5 Natural Hair Myths to Stop Perpetuating
MYTH #1Natural Women Spend Less Money on Their Hair
“Don’t you just use coconut oil, and mayo and boom! Natural hair greatness!”
False: Just because our money doesn’t go towards relaxers doesn’t mean that we spend less! Do you know how much pure, vegan, gluten-free, raw, virgin, un-refined, shea butter costs to ship internationally? Can you guess how much we spend on the multitude of essential oils, creams, non-alcoholic gels and unicorn tears that keep our curls popping? Wait, I’ve said too much already, forget everything you’ve read! This “movement” is trendy (oh, you’re such a trendsetter letting your hair grow out of your scalp, you go girl!) and as a result, there will always be someone waiting to capitalize and over-charge for services and products. To be honest, another reason natural hair can be just as expensive as having relaxed hair is because there’s a lot of trial and error involved. We’re literally getting to know our hair all over again, and that means trying new products, modifying our routine when the seasons change and realizing that what worked last year, or even last month, may no longer have the same effect on our hair.
MYTH #2 Natural Hair is a Political Statement
“You must be a revolutionary / incense-burning, Hotep-reading, Angela Davis and Lorraine Hansberry-quoting, anti-everything, freedom fighter! I know the type”
False: Perhaps women with natural hair simply prefer avoiding harsh chemicals that are hazardous to their health? It is in fact possible to use your personal style to reflect certain political and personal beliefs; however, true revolutionaries know that it’s so much more than skin deep. A hairstyle alone is not a political statement. Black women are dynamic and as diverse as you can imagine: we don’t all share the same agenda or reason for going natural. Contrary to what some may assume, we’re not all members of a secret organization seeking to overthrow the male-dominated capitalistic machine that plays Black women against themselves, and each other, by teaching them that the “only” and “correct” way to measure their beauty and self-worth is against an unfair, unrealistic and biased antiquated White European beauty standards. (What a mouthful!) Oh, which reminds me: the meeting this month is cancelled ladies; see you at the next one!
MYTH #3 We don’t all know each other
“Have you met my friend Ashley? Her hair looks just like yours, and I think she lives in the same state as you!”
False: We may or may not have a separate album of screenshots and hair photo inspiration that happens include a photo of your friend @XOXOAshley’s luscious locs, BUT we don’t actually know her… We have however spent more time than we care to admit musing over her possible hair-care routine and Holy Grail products. Listen! Leave that judgment at the door! Natural hair is far from an exact science, and Instagram and Tumblr are great teachers for eager students looking to learn. Tell Ashley that I hope she enjoyed her trip to Essence Fest last year; her outfit was dope! But no, we don’t know know her. That would be weird.
MYTH #4 Natural Girls Love the Rain
“It’s okay to get your hair wet because you’re natural now.”
We don’t spend days walking around in plaits reminiscent of 18th century plantation fashion for nothing! Braids, cornrows, twists, puffs; just keep it safe! Why do we do start prepping our hair on Tuesday, you ask? Because we’ve got somewhere to be on Saturday, of course! So, although wash’n’go’s are a thing, and some women’s jam we don’t all jump in puddles and dance in the rain simply because we’re natural. We may not cower, shriek and duck for cover; however, a genuine sigh of disappoint after spending hours replicating (and perfecting) a style you saw on a YouTube tutorial is a reasonable reaction to unexpected rain or humidity.
MYTH #5 All Natural Hair Is Curly
“Oh! I definitely thought it’d look more like Tracee Ellis Ross. That’s cute for you, though!”
Our hair zigs, zags, shoots, booms, bams, curls, dips, dives, dabs and hits the Quan. The textures of Black natural hair are a cornucopia of awesome. Our hair looks at gravity and says, ‘Bish, where?” Unfortunately, not all textures of natural hair are treated the same! A certain amount of prejudice still exists, and even self-hate within the natural hair community that needs to be addressed. Many women claim that if their hair isn’t bouncy, big, and loose (see. Tracee Ellis Ross) that it simply isn’t worth it to go natural. Or, on the other hand, women who’ve never seen their natural hair texture assume (oh so incorrectly) that even though their parents and siblings have the same texture that their hair will somehow be in the shape of perfectly spiraled Shirley Temple curls with no shrinkage ever and no frizz in sight. If that’s your main concern, you’re doing it wrong: it’s about self-love, acceptance, and encouraging—not emulating and envying—our sisters and brothers. There’s not right or wrong way to be natural.
These are a few myths that we as natural men and women need to stop perpetuating and feeding! Can you think of any others you’d add to the list?