural hair, I get a lot of questions from friends, family members and especially strangers. So, below I have compiled some common questions and my responses. Enjoy!
Aren’t you glad you have such a low maintenance hair routine now?
Who me? Puh-lease. This hair requires a lot of care and attention. It is a common misconception that natural hair is much easier to manage than relaxed hair and that is just not the case. Now, when I had my teenie-weanie afro, up-keep was a breeze, but now that my hair is much bigger than my head, it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. My hair is very dense. When I flat iron my hair, it comes to the middle of my back. That type of texture is very difficult to keep moisturized and washing my hair is more than a notion, though I still do it about every two or three days. For me, some things take longer (like washing my hair), but on the other hand, I don’t have to bother with curling irons every day or expensive hair salon visits. I don’t go to hair salons anymore at all. I really am an expert at my hair now.
What is your hair routine?/What products do you use?
I deep condition my hair in the shower every two or three days, paying special attention to my ends. I comb my hair in the shower (this can take a long time and I use copious amounts of conditioner). Once out, I towel dry my hair and use a moisturizer and leave-in conditioner. Then I put a hand band on, or add a flower or pull my hair up or back or however I’m wearing it that day. As far as products I use a lot of different things (though Hair Milk from Carol’s Daughter is a staple) and every person’s hair is different. Something that works great for me might not work at all for someone else. I always tell people to just play around with different products until you find out what works for you. Hydration is key. My hair takes work, but I consider it to be a labor of love.
Don’t men prefer long straight hair?
I’m sure there are men who prefer long straight hair, but my holler has not diminished over the years at all regardless of my hairstyle. In my experience, if you carry yourself like a confident, intelligent, sexy human being, people will treat you accordingly.
Are you making some kind of political statement?
Nah. I understand that some people associate the afro with being militant, but for me, my hair is just a beautiful and fabulous part of my being. Many of my fellow African American sisters share my hair texture and I happen to love it. I don’t look down on women who choose to chemically straighten their hair (I did the same for about 10 years) nor do I think that having an afro makes me somehow more black or more pure. I just adore my natural hair texture (upon re-discovery). Afros are sexy.
Can I touch your hair?
Well, actually it’s not always “No.” I have let some women who were sincerely asking about products and such to touch my hair. But how I abhor folks touching my hair without even asking! What possesses a person to do such a thing? When I wear my hair out, it’s usually black women (18-35 years old) and middle-aged white guys who want to touch my hair.
P.S. If you’d like to see my hair, click here.