5 Women on Why They Stopped “Taming” Their Hair

From a young age, most girls are acutely aware of the difference between “good” hair and “problem” hair. One ripples and bounces across TV screens during shampoo commercials; the other is spelled out on the bottles like a diagnosis: frizzy, dry, coarse, kinky, or — my favorite — unmanageable, as if the worst thing hair could do is defy your grooming attempts.

This impossibly narrow beauty ideal has all kinds of consequences for those who don’t fall within it, from bullying and alienation all the way to racial discrimination. This means it doesn’t just cost girls and women money or time, it can cost them a sense of inherent belonging or self-acceptance.

The silver lining of being force-fed dumb rules is the freedom to be gained by breaking them. The natural hair movement, which has done so much valuable work in eschewing and reshaping beauty conventions set with one type of (white) woman in mind, is one example of what shattering those rules can look and feel like.

There’s no shame in enjoying spending time on your hair, or reveling in the manipulation of it, but there remains something undeniably meaningful and subversive about skipping that process in favor of wild, frizzy or generally “unkempt” hair. To celebrate the literal and figurative beauty of that defiance, I asked five women who don’t tame their fluff to tell me how it feels to let it fly free.

Jasmine Burgos

Jasmine is a journalism student at Hunter College and a fashion intern living in Long Island.

How would you describe your natural hair? When did you start wearing it like this?

BIG, bouncy and wild! Since I was little, my hair has always taken over my face. Sometimes I can’t even see or I’m accidentally invading someone’s personal space. It’s great. I began to consistently wear my hair naturally by my freshman year of college.

Did you used to try to “tame” your hair?

My childhood consisted of hair relaxers and regular trips to the Dominican hair salon. You wouldn’t see me without sleek, straight hair. I remember all of the countless hours spent under the hairdryer ’til my ears burned and, to top it all off, the constant tugging away at my roots with a scalding blow dryer. But I endured every minute of it because, at the time, this was what girls with “difficult” or “time-consuming” hair did. It was my normal. I eventually grew to be obsessed with the process because the end product was beautiful.

Growing up, you’re taught that beauty is pain. I felt beautiful with my straight hair — it was softer, longer and a whole lot easier to take care of. If my hair wasn’t straightened, it was twisted up into a bun. Eventually, straightening my hair became inconvenient because I enjoyed exercise and I hated having to be careful with not sweating “too much,” or being super anxious to leave the house when it was raining or humid. It was an exhausting way to live. Once I began attending school in New York City, where it was much more diverse than my hometown, I began to care less about looking perfect, looking like everyone else, and looking like someone everyone else wanted me to be. I began to present myself comfortably and naturally, and that started with my hair and makeup. So far, it has been the most liberating decision of my life.

What’s your hair routine like now?

On wash days — typically Sundays — I wash with shampoo, detangle with a deep conditioner, let the deep conditioner absorb into my strands while I wash off the rest of my body, then rinse it out and end with a leave-in conditioner. Most of my washing/conditioning products are by Shea Moisture. I don’t rinse off most of the conditioner. If I want extra shape, I’ll add DevaCurl shaping gel or Cantu styling cream. I add all products while my hair is still wet, then I prefer to let it air dry if I can. Once it’s mostly dry, I’ll use the blow dryer on a cooler setting to get my volume up.

All other days of the week I refresh my curls by wetting them and reapplying conditioner to ensure they’re being moisturized every day.

What’s the most common comment or question you get in regards to your hair, and how do you respond?

Where do I begin!?

Is it yours? Is it real? Is that a wig? How do you, like, get it to do that? Do you curl it every morning? (This one is especially funny because I barely have time to apply makeup every day let alone tirelessly curl every single strand on my big head.) How do you even deal? Have you tried straightening it? And the biggest one of all: Can I touch it?

I realize that those who ask these kinds of questions just aren’t as exposed to black hair or big hair or any sort of different hair for that matter, so I can’t really blame them. I try to educate those genuinely curious. But for those who are clearly just trying to make me feel uncomfortable, I smile and show them that I’m proud of my kinks by simply saying, “Yes, it’s all mine and no, you may not touch.”

How does your hair make you feel?

Powerful. Funky. Unique. Audacious.

Katie Stockton

Katie is a Clinical Information Manager living in Staten Island.

How would you describe your natural hair? When did you start wearing it like this?

Fluffy, curly, yearning to spread its wings and become trapped in the car door as I close it. Aside from a few forays into bangs and some sporadic straightening with my mom’s CHI flat iron (which I never gave back, sorry Mom), my hair has been the same since high school.

Did you used to try to “tame” your hair?

I went through a couple phases of hair suppression. When I was younger, it was all about detangling and keeping it contained in a ponytail. If I ever complained about my hair being too hard to brush, my dad would offer to chop it all off with his pocket knife. I did not take this lightly because once at a softball game he cut a fat wad of gum out of my teammate’s hair after her fed-up parent gave him permission.

