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5 of the Most Natural Hair Friendly Cities in the World

Avatar • Aug 20, 2014

by Ijeoma of Klassy Kinks

 

New York

new-york-city

Many New York naturals will say that the current movement was born there, particularly in Brooklyn. The original natural hairstyling gurus – before the days of YouTube – such as Diane C. Bailey, Anu Pretoria and Tulani Kinard who have been doing natural looks since the 80s, are all based in New York and have been training up the latest crop of natural hairstylists around the country. Major brands such as Carol’s Daughter, Karen’s Body Beautiful, Devachan, Miss Jessie’s, Shea Moisture and many more salons started out in NYC, so there is no shortage of product or hairstyling options. Even some of the most popular bloggers (Jenell B. Stewart, HeyFranHey, Chescaleigh and Taren Guy)bring you videos from The Big Apple. Finally, New York is home to a few notable naturals such as Chrisette Michele and Lupita Nyong’o.

 

Atlanta

atlanta

Although the Real Housewives and Love and Hip Hop franchises will have you thinking otherwise, Atlanta’s natural hair community is booming. For the past 17 years, Taliah Waajid – who has had salons in both New York and Atlanta – has hosted the World Natural Hair Health and Beauty Show in the ATL.  Notable natural hair brands such as CurlBox, Too Groovy Salon, Eden Body Works are based in Atlanta. Natural hair bloggers, LexiWiththeCurls, Natural Chica and Mahogany Knots can also be seen out and about in the city.

 

London

London

London easily takes the cake for the most natural-friendly city in Europe. In fact, almost all other cities are seriously struggling. To start off, popular natural hair blogs, Care For Your Hair and Natural Belle are both based out of the UK vicinity alongside YouTube vlogger, FusionofCultures. Although a recent addition to the UK natural hair scene, curlfriends Elle and Neecie behind the super popular NaturalHairDaily instagram account are helping to catapult the natural hair movement forward across the Atlantic ocean. UK scientist, JC of the Natural Haven provides the most scientifically accurate information regarding natural products and natural hair care for naturals around the world. We might think we’re doing something by having a natural hair day in the states but UK has an entire Natural Hair Week!

 

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago is holding the natural hair scene down in the Midwest with the best natural hair blog in the world, Black Girl Long Hair! Other actually famous (not as in I have mad views, but as in I get invited to red carpet events and to do collaborations with MAC and to be the face of brands) natural hair-wearing bloggers repping the Chi include Afrobella, Luvvie, and the Monroe Sisters. On the salon and brand side, Huetiful changed the game with their at-home hair steamer system, as well as their salon and it’s innovative services, while Harvard educated Chris-Tia Donaldson is the name behind the book and product line Thank God I’m Natural.

 

Nairobi

Nairobi

Representing the African continent is Nairobi, Kenya, where (from my personal observations), natural hair of all forms is readily welcomed and celebrated. Of particular note is the number of loc’ed naturals in Nairobi, which I would say was a far greater number than in any American city I’ve been in. Unlike the US, regular women – not brands, salons or hairstylists – are driving the natural hair movement and keeping it afloat in Kenya. For example, Mary and Nyachomba of Kurly Kichana are one of the early movers of the natural hair movement in Nairobi, and although the movement has not been around long, it has grown exponentially fast.
Honorable Mentions: Washington DC, Johannesburg, Houston

Did your city make the list? What do you think makes a city good for natural hair – access to products, many events, salons?

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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About Klassy Kinks

KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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LadyDulayne
6 years ago

I think Baltimore could definitely make the list. Everyone I go now, I see more and more naturals and more stores are stocking our fave products, including Target!

Darlyn
Darlyn
6 years ago
Reply to  LadyDulayne

I agree, I currently live in Baltimore and I haven’t had any issues with finding natural hair salons and products.

We’re also home of one of the best natural haircare brands, Oyin Handmade!

anastasia
anastasia
6 years ago
Reply to  LadyDulayne

Yes, Bmore is in the house and we are blossoming! You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve chatted with some of the ladies who comment on this blog at Target or Oyin. LOL!!

I’m the sista that always finishes conversations w/ a hug =) Hey y’all!!

