Skip to main content

Natural Hair Recruiting: Are the Scare Tactics Really Necessary?

Avatar • Sep 29, 2014

It’s no coincidence that the natural hair business and communities are booming. When I went natural almost five years ago, I was excited. With an absolute foreign sense of my own hair, I embraced my natural hair because I didn’t “know that it could do that.”

frustrated_natural_hair

When I finally big chopped and came to grips with my natural hair, I felt conflicted. Yes, I was happy to be in love with my hair, but I saw dissonance among the natural hair community; dissonance that although one was natural, you needed to be a certain kind of natural, that you had to enter the cause in another way and usually due to a political reason. It was in that space that I learned about a kind of “natural hair recruiting.” Not nearly as in your face as some other groups, natural hair recruiting can also be introduced as education or enlightening. I saw women show powerpoints and slideshows to their friends and their daughters because they wanted to “show them what we could be.” I was never opposed to the principle, but questionable of the method.

My issue with some natural hair recruiting methods comes from the incentive to go natural. Instead of showing beautiful inspiring pictures, they are often replaced with horrifying images of chemical burn or the “no edges crew.” Tales of self-acceptance are often replaced by stories of women permanently damaging their scalps through the misuse of relaxers, weaves or lace fronts. Words of encouragement are replaced by captions telling you to “go natural before it kills you.” I somewhat understand bringing the ignorant to the light, but why would such images be necessary? Surely the beauty is enough, right?

Natural_Hair_Edges

But for some, it may not be enough. I envision horrifying tales of relaxers to the same involving steroids — yes, we know they aren’t good for us, but those who want to use them will do so anyway. Furthermore, with education it’s completely realistic to have healthy relaxed hair. Wearing my natural hair was the right thing for me to do, but it may not be the same for someone else.

People will stick to what they’re comfortable with. When women want to go natural, they will. We all have different journeys and we sell ourselves short by forcibly creating someone else’s.

 

Do you recruit other women to go natural? What do you think of videos meant to encourage women to go natural due to the dangers of relaxers?

43
Leave a Reply

avatar
31 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
36 Comment authors
Victoria OwlAfrican Naturalistas Hair ProductsJumoké.T.veronica Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Darlyn
Guest
Darlyn

No, I do not recruit other women to go natural. I don’t even like talking about my hair when I’m around women who prefer straight hair. One time I was doing job training and this chick was like “Why don’t you pick your hair all the way out”? “I do my sisters hair and when I pick her hair out it’s nice and curly.” I wanted to say “HEFFA NOT EVERYONE WITH NATURAL HAIR HAS THE SAME CURL PATTERN”! Then she said “I’m not going natural though”, as she rubbed her fingers through her thinning hair. Mind you, I didn’t… Read more »

Stace
Guest
Stace

LOL oh boy, SMH. My sister has dreads she never wore her natural hair loose as an adult, so she seems somewhat ignorant about shrinkage. I have 4a hair that is curly when wet, curly — cottony when well moisturized but air dried, and a shrunken cotton ball when dry and in need of refreshing. So she comes up to me and grabs my hair and said hmm so this is what it looks like before its pulled out and gelled up and twirled. Like seriously? I wanted to punch her in the face. She is forever trying to insinuate… Read more »

Victoria Owl
Guest
Victoria Owl

Yes! I know people like that and it’s sooooooo annoying. It’s like they don’t understand that loose natural hair is extremely versatile! It can be molded into so many different textures and styles! It looks one way wet, different when dry and can take another appearance when styled. That’s the beauty of it!! It’s just the nature of our hair. People worry about the wrong stuff sometimes.

Cryssi
Guest
Cryssi

I recruit people by letting them see and feel my beautiful healthy long hair. They know my hair wasn’t always like this.

Revelry
Guest
Revelry

Unless the person has really damaged hair AND is LOOKING for help I keep my nose out of people’s scalp. I’ll give tips or ways to change up their hair routine and educate them on healthy hair.

Lola Oye
Guest
Lola Oye

Here is the thing, we are not going natural and healthy permed hair is an oxymoron. Natural hair grows out of your head and body, but perming is a chemical process that changes the natural condition of your hair. If women were given a choice as a woman and not as a little girl whether or not to permanently alter their hair, then this whole people can do whatever they want with their hair (prerogative) would make sense and be a legitimate argument. Most of us (“black”) women in the US were not given the choice, so we are going… Read more »

Amara
Guest
Amara

I have healthy long relaxed hair (down past my shoulders), and I love it. However, I have always wanted to go natural, but what scares me are thus: The expensive products. I honestly cannot afford them right now, and even if I could, I may not get the good ones as I do not live in the US. The transitioning bit. I tried it last year for six months, but my hair got so spongy and unmanageable I returned gladly to the creamy crack. I felt bad afterwards, but I had to be honest with myself. Even when relaxed, my… Read more »

Darlyn
Guest
Darlyn

Amara, not all natural hair products are expensive. A lot of us even use hair products made by Caucasian owned companies, which are good.

The best way to comb your hair while natural is to comb at the ends then work your way up. My hair is spongy also so I have to use water and olive oil to comb it.

