Just as there are trends in fashion, there are trends in beauty. The shaved head trend had its turn and now it seems that more black women than ever are going natural.

I am one of those women who has finally returned to the days of my crazy curly mane and I must say that it feels fantastic. I decided to embark upon the journey 15 months ago and didn’t want to take the “big chop” so instead I just opted to grow it out the good old-fashioned way and trim as I went along. It wasn’t any easy feat and some days I chose hats and headbands over actually doing my hair.

This weekend, I wore my natural hair out for the first time and was petrified, only being reassured of how great it is when I saw that 90% of the women at the party I attended were also rocking their hair in its natural state. An even bigger fear swept over me going into the office for the first time, but the responses were overwhelmingly positive from, “Nice hair” to “I would pay for a head of hairs like yours”. This all might sound vain, but in a world of straight-haired women, the idea of walking into a room with hair that is literally larger than life can be quite daunting.

The reactions from men are also very interesting and polarized in my experience either being “I love your hair” or “I don’t understand why women would want to wear their hair nappy”. Yes I have heard both. The infamous article written by Satoshi Kanazawa at Psychology Today is only another clear indication of just how much scrutiny and criticism black women’s beauty is under on a constant basis.

Going natural is not just prescribing to a trend, but it really is going against the grain. This is not to say that not having natural hair makes any woman less daring, but in a society that is still hellbent on aligning with the European standards of beauty, embracing your own natural beauty is almost unheard of. I am not afraid to wear football-esque shoulder-padded jackets or purple lipstick, but I was afraid to wear the hair I was born with and I am quite sure that most women who went natural felt the same way. This isn’t a call to arms to stop getting relaxers but more an embrace and acknowledgement of the courage it takes to literally let yourself go free.

What are your thoughts on natural hair? If you have it, did you have any reservations about wearing it out?

-Faith Cummings

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  • I’ve noticed I receive a LOT more positive attention since cutting my hair. People tell me it looks great on me and it brings out my features.
    I’ve been natural for almost two years now and I hate I didn’t do it sooner.
    I wear my hair in a fade because I like to do VERY little to my hair and this hair style is perfect.
    Every woman cannot pull off a fade though, I will say that.
    As with everything in life, the key is to find what works for YOU!

  • C in Cleveland

    I was in a workshop, recently and the naturals outnumbered the relaxed folks. I definitely felt at home. What I notice is that some women simply have not come to terms yet with this look. I’ve noticed that some women still feel they have an advantage over naturals because their relaxed hair is long and straight. They’re missing the point. I was in a restaurant today and a woman had on a scarf and kept looking in my direction. She then proceeded to remove the scarf and pull out her hair, then rewrap it! I don’t know if she thought this was impressive, but it seemed kind of funky to me. I’ve had long hair before and it’s just not that deep.

  • bello hamderlat

    I used 2 wear natural weaves but was always scared 2 wear it 2 school cos all my friends are either wearing braids or weavon. Now I carry my natural hair only when I loose a braid or weavon. I think I’ll try nd summon up the courage to start carrying my natural hair. Nd my hair is relaxed 2. Don’t think I can carry ma hair witout it being relaxed.

  • Michelle

    For months I’ve been contemplating about going ahead with the “big chop”. In the city I live in, the philosophy of “Straight Hair is the best hair.” Seeing how a majority of our population are African American, I was completely and utterly in shock that out of the 30 people I asked about natural hair, only 3 had positive responses. And that moment I knew I wanted to do something different, be something different. I’ve done extensive amounts of research, and although transitioning sounds safer, I want to do the “big chop” to show those so-called “haters” that embracing the hair that God gave me is a pleasure, not a job….. but I can’t find the exact way of going about it. Any tips?