Why Going Natural Is Hard


I am always interested in the perception of how hard natural hair is to maintain and how some relaxed ladies just don’t have the time to commit to natural hair because of busy lifestyles and schedules.

There are so many misconceptions about the apparent hard work we poor naturals have to put into our hair compared to our relaxed sisters, so much so that some wonder is it all worth it and why we bother. Not to mention the apparent limited styling options that we have.

Here’s my personal opinion so feel free to tell me how wrong I am

I personally think that caring for anything you love is hard work, whether it’s natural hair or straight relaxed hair. Growing hair long and taking care of long hair takes extra effort as you are always trying to prevent and minimize possible damage. You can’t just leave it to chance and hope that it will take care of itself because it doesn’t.
The amount of effort you put into hair depends on what your expectations are of your own hair and for the most part, the styling options are only limited by your own imagination.
The hardest thing about taking care of natural hair is not the hair itself I’ve found (in the past not so much now), is dealing with people’s perceptions of people with natural hair and the occasional ‘oh my god I can’t believe you are crazy enough to be natural’ looks that I used to get.
The other hardest thing about being natural is finding professional and good hair dressers who understand and are willing to work with natural hair. I’ve been to a number of black hair dressers in Melbourne, some have told me flat out that they will not deal with my hair unless I relax it (all I wanted was a trim and it seems like a lot of hard work to have to go to for a trim) and it’s extremely upsetting because you are going to a black hair dresser and by rights you think that they should be able to help you.
Those that are willing to cut or style your hair know very little or nothing about natural hair or creating natural hair styles apart from braids. But they are willing to take your money waste your time and damage your hair in the process.
My third hardest thing about being natural was the black hair care industry which mostly catered to relaxed and chemically treated hair and had no formulations available for those with natural hair.
So it meant that if you were natural, you spent a lot of time buying hair products that may or may not work while defending your right to be natural.
In hindsight it has indeed been difficult being natural but something magical happened. The sometimes controversial natural hair movement emerged out of the ether of cyberspace and changed us existing naturals forever by uniting us and making us feel less like space aliens and more like human beings who have earned the right to love their hair for what it is.
Now we are inundated with a storm of information on the ‘how to’s’ of natural hair.
Cosmetics companies have also come on board with a range of products that can enhance your natural curl, increase hydration and help you reach your hair goals.
There’s also a network of support for those wanting to go natural or for those who are natural that didn’t previously exist.
If that’s not enough to convince you to go natural if you are relaxed or weaving or wigging out then the truth is more closer to the fact that you may just not be ready for change. And that’s alright too!
I mean changing is hard! You’ve been getting your relaxer since you were a teenager and relaxed hair is all you know and it’s probably all your friends know and while you may not know any better, you surely don’t know any different.
And of course you are afraid! What are you going to look like? Will you still be the pretty sexy thing that you are with your straight hair? How are you going to cope with hair that has been associated with ugliness for the past hundreds of years? How does your mind break free of the shackles of racism and colonialism and how do you rise above it and embrace that inner self that really wants to embrace itself (because if you’re contemplating being natural, there’s a part of you that has started questioning the system and the way that we’ve all so carelessly embraced straight hair and replaced our natural hair with wigs and weaves and chemicals).
How do you begin to reprogram your idea of what is beautiful when all the images around you of what is beautiful points to a Eurocentric aesthetic of straight long flowing hair blowing in the wind? Every time you think of a sexy or beautiful hair the image of some Caucasian woman, tossing her hair or a light skinned black woman making love to the camera while she mimics the Caucasian woman with her weave come to mind?
Can you imagine this very women still looking as alluring and beautiful if they had short afros or kinky coils bouncing of their shoulders?
The challenge to those contemplating transitioning is more psychological than logistical. While there are as many ways to skin a cat as there are to care for natural hair and style it, the journey is only ever as difficult as you make it.
And if you’re resisting the change or fail to completely embrace and change your perceptions of what you consider to be beautiful with hair, then you are more than likely not going to last as a natural and for you it will always be hard.
Most transitioning women describe of becoming natural as a form of self-revelation. For those who have fully committed, have done the hard work into putting into place a strategy to help them trouble shoot and help them deal with any difficulties that they may encounter going from relaxed to natural, the final destination has been fulfilling.
Although most people who are relaxed claim that they couldn’t deal with natural hair because of the work load associated with being natural, let’s look at some of the issues (some, not all) relaxed women may encounter or have to deal with:
For the whole of your life you will be relaxing hair to maintain the straightness and may suffer from:
• Chemical burns that can lead to long term follicular damage
• Highly porous and damaged hair
• Hair breakage
• A constant fear of water
If that’s not hard work, I don’t know what is….


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