Sunday, January 20, 2013

Naturally...Critical? Taking on the Natural Hair Police and Natural Nazis

Hello, lovely readers! My natural hair journey hasn't been an exceptionally hard one, but I've seen all kinds of things on my path. Should I throw out my flat irons? Never use shampoo again?  Only shop on the organic isle? Sleep upside down for length retention? (Ok, that's a stretch, but don't act like you haven't seen something similarly weird!) As we formerly relaxed girls have discovered, there are TONS of "rules" out there for naturals to follow, and with rules come the people to "enforce" them...enter in the Natural Hair Police, otherwise known as Natural Nazis. Love them or hate them, these self-appointed regulators can be found on nearly every natural hair page, blog, or if you're really lucky, handing out hair citations at natural hair meetups. Here's my take on how to handle the more-natural-than-thou crew and keep your sanity.

After transitioning for 9 months, doing the BC, and soaking in all sorts of hair knowledge, I'd like to think that I know a thing or two about natural hair. I follow trusted blogs like Curly Nikki, Naturally Happy Hair, Natural Hair Rules!!! and Kinky Curly Coily Me! for advice, I consult with hair veterans like Salon De La Soul Sister and Natural Hair Community on Facebook for styling and natural hair health tips, and I comb through numerous YouTube videos for inspiration. I'm no expert, but I've truly enjoyed creating a regimen that works for my mane.

BUT....*RECORD SCRATCH*...There is an epidemic on the rise that MUST be contained! Natural Hair Police officers are discouraging and confusing newly naturals at record rates. Older naturals merely give an SMH and keep it moving, but even the vets find themselves wanting to comment with a "Could you PLEASE shut up already? Can a girl straighten her hair without being put on trial?" I mean, seriously...It's not that serious. There's no such thing as a cookie-cutter natural; each person's hair is different, and while certain "rules" should be followed, no one should be attacked for "breaking" one. One of the best things about wearing your naturally textured hair is that you can change it up and create your own regimen of what works. 

Gasp! But what about the "rules"? Aren't we supposed to use all-natural products for our hair? Co-wash to keep sulfate shampoos from stripping moisture? Stop using heat or use as little as possible? Trim regularly? Moisturize and seal consistently? Wear protective styles to retain length? YES!...and no. The rules should actually be considered guidelines: tested and proven actions that will help ensure healthy natural hair. However, if a naturalista chooses to use water to moisturize, Blue Magic or TCB Hair Food to grease the scalp, and shampoo to wash it all out---AND IT WORKS FOR HIM OR HER---fine. If a curly girl wants to straighten once a week or once a year---so be it.

To the newly naturals: if you find yourself being criticized for your natural hair practices, listen politely, deflect, and keep it moving. Natural Hair Police officers mean well but don't realize that they can come across as judgmental, critical, and rude. Take the "juices and berries" from their statements and leave the "dirt" behind. Listen to fellow naturals, read everything you can about maintaining healthy hair, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

To the veterans: Remember that you too were newly BCed or transitioners once. If a newbie ASKS for advice, give it with love and support, and don't take it personally if they do something different. Don't force your opinion on other naturals, and save the sarcasm. The natural hair journey is just that--we are all still learning how to care for our curls, kinks, and everything in between. The goal isn't to prove that you have an advanced degree in "Nappology" but to be a source of wisdom and encouragement.

Remember Beauties--we are in this movement together, so stop writing citations on social media and start enjoying the awesomeness that is natural hair!


  1. I like to these of these supposed rules, more as guidelines, suggestions, but never ever rules. Who is anyone to dictate what another person must do with their hair? Get the heck out of here with that. I have always encouraged anyone learning to care for their care to embrace the trial and error of the process. It's how you get to know and fall in love with your hair...the same way you fall in love period!