I couldn’t see the cold, unfamiliar hands disappear within my thick patch of curls claiming ownership over my head. But I felt them.
Seemingly everywhere I looked — long, straight, luscious hair spilled down the backs of women. Meanwhile, my hair barely kissed my shoulders, and despite my efforts, it wouldn’t grow.
I spent the next 10 years attempting to alter and hide the natural texture of my hair. And as each new weave and hairstyle gracefully obscured my natural roots, I felt beautiful.
And I was addicted to the feeling.
I wasn’t alone. Since slavery, African Americans have altered and changed their hair in attempts to mimic whites’ hair.
Today, it can be seen as a personal struggle and a struggle shared by many within the African American community.
Despite changing fads throughout the decades, the Natural Hair Movement, a movement that encourages individuals to wear their natural hair, is becoming popular once again. I, and many others, are reclaiming the beauty of natural hair.
Lee’s Article Highlights: This was a really great article, Darrah Perryman gives us her modern day hair journey and the article is loaded with history regarding black hair and society going back to slavery times.
In the 1500s, slave traders from Europe captured African slaves, then they cut they slaves hair off as a way of stripping them mentally and physically of their identity and culture.
Until this article, I had no clue that women could get a migraine from the weight and pulling on the roots that comes with wearing some types of weave. The writer’s description of the pain sounds like a nightmare. The worst part is thats it’s done in order to hide the natural beauty.
This write-up shows that natural beauty has to be realized before it can be embraced. This realization has been happening in a big way recently.
Three years ago I did the big chop and started my natural hair journey. It wasn’t planned and unlike a lot of unplanned things, cutting my hair turned out to be the best decision I have ever made.
While I watched my hair grow, something amazing happened.
I fell in love with my natural hair again which I haven’t really been since my first relaxer. It was thick and had a healthy natural glow. I realized that I have been paying good money to achieve similar results without any success.
If someone told me all I needed was a pair of scissors, and a brave hair stylist who wouldn’t argue against the big chop, I would have done it years ago.
It has been an interesting journey and I had to learn to be patient with my hair. Hair growth does not happen overnight and hair envy is a killer.
Go to those YouTube channels for inspiration, but don’t expect to achieve the same hair growth because we all have different hair types.
Here are my top 5 products that have been keeping my hair looking good.
This might come as a surprise for some, but it is the most important for hair growth. Natural hair can be very dry at times, so, moisturize, moisturize and moisturize. Make sure that your natural hair products are water-based for added moisture. Read those labels like you would read food labels.
To make sure that my hair gets enough moisture I mix water with olive oil and spray m
y hair regularly before using any other hairspray. I choose olive oil because it is readily available in my kitchen, but there are so many good natural oils out there to pick from.
2. Tresemme Naturals Conditioner
Naturals hunt for a good conditioner like it’s gold, because shampoo is a bare necessity but a really good conditioner is a life-saver. With this conditioner the packaging grabbed me and I think the word NATURALS written in bold had something to do with it. On close inspection it got even better.
It’s silicone free which means my hair will not be left sticky and dull. And if you are into organic foods, you will be happy to know that this conditioner has organic orange extracts. It smells like citrus heaven too. When I am feeling too lazy to wash my hair I think of this as my reward for doing it anyway.
After a protective hairstyle I find that my hair gets very dry and before I do anything I use this hair fertilizer and gently comb it out from top then roots to avoid further hair loss. My water bottle with olive oil is never too far away and I spray it whenever I feel like its needed. This hair fertilizer is water based, so it’s perfect for dry hair.
4. Dark and Lovely Night Wrap Cream
I have used Dark and Lovely products all my life and when I decided to go natural I didn’t find anything suitable for my hair. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this night wrap cream. I inspected it suspiciously because it looked so much like a relaxer tub, but anything with Amla Oil, is good to me. I decided to give it a try. I just love how my hair feels in the morning. It looks soft and has a healthy shine that makes the night wrap ritual worth it. I also use it when I am twisting my hair just to seal in the moisture.
