Natural Hair Doesn’t Always Mean Your Hair is Natural

10/19/2014 | By | More

Question:castor oil challenge length check
I see lots of arguments on the Internet between women in natural hair groups about what is natural hair and what is not. What is your stance?

Natural or Not:

Dear Natural or Not:

Lots of women seem to be confused by the difference between “natural hairstyle” and “natural hair.”  The two are completely different.

Natural hair styles are all the rage as millions of black women take the plunge and leave the Creamy Crack behind. However, there are many women who aren’t willing to go fully into the natural world, so they sit on the fence between the two. Their hair is relaxed, but they wear natural or twist out wigs, dread extensions, or kinky twist extensions to cover it. They enjoy the look of natural hair as a fad, and are in no way way committed to the change.  These women go back and forth between natural hair looks and relaxed hair, depending upon their mood, outfit, or the occasion.  Their hair may also be colored, with popular choices in permanent color being red, purple, blue, honey blonde/brown, or lifted to be almost yellow blonde.

Wearing your hair in its natural form (“being natural”) means that you follow the rule of what constitutes “natural” hair:  NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE TO YOUR HAIR THAT PERMANENTLY CHANGES THE HAIR AS IT GROWS FROM YOUR HEAD.

Now, let’s break this down in detail, because there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in the natural hair community as you said. Women with dyes and chemicals of one sort of another on their head want to proclaim themselves natural when they are not.

PERMANENT COLOR:  If you color your hair with permanent dye, you are not natural. You are wearing a natural hairstyle certainly, but your hair is no longer “natural” because you have permanently altered it’s color as it grows from your head. That is why you have to keep doing touch-ups. The change is permanent because it doesn’t wash out or rub off onto pillowcases – it changes your hair forever. No matter how cute you think it looks, the fact remains that until you cut the colored hair out or dye your hair another color, it will remain colored, and until that happens your hair is no longer natural. Temporary rinses, henna that wears out because it only coats the hair, coffee, berry tints, and those more organic solutions to hair color are not PERMANENT, and therefore don’t count.

CHEMICAL TREATMENTS: Texturizers, kiddie perms, blow out chemicals, etc. all permanently change the texture of your hair as it grows from your scalp. That means that you are not natural. You are certainly wearing natural hairstyles like twists, twist-outs, braid-outs, bantu knots, puffs, and the like. However, once you included chemicals that permanently change your hair texture to “loosen the curl” or “make it easier to comb” etc. your hair is no longer natural.

Hope that clears things up for you. Thank you for writing!


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Blogger, writer, relationships/dating expert, fitness trainer and natural hair enthusiast since 1997. Sharing information from grandmomma, books and scientific journals, as well as my personal discoveries and experiences with natural hair as we journey from relaxers, flat irons and weaves together.

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  1. NubianPrize says:

    WHY ARE WE STILL HAVING THIS FOOLISH DISCUSSION ? Life is too short to waste on this petty so called controversy. Everyone do what you want with your hair ! My hair is natural. been so since 2009; no heat,no chemicals. I use henna & indigo to cover my gray edges. They are NATURAL PLANT DYES & have been used as such for about 6,000 years ; in ancient Egypt & other parts of North Africa, Near east, Middle east & parts of SE Asia. It’s even mentioned in the Bible. Like I said, my hair is NATURAL

  2. Deborrah says:

    Henna is not a permanent solution, which is why it has to be reapplied every six weeks or so. It’s temporary, unlike dyes which have to be cut out. The article very clearly defines the two as different so I’m not sure why you are posting a comment which already says exactly what the article does.

    Bottom line, if what you apply on your hair changes it forever in texture or color from the way it grows out of your head, it no longer qualifies as “natural” hair.

    Permanent dye = not natural.
    Permanent chemical change to texture = not natural.

    Why is this so difficult for people to accept?

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