Darlyn
Darlyn
6 years ago
Reply to  anastasia

Heyyyyy, anastacia!

Nompumelelo
6 years ago

I live in Pretoria South Africa. I feel like people are more accepting of my fro now that it’s bigger, than back then when I didn’t do much to it.

I feel like the bigger the hair, the bigger the love there is for it.

Marissa Allen
6 years ago

I live in Kansas City, Missouri and would love to get a natural movement going here. Even if we just meet up to talk hair, life, culture it would be nice to speak with people who understand the stress of detangling, breakage, inability to find good curly products…ugh. I recently did a post on my natural hair journey this summer and I can tell people already look at me a little differently. I have long(ish) hair but that’s not what this is all about. Now, more than ever we need to be bold and appreciate our skin color and hair… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Marissa Allen

I’m not too far from you, and I’d love it if we could somehow influence mid-Mo to be more natural friendly! I get so jealous of all the meetups and conventions on the coasts and in big cities. There’s a tiny natural hair community where I am, but I think that’s only because I’m in a college town.

BeaJae
BeaJae
6 years ago
Reply to  Marissa Allen

Do y’all follow Mo Knows Hair? She’s from KC and lives there. She has garnered a strong following in a short amount of time. I think she has put together meet-ups before (not sure if they have been in KC.

Redseouls
Redseouls
6 years ago

Columbia, SC!!!

Carlee
Carlee
6 years ago

I’m sorry, but this list is not right if it doesn’t include Philadelphia. Philadelphia is 50% black! Some of the most prominent leaders in this community are black NATIONALIST. Black people are proud in Philly, and they express this through their natural hair as well. Walking in center-city Philly, you see so much natural hair, it’s a non-event, seriously. You see locs, big chops, twist outs, afro, everything! Locs are especially common in Philly. Natural hair can be seen on men and women. I even see lots of men growing out their hair. I am from Houston, TX (barely any naturals… Read more »

Jojo Satoes
Jojo Satoes
6 years ago
Reply to  Carlee

Yup! Philly ladies have been rocking natural hair since the 90s. That’s where my NH luv affair began!

naturally Tee
naturally Tee
6 years ago
Reply to  Carlee

The list is of the Five monst influential They included one from each coast and even included London and a country in Africa. Maybe if it was the 5 most influential in the US Philly would have made it

EastAfricanGirl
EastAfricanGirl
6 years ago

ethiopia addis ababa should be on the list honestly .

Anne
Anne
6 years ago

I totally agree! Ethiopia should be the natural hair capital seeing as at least 90% of women there are natural and do not even use relaxers! In their culture as well women are raised to love themselves and their hair. In comparison to Southern Africa (where I’m from), North East Africa should definitely be recognized!

waza
waza
6 years ago
Reply to  Anne

thats because us urban southern africans think/thought we had bad hair. Ive seen a change in Zambia though.

Taylor
Taylor
6 years ago

I’m from Houston and the natural hair community is deff on the come up.

silkynaps
silkynaps
6 years ago

Even though there is a large number of naturals in Dallas, I’m not so sure I’d consider the city “natural-friendly”. The city is still dominated by good ole boys (and girls) with an old-fashioned attitudes and prejudices towards Black people. I’ve recently begun interviewing and the last person to interview me actually looked at my hair and made a face. She went through the interview business as usual, but surprise, surprise, I was not called back. Because this is the south, I knew natural hair could possibly be a hindrance and my goal was to present my true self. I… Read more »

iluvedges
iluvedges
6 years ago
Reply to  silkynaps

true, DFW is not so natural friendly

Tina
Tina
6 years ago

Washington, DC

Joan
Joan
6 years ago

Yup, afros are trending in Nairobi, on a funny note Nairobi men have a Facebook group against weaves-rumor has it they it they had a meetup LOL..

rho
rho
6 years ago
Reply to  Joan

Yup! I think they call themselves MAWI(Men Against Weaves Initiative). lol!I love our Kenyan men for loving and accepting their women as naturals. Go Kenya!

