Hair

Three Reasons to Consider Being ‘Natural’- If You Haven’t Already

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Photography by NHOPHOTOS; Chicago, IL

Everyone seems to believe being “natural”, i.e. ceasing usage of chemical products, is a fad that will eventually blow away with the wind. While that assumption may be true, there are good reasons to stop using perm, better known as “creamy crack”, and other harmful chemicals often used on African American women’s hair.

Below are 3 reasons why you should strongly consider being natural.

1. Your Health

According to New America Media, the chemicals found in common African-American hair products are known as estrogen and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Although extensive research is ongoing, many of these chemicals are believed to be linked to reproductive effects and birth defects, breast cancer, heart disease, cognitive disorders, premature puberty and altered immune function, to name a few.

2. Your Money

If you know anything about African American women and hair, you know we spend A LOT of money on our hair. Being natural may appear to be costly in the beginning, as you have to undergo a transition that may take 1-3 years, but once your hair is completely free of chemicals, you’ll be able to purchase products and maintain and upkeep your hair on your own- only acquiring professional help when you need your ends trimmed and/or for a special hairdo.

3. Self-Confidence and Identity

Mainstream media has always portrayed beauty to consist of long, straight hair and light skin color. Being natural allows you to be who you are and not be apologetic for it. A wise woman told me there’s a reason why straightening our hair is costly and (sometimes) painful, and that reason is because we’re not supposed to wear it that way. Whether or not you agree with her point of view, you can ask any woman who is natural about their experience and I’m positive the word “liberated” will be thrown in their response.

Contrary to popular belief, the transition for women of color to leave harsh chemicals alone is not something new. Sales of relaxer kits dropped by 17% between 2006 and 2011, according to Mintel, a consumer spending and market research firm, so women have been kicking relaxers to the curb for quite some time now.

 

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