For at least a decade, there has been a steady surge of African American women who have chosen to stop using chemical relaxers to straighten their hair. Women from all over the country (and in some cases the world) have decided to embrace their natural hair texture and rock their curls. Along with this rising trend, a wave of Youtube vloggers and natural hair bloggers arrived sharing tips, information, and inspiration about styling, managing, and growing your natural hair. It didn’t take long before natural hair became a highly profitable beauty industry niche. But that’s just where things begin.
African American women have taken control of their hair like never before and are educating each other on the best ways to maintain and treat their beautiful, black hair textures. In years past it was somewhat of a taboo to wear your natural hair if you had a very kinky texture but today, ladies of color are putting their stamp on the beauty scene from 3a curls to 4c kinks and are looking fiercer than ever before.
But it’s not the beauty aspect of the natural hair movement that makes it much more than a trend. There is a greater significance to what women of color are doing. On the surface, it may be easy for those on the outside of the natural hair movement to look at it as though it were a fashion trend or simply a beauty statement that will soon fade into the past like the Jheri curl. However, for many naturalistas, it is a complete change in consciousness. For these ladies, going natural is all about embracing the way that their hair grows from their heads without making any apologies for it. It is about taking the shackles of the European standard of beauty off of their wrists and freeing themselves from it. Not because Europeans are any less beautiful, but because African Americans simply do not look like Europeans. Therefore, they can never truly live up to that standard of beauty without artificially transforming their appearance. Naturalistas have rejected that notion and are simply choosing to look the way that they were born to look.
Naturalistas do more than embrace their kinky/curly hair, they are setting a new standard of beauty that says whatever is natural is beautiful; that no one should feel obligated to change the way they are in order to fit an image of feminine beauty that was established by an objectifying societal norm.
Going natural is about being who you are without feeling burdened by an impossible standard of beauty. And because of the rising tide of race relations in this country and the amount of African Americans becoming conscious of their own identity within this society, the movement continues to grow. Naturalistas are here to stay.