By Hadassah Agbaps - June 04, 2016

Hi people, what's been on?

Today's post was triggered by a scenario that occurred sometime ago.

Y'all know I love to switch up my hair.

Kinky, curly, coily, wavy, straight, weaved up, colored, braided up, trimmed and cut! I've tried them all!

So, I had my hair straight and was going about my business when someone approached me. She was a colleague with natural hair. Like me, she had been natural all her life.
She said to me, jokingly (so don't get all defensive...lol),

"I thought you loved natural hair??? How come you straightened and colored it? Don't you like being natural again?! I like it when you leave your hair in it's natural state and don't like it when you straighten it or that type you fixed weavon."

Curiosity about HER perception of natural hair prompted my first question to her....

"What about when I did twists (with extensions) and faux locs, did I love my natural hair then?"

She laughed.

"Yes nau, that one is better. It's a natural hair style".

"But remember I added attachment (extensions) o for those styles. I didn't use just my hair".

"No problem, at least it's still a natural hair style but weavon is not and you spoilt your natural hair when you colored it, you should have left it like that."

I visibly shook my head at what I thought was a warped way of defining "natural hair".

From her explanation, it didn't matter what extensions I used as long as I braided or twisted with it, it was "natural hair approved" but as long as it was weave extensions, "not approved"

If I left my hair kinky, it was "natural hair approved" but once  I straightened it, it was no longer natural hair?????


We got chatting about it (what happens when you have female geeks in the building who love a good debate) and her definition of natural hair was,

''Hair that has not been chemically processed or altered in anyway. It should be kinky coily."

My definition was,

''Hair that has been left in its natural state whose texture has not been permanently altered."

In her definition,
By heat straightening, I had altered my hair texture s so it wasn't kinky coily.
By coloring my hair, it didn't have its natural color.

How about extensions?

By using extensions to braids or twist, I mimicked styles I could do with my natural hair in its natural state. 
Which is why weaves were disqualified. They did not mimic natural hair textures.

What about if I fixed an afro? Did it pass under the radar ?

Yes, because it looked like natural hair in its coily state.

What about if I straightened my natural hair with thread instead of with heat, was it still natural?

Yes it was because it was a natural hair style.

"But it doesn't mimic natural hair in its natural state", I said. " and all the  times I watched my dad deliver babies, I never saw one with threaded spikes on her head"....

Here she conceded that it didn't actually mimic natural hair but it was a well known natural hair style.

I pointed out that her definition of natural hair was beginning to unravel because threaded hair was not natural hair in its natural state and there was no way without the extensions(cotton thread), our hair could be like that.

Okay about color....

What if I colored my hair with henna, was it still natural?

Yes it was because henna is natural and dye is not...

I gave her the look.

She understood and laughed and said,

''You got me. Oya, explain your own.''

'Well, I believe as long as you leave your hair in its natural state, you're still natural. Any other thing is just cosmetic. If for example, you naturally have straight hair, doing a chemical curly perm is altering the texture. It won't revert back to straight hair, so it's not natural hair. Same goes with being born with kinky curly hair and permanently straightening it with a relaxer or texturiser. The hair is no longer its natural texture''.

Coloring the hair rarely alters the hair texture.

Heat straightening rarely alter the hair texture no more than twistouts, bantu knot outs, perm rod sets do unless in cases of heat damage.

Weaves don't alter the hair texture.

............but that's just my opinion. I'm sure there are other more elaborate definitions of 'natural hair' out there!!!!

So peeps,

What does natural hair mean to YOU?

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