- Touch My Hair
I appreciate your loving glances and looks of awe at this magical crown of hair on my head. I might smile generously to show my appreciation of your admiration, but I promise this is NOT an invitation for you to reach out and touch my hair. It surprises me how many people (white AND black) will seriously graze their fingers over my natural hair. Also, DON’T assume that I’m going to say yes to touch it. Sometimes people ask just as a formality with their hands already outstretched and that’s irritating. Keep your hands to yourself. One because it’s creepy and uncomfortable and two, because this actually took a lot of time, oil, products, detangling, twisting, and knotting to get it to this level of perfection and you’re ruining it!
- The “Just-Add-Water” Assumption
I don’t know why people assume that natural hair girls simply spray their hair with water, shake like a wet dog and stroll out the door with a cute ‘do. When in reality what actually happens is a long process and you have to style it at least sometimes. Even if I skip the perm-rod set or Bantu-knot twist out, I still have to put in some kind of product or, at the very least, oil. So this whole “you’re natural it must only take you a few seconds to get ready” is some bull. Stop assuming and appreciate the hours of work I put to achieve the perfect coils, kinks, and curls.
- Ask “Is it supposed to look like that?”
The beauty of natural hair is that it kind of does its own thing. This was hard for the control freak in me when I wanted every curl and coil to spiral in the same direction and lay the same way. The reality is, my hair is going to go in every which way it wants so don’t ask me if it’s “supposed to look like that” because odds are, it’s not supposed to, but it does and your question only irritates me further.
- Pressure to straighten
I wear my hair in its natural state for a reason. I can do many things with my hair but for whatever reasons I choose, straightening it is not one I want to do. It’s insulting to insinuate that in order for me to look presentable enough to show up somewhere with you, my hair must be straight. Not to mention the time I stand to lose, and the heat damage I stand to gain from the press of a hot comb. Also, stop suggesting things like “just imagine your hair straight”, or “you should really straighten it sometimes!” or “you need to come over and just let me straighten it.” Friends don’t let friends suffer heat damage!
- Designate them as a Rain-person
Few things are more irritating than when it’s a torrential downpour outside but somehow as the natural hair person I automatically get volunteered to fetch anything that’s out in the rain, or denied the right to huddle under the umbrella. Or if I’m hustling to get out of the rain and someone turns to me and says “Why are you running you don’t have anything to worry about.” My hair is not waterproof. My makeup, clothes, and shoes aren’t either.
- Criticize Weaves and Wigs
I view hair as art and expression. Some express their creativeness with make-up or clothes, but I enjoy changing my hair style once a month on average. Maybe my hair isn’t the color, length or texture to achieve some of the styles that I desire. Or maybe I want to protect my hair from harsh styling and restyling. Either way, wearing weaves and wigs every now and then doesn’t exclude me from being a naturalista. As long as the hair growing from my head is not chemically treated, I can still call myself a natural chick.
- Use the word Nappy
4c hair is not any less natural than 3c. This ridiculous notion that you have to have mixed chicks-esque coils to be “natural” should cease and desist immediately. All textures, colors, and lengths are beautiful. That’s the point of being NATURAL, displaying yourself and your hair in its natural form and stage. So please stop putting those gorgeous sisters down. Natural is a hard thing to embrace at times, and we don’t need YOU curl-shamers to make it any more difficult.
– Aliah W.