Grow Natural or Go Straight

Grow Natural or Go Straight

By: lisaakbari on (0 comments)

Many black women ask this very question; "should I grow natural or go straight?"

Most black women have a naturally kinky hair type, a feature that we were born with. However, many black women have resolved to change this natural trait. For many years, there has been a growing difference of opinion as to why some women want to change the natural state of their hair and whether this is right or wrong. In an effort to solve this dilemma, I will discuss some of the most common explanations.

For decades, many black women have been forced to choose sides in a metaphorical battle between kinky and straight hair types. Whether we recognize it or not, black women are divided into two sides: one side which we shall call the "Natural Hair Movement" and the other side which we shall call "Unnatural, Straight Hair Movement." Within these two groups, there are a plethora of reasons for choosing to stay natural or go straight. For instance, some in the natural hair movement say "to be black is to be natural and we should not change and conform to the look of another race." Others, choosing to stay natural proclaim, "If I straighten my hair, it will fall out." These are just two examples of the variety of reasons for choosing to go natural.

On the other hand, an overwhelming percentage of the members of the unnatural, straight hair movement, exclaim, "I wear my hair straight because I don't like my hair natural!" as they cover their mouths saying, "Oops, did I say that out loud?"

Many black women are forced to make the choice: natural or straight? There seems to be an easy answer: just do what you want and you will be happy. Unfortunately, this state of blissfulness is short lived.

Many women whom I have counseled about their hair ask this same question: "should I stay natural or should I go straight?" My answer is always the same. "Yes." And no, I am not riding both sides of the fence. I truly believe that, regardless of the reason, it is and should always be a women's choice to wear her hair kinky or straight. With that being said, I also believe that once she has made her choice, she should act responsibly. In other words, if a choice is to be made, a woman should accept the responsibility of her choice by caring for her hair accordingly. Never make a choice that you are not willing to care for.

Unfortunately, at some point most sisters find themselves unhappy with their choice no matter whether they chose natural or straight..

The reasons for this despondency are that many women:

  1. Don't understand the choice that they have made
  2. Don't understand how to manage the choice that they have made
  3. Don't understand how to properly care for the choice that they have made

Let's take a look at the two choices… Natural and then Straight.

Natural Hair

We were born with natural hair (hence the term: natural), however we still don't understand our natural hair. Natural hair requires "care steps" to be taken in order to manage the spiral tresses.

  1. You must cleanse and clarify with shampoo and stabilize with a protein and moisturizing conditioner, at least weekly, so that your scalp won't be prone to disorders and your hair won't become polluted.
  2. You must moisturize your natural hair each day in order to prevent a dehydrated hair and scalp.
  3. You must groom your natural hair each day so that your natural hair will not web together or matt, even if you have locks or twist styles.

Straight Hair

Many women choose the option to mechanically or chemically straighten their hair. While this is a very viable option, many women forget that their hair is not naturally straight, causing so many of them to suffer with hair loss and other problems. Remember, when you change your hair from kinky to straight, you must protect and preserve it by following some simple rules:

Pressed/ Flat Ironed Hair

  1. Only use heated tools on clean and conditioned hair.
  2. Always use a moisturizer when straightening your kinky hair.
  3. Only use one heated tool when straightening your kinky hair.
  4. Always monitor the heated tool, ensuring that the temperature stays below 300 degrees.
  5. Oil your hair and scalp, as needed, in order to seal in moisture.

Relaxed hair

  1. Never relax damaged hair or receive a relaxer if your scalp is damaged.
  2. Never allow less than 8 to 10 weeks time between relaxers.
  3. "Wet Set" your hair and stay, heated tools your last choice in styling
  4. When choosing heated tools, also always monitor the heated tool ensuring that the temperature stays below 300 degrees.
  5. Moisturize your hair to prevent hair dehydration.
  6. Oil your hair and scalp, as needed, in order to seal in moisture.

At the end of the day, we will always have strong opinions about black women and their hair, but the choice is yours. Just remember: God made your hair and God makes no mistakes. Learn to respect and love your hair in its natural state, before you alter it.

For more in depth information about all hair textures and types visit LIsa's web site at www.lisaakbari.com . Lisa's books, Every Woman's Guide to Beautiful Hair At Any Age and The Black Woman's Guide to Beautiful Hair are now available at your local book store

 Lisa Akbari

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