What is ‘Going Natural’? Is It Worth the Hype?

Tifanny NdindaUnderstanding 4C Hair2 Comments

What is going natural

Times are changing. Women are learning to embrace a natural lifestyle. The most remarkable trend in the natural lifestyle movement is women of African descent going natural with their hair.

What is ‘Going natural’?

Going natural simply means that you are restoring your hair back from the chemically altered texture to its original unaltered state. The chemicals applied to the hair alters the natural hair texture by straightening the curls.

Most women decide to go for the Big Chop when making this transition. This is considered the easiest way to start, but because most women don’t like the thought of having short hair, they end up changing their minds and continuing with relaxed hair. Others opt to slowly let their hair grow and end up cutting out the relaxed sections.

Now that you know what going natural means, let’s explore further, let’s discover together, shall we?

In this article, I will cover the following:

History of the natural hair movement

The natural hair movement originated in the United States in the early 2000’s. Before the movement the beauty industry was in direct contrast with the black woman’s reality for much of America’s history. In the past, adopting white standards of beauty by straightening curly hair and trying to lighten dark skin was perceived to ‘protect’ black women. Thankfully, we are getting past this.

The aim of the natural hair movement is to encourage women of African descent to embrace their natural afro-textured hair.

As a way of embracing our natural curls, women are giving up relaxing and letting their hair grow in its natural texture. Return of naturalness, at the organic era has been encouraged by the awareness of the harmful effects of relaxers on the scalp.

A study  done by American Journal of Epidemiology linked relaxer usage to health risks such as uterine fibroids, Heart disease, Hair loss, Scalp damage, Chemical imbalance, Cancer and Early puberty.

Dreadlocks were popularized around the 1970’s and 1980’s mostly by Bob Marley through the reggae music and Rastafarian movement. They were worn for various reasons, for some it was an expression of deep religious and spiritual convictions, ethnic pride and others as a hairstyle.

Being natural doesn’t necessarily indicate a strict adherence to any particular type of product or hairstyle.

Will going natural help your hair grow?

There is confusion when it comes to this question. Many people believe that if you go natural your hair will grow, well, yes and no.

Yes, in the sense that your hair is healthier, stronger and less prone to breakage which results in length retention.

No, because hair will grow regardless of the state, only difference is that when you have relaxers, the hair tends to break more and thus little length is retained.

Going natural will not ‘magically’ lead to length retention, you have to work for it. Type 4 hair is prone to damage due to its curl pattern and thus, to maintain your length you will need to maintain a healthy, consistent hair regimen. Here are some of the best practices for a good hair regimen:

  1. Giving yourself a scalp massage, this increases blood flow to your scalp, enhance the strength of your roots and help nutrients get to your follicle faster.
  2. Ditch your routine of hot tools. This will protect your strands from heat damage.
  3. Stick to a healthy diet. Sounds impossible because we can’t resist that KFC chicken but guess what, a healthy diet gives your body the necessary nourishment which in turn boosts the growth of your hair.
  4. Limit the number of times you wash your hair. Reduce how much you expose your hair to shampoo. Ensure you use shampoos that are appropriate for your hair.
  5. Natural hair requires careful grooming. Don’t be in a rush handling your hair.

Benefits of going natural

  • Length. Natural hair does not break as easily as relaxed hair therefore, it gradually increases in length.
  • Beauty. beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, some women feel beautiful in natural hair.
  • Health. Natural hair is resilient to damage and healthier because the strands are free from harsh chemicals.
  • Economical. Relaxed hair requires frequent care and that’s quite expensive, but with natural hair it is easy to come up with a routine at home which saves you a lot of money.
  • Versatility. Very many say that natural hair has few styles, on the contrary, there are very many styles one can decide to go with. Examples include, an Afro-look, Braided look, Crotchet, Bantu Knots, Buns, and the list is endless.
  • Weather. See how when it rains women reach for shower caps, we don’t have to worry about the rain, the natural afro can stand it, in fact, the hair rejoices as it sips in the rainwater, perfect moisturizer.
  • Natural Products. Most natural products are relatively affordable the likes of,  Extra Virgin Olive oil, Extra Virgin Coconut oil, and Raw Shea Butter.

Challenges of  Going Natural.

  • Time-Consuming. Yes it is, managing your natural hair requires attention to every little detail.
  • Transitioning. Trying to relearn your hair can be stressful and many women don’t like the transition process.
  • Trial and Error. It is a journey of trial and error. What works for one person’s hair may not work you. You have to try so many products before getting the perfect fit, this can be expensive! 
  • Tangles. Remember when we were kids and used to hate it when we got to undo the hair and it was time for combing hair, the tangles literally made us scream. Once you learn how to manage your hair, this will not a big problem, with a good conditioner and the right de-tangling techniques, you are good to go.
  • Negative attitude from others. People are slowly embracing the natural hair but some still think it’s backward and looks unkempt. Many women are not comfortable walking into an interview with their natural hair because of this perception. Slowly and surely, a time will come when this will be a thing of the past.

Is Going Natural Worth the Hype?

Well, many women have different views on this. Some women believe that it’s not worth it and they have their reasons, and there are those that go natural and love it.

I will look at both sides of the coin.

Yes it is worth the hype

Personally I don’t miss relaxed hair, I have had my dreadlocks for 2 years now and my hair has never been healthier and longer. Honestly, going natural is something you should consider. It will be difficult and stressful at the beginning but most importantly your hair will be healthy.

I believe that every woman should watch, Nappily Ever After, Violet Jones really portrayed what most women go through their whole life with their hair. They spend so much money on their hair that they forget that there’s so much to beauty than just hair. Yes, at times you need that big chop and try living a little.

No it not worth the hype

As much as it is considered affordable in the long run, maintaining your natural afro-texture hair is time consuming. Women are busy, as we all know, either with school, career, raising kids or both. Adding the ‘stress’ of maintaining natural afro hair is nothing close to what some women want and thus  they choose to ignore the hype and carry on with their relaxed hair.

The choice is yours.

At the end of the day, nobody will make the decision of going natural for you, my part was to simplify the decision making process. Wear your hair like a crown because you are a queen and you deserve to feel like one.

Related Questions.

Is It Okay To Texturize My Hair while Transitioning?

The answer is no. Texturizers are made from harsh chemicals that will alter your natural curl pattern and therefore texturizing will set you back on your natural journey.

Any Tips On Making My Transition To Natural Hair Easier?

Even the best regimens can be stressful. Find the products that work best for your hair, determines what hairstyles keep your protected and dedicate time on your busy schedule to give your hair some Tender Loving Care.  

I hope you found this useful.

2 Comments on “What is ‘Going Natural’? Is It Worth the Hype?”

    1. Hi Adenike

      Thanks for taking time to read the article. Glad you found it enjoyable. All the best in your hair journey.

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