My goodness. Talk about extremes. This article highlights and judges the Natural Hair Movement based on a fringe segment of the community who I will characterize as natural hair fundamentalists (hair nazis? — uncool). These folk are dogmatic and think if you don’t do it their way then you will be doomed to hair hell. I am not making light of the harm these zealots have and can do to unsuspecting individuals but such behavior does not place the NHM in danger in any way. Just as there are religious zealots, their are also skincare zealots (oh believe me when I tell you!), nutritional zealots, you name it. No matter what the issue, there are always going to be folk who take things to the extreme. What is most important is that Black women learn how to properly care for their own hair whether in its natural state or chemically processed. Both choices has it pros and cons.

As for the amount of products now available for those who choose the natural route, I cannot be more thrilled! These products were not available when I locked in 2002. I now have a TWA(did the big chop on September 6, 2019) and am overjoyed by the plethora of choices now available for natural hair style and maintenance. Newbies, like I did, will find their way through the maze. You just have to take your time, do your homework, and find out which products are best for you.

Now I am a bit dogmatic when it comes to products because of a study published in 2018 which linked black women’s health disparities with the beauty products that are marketed to us. These products are highly toxic and have been showed to affect our endocrine and reproductive systems. So for those of us who just simply don’t have the time to mix something up in the kitchen (which is no guarantee for safety either) we have to educate ourselves so that we can read the labels and know which products are safe and which are not. I recently switched from using Creme of Nature products (because they contain sulfates, silicones, and parabens) to the Cantu hair line. Some people do not mind what are called water soluable silicones but I don’t use products with silicone period. I would encourage others to adopt the practice but at the end of the day the choice is yours. Do you boo!

Finally, I am happy that there are You Tubers speaking out on the issue of hair policing within the natural hair community. It is very much needed but don’t get carried away. I don’ think such zealots define or determine whether the NHM lives or dies. From where I sit, the NHM is being embraced by young and old alike. Let’s respect each other’s hair choices and let’s love other as we love ourselves. Just my two cents. xo

Article

Hair products for Black women contain mix of hazardous ingredients https://silentspring.org/news/hair-products-black-women-contain-mix-hazardous-ingredients

Books

Dr. Phoenyx Austin, If You Love It, It Will Grow: A Guide to Healthy, Beautiful Natural Hair. The author takes a holistic approach to hair care. She is also on You Tube; her website is DrPhoenyx.com.

Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care (this book deals with natural and permed hair) and The Science of Transitioning: A Complete Guide to Hair Care for Transitioners and New Naturals.

Written by

Dr. Arica L. Coleman is an award-winning Independent scholar of Race and ethnicity in the United States.

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