When I got a bit older, my mom tried to teach me how to blow dry it, which I never had much success with and wasted a lot of John Frieda Frizz-Ease in the process. Then the CHI came into our lives and I’d spend an hour or more making it super straight. Like, lifelessly-plastered-to-my-head straight. People paid me attention and were very complimentary whenever I wore my hair straightened, but in retrospect, I don’t think it was worth the time and effort. And it’d start to puff back up in any amount of humidity or sweat. Especially my baby hairs and cowlick.

I started consistently wearing my hair as is out of laziness and burgeoning self-acceptance.

What’s your hair routine like now?

I wash my hair every three days or so. I’ll brush out all the knots and shed hairs right before I get in the shower, then shampoo, comb through my conditioner with a wide tooth comb, clip it up, do my other hygiene activities, then rinse out thoroughly. I’m currently using the Acure Organics clarifying shampoo and OGX coconut milk conditioner. My go-tos used to be the Acure Organics moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, but I haven’t tried them since they reformulated.

The most important part of my routine is the air-drying. Right out of the shower, I very gently wrap my hair up in a classic bathleisure towel situation. I use one that is highly absorbent — NOT terry cloth — and waffle-textured. After that sits for 20 minutes or so, if I have the time, I’ll do the same thing again with a dry Turkish bath towel.

Once I’m tired of that/need to leave my house, I’ll take it down to finish air drying unrestricted. No touching, unless to flip it to the opposite side to encourage volume up top. If the ends look too dull or sad, or if I feel like smelling great, I’ll use some Stark Skincare hair oil. But I don’t rake it through! Just press it in.

What’s the most common comment or question you get in regards to your hair, and how do you respond?

“It’s so long!” is a frequent one, and it does not earn more than a one-word response from me. I feel like when people say this, they’re going for the most innocuous comment possible, which makes me afraid they are secretly thinking mean things.

Strangers and acquaintances also love to touch my hair without asking. Their eyes glisten and their hands shoot out while they tell me how much they love my hair. Thanks so much! But please don’t touch me without my approval!

How does your hair make you feel?

Sometimes like I have a bug on me. But it’s only a stray hair.

Beatriz Williams

Beatriz is an artist, grad student and future therapist living in Manhattan, New York.

How would you describe your natural hair? When did you start wearing it like this?

My natural hair is wild and alive. It has a mind of its own and I’m OK with that. I started wearing my hair as big as it is now a few years ago, after I graduated college and moved to New York City.

Did you used to try to “tame” your hair?

Up until a few years ago, “taming” my hair was always a part of my life. I remember trying out different products when I was younger including moose, gel, leave-in-conditioner… whatever would give me the least amount of frizz possible. Frizz was the enemy. Perfect, shapely, bouncy curls were the goal. Wearing my hair “big” now is definitely something I have grown into. Sometimes I actually make my hair frizzy on purpose and brush it out just to get an even fuller effect. My hair has become part of my identity. It reminds me every day how proud I am of my Latin/African roots. Because of this, I wear it big to make a statement.

What’s your hair routine like now?

I wash my hair maybe once or twice a week and put conditioner in it after I get out of the shower. I let it air-dry and shake my head from side to side, and up and down to help it dry with the most possible volume. Then I just let it do its thing.

What’s the most common comment or question you get in regards to your hair, and how do you respond?

A lot of people tell me that they like my hair and ask what products I use. I also have gotten that my hair looks like a pillow and they want to take a nap on it. I usually just say thanks and laugh it off. Some people do ask me if they can touch it and I tend to say yes more often than not.

How does your hair make you feel?

My hair gives me superpowers.

Sandy Sanchez

Sandy is a copywriter living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

How would you describe your natural hair? When did you start wearing it like this?

My natural hair is black, frizzy, a mix of very wavy waves and tight springy curls (especially in the bottom layer of my hair), with lots of baby hairs. The top layer, near my roots, sometimes has its flat days. I’d consider my hair a mixture of 2C and 3A, I think? It depends on the curl you pick out of my hair. I started wearing it naturally in 2013. Aside from my childhood years, of course.

Did you used to try to “tame” your hair?

I was a very curly-headed baby. My mom always told me that strangers would ask her if they could touch my hair. Once I hit around second grade, I started becoming self-conscious of my curly hair. I’d wear my hair in a tight, low ponytail every single day to keep it low-key and out of the way. I did this up until seventh grade. This was around the time side bangs and sleek straight hair was “in.” I still think about that scene where Mia in Princess Diaries gets a makeover and has her frizzy hair straightened out and she suddenly becomes “beautiful.” That scene would end up impacting me for years to come. I straightened my hair every single day starting in 2006 up until 2013 once I discovered the straightener, because I thought that beauty meant no curls and no frizz.

The straightener was my savior but my frizz always won the battle. I’d try so hard to have straight hair and by the end of the day, I could see the curls starting to come in again. It was a cycle of me hating my hair, straightening it, still being frizzy, seeing the curls coming back, getting mad, and then straightening it some more.

