How The Natural Hair Movement Empowered Me
There is no doubt that the natural hair movement has truly turned things around in our culture. More and more women are standing up and saying “no”. Who we are naturally is beautiful and we will display it until it is appreciated. The health that takes place when a woman decides to go natural is huge. On top of healthy hair, it also builds her self-esteem. She is empowered and recognizes her strength. It has been one of the most profound things for me to watch my loved ones, one by one, become a part of this movement. For me, a Latina with some thick curly locks, this movement has sparked something inside of me as well.
Though the natural hair movement is mainly about African American queens putting their foot down, it has made big moves for those of us who have lived under the cultural norms that tell us we are not enough as well. This is my story.
I grew up with a mother who had her father’s Venezuelan dark skin, but her Irish mother’s stick straight hair. My father had a thick Cuban fro in his younger days, but his hair solutions were not necessarily what I needed. He had the moisturizing part down, but his advice usually consisted of drowning my hair in Silk until it was all grease. My mother had only ever dealt with straight oily hair, the opposite type and texture of mine. You can see my dilemma. As a girl, I struggled heavily with my hair. This was my main body issue. I tried everything you can think of and spent hours on end trying to perfect it, but to no avail. My hair was dry, dead, and my curls were undefined. The potential my hair had was great, but I was not able to unlock that and it frustrated me beyond belief. I envied beautiful curls, knowing mine should look like that but did not. It was all frizz. This led me to using blow dryers, straighteners, and treatments. Because of the culture I was in, I was led to believe that straight and thin was beautiful. I bought into it.
I can’t tell you at what moment it all changed, but at some point I said no more. I ditched the heat and went out and got some leave in conditioners and moisturizing oils. I chopped off my dead ends – deciding that health was more important than length – and I started doing frequent coconut oil hair masks (these will change your life). No more killing products, no more heat, only natural and what would be healthiest for me, whatever the results. Living in the Miami heat was no help to the frizz problem, so I began using hairspray (and most recently switched over to mousse) in order to give my hair definition. These things were the game changer for me.
My curls were healthy and more defined, and now instead of cursing my hair, I consider it my pride and joy feature. I told myself when I was young that the man I ended up marrying would have to adore my hair and encourage the natural, because I was proud of it and I was not going back. Early in our relationship, Malik raved about my curls and after seeing me straighten it a few times, told me he preferred it natural. This was important to me. My babies who will have the tight curls of their Latina mother and African American father will be taught how to care for and love themselves naturally without reservation from day one.
You have to love who you are, and you have to realize that health is the way to beauty. The cover up solutions never work, no matter what culture tells you. Even with defined and beautiful curls, hurtful passing side comments were made over the years. But now, because of the natural hair movement, my curls are “in”. I would love them to death in or not, but this movement has empowered me even further to love who I am without restraint. I am thankful.
Author: Ana Teresa Nunez
|“Changing attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural.|
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