“Good hair means curls and waves. Bad hair means you look like a slave… You can shave it off like a South African beauty, got it on loc like Bob Marley, you can rock it straight like Oprah Winfrey… I Am Not My Hair, India.Arie
I get it, hell WE all get it. You “went” natural and you want to declare your liberation to the world. You did the “big chop” (BC) or transitioned from “creamy crack” (a perm/relaxer/texturizer) to embrace your hair in it’s natural state. Good for you. You now have a teeny weeny afro (twa) that you sometimes put ridiculously large hair accessories in (big ass flowers or stupid oversized bows that belong in your two year old daughter’s hair). Wonderful.
You’ve learned your hair type (the controversial hair type charting system (click here to see chart –> http://www.naturallycurly.com/hair-types) created by Emmy award winning hairstylist, Andre Walker (which I personally think is crap and perpetuates self-hatred within the black community – first it was done with complexion, light-skin vs. dark skin, now it’s being done by hair grade – but they don’t hear me though). You discovered that your hair is curly when it gets wet? Great! I bet you inadvertently did something else – you started judging women and frowning upon women that are not “natural” and choose to wear their hair “fried, dyed, and laid to the side” (aka permed, colored, and weaved). Am I right? Did you become a “Natural Hair Nazi”?
A natural hair nazi is a person with natural hair. They are pro-natural and frown upon anyone that isn’t. They think they are superior because they choose to abstain from chemicals (however, a lot of them color their hair though, and not necessarily the natural way – with henna or by other means), and often go ballistic when in the presence of “offenders” (non-natural haired women). To these women I say the following: You do realize having natural hair doesn’t make you better than those that don’t right? You didn’t cure cancer. You didn’t even cure the common cold. You simply cut your hair, loc’d your hair, or grew your perm out.
I was just like you. I did the my first (the first of many) bc in May of 2010. I was scared shitless. Getting rid of the permed hair that I’d had on my head for the last 18 years of my life was nerve wrecking. When I finally did it (despite the doubt – I wondered how I would look, whether or not I would regret it, how my (then) boyfriend would like it ) I became excited. I loved it! I wanted to encourage as women as possible to “go natural” as well because I thought every black woman out there should experience the freedom that I experienced.
I did the bc because I was tired of having thin, sparse, and unhealthy hair. I’d invested hundreds over the years on my hair: weaves (to give my hair the illusion of being thick), hair growing serums, expensive shampoos & conditioners, different oils, and different stylists. After exhausting all options I knew that “going natural” was the best thing for ME.
It was weird the first couple of days – I learned a lot and wasted a lot of money. I purchased just about every hair product on the market for natural hair, but didn’t know what I was doing with them or how often to use them. If I heard about a shampoo, gel, mouse, conditioner, or curly pudding I bought it. I spend hundreds on makeup (lipsticks, glosses, foundations, concealer, eye shadows, blushes, etc) because my face was now the focal point and I wanted to present it accordingly. I spent money on earrings and statement necklaces because I figured those would compliment my new twa. Lastly, I somewhat changed up my style – having a short, bold haircut awakens something in you – It makes you want to be more funky or stylish.
I quickly learned that a little goes a long way and found a hair care regimen that worked for my hair (to date my staples are Garnier Fructis Leave-In conditioning creme, olive oil Eco Styler gel, and Miss Jessie’s curly buttercreme). In addition to learning about what products worked for my hair, I learned that people are incredibly ignorant when it comes to hair.
I cannot tell you how many women told me “I can’t go natural because I don’t have the the face for it” (whatever the hell that means). I was often asked about my sexuality by both men and women (because yes, all lesbians have twa’s), which I found to be a bit odd. Lastly, I received this question the most (mainly from men), “Why did you cut your hair off?”. They often the question in the I-think-you-went-bat-shit-crazy-and-I-need-to-remind-you-just-how-crazy-you-are tone. Sigh…. I didn’t anticipate any of this. I just wanted healthy hair on my head – I didn’t realize MY hair would become EVERYONE’S business.
But back to the matter at hand – Hair Nazis. When did natural hair become so important? When did perming one’s hair or adding a few tracks to one’s hair make them evil or subpar? Yet again – something else to separate ourselves within the black community. Good hair vs. bad hair, natural hair vs. permed and/or weaved hair, 3b hair vs 4c hair – is it really that deep? Apparently it is for some. I choose to wear natural hair because it works for me.
I love the freedom of it (I’m not longer subjected to expensive and time consuming weekly hair appointments in the hair salon), I no longer have to worry about “sweating my hair out” (when exercising or….), and I no longer have to worry about not having my hair done for an event. I can simply style my own hair ahead of time, on my terms, and allow my hair to become an extension of my creativity and individuality.
I’m a self-proclaimed Anti-Natural Hair Nazi because I don’t think the natural hair movement is that deep. It’s hair. Making the decision to do what works best for you (the operative word being you) is very personal. I’m sick and tired of seeing black women in the news because they’ve decided to stop wearing wigs, weaves, and/or perms. It’s not news, it’ s hair. If I hear one more natural hair nazi on her soapbox I’m going to lose it! At the end of the day if someone chooses to wear their hair in it’s unnatural state, who the hell cares? It’s their hair, not mine right?
Until Next Time Friends!
~ Pennie Penz