One day in 2012, I decided to wear my hair curly to school because I was getting sick of having to straighten it. I was absolutely terrified and I ended up getting so many questions. How come you’ve never worn your hair curly before? Did you curl your hair today? Omg, you look so different. I was still hesitant to wear it curly but then finally in 2013, the year I started college, I began to wear it natural every single day and I grew to love it more and more every day. For the first time ever, I didn’t care if I was a ball of frizz and regretted all the years I tried to hide it. Plus, I felt more like myself than I ever had in my entire life.

What’s your hair routine like now?

My hair routine is extremely low maintenance and I love it. I usually wash my hair one-to-two times a week because I’ve trained it throughout the years to not need to be washed so often. I comb my hair dry before washing it, so I only brush it one-to-two times a week as well. I’m not super loyal to any hair brand but right now I’m using the Pantene Curl Perfection and I’m loving it. Every once in awhile I use the OGX Coconut Curls Curling Hair Butter. Products always claim they’re going to “defrizz you,” but they never do and now I really don’t care if they do. I like to shower at night because then I can fall asleep on my wet hair, let it dry overnight, and wake up with tight, fluffy curls that are all over the place. It’s my way of “styling” it with my pillow overnight.

What’s the most common comment or question you get in regards to your hair, and how do you respond?

People are so sweet when it comes to their compliments and it makes me happy! Most of the time people say they wish they had curly hair, too. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable with their frizz, I like to tell them to just embrace it. A little frizz never hurt anyone! Another common comment about my hair I get is that “the frizz works on me,” so I guess that’s a compliment? Once in a while, I’ll get, “Do you ever get tired of the curls and straighten your hair?” To which I respond with: No, not really. Another question I get is “Can you let me straighten your hair one day? It’d be so fun.”

How does your hair make you feel?

It makes me feel so comfortable and cozy! My hair kind of feels like a part of my identity. I love that I don’t have to worry about how it looks. I don’t care if there are flyaways or frizz or a weird part sticking up in the back. I love waking up in the morning and leaving my apartment with my bedhead because sometimes, those are my best hair days. It’s also funny because, when you have big, frizzy hair, your friends can spot you from anywhere.

Hair is a pretty recognizable and signature part of you and, in a way, a form of self-expression, so I’m glad it makes me happy now! The fluffier, the better. I love meeting other fellow frizzy, curly-haired people because everyone has such unique curls and they’re all various shapes and sizes with different frizz levels and each curl is just so special and adorable.

Stacy Collado

Stacy works in a fashion showroom and is also a working model and dancer living in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

How would you describe your natural hair? When did you start wearing it like this?

Dry, frizzy, unkempt. I started wearing it like this when I decided those words didn’t have to mean “bad,” which actually wasn’t until… a year ago, maybe, out of the 23 I have been alive for.

Did you used to try to “tame” your hair?

My background is Dominican, so although it’s extremely common for people of my heritage to have naturally poofy/curly hair, it’s also customary in the culture to use various products and heating methods to tame it. I remember being really young, visiting relatives in the Dominican Republic, and sitting in someone’s living room while they put a hair-relaxing treatment on my head. Smooth and straight was the beauty ideal even among women who could never truly achieve that genetically. Now I know that those treatments were just chemically frying my hair and that it didn’t look good, just damaged.

What’s your hair routine like now?

For me, the trick is to rarely shampoo because it majorly dries out the frizz, and I love to condition so I do that daily. I don’t know if that’s a good thing to do or not. I air-dry, never wear product, and kind of just let my freak flag fly on the regular. I’m interested in dabbling in product these days, but I have yet to find the perfect recipe and I am really into letting it be.

What’s the most common comment or question you get in regards to your hair, and how do you respond?

My goodness, there are so many. “Do you ever straighten it?” followed by, “Does it take forever?” I just take it as an opportunity to go into a tangent along the lines of: “Yes, I spent many years of my life straightening and using all the frizz serums ever invented and realized unruly hair can be sexy AND professional AND just fine the way it is.”

How does your hair make you feel?

Like myself, which I think is probably the most important and most badass thing to be!

Photos by Emily Malan; follow her on Instagram @emilymalan.

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  • Abby

    Stacy and I have the same hair! Or did, until I started buzzing my head.

  • Kim

    If I had these ladies’ beautiful hair, I sure wouldn’t want to tame it!

  • Amber

    Aaaaaaaaah so much beautiful haaaaair!

  • Love this! All of the girls have amazing hair. Sandy’s is probably the closest to mine. When I was little my hair was naturally pin straight, then it started waving when I was about 12/13. I started dyeing it like crazy when I was 18 so it inevitably suffered. But it still grew fast and thick, my stylist is always surprised at how much hair I have. Sometimes i also have trouble seeing things because of my hair getting in the way. I haven’t dyed it since last summer and it’s finally starting to feel soft and health all over but the frizz can’t seem to go away. Still I consider myself lucky because I know many women wish for long and thick hair.

