By Erica Y. Campbell (Natural Chic in the City)
Within the last 10 years…there has been a NATURAL HAIR EXPLOSION within the African –American community. There has been an OUTBREAK of natural hair salons popping up everywhere…a combustion of big brand hair care companies merging into the natural hair realm by incorporating organic or natural ingredients within their products and/or adding a natural hair care product line to their existing hair care line. Let’s not forget to mention the countless access through the internet to Natural Hair beauty bloggers and YouTubers. Celebrities and TV personalities have been spotted throughout Hollywood, on film/television, in the music and entertainment industry along with everyday African –American women everywhere on the streets rocking their natural tresses with sultry and eclectic hairstyles. This is having an enticing positive effect on self-image, freedom of style and self-expression that sends an appealing message to African-American women, both young and old, to be BOLD, fearless and to embrace their natural hair.
We are Queens and we are killin it in the natural hair care world! The Natural Hair community has crafted slogans and terminology such as “Big Hair Don’t Care”, “Happy to Be Nappy”, BC (Big Chop), BNC (Braid-n-Curl), CG (Curly Girl), Hair types: 1/2a/2b/2c/ 3a/3b/3c/4a/4b/4c, HG (Holy Grail), Nappyversary/Nattyversary, PJ (Product Junky), TNC (Twist-n-Curl), Co-Wash and Wash n’ Go, and NO-LYE; these are just to name a few of the terms, catchy phrases, and acronyms used by the Natural Hair community, Natural Hair Bloggers and YouTubers. Let’s not forget to mention the different hair textures created by the popularity of natural hair, such as kinky, coily, nappy, and curly. Natural hair styles are ingenious of African-Americans creativity that has developed a movement and revolution of women and men rocking visionary styles such as braids, locs, twists, sister locs, crochet braids, Ghana braids, goddess locs, faux locs, FRO-HAWKS and much more. Trendy titles such as Naturalista, Natural Hair Guru, Curlfriends, Naturally Yours, Naturalicious, Curls on FLEEK, Natural Hair 101, and more have spread to social media and the internet like wildfire! Hence, natural hair expos, Meet and Greets, seminars, webinars, t-shirt lines, Natural Hair motivational speakers and Natural Hair Stylists are on the rise. You can even now choose natural hair textured wigs and weave hair in an array of curl patterns and options that assist in the encouragement of African-American women to become more secure, comfortable and confident with self-identification.
Natural hair is the NEW BLACK! The Natural Hair Community is an industry of its own.
Being a natural myself for over 20 years and a natural hair stylist, I do not remember having or using slogans and terminology as I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, it was either you were natural or your hair was relaxed. I don’t remember having tons of hair care product options; it was BLUE Magic, Olive Oil, CRISCO (cooking oil) and a wide tooth comb!
The word Natural in the 60’s and 70’s meant that you had an Afro, sometimes called ‘fro. In the 70’s, to rock the BIGGEST BADDEST AFRO was attractive and seductive. It also meant POWER and RESPECT. As the effect of the Civil Rights Movement, which brought a renewed sense of identity and cultural movement to the African-American community, resulted in a redefinition of personal style that included an appreciation of black being beautiful (aesthetics), heroism and strength. The Afro became a powerful political symbol that emulated “BLACK PRIDE”.
Has going natural for most African-American women within the last 10 years become a lifestyle change for practical, ethical, medical and/or social purpose? Or has going natural for some become a “TREND” for women in the pursuit of the next big fashion and hair trend or for vanity reasons? “Who has the most followers?” or “Who has the prettiest, poppin CURLS?”
Are the big brand hair care companies using Natural Hair as a means to capitalize on the growing popularity and orientation of African-American women’s historically uniqueness, fearlessness, boldness and style or are they really interested in healthier hair care options for African-American women?
Bottom-line, natural hair is here and it is making a serious impression on women, whether it be for fashion, vanity or a conscious cause, it has made its way to mainstream and it doesn’t look as if it’s reverting. Natural hair is here to stay.