Sana
Sana
6 years ago

I am not surprise Nairobi made the list. I am Kenyan but live in the US. Even when I lived there it wasn’t odd to see a natural head and locs. Here in the US 90% of my friends are embracing their natural hair. Friends & family thought I was nuts when I cut my relaxed hair about two years ago. This summer everyone is rocking a twa. lol I love it.

Anne
Anne
6 years ago
Reply to  Sana

Sanna, just wondering do you believe natural hair is becoming more common back home in Kenya, or has it always been in their culture? I’d be interested to know if natural hair is welcomed in Nairobi only because of this “movement” or a long history of women embracing their natural hair?

rho
rho
6 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Women in Kenya have always embraced natural hair. Most parents do not perm their kids’ hairs and leave that decision to them once they are older. Some in high school and others once they are in college. You could say that natural hair has always been embraced here but also with the natural hair movement, more women are now seeing options to styling their hair other than just perming it for ease. They now recognize that their hair can look just as good natural and don’t necessarily have to have wear a perm to manage it.

naturally Tee
naturally Tee
6 years ago

I live in Atlanta I am glad we are on the list and we deserve to be. It seems everyone is natural even though a lot of women wear weaves and etc they are also natural. There are people who straighten their hair at Dominican salons or places like Too Groovy Salon but are chemical free. I can’t step out the house without being asked what products I use and how I am dealing with this humidity and etc.

CurlyGirlLov
CurlyGirlLov
6 years ago

Los Angeles, CA I love living out here and the weather is so great I rarely have to worry about humidity ruining a hairstyle. Plus people don’t really care about how my hair is styled. I’ve never received a negative comment about my hair in any of the several ways I style t naturally. Its also rare that I can’t find a popular product.

Honeybrown1976
Honeybrown1976
6 years ago

Los Angeles is taking its sweet damn time getting on board. But, I’m rocking my natural hair, along with others!!

(Philly is my hometown and I do sense more acceptance there; although, it wasn’t like that when I left a decade ago.)

JoAnn
JoAnn
6 years ago

Oakland, CA

The One
The One
6 years ago

These cities might be great for natural hair acceptance but NYC and Chicago are way too dry for my hair. My hair thrives in humid climates so my list would include Miami, San Diego, and Costa Rica since I don’t need to be surrounded by other naturals as long as my hair is healthy.

Tracienatural
Tracienatural
6 years ago
Reply to  The One

Naturals in South Florida, from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, to West Palm Beach, are increasing, too! Florida hair care companies include Alikay Natural, Qhemet Biologics and Bee Mine Organics.

RJ
RJ
6 years ago

Yodit at Salon Revive in DC = the truth!!!

Chrissie
Chrissie
6 years ago

Tons of naturals here in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) but I can never find the specific products I want in the stores I go to.

Mad Woman
Mad Woman
6 years ago

Yeah Kenya!

CT
CT
6 years ago

Kingston, Jamaica. C’mooooon guys.

NatrhoallyBrit
NatrhoallyBrit
6 years ago

South Carolina

Napturally Kia
Napturally Kia
6 years ago

smallest state in the US! lol i always get compliments on my curls and its a lot of curlies of many backgrounds here

Wambui Wamutogoria
6 years ago

I agree with the notion that Nairobi natural hair scene is growing organically. So glad to see Natural girls all over Nairobi

Aiych
Aiych
6 years ago

Even though the black population is shrinking there, Austin, TX should still get an honorable mention. The atmosphere this is very hippie/hipster-ish and welcoming of natural things, hair included. I know that both myself and some friends of mine in college began rocking the natural while in school there, for a lot of us it’s where our journeys began. Naturally curly’s Curl Mart is based in Austin so we were able to go get products directly from the warehouse when we ordered them which was awesome. It wasn’t hard to find oils, random things like henna and ayurvedic powders, and… Read more »

natu
natu
6 years ago

I am surprised by the fact that Paris did not make the list. There are loads of naturalism in Paris.

