Friday, 7 June 2013

8 Reasons why Natural Hair is a Lifestyle and not a Hairstyle


 So you are currently transitioning or have been thinking of going natural because you are tired of carrying your unhealthy hair around and would like a healthy head of hair instead. Perhaps you feel now is the time to take the leap and join other women who wear their hair in its Afro-textured form. May be you've seen your friend, co-worker or relative grow her hair down her back within a few short years. Perhaps you admire the variety of styles curly/coily haired girls wear their hair in and wish you could wear few of those styles, but can't due to the current nature of your hair?

If you identify with any of the statements and questions mentioned above, please sit back and take your time to read through this (lengthy) article before joining us (Natural Haired Women) on the other side. 

Rastafarians in Havana, Cuba
"Alright, so before we get started, I'd like to establish the fact that Keeping Afro hair is not a hairstyle which many women and girls have chosen to wear their hair in, but it is a lifestyle which they chose to live in."

Black women and men, have always worn their hair in an elaborate or conservative style since the history of Black people. As a result of this, most of us were brought up thinking that our hair has to be worn in a particular style in order for it to be  presentable. Also, I've read comments made by Natural haired women who claim their hair is just a hairstyle and nothing else. It is false statements and misconceptions like these that have resulted in newly naturals to go back to relaxers, wear extensions exclusively or just keep their hair cropped.

 So, how is Natural hair a lifestyle and not a hairstyle? 

Afrohair isn't a style that comes and goes with a trend, neither is it a style for a particular group of people

1. Though Afro textured hair have existed ever since Black people have existed, an unfortunate reality is that many women with Afro hair are still facing discrimination in their community as a result of the way they've chosen to wear their hair. This discrimination is particularly ubiquitous in Africa, which is suppose to be the birth place of Afro hair. Many still think of Afro hair as a "hairstyle" of the past which should have faded off with increased civilization and technological innovation.

2. The discrimination many of us face is often in the form of unwelcome remarks and resistance from family members, peers, colleagues and other members of our society.

Green Smoothie
Lifestyle changes required for Afro hair
3. To have healthy hair, many women have had to change their overall health and fitness level. Lifestyle changes could involve changing one's diet to incorporate healthier food choices such as increased fruit and vegetables intake, drinking more water and watching the type and amounts of foods we eat. Some of us even go as far as exercising few times a week.

4. Another lifestyle change some of us have made was to replace our previous hairstylist to a stylist who is knowledgeable about natural haircare (not just hair styling), and when we can't find one, we will then decide to be our own hair stylist.

5. Keeping in line with lifestyle changes, many of us have had to change our hair products to "Afro Friendly" hair products which has minimal or no harsh chemicals which can be detrimental to the overall health of our hair. Instead, we opt for products with ingredients we can actually pronounce and might be familiar with. Some of us even go as far as making our own hair care products.

6. Another lifestyle change we make is by increasing the length of time we spend on our hair. As we know, Afro hair is a unique hair type which requires us to spend a bit more time tending to its needs. The extra time includes time spent prepping the hair for a wash, detangling, washing, deep conditioning and styling. Extra time may also be spent whipping up our own DIY hair products. Some of us will also spend some time educating ourselves and others about Afro Hair.

The extra time spent on Afro hair doesn't require you to spend all day on your hair everyday as the time you spend handling your Afro hair will be dependent on your natural hair texture. But I can guarantee that it will take you longer to handle your afro hair than it takes with your relaxed hair or any extension hairstyle.
Olive oil and Honey Prepoo Treatment
7. Because Afro hair is not a hairstyle, some of us have come to realize that our hair will NOT achieve a particular style we see other girls pull off on Youtube or in the Natural hair community, regardless of the product and technique we use. Some of us have also come to embrace the physical characteristics of our hair as we allow it to do it's own thing, rather than conforming it into a particular style.
8. And lastly, like any lifestyle changes that we sometimes have to go through in life, the level of success we achieve will be dependent on the reality of the goals we set and how persistent we are. 


The main reason why I have written this lengthy article is because many women often join the bandwagon without educating themselves about what they're getting themselves into, only to jump out of the wagon when the journey starts to get rough. Understanding that you will need to make certain lifestyle changes to make your journey smooth is the key to keeping Afro hair and eventually growing it long.