This is the only spray in a can that gives the instant healthy shine for my protective styles with a smell that I can tolerate. I used to use two different hairsprays, one for a healthy shine and one to mask the smell till I found this one. I am sure my pillows are happy too.
A lot of people are going natural these days and there are a lot of miracle products out there, but you can’t keep buying new products. It’s good to try new products, in fact its a necessity but always stick to the products that keep your hair looking healthy and strong. It’s all about good healthy hair after all.
Step 5- I wash the conditioner out with cool water. The benefits are that cold water retains your hair’s moisture and leaves your hair less prone to frizz. Most people add moisturizer or whatever to style their hair. This is a mix I make to get my hair on the right track for the week. And yes I do add moisturizer (I make my own) sometimes on the third or fourth day. I keep my hair shiny and soft with this method.
CEO Jane Carter says she has seen “definite” changes in the hair industry as black women chose to spend money on nurturing their hair rather than disguising it.
Women no longer must bow down to straight hair and the perfection demanded of them in glossy magazines and celebrity culture and are making a statement, she says.
Women that really take a stance like this—whether it is political, or to say “‘I love myself,’—are making the same statement as those who moved forward in the civil rights movement.”
She says that only in the last six years has she seen young women decline to relax their hair, making it smoother and silkier.
Lee’s Article Highlights:
It really is impressive to see the amount of support naturals have given each other through social media channels. Naturals have truly created a self-supporting and empowering beauty movement that is now starting to effect the big hair care companies in the pocket because of the years of neglect.
This one isn’t exactly an article highlight, just my thoughts, I’m so proud to be a #teamnatural and #naturalhairmovement supporter. It really is one of the most exciting shifts in the psyche of black women that I’ve seen in my lifetime, the effects are nothing but positive. As your biggest male cheerleader, I must say, I’m proud of you!
The best selling hair products for naturals are not being bought from the giants who ignored black women for decades.Now that they are losing money because of the movement, I can only think that we’ll soon see these same companies who’ve never put natural hair on display or even tried to make products for kinky textured hair jump on the band wagon in the next couple years. My question is, should you support them when this happens? (Leave a comment below…)
Tired of damage from expensive chemical treatments and artificial enhancers, women of color are going natural thanks to many natural hair enthusiasts and supporters, one of these people is Nikki Walton of CurlyNikki.com, the natural hair blogger and online hair therapy expert.
In Better Than Good Hair, this gifted “curl whisperer” educates women on how to transition from relaxed to completely natural hair, with advice and styles for every length—from Fierce Braid-and-Curls to Fancy Faux Buns.
She also counsels those considering the “big chop”—cutting it all off at once to sport a bold and beautiful “teeny weeny afro.” Here, too, is essential guidance for parents of mixed-race children dealing with new and unfamiliar hair textures and styles.
Lee’s Review Highlights: First off, I love everything about Curly Nikki. She’s a beautiful and brilliant businesswoman who cares about her readers. To see her success makes me proud. So when I saw HUNDREDS of amazing reviews for her “Better Than Good Hair” book I was pretty geeked for her. Out of 260+ real person reviews, she only has 4 “haters”(people that gave her book 1 star), most of her readers are loving the book. In my opinion, you get more scientific and in-depth info from “The Science of Black Hair” book from Audrey Davis-Sivasothy but Curly Nikki delivers more entertainment value. I’ll share some of the customer reviews below…
5-Star Reviews from real customers… (5 out of 169 comments)
The Quintessential Kinky/Curly Encyclopedia: Whether you are an inquisitive newly natural beauty or a natural hair expert/goddess looking to give your friends some sound advice, Better Than Good Hair is it! There are great features from Nikki AND many of the hair bloggers and youtubers that the natural experts will be familiar with and the newcomers will glean from. I was discouraged when I first saw the reviews that said this book was just like the website (and I almost did not buy it). But in actuality the layout, conciseness, and illustrations make this a very user-friendly, quickly accessible MANUAL for readers of all ages, transcending just a website that can take hours upon hours to search. Moreover, it should be comforting to the natural hair experts that the quality hair principles you have experimented with and learned by trial and error are encapsulated in one handy reference guide. I just hope updated editions will be printed every few years :-). As a bonus, Kim Wayans adds a hilarious and fitting foreword that makes me wonder when her first book will be coming out because I would buy it!
