These past ten years of being natural have been a learning experience. Not only in how to do my hair, but what my hair means to me. As I grow older, I’ve made deliberate choices about it that challenge societal notions of “beauty” for cis women. Here are a few of those changes listed below.
For the longest, I had colors in the red family. Dark auburn, ginger, cinnamon, then eventually an ombre blonde on the ends. Loved that color for it really matched my freckles and somehow looked more “natural” on me than my black hair.
I still feel like my natural hair color washes me out. My face is about 4 shades paler than the rest of my body and that difference has always been something I disliked. Black hair seemed to draw attention to that, but I’m contemplating just accepting it to stop with the bleach damage. Hopefully my freckles will darken with time like my mom’s have.
For the past year or so, I’ve been trying to get silver hair. I’ve wanted it since 2015, but was worried that the amount of bleaching to get there would be too damaging (basically something I’ve realized lately.) It’s such a great neutral color and I can’t get over how amazing it looks with my favorite red. So many women have been pressured to hide all signs of aging and have covered their natural greys with dye. It’s great to see more embracing the grey (like my mom and Mate’s mom!) I’ve had some white hairs mixed in since childhood but I can’t wait till they take over!
To try and lay off the bleach, I’ve found a new product. It’s a temporary silver hair wax that has amazing results on all types of natural hair. So I’m thinking I can just add that in each week when I style, and focus on building back my hair’s health.
I cut my hair recently which would make this big chop number 4. There was some damage and I also wanted to try a tapered shape. I used to have a goal of “long” hair like many naturalistas but I’ve switched my goal to be “big hair” with an emphasis on healthy coils. The cut means it’ll take more time to achieve, but the ease of short hair is undeniable!
Unfortunately, countless women have been told to never cut their hair, it makes them beautiful, it’s their “glory” etc etc. I never thought this dead protein on my head should be exalted as such, I see it as another way to express myself. But damaged, stringy ends were not an asset to my coiled coif, so a cut was in order.
When I first went natural, I tried all the hairstyles. Twists, roller sets, protective styles, you name it! (You can still watch the tutorials on my Youtube.) I never had a weave and only wore wigs for cosplay, but that opens up even more possibilities for people who enjoy them!
I love natural hair, the variety we can achieve, reclaiming a part of ourselves that was hated due to white supremacy. And though there’s been a lot more acceptance of natural hair in the past decade, there are still issues of appropriation from white people, Black individuals being reprimanded at school & work, and an overall lack of representation of kinkier styles being considered just as “beautiful” as loose curly ones.
Of all the styles I’ve tried, the fro is my ultimate favorite. No matter the color, no matter the length, this is the style for me. I especially enjoy trimming and playing with different shapes. My fro also helps me feel closer to my parents who had them in the 70s. One day I just want a big ass fro that can help me knock injustice out!
Until next time, stay Sheek!