Why did you decide to go natural? Does that sound like an ironic question? Well, I hear that question all the time. It is funny because I do not feel like I went natural, because I was born natural. Let me just elaborate a little bit for a moment. Our hair was in a natural state upon our birth, yet there is a notion that when a person grows out of their "baby hair" they relax their hair, or they choose to go natural. There is a subculture that has embraced relaxed hair so deeply that relaxing hair is now the norm and anything outside of that (i.e. natural hair) is looked at as abnormal. I do not have a personal issue with relaxed hair actually, I relaxed my hair for years. However, at this point, my hair is in its full natural state. I like to focus on how to embrace your hair in the state that it was birthed and how to transition your hair back into the natural state if you are not currently embracing it.
When discussing natural hair, I like to think that there are different flavors of natural hair. After I first made the decision to transition my hair back into its natural state, I had difficulty with finding specific information I was looking for. Websites either focused on the natural style of dreadlocks (which I will refer to as just locks, because there is nothing dreadful about them), or individuals who relax their hair without chemicals. Well, my personal flavor was, as my friends affectionately refer to as, au naturale, which is not relaxing the hair at all and keeping it in its natural state without letting it matt or lock. Let me take time to give further insight into each flavor so that there is a deeper understanding of each.
The first flavor of natural hair is locking or matting of the hair. People choose this look for various reasons. Some people choose this flavor because there is a notion that this style was how our hair would look if we did nothing to it, hence a true natural feel. There is also a notion that locks and matted hair was evident in Bible times. In the beginning of creation combs, scissors, and flat irons were not available and when hair is left unmanaged, it will either matt or lock. There are individuals that like this style, yet want the style to look neat. These individuals, who are found more in American culture, maintain this look by using beeswax or some other substance to keep their hair in the locked state. In order to transition into another style from locks or matting, a person would need to cut their hair off. There are individuals who allege that you can soak your hair to loosen the locks and remove them and still preserve the length of the hair, however if your hair is truly locked or matted together, the hair cannot be "un-locked".
The second flavor of natural hair is hair that does not use chemicals to relax the hair. These individuals use alternative means to achieve the relaxed hair look. These alternative solutions can include pressing the hair with a flat iron or a hot comb, getting your hair straightened at an Egyptian or Dominican salon, or simply blow-drying one's hair. This flavor is usually chosen to preserve the hair from the damage that chemicals can cause, yet still achieve the look that chemically relaxed hair achieves.
The third flavor of natural hair is hair that uses little to no products to maintain. Majority of these individuals do wash-and-go styling. Some individuals with this hairstyle feel that this style requires minimal work and is less expensive to upkeep. This flavor is flexible with many looks that can be achieved with various styling. When I first started this flavor, I had to train my hair to achieve the look I now have.
One misconception is that an individual needs to have a certain hair type in order to achieve any natural look. I beg to differ because I believe that hair can be trained to achieve different results and even hair texture can be changed with proper steps. One thing that needs to be noted is that re-training and maintaining of any thing takes time and patience. Just like you can't work-out for a week and expect to see the full changes in your body you can't try to retrain your hair and expect immediate changes.
Just remember that whatever your hairstyle or flavor, always stay true to yourself.
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