So, after reading these 8 points about Afro hair being a lifestyle, do you think you're ready to make some of these lifestyle changes? Remember you don't have to change overnight, you can take as long as you want. 

If there is any point I've left out, please feel free to add yours in the comment box.

The Mane Captain


9 comments :

  1. I personally don't see my hair as a "lifestyle." Yes, I changed my products to suit my 'fro; and yes I've made minor changes here and there to manage my hair easier. But I'm not exercising or eating healthier because of my hair - it's just because I want to lose weight or be healthier.

    I think there are different "factions" when it comes to natural hair. I'm one of the more easygoing, none-politicizing, none-relaxer-hating kinda gal. Have I been met with rude remarks or comments about my hair? Yes. But I take it with a grain of salt, and knowing that a lot of people are ignorant about natural hair.

    I don't take hair too seriously. Relaxed hair, Brazilian weaves, Braids, Locs, Natural hair, wa'ev. Do you and feel free to change it up whenever you decide to.

    http://berrydakara.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Berry, I quite disagree with you here. This post has nothing to do with factions or the way people see hair or rude remarks.

      Whether one takes natural hair seriously or not, the truth is that to carry natural hair, its more that it being a trend or just another hairstyle. There are some things you would do differently, hence the change in 'lifestyle'.

      You can't prove me wrong here, but no matter how unseriously you don't take your hair, I am 100% sure there were some changes you made when you started carrying natural hair, even if it were as simple as now using a satin bonnet instead of net. And that is a change. Simple things like these are what she is talking about here. In your last post, you talked about upping your moisture because of porousity or so. That is another change. The fact that you are a natural hair blogger is even something.

      I think you took her out of context, because knowing you to some extent, Natural hair has become some sort of lifestyle to you too.

      Delete
    2. I appreciate your reply.

      Maybe I took the post out of context. But truthfully, I'm beginning to be weary of the sentiment attached to hair. Even you posted a while ago that someone said you're not a "true natural" because you wear makeup... they came to that conclusion because they believe that naturalistas must look/act/behave a certain way = lifestyle.

      Yes, I have made changes because of my hair (satin scarves, spray bottles, going to natural meet-ups, etc). But my life isn't dictated by my natural hair.

      I'm not saying natural hair is a hairstyle, don't get me wrong. But I PERSONALLY wouldn't classify my natural hair as a lifestyle, either.

      Delete
    3. Lol. I still think you are taking it out of context. The fact that you have made changes, no batter how big or little, to carry natural hair proves the point. *sticking tongue at you*

      Delete
  2. Thanks ladies for your comment and for starting this "mini debate"
    Dictionary.com defines a lifestyle as "a set of attitudes, habits, or possessions associated with a particular person or group"
    Berry, the fact that you had to make some changes to make handling your hair easier would constitute as a "Hair lifestyle change".

    Transitioning from Relaxed hair to Natural hair or from an unhealthy natural hair to healthy natural hair would require a change in your attitude, habit and mentality. If you can't take criticism from others or you cry when someone says mean stuff to you, then may be you're not ready to make the change yet. Also, if you think your old ways and lifestyle can be applied to your natural hair because you believe hair is hair, whether relaxed or natural, then don't expect for your natural hair journey to go far.

    Perhaps you did the big chop because you like how Afro looks on Black women and would like to wear your hair like that one day, but are not willing to make the changes other Afro-haired women made, then may be you're not ready to wear your hair in such style.

    I once told a friend of mine who is newly natural this statement when she was starting to feel discouraged about her hair; she responded by smiling and holding off relaxing her hair.

    In summary, each time we post about hair care tips, we are actually encouraging our readers to make those prescribed lifestyle changes, whether minimal or major.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't mind Berry. From what I have observed, she is saying all these because she doesn't want to appear as a natural hair nazi. Thank God there are no nazis on this blog, as we are here to assist naturalistas and even some relaxed people. I know that every natural lady makes lifestyle changes for their natural hair to be healthy.

      Delete
  3. many women and girls have chosen to wear their hair in, but it is a lifestyle which they chose to live in?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I totally agree with the point.
    I have indeed change my life style since my big chop.
    I prefer home made product,I avoid chemical products in my hair and skin...
    I enjoyed reading your article
    xoxo
    NYEMB
    http://www.les-bidouilles-d-une-nappy.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. hi could you email me your hair stylist number in lagos ? .

    ReplyDelete

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