Women embrace their natural hair


Rosha'E Gibson

Portrait of Chloe’ Washington, popular commercial music senior. Washington said that having natural hair protects your hair from harmful chemicals. ROSHA’E GIBSON/The Maroon. Photo credit: Rosha'E Gibson

Rhon Ridgeway

Recently, women have started to embrace their natural curls, coils, and kinks. While the surge in self-confidence in hair may be a defining moment for women who have started styling their natural hair, it has also become controversial.

Women of color style their hair with braids, faux locks, Marley twists and more to protect their hair. Chloe Washington, popular commercial music senior, said that being natural protects your hair from dangerous chemicals. These protective styles are meant to stimulate hair growth and conserve the ends of hair while decreasing tangles.

“When you’re natural and properly manage your hair, your strand becomes fuller and stronger due to the lack of chemical enhancement,” said Washington.

Logan Jackson, Black Student Union president, has had natural hair for six years and expressed her thoughts on natural hair and the feedback it receives.

“Any negative backlash against natural hair should be ignored,” Jackson said, “Never allow anybody to lead you away from loving something about yourself. There are so many forces in this world telling black women that they are less than, and this backlash is just another form of that.”

Keely Davis, cosmetologist, has been natural for two-and-a-half years and said being natural means accepting your hair for how it is without altering the natural pattern.

“It means you are free, your hair is wild, you’re radiant, you are regal and have a new hairstyle every day,” Davis said.

Davis also said styling your natural hair is about choosing not to tease and tame your hair.

“You’re choosing to let your hair express its personality rather than look like everyone else’s hair,” Davis said.

Natural hair has been around for a long time throughout the African-American community but it is now being integrated into society as a whole. Jackson said that the black community is beginning to embrace and understand their natural hair.

“I think that as society becomes less normative and more accepting of diversity, we begin to realize the true beauty of our differences,” Jackson said, “Natural hair has always been an opinionated topic of discussion, however, the dominating opinion has almost always been negative. Now, I believe that because black women have become more solidified in our identities and are asserting our agency, we have begun an era of unapologetic love for ourselves.”

According to Davis, being natural can also be seen in a various amount of ways.

“For so long, black people have been demeaned for having nappy hair, wool-like hair, but now we’re taking ownership of what we have and embracing it,” Davis said. “I think when someone chooses to wear their hair out in all its Afro glory, we’re taking pride in their roots, heritage, and history. ”

Jackson said “schooling yourself” about your natural hair is about so much more than just your hair. It’s a self-identity journey and with that, you learn.

“Self-love isn’t instant; it takes time, reflection, and revelation,” said Jackson.