    • Rebecca

      my hair did the same thing! puberty is wild haha

  • Haley Nahman


  • Lynn

    I gave up trying to control or change my hair fairly early in life. I was lucky in that I was young when everyone was getting perms and longing for volume and curl. I had it naturally.

    When fashion changed and all around me was ironed, flat, sleek hair I frankly just didn’t care. I was not going to spend hours fighting my curl to be trendy.

    These women are beautiful. Hats off to my sisters in curl. 😀

  • Sitting here having straightened my hair for half an hour this morning to then end up in humidity and rain and therefore a curly ‘mess’ within an hour – I really needed to read this. Maybe I’ll embrace the ‘mess’ more often.

    • Kiks

      Moving to the Pacific Northwest really changed my relationship with my fine, wavy, fuzzy hair. For five years I lived in one of the wettest places in the country, where it rains sideways and is so windy you cannot use an umbrella. I completely gave up the concept of “perfect” hair — I had no choice. Now I often let my hair air dry and sometimes it looks great, sometimes it looks terrible…but at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter.

  • Krusty the Kat

    I loved this! Sandy, you and I have very similar hair and hair-volution stories. That scene from Princess Diaries, though-I had never made that connection until right now!

    It’s such a drag to think about all the time I spent in high school straightening my hair only to have it bounce back as soon as it hit any moisture or humidity. I vividly remember staring at myself in the mirror as I CHI-ed my head into submission, thinking, “Gee I’m spending a lot of my life in this bathroom with a straight-iron.”

  • Keisha

    My routine is definitely like Stacy’s, the best part is that detangling in the shower takes me less than two minutes now. Life is that simple!

  • magiblin

    One day in high school I snapped – I threw away my hairdryer and straightener, my brushes and combs, and decided that I was just going to be ME. And I’ve never regretted it once! I love, love, LOVE my curls and everything that goes with it.

  • That scene from Princess Diaries was the bane of every curly haired girl’s existence it seems! I wish her makeover had given her Anne Hathaway’s Love and Other Drugs curls instead, because that look is some curly #goals

    I love giving myself the occasional blowout (it’s a workout and a hairstyle all in one!) but after Harling’s curly article, I decided to give plopping a try! I was a hater for a long time because the name is so cringy to me and wearing a tee shirt on my head is like, the opposite of glamour, but Man Repeller can convince me to try anything. Turns out, it’s a great overnight styling option for me! I previously would sometimes sleep in a bun fasted with a clip, but it’s not as comfortable and the clips sometimes fall out or break, which messes up the style.

    What can I say, I’m a plopping convert now. Thanks Harling and Man Repeller – loving all the curl content lately!


    • Rosemary

      Your hair is so gorgeous!!! Also I love your glasses, they look so cute with your face!

      • Thank you! They are the Hepburn from Eye Buy Direct. I only use them at work when I’m using the computer to prevent eye strain, but I like them a lot!

  • *Immediately sees this headline* I BETTER SEE THE ROUTINES
    *Sees the routines* Nice, let’s try some out later.
    (Great feature!!)

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    If I had those curls and waves, I wouldn’t straighten my hair either.

  • Luzia

    Love how Sandy says “each curl is just so special and adorable”! My curls also get very tight and springy underneath, sometimes I just sit there and am amazed how perfect they wrap around a pencil 😀

  • Kat

    What’s funny about that Princess Diaries makeover is that now everything she had “before” is cool… natural curls, hipster glasses and bold eyebrows… yes please!

    • starryhye

      OMG, so true! Isn’t that ironic!?

  • Ciara

    Katie is the first person I have seen with hair just like mine! I also used to straighten my hair often, but now I have realized my wild, crazy hair is part of who I am, and perfectly representative of my big, wild personality! (and just think of all the time i’ve saved leaving it alone) Free the mane!!!

  • Eth

    This is unfortunately a tone deaf article in line with that Shea Moisture commercial that got them in so much trouble. And “Good” hair is actually a term used to describe hair that looks a lot like the girls that are “taming” it in this piece. Just writing a curly hair article and ignoring kinkier haired girls (like most blogs do) would’ve sufficed.

  • Guest

    And not a single natural-haired Black woman featured even though the natural hair movement was created by (and for) Black women. Predictable.

    • Guest

      Definitely yes. But while they are pretty much white passing, most of these five women (more than 50%) are not white. The natural hair movement was created by and for women of African ancestry.

      • rollingmyeyessss

        Who cares if they’re not white??? They still aint Black. And this movement was CREATED BY AND FOR BLACK WOMEN. Not women with some African ancestry down the line, BLACK WOMEN. POINT BLANK PERIOD.

    • Cassandra

      Non black women can also have textured hair that is worn naturally. Not every issue is about race or cultural appropriation.

      • rollingmyeyessss

        First of all, the natural hair movement was created by and for BLACK WOMEN. Erasing the very people (BW) from a movement we created in place of using non-blacks to represent said movement IS a race issue.