Elsa
Elsa
6 years ago
Reply to  natu

Not enough in my opinion. Natural girls are not the majority and we see them particulary in the summer time. The rest of the time we see girls with weave, wig or box braids. There are Natural black girls in the southern part of the France than in Paris.

shiro
6 years ago
Reply to  natu

Hey, i’m not surprised that Paris didn’t feature here, french product manufacturers have totally ignored black hair in general, I buy all my products online from the UK. Recently i’ve seen a handful of products on the shelves, but really not much choice.

liz
liz
6 years ago
Reply to  natu

I’m not surprised. I’ve stopped thinking of France as tolerant after they stopped tolerating women covering their heads religiously, while it’s still legal to go topless on the beach. I can only imagine how many French are still White Supremacists after that move.

raisin
raisin
4 years ago
Reply to  liz

Oh, please. There are tons of natural women here. It should definitely be on the list.

natu
natu
6 years ago

I meant naturals. Lol

Latte
Latte
6 years ago

I recently moved from Houston to Nashville. I was shocked!– in a good way! Most black women I’ve seen are natural and natural hair products are everywhere– even the grocery stores! The Targets here have like at least seven natural hair care product lines. I don’t know if its just a West Nashville thing or what but I’m impressed. West Nashville is not predominantly black, by the way.

Nappy 4C Rocks
Nappy 4C Rocks
6 years ago

Chicago?!?!! = NOT!

mimi
mimi
6 years ago
Reply to  Nappy 4C Rocks

curious why you say Chicago is not. I go to school downtown and all I see on the el and walking down the streets are natural women for the most part. it’s a beautiful thing. I’m also student teaching at a high school on the southside and it’s split about 50/50 natural /relaxed with the students in my school. I get compliments constantly about my hair whenever I’m out and nearly every child i see under the age of 12 has natural hair.

Jo
Jo
6 years ago

Miami

Adiela
6 years ago

So happy to see my hometown Nairobi! on this list 🙂

shiro
6 years ago
Reply to  Adiela

Homeland kenya is rocking here.….the movement is growing even further what with facebook private groups like ” kurlly diaries” where ladies meet virtually to share their natural hair journey

waza
waza
6 years ago

Kitwe,Zambia! Seen enough naturals,product-wise,Lusaka has more natural friendly products

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

Can’t believe Toronto isn’t on this list!! Huge oversight. Naturals everywhere — journalists on the evening news, artists, lawyers, you name it. I’ve lived in London and it’s not as natural-friendly as Toronto by a mile (totally different history here too, so I think that makes a difference). I must say I’m proud to be a Canadian because a lot of the ignorant assumptions about natural hair (like unprofessionalism, radicalism, laziness, etc) are a bit more rare here. If anything, people ask questions; my non-black friends are always curious about how I could possibly go from APL to long braids… Read more »

Joho
Joho
6 years ago
Reply to  Marie

I must say I’m proud to be a Canadian because a lot of the ignorant assumptions about natural hair (like unprofessionalism, radicalism, laziness, etc) are a bit more rare here.”

I am also Canadian and I would say this is false. Canada is large and diverse enough to have an extremely varied view of natural hair. It really depends on location and the people one is surrounded by.
I happen to be surrounded by people who have a vendetta against natural hair, so I know that not all of Canada is a haven for those with natural hair.

Reece
Reece
6 years ago

TORONTO

Cher
Cher
6 years ago

What happened to Los Angeles? We should have been in the list! We have tons of do it yourself naturalistas doing their thing and rockin’ great styles. We don’t have a lot of hair salons working with us Naturals but there are a few.

nappylove
6 years ago

Born and raised in Chicago. Love going home and feeling the natural groove. I’ve been natural for over 20 years. I wore an Angela Davis fro in the 70’s. I lived in New Jersey for eight years. I got introduced to locs. The Natural experience there was very empowering. But I think the way you do your hair should not really matter the city you live in. But I suspect it may make the sharing of product information or salon locations that cater to natural hair a lot more fun. I now live in a semi-small town and it has… Read more »

QueenB
QueenB
6 years ago

Sorry, I’ve never felt the need to post a comment on BGLH but I strongly refute the inclusion of London. I’ve been natural almost my whole life (and lived in London my whole life, barring 4 years) and I only know a handful of people with natural hair, and they invariably just wear cornrows with extensions, braids with extensions, or weaves. They wouldn’t consider wearing a wash n go or even twists because of how it would be perceived. I have searched high and low for one good hairdresser to no avail, there is one shop 45min from my house… Read more »

tanlinda
tanlinda
6 years ago
Reply to  QueenB

Hi QueenB I too am born and raised in London and I can get products from anywhere In London even in the City of London. I live in Bedfordshire now and still not short of BSS. I have been to countless natural hair shows and events and subscribe to various UK bloggers who road test and review products which are available in the UK. London I believe is more than worthy of a mention.

