Five years ago, I decided to “go natural.” It was not an impulsive decision. I had wanted to do it two years prior but was afraid that I wouldn’t know what to do with MY hair. It had been almost 25 years since I had touched the hair texture God gave me. As a young and easily influenced 18 year old, getting a relaxer was a no-brainer. So let’s do the math together, 18, 25 and 5. Yes, I was solidly in my 40’s when I decided to go natural. This brings me to another point, which was the fear that I was too old to start a new trend. After a little more soul-searching however, I sat in my kitchen on May 27, 2012, watching a YouTube tutorial with my husband standing behind me with shears in his hand. We did the “big chop” together!
The next morning when I woke up, the realization of what I had done finally hit. I now had to learn how to manage this new hair on my head. Immediately enrolled in YouTube’s university of online natural hair tutorial programming, meant that there would never be a shortage of instruction or products to choose from. Almost anything was possible with natural hair if you had the right product, techniques, tools, time and ah yes, money. “Good” natural hair products can be expensive. These are the ones that make your hair behave, lay right, catch your edges, prevent frizz, encourage movement, add moisture, increase shine, define and elongate your curls. If a product is being asked to do all that, it’s going to cost you quite a few sheckels.
So here I come, joining the “natural hair community” and it’s vendors, with a jar full of naiveté. I foolishly thought that caring for natural hair should be liberating and cost-effective. This journey was supposed to take me “back to the basics” of hair care, using a lot of what my grandmother used when I was a young girl. I was wrong, dead wrong!
While I was away, natural hair care had evolved into an industrial science of factories churning out new products which prey on the still fragile self-image issues of the “when will you finally realize how beautiful you are, just the way you are” black woman.
You see, the issue is not that these companies who will remain nameless (but you know who you are) keep pushing an image not a product on us. That’s their job, they’re capitalist! But if as a black woman, in my late 40’s, I am still trying to get my hair to act white I mean right, then, its my issue. I am not suggesting that we should not exercise our right to look beautiful and that of course includes grooming our hair. I am rather asking you to consider the following question, do you really think YOU are beautiful with natural hair?