        • Cassandra

          So if one black woman was included it would have made it okay to acknowledge that non black women also have textured hair that can be worn natural? I just don’t understand why you’re pushing so hard to keep it separated when other races are having a similar (if not same) experience.

          • Paige Kay

            No other race has similar issues regarding hair because ALL of you guys have similar hair. Curly, straight, wavy, frizzy. Full stop. Please do not start playing Oppression Olympics, because you will lose. Guaranteed. No white, White Latin, or Asian woman on earth was forced to put in flesh eating lye on their scalps for decades because they would fired as the very hair that grew out of their heads was deemed unprofessional, and because society convinced them the very hair strands their body produces were inherently wrong. So again, full stop.

            But, to reiterate: the NATURAL HAIR MOVEMENT is, was, and is for BLACK WOMEN, in all the shapes and hair textures we come in. No one else. Others using said label to describe themselves is literally cultural appropriation at its finest, and your tone deaf comment is a prime example of that, and the refusal of some to educate themselves, back off, and “get it”.

          • Cassandra

            I think you’re trying to hard to make this more of an issue than it is. This article was showing how different women wear their hair natural, as in not altering the texture, not sure if the article actually specifically referenced the “natural hair movement” which apparently can only be used when referring to the hair of black women. As evident in the article, not all non black people have the same kind of hair. Isn’t that similar to saying all black people look the same? (as you would say, Full Stop).
            I am a non black woman with textured hair and I also feel the need to straighten my hair for job interviews and situations where my “professional” appearance would be in question. I also grew up in a society where textured hair was considered undesirable and I did many things to alter the texture of my hair just to feel attractive.
            I acknowledge the struggles you mentioned and I am not trying to discount them or win some crazy oppression Olympics, Im trying to point out that non black women have gone through similar issues (okay, not exactly the same and not as drastic) so why can’t it be accepted that non black women can wear their hair natural and are sharing their stories about this experience?

    • Anon

      What should textured or curly hair be called when worn as is? I always refer to my curly hair (i.e. when I wear it curly-not when I blow-dry it straight or straighten it with an iron) as my real hair or natural hair. I’m white and have incredibly curly hair and I always thought calling it my natural hair was correct since it’s the way my hair is naturally. I hope this isn’t a really dumb question, I’m genuinely curious.

      • Monique Hall

        I think you may not be educated on the natural hair movement and that’s why you’re asking this question.

        • Anon

          I’m not and that’s why I was asking. I will definitely read up on it.

  • C. Killion

    I. Love. My. Hair. White women also have rules heaped upon their naturally curly, ringlet prone, bright white hair. We are supposed to straighten it, color it, cut it to a certain age-related length. It is wonderful to wake up with a headful of unruly, happy curls. I run DHC hair oil lightly through it with my fingers, and I am good to go. For the first time in my life, my hair and I are in agreement.

    • rollingmyeyessss

      oh shut up.

      • C. Killion

        Golly. Rude much ?!

  • Indya

    I loved Princess Diaries as a kid, but that makeover montage really did a number on us, huh?

    The different curls represented here are fabulous. The bonding that takes place due to the trials of frizz and variously inflicted heat damage is truly profound. I don’t relish initiating conversations without necessity, but on several occasions I have deemed it utterly necessary to compliment perfect strangers’ curls, unprompted. (With the dastardly ulterior motive of hair routine interrogation. Of course.) I have been overwhelmingly met with unbridled delight and some of the easiest conversations I have ever experienced. As though we are all part of an impossibly cool underground society as labyrinthine as our tresses, the most guarded among us blossom forth with recommendations and warnings alike. What a world.

    The point of this loquacious information: Pay genuine compliments when they are due. Even my fellow introverts. I’ve only *slightly* regretted one such encounter, and, to be fair, I was probably a little creepy.

  • Sarah

    I feel guilty even talking about this because I know how blessed my naturally “straight” hair is…. but I would like to know how to style my hair naturally without using irons! I have the kind of hair that dries straight but waves only ever so slightly leaving me looking like I didn’t even attempt to do anything. I also used to have it grown out so long and one day decided to chop 10 inches off leaving me feeling like I did in middle school… I curl it everyday with a curling iron but boy am I sick of it.

  • Martyna

    I have some curls, but a lot of hair, always dread about having something like these girls do <3

  • Sophia

    “Fluffy, curly, yearning to spread its wings and become trapped in the car door as I close it”

    Best line of the whole article!

  • Victoria Fantozzi

    Beauty media has us all wishing for something else. Having flat thin straight hair, I covet all the volume and curls if all these ladies – all amazing! I have also given up and just let my hair do what its going to do (which is lay there flat rejecting all volume) but I’m not sure I’ve come to love it , it very unremarkable which I think is the difference

  • Ciccollina

    I fully support this but struggle to be chill because THEY ALL HAVE SUCH BEAUTIFUL HAIR!! I literally get hair-shamed for my fine, curly, damaged hair at the hairdresser all the time. I wish I could leave it natural but I look like a wet rat. It’s the bane of my life 😭

    • Claire

      They really do all have beautiful hair. Every hairdresser I’ve had has shamed my hair, tried to straighten it and some have even said they’re scared of it. I can’t figure out how to wear my hair curly and it’s also the bane of my existence. Not sure what my point is here except that I am with you #WetRatsUnite

      • Ciccollina

        I’m with you sister!!

