August 18, 2022
As trends begin to change, there's been an increasing shift in black woman completely giving up on their natural hair. Some are choosing to heat train it and others are going back to relaxers. Why is this happening? And does this mean that the natural hair community is officially dying out?
Keep reading to find out more!
What Is The Natural Hair Movement?
Before we get into the reasons why this trend is starting to falter, it's important to understand what it is and the history behind it.
The natural hair movement is defined as a movement that encouraged black women and men to embrace their natural texture. This resulted in people getting rid of the creamy crack (also known as a relaxer). It experienced a huge boom between the years 2008-2014 and it seemed like a positive shift for the black community.
Black hair and beauty standards have been a topic of discussion for years (delving deep into Eurocentric views/beauty standards would take way too long) but the natural hair movement was the first instance of people taking a stand against it. This was the moment that black women and men started embracing their culture and what naturally grows out of their scalp, instead of trying to tame it to fit into societal standards.
The movement started off with great intentions, but sometimes good things can get muddled over by unsolicited opinions. As beautiful as it is to be natural, it can get overwhelming.
Below are going to be a lists of reasons why black women/men are slowly transitioning away from the natural hair movement.
This Isn't A Judgement Free-Zone
As much as we like to believe that we don't judge each other, we do. And this mindset runs rampant in the natural hair community. So much so, that it's slowly become toxic and less and less people want to be apart of it.
If you aren't being accused of not being "black enough" because you choose to straighten your hair once in a while, you're being judged about your texture or the products you use or how you decide to take care of your hair.
Over time, there has been this "Hair Typing" system that has become prevalent. Basically, this system was created to determine what curl/hair type you had. Sounds great right? Maybe even helpful. However, people have started to use that as a superiority chart. We can't count the amount of times that we've seen comments about how "oh you wouldn't understand because you're hair isn't 4C" or "must be nice to have loose curls like that. I wish mine were like that."
And let's not even get started on the argument about a lack of representation of different hair types.
As much as we understand how important it is to have accurate and diverse representation, the core of the natural hair movement wasn't to promote competition. It was to promote empowerment. It was to showcase different textures and love them, while also loving yours. As time goes on, that main message seems to be gone and it's starting to breed this toxic environment full of comparisons and hate.
Some naturals even judge you for the products you use or for how you take care of your hair. They have created this "natural hair police" that only promotes one way to do things and shames you for doing something else. The reality is that everyone's hair acts and responds differently. So what may work for one person might not work for you and that's okay. It doesn't make it wrong to try something new. You have to find what works for you, but it seems like people forget that sometimes.
The Constant Upkeep
As nice as it is to flaunt our curls, it comes with a lot of upkeep and maintenance. And that can get tiring pretty quickly.
Most of the time, our wash day routine takes exactly that: all day. You have to do a pre-treatment (sometimes), shampoo, deep-condition, style, pray that style actually comes out right and you have to do it all over again a week later. All for a healthy head of hair.
It's worse when you just became natural (so you have zero clue on what your hair needs to thrive) or if you have thicker/longer hair.
A lot of this can be overwhelming if you're just starting out or if you've been in the game for a long time. So it's no wonder why some naturals are a little tired of it.
Sometimes You Just Don't Like It
Despite everything you do, sometimes you might not like your natural hair. And that's okay.
Now, some people choose to transition. This is when someone will deal with the two different textures until it gets to a length that they're comfortable with.
However, other people might choose to do a big chop, which is basically when a natural decides to start from scratch by cutting any damage off.
Most people fall in love with it immediately, some take a little bit of time. And there's a small percentage of people who just don't like it at all. However, often naturals tend to provide a bit of a "pep talk" by telling those who aren't in love with it that it's just a phase and to give it time.
But there's nothing wrong with not liking it and wearing it in a way that's more comfortable for you. It's your journey. And yet this pressure to just accept it, might deter some naturals from continuing.
Nobody Likes Shrinkage
Even though shrinkage is determined by the health of your hair and by how tight your curl pattern is, sometimes it's not fun to deal with. Most of us have this idealized image of what our hair is supposed to look like. We think that our hair is supposed to be big and defined. But sometimes it doesn't turn out like that and it can be discouraging when you don't get the results you want.
Product Saturation & Money
This isn't inherently a bad thing because we all love variety (just take a look at our catalog of products), but for someone who's just starting out it can be overwhelming. The natural hair product community has boomed over the years and there's so many brands to choose from.
You can also get into this rabbit hole of buying every product that people talk about because you think by using that, your hair will look the same (it won't because everyone is different!) and you end up wasting money. Products are expensive nowadays.
Political Nature of Natural Hair
Like we mentioned earlier, natural hair has a complex history in America. With the discrimination that we face because of our curls and the introduction of The Crown Act, sometimes the political nature that surrounds our hair can be too much.
We also might not have the strength to combat insecurities that were created by Anti-Black rhetoric. It can be difficult to completely re-wire how you think about yourself and your hair because of how deeply Eurocentric views have affected us.
So you're not wrong for choosing a different path and it may be part of the reason why some people are choosing to forgo wearing their hair in a natural state.
Movements Die Out All The Time
And maybe it's as simple as this: sometimes movements die out. It happens.
There's no rhyme or reason as to why it happens, but trends change and we may just be in a different point in time where people just don't want to wear their hair natural anymore.
However, this doesn't mean that we won't possibly see a resurgence in the future.
Do you believe the natural hair community is dying? Make sure to let us know with a comment.
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