Why I Won’t Go Natural

I’m proud of sistas for embracing their natural textures, and opting to wear their hair natural rather than permed, weaved, or extended versions of their crops. I think natural hairstyles are the cure for black self-hate, and the greatest expression of confidence and beauty. But I just can’t do it.

I wanted to. Twice now, I’ve attempted to grow my hair out. As my natural kinks began to spring, my hair immediately became unmanageable. It isn’t because kinky hair is unmanageable, it is because I never learned to manage my natural hair.

My grandmother permed my hair the summer before I entered the sixth grade. Which means that before I was responsible for combing my own hair, it was straightened. That’s over two decades of relaxed hair.

Liking anything else, doing your own hair requires practice. Taking care of black hair probably requires the most practice. It takes years to properly care for and style your hair, and many of us just didn’t get the necessary practice in.

But if I had a daughter I would do things a lot different. I would never perm her hair. I would encourage her natural texture, and work with her to properly care for it. I wish someone had done that with me.

Update: I originally wrote this last year. I’ve now decided that I will transition. I’m still wearing my hair straight, but I skipped a much-needed touch up the last time I was at the shop. Baby steps!

Brandy - The Mother

Hi, I am Brandy and I am "the mother." I enjoy being a mother, friend, and playmate to my son.

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5 Responses

  1. chloemels says:

    I switched from relaxed to natural. I basically weaved my hair a lot until it got to a stage I felt comfortable having naturally out. I still add weave here and there but it really is just learning how to manage it and what suits you.

  2. Nice read! And all the best on your transitioning journey

  3. Nicole says:

    At a family party just yesterday, there were a few of us sitting at the table, swapping ideas on how to better “manage” our hair. It started when a cousin came over and asked me desperately to give her my secrets.
    The secret is, there is no secret. It’s work! (It’s been 6 years for me. I started by shaving my hair to 1/2 an inch. It’s now mid back length. But most times, you’d never know it because usually it shrinks to chin length!)
    Whether or not someone taught you when you were little or not, it’s about finding out what’s best for your hair. Sure, you can learn the basics about combing from the ends to the roots and always tying your hair up for bed. But to comb or not to comb, what type of moisturizer to use, to poo or just condition…it’s all a journey which is not for the faint of heart. But it’s a commitment that people make for many different reasons.
    I have to admit, when I read this post, I was a bit annoyed. It bothers me to hear people “wish” that things were different for them. I grew up with permed hair and straightening combs. No one taught me. And when I’m at my wits ends with the tangles, my mom will still suggest a “mild” relaxer.
    It’s also not about practice…it’s about finding your way, losing it and finding another way. It’s about figuring out that the coconut oil I used in the winter just won’t cut it in the summer. That yesterday, my hair was totally beautiful and I loved it! And today it’s a heaping hot mess…probably because I drove with the car window open last night. It’s knowing when to twist and when to braid or not knowing what to do at all. It’s planning 2 hours to wash my hair and it taking 4! It’s watching a YouTube video to learn to wrap a turban because I got a last minute invitation to go out and I have 6 tightly coiled braids on my head! It’s turning down invitations to go out because I’d never make there on time because I have to do my hair.
    So, here’s a tip. Unless you do it yourself, you will have hell of a time doing things differently for your daughter when you have one. And if you have gone natural by the time you have a daughter, chances are you will have to do things a bit different for her depending on her hair type anyhow!

    • Brandy - The Mother says:

      Good advice Nicole. Going natural takes a lot of work when you haven’t had to deal with your own, natural hair in over 25 years. And washing my hair is always the most unpredictable part 😉

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