  • Monique Hall

    This is not a natural hair article and the ignorance that is shown in regards to the real natural hair movement is disgusting and hurtful. The author, the editor, ect should be ashamed! This piece should have simply been about wavy or curly hair and not been labeled natural hair! Not black woman with kinky hair. We are aware that the natural hair movement was created by and for black women who felt the need to alter their kinky hair to assimilate to western societies beauty standards. Now every racially ambiguous, white, or non Afro Latino who has a slight wave to their hair is now rockin natural hair I suppose. When their waves were never deemed ugly, unkempt, improper, or unprofessional to begin with like so many black women with truly natural hair. You’re canceled.

    • Adrianne

      I kept going through the article and the pictures looking for someone who looked like me..
      an African American woman! wow none to be found… not to distract from the ladies having beautiful hair but the “natural hair” movement definitely is about the African American woman’s kinky hair and the journey not to use chemicals to straighten it but to wear it in its natural state. Hmmm…Interesting!!?? 🤔

    • U.O.

      Yup. This article was exactly what I thought it would be: a display of women with the exact type of curly hair that’s desired talking about how they wash-n-go their curls into submission. I won’t say that it’s not natural hair because it is, but personally, I’m not interested in seeing women who do half the work on wash day that I do use the same language that I use for my hair about theirs without even a feature of how truly difficult natural hair can be. I can’t say I’m particularly surprised though, this happens all the time.

      • Erica

        I get it. At the same time, it is easier to change the rules if they are changed for everyone. If everyone accepts that they don’t have to have bone straight hair, regardless of the ease or difficulty of their hair routine, it will be easier for us. Why does the win only have to be for us? I get the language can be confusing. I clicked the article expecting to see people who look more like me. But I don’t think this is a bad thing because it also means that women who don’t look like me will click other articles and be exposed to women who do look like me. The more exposure, the more education they receive, the less likely our children will be banned from wearing their hair big and bold or in braids at school…Or be discriminated against at work because of their hair.

        • Courtney “Longlegit” Leggett

          Agreed! 🤓👏🏾

        • U.O.

          Thank you for responding to my comment .Thank you too, Sarah! I agree with both of you, of course the rules have to change for everyone. But, the world has a very bad habit of co-opting movements that black women started or led, adjusting them to its needs, and leaving black women out of the equation to face the same ridicule that they started the movement to prevent. THAT’S what I’m concerned about. I want everyone to benefit from the natural hair movement, including the women who the movement was originally created for. I really am happy for these women though!

          • Monique Hall

            This right here!

      • Sarah

        While I agree that this article doesn’t present a full (or even representative) spectrum of textures, I (kinky hair, one black and one white parent) still found similarities between some of these narratives and my experience, which involved boxes of Just for Me relaxer applied while I leaned over the kitchen sink at six years old and regular, painful relaxer sessions until I was eighteen. I like that this article makes clear that the pernicious and pervasive ideas of black hair not being “good hair” shape the experience of the Afro-Caribbean, Latina, and other folks, too, in part because of the social pressure to “cover” features that point to black or mixed heritage. Even with light skin, I was subject to social pressures that encouraged my black mom to relax my kinky hair in the hope that I’d fit in better at an otherwise all white school, and other people of color were subject to similar pressures; their experiences are valid and should be welcome on this platform.

        That being said: MR, maybe five isn’t enough women to represent such an important and nuanced issue, and it seems like an oversight to mention the natural hair movement without a fuller understanding of what natural hair is or can look like, or acknowledgement of the kinky-haired women who gave the movement its momentum and taught us to take our time. (Because it’s timely, maybe as a tiny baby step the MR editors can read interviews with Camille Friend, who did the natural hairstyles for Black Panther. Natural hair means more to her than products and routines.)

    • Eth

      yes to this

    • Quetta Azmir

      Thank you Monique for saying exactly what I was thinking!! Every Original Aspect of Us “The Beautiful Kemetic Woman” that WE deem Important and Poignant as a part of our Culture, Growth, and Knowledge somehow always ends up being Belittled, Berated, and Dissected into another Story about Them. Where Are The Beautiful Deep Sun Kissed Faces in this article? The True Coily, Curly, Happy To Be Nappy, Kinky, Kissed By The Sun Deep Au-Swirl S From Top To Bottom, Afro Naturale’s? Who experience and have experienced on a Day to Day Basis the Deep Truth of “What it Truly Means To Be Au-Naturale”!
      They aren’t featured in this article!!

      “If You Change An Original Culture, You Change The True Original Mindset, And Eventually You Change The I Eye I Of The True Original People.”

