One of the greatest things about the natural hair movement is the soar of women businesses. In an industry made by Black women yet owned by companies with no affinity for Black follicles, this is more than just promising.
With 73% of African American women suffering from hair loss despite spending nine times more on hair than any other ethnic group, it is essential for Black women to take ownership of this 9-billion-dollar industry, if only to save our edges.
The commercialization of natural hair
While the commercialization of the natural hair movement is a good thing, it also mirrors the issues we are dealing with in the process. If you are struggling with the good-hair-bad-hair texture notion and you only follow social media influencers, you may agree with Esther Akutekha who writes that the natural hair movement has failed Black women.
As the founder of going-natural.com who has helped laying the foundation of the natural hair movement online, I respectfully yet strongly disagree with this statement.
As much as I respect our social media influencers and the hard work they do, they represent only part of the whole natural hair movement.
The most important group that has laid the groundwork for this movement to even come to fruition, is completely overlooked. With a brick and mortar to run, time nor resources for a youtube channel, they hardly get any credit, let alone recognition. I am talking about the natural hairstylists.
Natural hairstylists, loctitians and beauty salons
The braiders, loctitians and natural hair stylists are the ones who not only kept Black follicles alive and healthy, they also kept pushing against societal boundaries with head-turning styles that challenged the status quo.
In a world where Black people still don’t have the fundamental human right to wear their God-given tresses natural, they let their hairstyles speak, paving the way for natural hair to become an online sensation. I know this because I’ve lived it.
Natural Hairstyle inspiration
Inspired by the incredible natural hairstyles I saw at BAM Dance Africa and the African Festival, I started taking pictures to change the stereotypical perception of Black hair. Some of the images that went viral are now in my book Bad Hair Uprooted, the Untold History of Black Follicles.
In the era before youtubers that showed you how to do your hair, I went to beauty parlors to get styled. When they came along, I was all for DIY influencers but my incompetence and lack of patience to do hair, wouldn’t allow me to even give it a try. I was fine with mastering the Twist Out and Afro. The rest I left to the professionals and I got educated in the process.
Getting styled to broaden your horizons
Whenever I got a chance, I went to a natural salon to get a new hairstyle with only two restrictions in mind: a hairstyle that I couldn’t do myself and one that I had never gotten before. This is unequivocally the best way to experience the beauty and versatility of natural hair, no matter your texture. A good stylist can help you embrace your unique texture and broaden your natural hair horizons.
See, the best thing about African strands is that it’s really the only hair type that allows you to get a dramatically different look without cutting, straightening, coloring or even adding extensions.
Ancient old techniques from cornrows and bantus to newer ones like flat twists can completely transform your look, instantly with only a few inches of hair. So, you really don’t have a thing to worry about. The worst that can happen if you don’t like the result, is that you have to take a hairstyle down.
A tribute to thank and encourage
To give credit where credit is due, I created this video/slideshow of a few of the many natural hairstyles I got before locing my hair. It is my tribute to all the natural hairstylists who kept our follicles happy, healthy and groundbreakingly stylish long before it was hip to be natural.
I hope it encourages everyone to visit a natural hair salon at least once, even and maybe especially natural hair influencers.
It would be great to see videos of them visiting a professional natural hairstylist to get high-end cornrows or a mesmerizing flat twisted updo that celebrates their natural texture. After all, our coils are already perfectly imperfectly shaped.
Want to read more about the hairstyles and the stylists behind them, let me know! Leave a comment, like, share and subscribe.
You might also be interested in:
- · Going Natural presents Black Follicles Matter; dashingly outstanding hairstyles to break barriers and create awareness
- · What Naturals Love Hair and Fashion Show 2019
- · America’s Next Natural Model
Mireille Liong is author of Going Natural, How to Fall in Love with Nappy Hair and Bad Hair Uprooted, the Untold History of Black Follicles. She is also the founder of Going-Natural.com, Kroeshaar.com and WhatNaturalsLove.com, a marketplace for natural hair, Black beauty and Diaspora fashion.