Posted by Amanda Ibironke on Sunday, July 6, 2014

Our focus this week is on the hair. We are deviating a little from the clothing aspect of fashion ...your hair is also a part of fashion!. The natural hair trend is growing bigger by the day and has become a major phenomenon in fashion/beauty, entertainment and publishing industries, in politics, advertising and even the corporate world. I must say here though that the decision to go the natural route is not for the faint hearted. It takes a lot of confidence, determination and passion to transition from permed/relaxed hair to Au Naturale (completely natural). Going natural is the decision to wear one's hair in its natural state free from chemical straighteners. Afro-textured hair is a term used to refer to the natural texture of Black African hair that has not been altered by hot combs, flat irons, or chemicals (through perming, relaxing, or straightening).

Though the natural hair has been a movement for several years and has been growing rapidly over the years, it is not new in South Africa. Most people in South Africa carry their natural hair, dreads and even bald head.  What we’re seeing now is a confirmation that this is a lifestyle that is very important to a lot of people. People with naturally curly and kinky hair have long relied on straighteners, hot combs and chemical relaxers to achieve sleek, silky tresses; arguably as a way to appear acceptable and polished. Naturally kinky hair was viewed as dirty, unkempt and unattractive in the mid-20th century. But as the 21st century women have evolved, there has been a major change. More than ever, black and brown ladies (and gentlemen!) who have everything from wavy to curly to kinky have chosen to abandon the chemicals and love the hair they were born with.

There are different styles that can be done with natural hair, like kinky curls, puffs, cornrows, dreadlocks and afros: whatever the style, natural hair is enjoying resurgence across the world. And thanks to the internet/web, one can easily get information on what product to use, how to care, manage, style, maintain your natural hair. Thankfully, for those who want to go natural but can't necessarily afford good stylists (a good stylist can be very expensive), there are a group of individuals leading the charge of the “natural hair” movement who are passionate and web-savvy "naturalistas" who have become beauty gurus in their own right. Many have nabbed product endorsements, book deals, media appearances, and amassed hundreds of thousands of loyal followers along the way.

Might I say here that, this is a great winter hairstyle which can be a form of protective styling. A protective style is any hair style (braided, twisted or pulled-back styles) that shields the ends of your hair from elements that cause breakage. Permed relaxed hair is more susceptible to breakage than the natural hair. You can make your natural hair into dreads, cornrows or even wear a wig over it and you are good to go for winter! While some may think it’s just about hair – it’s not. It’s rooted deep in matters of self-image and bias societal standards hence carrying your natural hair is kind of empowering and daunting as well. So for those already rocking this hairstyle, kudos to you! For people like us that are still on the fence about transitioning to Au Naturale, it’s not such a bad idea. Why don’t you take a leap of faith and cross over to #teamnatural! Enjoy!!!

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