      QUETTA A.

      Haley Nahman You Kick Rocks!
      So Bye Gurl!
      I Forgot Y’all Took That Too!


    • Roxie Moxie

      I TOTALLY agree, Monique! You basically took the words right from my mouth. As I was scrolling through these pictures, I was saying to myself, “wow, where are the dark-skinned sistas with 4c hair”? “Or even a caramel sista with 4a/3b”? None to be found.
      I’m sorry….these women do not represent the face of the natural hair movement. Well, maybe one girl was as close as we were gonna get (the Grad student who live in NYC), but with the rest of the girls, I’m sure no one would stare, or look twice at any of their hair textures. I’ve seen people do this with hair they believe is “bad” or “nappy”, etc. And the natural hair movement was really for women like this who have been told their hair was ugly or unkempt (in the worse way) and who resorted to chemically alter their hair in order to feel accepted and fit the construct of white beauty standards. I don’t expect many of you to really understand or grasp this idea if it’s something you’ve never dealt with for most of your life. I know who to expect to “get it”. 😉

      • Quetta Azmir

        Yesss My Sistah❣️ Yessss❣️

        • Savine

          When I read this article it was of no surprise to me that the Women featured were either Multi Ethnic/Multi Racial or White. It seems to be a growing trend these days to associate the Natural Hair Movement with women who look just like those represented in this article than with whom the Natural Hair Movement actually came in to existence for.
          I am even more perplexed by those who believe that this article is a stepping stone into the right direction for Natural Hair to be discussed by all races. I beg to differ. When you slowly disassociate the Ideology and Theology of The Natural Hair Movement and the grounds that it was built on and the social contruct of Black Women being ridiculed and shamed to wear their hair in it’s Natural State with the characteristics and images that only those who are Bi-Racial, Light Complected or White can achieve such a Natural Perfect Curl, then we have not taken a step forward but a 100 steps backwards.
          I myself being a child and daughter of the B.L.A. and growing up in the 70’s wearing my hair in it’s Natural State i.e. Afro (because my Momma taught me right) have dealt with the ridicule of my hair being deemed Nappy or Unkempt. I also know that since I am a Deeper Shade of Brown the ridicule I received was not the same as my friends growing up who were of a lighter hue than myself and who’s hair was not as tightly coiled as mine.
          Fast forward to 2018 and here we are again Culturally Appropriating “Natural Hair” into a subset where we are being fazed out of something that began as a Symbol Of Black Pride and Knowing Thyself. The images that are presented by Trendy Blogs such as this one and Highly Touted Fashion Ads and Magazines always represent the Bi-Racial, Lighter Complected, Multi-Ethnic/Racial, and White Woman as having Beautiful Luxurious Curly Hair.
          Hair and Skin Tone to this day play an integral part in how we judge Black Women as a whole and how they are viewed in society. The deeper hued tightly coiled Natural Black Woman is still being ignored and constantly being replaced by a standard of what White Society deems as beautiful. Natural Hairstyles on Black Women who are of a Deeper Complexion and those who have a Tighter Coil are still deemed in-appropriate or unprofessional in certain aspects of todays society. There is an ugliness that still exist and is being ingrained into us as far as what ‘Black is Beautiful’ should look like.
          I am a Professor who teaches African American Studies and to this day I continue to have White Counterparts and White Students who still ask questions about Black Hair and Skin Tones. Or why someone who is “Dark” or who’s hair is “Nappy” is viewed as being un-attractive.
          I have been asked on several occasions why my curls don’t look like the Women represented in The Mixed Chicks Ad. Say What? Yes!
          For me it is still an uphill challenge for Black Women to Achieve the Accolades that we deserve when we have articles like this one that shift the Beauty of Afro Hair Cutlture and spin it into a devisive commercial venue where the aspect of Good and Bad Hair and Skin Color is still being used as a subliminal tool to establish a White Construct of Afro Beauty.

  • Emily M

    My hair is most similar to Katie’s here, and it used to be just as long because anytime I’ve ever gotten a haircut above my armpits it did that weird triangle-hair shape thing…until I actually went to a hairstylist specializing in curly cuts!! I now have chin-length hair and it has never been curlier or more healthy. I don’t know the point of this comment other than to affirm to anyone reading it that you CAN have shorter hair even if your curls are more frizzy waves than tight curls!!!

  • Disharee Mathur

    Omg!!! I love these people and feeling really proud as a naturally curly haired girll!!! It would also be super cool to see they wear their hair on occasions, how do they still it for say, weddings??

  • Valerie Berry Foster

    This is a joke!! Can’t we have something to ourselves without it being whitewa
    shed? PLEASE GO AWAY.

