The Beauty Of Being Au Naturale
by Asya Bridger
It’s Kinky, It’s Curly, No Its Wavy! It is the year of 2014, and never in my 20 years of being on this earth have I seen the emphasis of “going natural” become so prominent. Whether it’s the multiple natural hair pages flooding Instagram, or on the rise naturalistas on Youtube, you cannot escape the glorious manes. No one really is aware what started this “movement” but a lot of woman are catching on fearlessly.
What Is Going Natural? The saying “going natural” means to grow out or big chop ones natural hair, in order to enjoy it’s natural form and texture. Some view this process as a journey, in which they find a part of themselves. The variety in textures and hair patterns differentiates from person to person. This is what makes the natural journey somewhat an interesting discovery. What makes this whole process glorious is seeing countless African-American woman shedding their fears, and embracing apart of themselves. In addition, let’s not forget our mixed ladies out there joining in on the fun. For years straight hair has been the ideal look and goal for woman of all races. Not all fell in this category, but most woman especially those with ethnic hair desired to have their locks straightened. Most of those processes involves the use of heat and chemicals, which are beyond harmful not just to our hair but health. Let’s take a look at the infamous “creamy crack”, also known as the relaxer. Now we all seen the movie 2009 movie called, Good Hair. The documentary/comedy produced by Chris Rock, was the talk of the town. The film went in depths of not just relaxers, but weaves and other races usage of hair. It portrayed how black woman viewed their mane, and personally its a film I think everyone should watch. *Spoiler Alert Coming* Although I seen this movie years ago, there is one part of the film that has become a life long memory. During the film, they did a demonstration in which a relaxer stripped the paint off of a soda can. This was no reenactment ladies and gents, but you could see the actual color deteriorating off the can. So after witnessing such gruesomeness, I of course did my own research.
Dissecting The Relaxer
Relaxers are a type of lotion or creme used to chemically straighten natural curls and kinks. You apply it from root to ends, and wait (usually in pain) for the chemicals to do it’s magic. However if you scratched your scalp beforehand, it probably is considered a curse. Although some woman have no problem using it, others have experienced hair loss and permanent burns. Most relaxers contain sodium hydroxide, also know as lye. The same substance can be found in products such as Draino, and many other household cleansers. Seriously guys if you research products containing sodium hydroxide, you are going to be blown away. Although some relaxers now are lye free, the products are still as detrimental. Relaxers also contain phosphoric acid, which is known to cause health issues to the skin, respiratory tract, and nervous system. You can do your own research on the long-term effects, and risks. The FDA is even saying these relaxers are far from relaxing. My advice to everyone is start looking at the ingredients in our so called, “beauty products”. Even the ones that have veered toward helping us natural girls can be harmful. Petrolatum, parabens, sulfates and so much more harmful ingredients are lingering inside of our bath room essentials. It’s times to get educated on what we are using and stop going with the flow. I congratulate the many woman, who have cut out the relaxer from their hair routine. The number one benefit for me was not just preserving my health, but being able to save money. Just think about how much money you would maintain , instead of shelling it out monthly on deadly chemicals?
In Other News! *dramatic transition music* One thing I know for sure is this small, yet affective change is impacting history. Some may not be able to tell, but slowly our out of this world curls are intriguing our youth. I am seeing younger girls rocking their natural hair and protective styles more than ever. In addition, I am noticing how it is affecting the views of other races. Most reactions are positive and some are viewing it as some meaningless trend. I myself can say that by going natural I most definitely found a part of myself. Growing up I strongly disliked my tough, unmanageable, stiff hair. I would look at Caucasian and Hispanic girls tamed, straight, flowing hair and wonder why mine was so different. I would walk around with shirts on my head, pretending to have the same loose textured hair. Now that I am older I am able to laugh at myself. However it is no laughing matter knowing other young girls are feeling the exact way. Why most we feel like our hair is the problem? Why do society say having, “nappy” hair is disgusting, but straight hair is accepted? Why do so many ethnic girls say, “I want white girl hair” instead of seeing the beauty in their frizzy curls? Why? Why? Why? Instead of dwelling on the problem, lets focus on the truthful solution. The truth is we are beautiful, we are abounding in worth and no one should tell us otherwise. Society have us confused, and the empowerment I am sharing is not limited to just us black woman. In fact, there is woman of all shades, and shapes that feel unattractive, and unworthy because of their hair. Some will not even walk out of the house, unless their hair fits the opinion of others. Last time I checked the bible says in
1st Peter 3:3 “Your beauty should not come from outward adorning or arranging of the hair, of wearing gold or putting on fine apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (NKJV),
Therefore our focus should not be to please society, but to please God even in the little matters. I’m am fully aware that a woman’s hair is her crown and distinguishes her from the next. However it should not be something we use to determine our worth, and value. The glorious thing about going natural is the change: physically and spiritually. I am in no way saying God abhors those with relaxed hair. I am simply expressing the testimonies of myself and many others, that had a different outlook of themselves. It is crazy how something so small can affect one’s life! To all my natural sistas, don’t listen to what anyone says. Your hair is an expression of you. Look at that frizz, and see it as a reflection of yourself, free and exquisite. Look those irritating kinks and knots and see it as a mere image of you, bold and rebellious. Our hair is indeed rebelling against what society refers to as beautiful. Therefore continue to embrace every bit of yourself, and know your worth.
Come On Now! These Ladies Are Definitely Reflecting The Beauty Of Being Au Naturale! Check Them Out!
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relaxer, http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/search?tbl=TblChemicals&queryx=1310-73-2, http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~nshah/cosmetics/relaxers-healtheffects.html