Breaking Natural Hair Rules

I remember the stench of it. I remember the burns and scabs. I remember the 4th of December 2014, the day I decided to say good riddance to the relaxer, the day I shaved off all of my hair. I do not regret my decision, as words can’t express how much I am in love with my curls and coils! However, I am now in a difficult place. I have grown to loathe the movement that primarily inspired my decision. I once was in awe of the natural hair movement, a driving force of inspiration and empowerment for those who face discrimination in regard to the texture of their natural hair. Unfortunately, the movement has become a cult like circus of bizarre rules, enforced religiously. This post is inspired by my frustrations; the following are a few natural hair rules I have broken, with a huge smile on my face and no regrets!

Discrimination
Widely reflected in the new direction of the movement, a need to discriminate exists within the natural hair community. I find it incredibly sad. So many are unable to self-love without tearing down others. So many seem to rely on and revel in the discrimination of others, financially as well as emotionally. I feel the natural hair movement has been hijacked. Those behind the hijacking seem to feel the need to ignore those who should be at the heart of the movement, those responsible for its existence. I feel many believe once the discriminated have seen the light, they will rightfully seek a place at the table, a place many feel they don’t deserve. Yes, I am being a little too vague so let me share my experience in greater detail.

Although I have fine 4A curls, I am aware of the relentless discrimination those with 4C hair face. I refuse to join the mob, ignoring their plight and accusing those with 4C hair of simply lacking confidence. This seems to be a tactic I see many adopt in order to prevent much needed change; the discrimination against 4C hair provides many with a sense of superiority. I am also seeing the misuse of the buzzwords associated with the natural hair community and the movement. Brands that never once acknowledged us are jumping on the bandwagon, misinterpreting the natural hair movement and deliberately failing to acknowledge those with tight curls/coils.

Companies dedicated to/specialising in curls will embrace those with wavy hair before acknowledging someone with tight curls/coils. Every “embrace your curls” campaign features women and girls with loose curls or waves. These women and girls also look exactly the same. Waves are not curls! People of darker complexions exist! If you were never forced to chemically change the texture of your hair, as it is deemed ugly and unacceptable, please start your own movement. We are not fighting the same battle! If you are in a place of privilege, educate yourself and use you position to help those who are not.

Cult Products
Anyone who hates a popular product is probably using it wrong or a mere hater – this is the gospel of the natural hair community! I use products with silicones and I hate most of the Shea Moisture products I have tried. I also find the idea of co-washing bizarre. For those in the dark, co-washing is simply washing your hair with conditioner. I was once on board but I quickly noticed how damaging it is; the practice is also illogical. However, I also understand, no product or method works for everyone. People should be allowed to share their negative experiences without being attacked. I will forever express my disdain and if you are offended or angered, I don’t care!

Myths and PR
“What? You like that product? It is so bad for you; you will die if you continue to use it. Use this instead.” Yes, there is nothing I hate more than the need to push myths and lies. A lot of “natural hair gurus” are ambassadors for brands, paid to hard sell crap to you and I. Many are going out of their way to lie to you, in order to sell products you do not need. Growing up, the only product I recall ever using consistently is Dax, a cheap hair grease. My hair grew incredibly fast and was healthy until I discovered hair straighteners. If these cheap, now deemed “bad” products worked for our hair in the past, why are we buying the lies fed by PR machines disguised as “natural hair gurus”? Curl milk? Coil water? Companies are making up stuff you do not need and you are buying the rubbish. Please stop it!

I have probably broken more rules but I am not one to keep count. So, what rules have you broken?

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