Braids, Curls, Afros, and Puffs! Oh My!

Embrace Your Natural Hair!


The Natural Hair Movement has been taking the black community by storm. (Natural hair is hair that hasn’t been chemically altered.) While the movement has always existed, more and more people have been ditching flat irons, and buying Cantu, Shea Moisture, and Ecostyler gel by the gallon! Black women have reclaimed the word nappy, which used to mean unkept hair, and turned it into something beautiful. Our hair has been said to defy gravity and reach up to the Gods. So what exactly is this magical movement all about?

Junior Robin Stevens said that “the natural hair journey is basically trial and error. If you try a new style one day and it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean you should stop doing it.” Managing natural hair can be hard, but not impossible if you find a routine that works best for your type of hair. There are different curl patterns within the natural hair world. Hair textures can range from a bone straight 1A to a kinky 4C. Freshman Abby Afeworki said that she is natural because “I love my [curly] hair. It’s a type four hair so it’s a lot to handle, but I like it either way.”

There are a lot of words and phrases that natural women use to express the state of their hair, like the big chop. This is when you cut a lot of hair off so that it can grow back healthier. The next term is detangling which according to Thirsty Roots is the “process in which you use a [detangling brush] to soften and smooth the hair for manageability.” Another term, hang time is when you check the length of your hair by measuring it or just seeing how far it goes down your back.

The last phrase that you need to know is “don’t touch my hair.” Yes, this is a song by Solange, but this is also a rule that must be followed. Us naturalistas aren’t exotic zoo animals. We don’t want to be petted, probed, or provoked, so please keep your hands to yourself no matter how enticing you think our hair is. If you don’t know the struggle to exist with natural hair, then don’t touch it.

Black hair usually has a coarser texture, and because of this, it is harder for moisture to stay intact. This is why one of the most important things about maintaining your hair is keeping it moisturized: oils, leave in conditioners, and deep conditioners will do the trick. Washing it once a week may seem bizarre, but washing your natural hair every day might just be the thing to make it or break it… literally. (Breakage.)

While flat ironing your hair won’t kill it; it makes you more prone to breakage. It all depends on how much heat you are using. Of course if you excessively flat iron your hair, there will be heat damage, but if you just need a quick trim and to see your hang time, then you’ll be just fine. For people who are contemplating going natural, junior Trunya Joaquin, who has been natural for two years said that “it doesn’t matter if your hair is naturally straight or curly, just show it off…you look beautiful [either way].”

The easiest hairstyle to do is an afro, the most natural way you can wear your hair. All you have to do is simply leave your hair out. Not every afro is going to have curls, and that’s ok. Another easy hairstyle is a puff (where you start off with an afro and tie something around it to finish it off). When trying to create a puff, you have the choice of using gel or not. Braid and twist outs are where it gets a little more complicated. First, you put the product in your hair, and then you either braid it or twist it. After that, you hope for the best because with this hairstyle, you never really know what you’re going to get. I still recommend it because it’s like a rite of passage to wake up with a hairstyle that you weren’t expecting. You could also always throw your hair up into a bun, but remember there’s also the option of space buns. Space buns are a way to spice up the style, while also keeping it simple and cute.

Senior Jaiden Watkin’s senior project is based on natural hair.  For her project, she will be creating a campaign called Natural Hair Rocks which is a play-off of the Black Girls Rock Campaign. Jaiden will be giving out t-shirts to girls with natural hair and buttons to take an organized picture in Town Hall. She also said that “you have to learn how to love your hair and work with what you got.”

As a black girl that is natural myself, I went through with the big chop, so I can tell you that it’s hard. Cutting off so much hair made me feel ugly, but I had to realize that I was holding onto dead hair. I’ve been natural for two years now and it feels so liberating. I didn’t always love my short natural hair, but I grew to love it, and it grew along with me.

While walking down these Wakefield halls, you will see all kinds of hair: braids, curls, afros, and puffs and they are all beautiful. There’s no such thing as bad hair. Embrace your natural hair, and love it.