Anon87
Anon87
6 years ago
Reply to  QueenB

Maybe do some more exploring? Darren Scott is a hairdresser I keep hearing about in natural circles. We’ve had tons of Natural hair events and there is a community presence online (UK Naturals, CFYH_uk, Loveyourtresses etc). In terms of products, no where is better than USA in terms of variety (Africa and Caribbean obviously have the advantage in terms natural products — oils and the like). But there are many UK based shops online (Sheabutter Cottage, BeUnique, Shea Decadence and more). A lot of US YouTubers are now booking events over here, not to mention many from LDN are also… Read more »

Those Natural African Curls
Reply to  QueenB

You said ‘lived’ London’s natural hair scene has slowly grown, and now they’re everywhere. In my Uni I was one of the first to go natural during my second year, after then I slowly but surely saw an increase in people wearing their hair natural. One thing I will say is that London people like their braids! So you may not know that they are natural, especially in the winter. Also you must be living in the poshest part of west London if you can’t find a Paks that sells a HUGE selection of natural hair stuff. If you even… Read more »

Charity
Charity
6 years ago

I live in Phoenix and it’s quite hot here, so we have a TON of naturals. It’s hard to have a relaxer here, lol. The only problem is there isn’t a wide array of natural hair events, meet-ups available. But I never have any problems finding the products I need.

Yeashan Banks
Yeashan Banks
6 years ago

New Orleans should make this list. It’s too damn humid to be anything but natural. Like seriously. I went natural because it was too damn humid to keep a flat iron. I started exploring how to wear my hair in it’s natural state.

SKEEWEE
SKEEWEE
5 years ago
Reply to  Yeashan Banks

I work in nola and am like 1 of about 3 naturals at a large State facility ?. Louisiana is way behind in the natural scene. And rarely ever hear of any natural hair events here. When there are, there isn’t a large attendance.

Elle & Neecie
6 years ago

We’ve just seen this! Thanks for the mention Ijeoma xx

Ja'li
Ja'li
6 years ago

Wow ummmmm, I’m from Atlanta and I’ve been natural damn near all my life but I’ve also lived in DC and there is no way Atlanta is in it and DC is just an “honorable mention” not only does the tri-state area bring some of the most creative natural styles I’ve ever seen. It’s actually loved and accepted by all in that area. From a woman’s perspective in DC my options were beautiful not only did I get to pick and choose from elite men of all colors, they love natural there, I actually was inspired to work for myself… Read more »

SKEEWEE
SKEEWEE
5 years ago
Reply to  Ja'li

I agree!! SOOO many naturals in DC when I went there, men and women! I lived in atl until the late 90’s and saw mostly weaves while I was there.

lockstress
lockstress
6 years ago

I wish the ignorants here in CT would jump on board. I AM SO SICK OF RATCHET WIGS AND WEAVES! UGh..

Frances
6 years ago

I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m no longer
certain whether this put up is written through him as noo one else
understand such unique approximateky my difficulty.

You’re incredible! Thanks!

Gina lee-cooper
Gina lee-cooper
5 years ago

Naturals would say the “movement” started where? Please, African women AND men started it a loooooong time before it became a “movement”. Y’all need to chill and look way back in the days. Not everything starts where you landed. What you DID start however? Relaxers.

African angry woman”? If you say so!

Lakitha Goss
Lakitha Goss
4 years ago

How dare the writer leave out New York and Washington D.C.

Stephanie
Stephanie
4 years ago

I went to Chicago and hardly saw natural hair. In St. Louis it’s all you see. Very few young women here do not have natural hair.

SKEEWEE
SKEEWEE
5 years ago

Wow I had no clue there’s a natural hair day in the States ?

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