Loved It: I love this book It really breaks down how to care for your natural hair during all stages, not only that, it doesn’t ridicule those who prefer to relax or chemically alter their hair. It simply encourages you to take the right steps in caring for your hair no matter how you choose to wear it. Nikki helps you have confidence in your hair and yourself.
It’s Better Than Just a Hair Book: I have been natural for almost 4 years and what I love about this book the most is it is a guide, a source of information. As I was reading it I was nodding in agreement. I was laughing and I was intrigued. Even though I am going on 4 years I can always benefit from things I didn’t know or haven’t tried and that is what BTGH is for me…information that I don’t have to keep in my head. I can simply go back to that section of the book. I had to get my daughter her own copy, because there will be no borrowing. 🙂
Very Informative & Good Read: I’ve been natural well over 5 years and was able to take away some very good tips from this book. Nikki never disappoints. She has been humble from the beginning and is extremely clear in the book that this is not about her, but about US. I bought 3 copies and plan to buy more just to give away. This is a Godsend for anyone considering to go natural or for anyone who has been natural for years. Not many hair books can accomplish that.
Amazing Book: It took me a while to finish this book (not because it’s not good) because I’m so busy. However, I finally finished the book and I just have one word AMAZING!! I was on the Curly Nikki forum for 2 years, and reading this book was just like being on the forum but better. I like the way the book was organized, the information provided, and how Nikki used ladies that contributed to the forum to share their natural experiences. I don’t know maybe it was just me, but I felt connect to the book and the articles. I have been natural for 3+ years, and the content of this book is still relevant for all of my natural hair care needs!! I only wish it had been around when I BC’ed!! Love you Nikki please keep up the good work!! Deb
1- Star Reviews from real customers (2 out of 4 comments)
Don’t Waste Your Money: I check this book out from my local library, save your money and do the same. All the information in the book can be found on CurlyNikki or any other natural hair blog. The photos & illustrations are in black and white and look cheap and tacky! The book covers big chopping, transitioning, 5yrs natural and natural kids but nothing for naturals that are regular folks with medium length strands. The book seem dated to me I wanted color photos of “hair porn” you get none of that. Bottom line dont waste your money, honey check it out if need be at your local library!
Over-rated: It does not address enough about people with fine hair. Glad I was able to support a black author though. (Author note: Even the Science of Black Hair book got 2 bad reviews out of 400, someone will always complain, that’s life so take it for what it is. )
Going natural was a lengthy and scary notion for me. Once I gained the confidence and the knowledge of the many health benefits to my psyche, skin, and hair — I still put it off.
This is a short journey of how I ditched my chemical relaxer, plus a few tips I discovered so you can go the natural route too.
Editor’s Note: Kristin is a brilliant writer that really makes you feel her journal to getting a beautiful head full of healthy, natural hair. I’m sure many women can relate to the pain and discomfort of getting a perm and Kristin cried and sobbed her way through it until she’d had enough.
It’s a profound thought to think that just like Kristin, so many women haven’t had healthy hair since childhood, as she says, 6th grade was the last time her hair was healthy(until now).
She got past her fears of thinking she’d end up dateless with short hair and did what she had to do to get her hair and HERSELF back. Here are our article highlights:
Kristin compares getting her hair permed to being tortured.
She highlights the 3 ways begin your journey to natural hair. The big chop, the relaxer grow out and the weave out.
She says it’s one of the best things she’s ever done, not just for her beauty but to overcome self-doubt.