Where Does Natural End?

My friends and I often debate, what exactly constitutes “natural” hair? For most, the first point of being natural is absolutely, positively, no relaxer. The second point, no dyes. The third? Using all-natural, and in some cases even vegan, hair care products. I’ll agree with the first point here, but not the others.

Let’s address relaxers first. The obvious first step to being natural is skipping the relaxer. As a new natural, many people often questioned my status. Why? Because I did not big chop. If you can endure the transition period and have healthy hair to begin with, big chopping is not necessary. However, if your hair is damaged, you’ll need to big chop. I believe it is fairly easy to transition while maintaining length (if that’s what you want) if you are starting with healthy hair.

Next, we’ll look at color. My hair is colored. But I still consider myself natural simply because I do not have a relaxer. To me being natural is more so about the texture, than anything else. Which brings me to my final and most important point. TEXTURE. Or better yet, how you achieve texture. Lately I have been wearing my hair straight, achieving it by getting it professionally pressed. I have a friend who says that is not natural to her. My argument though is what is the difference between a press and curl and those who use methods such as twist-outs, curl formers, or other methods in an attempt to achieve a more distinct curl pattern? Either way, the hair is being manipulated to look a certain way. If your hair is not naturally curly and you do anything to create a curl pattern, that is the same as me pressing my hair. Sorry folks, it’s true.

Everyone doesn’t see it my way though. Why? Because manipulating hair to be straight is wrong in the first place, right? I mean, that’s what the relaxer was for and now I’m going to press it to get the same effect? Darn skippy. On the other hand, why don’t those who feel that way not do twist outs or anything else to create a curl pattern? Why not just let the hair be? That’s right. Just run a comb through it, put some shea butter on it, and go. Why? Because we want style, shine, and to be presentable in public. So let’s just say yay for not having relaxers and call it a day. Don’t worry about the rest.

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