    • Stacy

      The language (natural hair movement) used is definitely tricky and probably should not have been used at all. But I am not white. I am Afro Latina – Dominican, to be specific. My skin is very white/pale (I am the whitest in my family definitely- was always a joke, how I turned out so white) and that is a thing, yes. But I could never get lumped in with my white friends growing up as we did not have the same cultural experiences nor did we look the same. I am so sorry this article didn’t relate to you – it should have worked to do that, absolutely. But to lump me and these other Afro Latina women into a category we don’t necessarily fit into, to make us part of the cause of a problem, is concerning and confusing. -Stacy

      • Valerie Berry Foster

        Stacy I should have used another word, whitewashed wasn’t used to be racist it was used to expressed a concern of having something that was intended to celebrate kinky coarse hair that most people including some  blacks find unattractive erased by using  using young ladies that are not the representation of natural hair women of color. They may be natural beauties but the term natural and the products used was a little suspect.
        Try the top-rated email app

      • Paige Kay

        ….but Latin people are deeply racist and erase Afro Latin people yourselves, and Latin culture often tends to grip on to aspects of Blackness it otherwise normally hates, hides, or tries to erase. This is VERY prevalent in DR, a country which is, to date, undertaking its second genocide against Black Dominicans and Haitians within the past 100 years, and there is nary a Dominican in sight fighting to stop that. If you yourself have “very white/pale” skin, then, with all due respect, you definitely have not experienced the ridicule, shaming, etc our darker skinned sisters have, over their complexions, hair textures etc. I myself am middle skinned Brown, and even I know I have not faced the same amount of ridicule and attempts at shaming. With all due respect, let’s stop splitting hairs because this article was and IS highly problematic, as is the dominance of preference for Europeanization, erasure, and whitewashing in Latin cultures.

        • Stacy

          Did not discount any of what you just said as I understand and have grown up seeing all of this happening amongst my family members who DO have darker skin than I (which is most of them), and I touched upon it myself in the above interview if you read it. You’re not enlightening me with any new knowledge. I am not unaware of this part of history. It is my responsibility to know about this, and to speak alongside it. We’ve already established this article is largely problematic in its ways. What I mean to say is, it doesn’t feel fair to be lumped in with a group that doesn’t experience a part of culture and history that I have/do. That shouldn’t be ignored, regardless of the fact that you are right with everything you’ve pointed out. -Stacy

  • Nicole Dias

    This article in 5 mins left me less interested in my own curly hair as many of these YT channels.TBH I clicked on the article to gain info but everything seems so self serving & unrelateable.

  • Noel_NY

    I was definitely disappointed by the content of this article. So misleading, my problem is not the people featured, it’s those not featured. I can respect that women of all races & ethnicities are made to feel that they must alter their hair to be deemed “acceptable”.That being said ,why was not even 1 of the subjects profiled an actual black (not mixed) woman? I personally tend to flip flop between straight or natural, because I like to switch it up, but I enjoy seeing the various natural hair types and styles on all types of hair. I am usually impressd by this site’s relatable aproaches to most subjects, and no, I dont think that black people are the only people who deserve to be heard. But frankly this article left me confused, were black women intentionally excluded???

  • gwendomouse

    Like many others here I also find it stange that this article features not one black woman (rather than mixed) with super curly 4c hair. Surely that’s where the natural hair movement comes from? But what also strikes me is that all the people featured here have actually very nice hair. Of course that is the point, to show how good natural curls can look, but bear with me. As a caucasian European teenager, I was endlessly teased for looking ugly, ridiculous and ungroomed – I was actually accused of not washing or combing my hair regularly, even by strangers in the street. My head was a superfrizzy flyaway nonshiny tumbleweed. This is uncommon for white girls, but that makes even more difficult to deal with. So to choose as the only white woman one with romantic Disney princess waves seems just as dishonest to me as not including a black woman.

  • Modupe Oloruntoba

    Completely understand all the concerns in the comments section and I’d like to point this piece out in response – they have addressed black hair, and it’s no fluff piece either imho: https://www.manrepeller.com/2017/03/women-talking-kinky-hair.html

    • Paige Kay

      ..but aren’t you the girl who doesn’t enjoy her natural hair? That’s not really an article we want to be streamlining women to.

    • Paige Kay

      With all due respect, I don’t think an appropriate “highlight” to Black hair is an article about how much you dislike yours and almost went back to relaxing it…I am very sorry that you don’t like your hair naturally but many of us love it, and we should celebrate the love of it, rather than highlight the opposite.

      • Modupe Oloruntoba

        I didn’t say I dislike it, have you read the piece? I said I love my hair and I feel guilty about how much I struggle with maintenance. And the link doesn’t go to the piece I wrote, it goes to a completely different story featuring black women. Please check the story I linked to (and maybe reread the one I wrote, if you like) because you definitely have this wrong.

  • rollingmyeyessss

    All of the people featured have hair that’s already seen as “tamed”. equating their slightly curly/frizzy/wavy hair to the natural hair movement is an insult (esp to actual natural-haired BW who started this movement.) And ofc not one Black women was featured when we’re the ones that are told THE MOST that our beautiful hair needs to be “tamed”. White publications are always so, so, so transparent and clueless.