O
Guest
O

It’s actually cheaper to have natural hair. I went natural when I was in a country with a tiny Black population. So tiny you could count the number of Black women on one hand. I didn’t have access to the expensive products as lots of them didn’t exist then and I also couldn’t get them shipped to where I was. Instead I learnt what ingredients worked and didn’t work for my hair. In regards to it being harder — of course it is harder. If you have straightened your hair for 10 years then any change to your hair is… Read more »

Revelry
Guest
Revelry

You know I added up all of the conditioner, deep conditioner, leave in, oil, and shampoo I use and it adds up to less than $25. This lasts me 3–6 months depending on if I’m protective styling or wearing my hair out. All my products I get at walmart and cvs. And as for managing your hair texture you won’t know how hard it is unless you stick it out and learn to work with your hair. Your hair could be spongy possibly from over moisturizing. That’s what I went through for the first few months going natural till I… Read more »

Jumoké
Guest

agreed! Many people fail to realize the socioeconomic hindrance Black people obtain when their hair is not straight. Having straight hair is not a choice. It’s been ingrained into society that nappy hair is bad and straight hair is good. Black people can’t get anywhere in life without compensating and stripping our blackness.

JenniD
Guest
JenniD

Right! Agree 100 percent. Putting caustic chemicals on ur head tht burns is not healthy. A choice yes but not healthy. I dont recruit unless I see the need. Im not of the mindset that its not for everybody, cause if thats the case being poor is not for everybody and I’d like the alternative please. We need to stop being PC about relaxers cause honestly we dont really know what ill effects they have on the human body. I wish there were better studies out there to be sure.

Maria
Guest

I offer advice to those who want it,so if you are happy with your relaxed hair then fine I won’t BC you or make you transition by force. Although I did advice my mum and little sister to read up on natural hair after being enriched with information they went back to their roots and so far they are happy and proud of themselves. I have seen woman who have badly damaged edges and are not happy with it, so when I heard them asking people at the salon on how to restore them , I took a chance and… Read more »

Jas
Guest
Jas

Hair is a personal thing. People can do whatever they want to do with their hair. Going “natural” is another form of expression for an individual. To me it’s the same if a person decides to cut their hair, get a weave, get their hair braided, shave one side off and so forth. Do what you want with your hair.
Now if it’s not in the healthiest state then the individual would need to access what they’re currently doing to their hair. Other than that…live and let live.

Chrissie
Guest
Chrissie

If I’m being honest, I don’t think anyone should use such harmful chemicals to permanently alter their hair pattern no matter the ethnicity or hair type. That being said, I also feel every adult has the right to make their own informed decision about what to do with their bodies. If someone wasn’t educated on the dangers and alternatives to relaxer, or relaxed because they felt they had to, yeah I would try to give them some info, but otherwise to each her own.

Jo
Guest
Jo

I personally don’t push my natural hair beliefs upon anyone, but if they inquire about natural hair, which they often do, I give them the information.

Scare tactics in the media are okay in my opinion because using harsh chemicals on the skin is never good for the health. Even cosmetologists who apply relaxers should be wearing gloves and should avoid inhaling it for a long period of time. My beliefs about GMOs and toxin-laced cosmetics are similar.

kinksnnaps
Guest
kinksnnaps

I dont think that it is necessary to recruit people, especially strangers, about natural hair.

A head of full healthy hair is enough to garner people to go natural.

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

Everyone has the right to do what they wish with their body. That being said, if someone is having a discussion with me about healthy hair care practices, I’m going to be completely honest with them about the dangers of relaxing–scabs, thinning, cancer, and all. I won’t get on my soapbox uninvited, but I do consider conversation about hair care fair invitation.

Jumoké
Guest

To be honest, there is no need to “recruit” women to go natural at this point lol maybe it was pre 2011 but not anymore. The ubiquitous beauty of natural hair is undeniable. You can’t escape it and not feel pressured to look into it and/or give it a try. Black women are more confident with their own hair, our men love it, other races are trying to mimick us, and there are more products and techniques catered to us now (general speaking for everything of course). When it comes to showing the “horrifying” images of relaxers and weaves, heck… Read more »

Josette
Guest
Josette

“The truth that no one was wants to admit is that NATURAL HAIR IS HEALTHIER THAN RELAXED HAIR AND EASIER TO TAKE CARE OF” I have been fully natural since 2009(I stopped relaxing in 2007) and I can honestly say that my hair was much easier to take care, less of an expense and less time consuming when I was relaxed. My relaxed hair was waist-length and very healthy. Now, my natural hair is nearly tailbone length but it’s not nearly as healthy. This is because when I was relaxed I didn’t have nearly as much breakage from SSKs and… Read more »

Jumoké
Guest

At the end of the day, if you take a look at the structural difference of natural hair and relaxed hair, the truth in undeniable. Your relaxed hair might have had the APPEARANCE of being healthier but internally it’s not. Same thing with bleaching your hair. Bleach raises the ph and cuticles of the hair to allow the color in thus causing damage to the hair. You can take care of it and improve the health of your hair but you still caused damage. Same thing with heat damaged, oh I’m sorry, “heat trained” hair. Relaxing, bleaching, and excessive heat… Read more »

Castor Oil
Guest

I don’t actively recruit people. But every once in a while, I’ll get a compliment from somebody about the length or fullness of my hair. If they are not natural, I will tell them they can too have a healthier head of hair if they just went natural.

mscf
Guest

I can count on one hand the number of people I know with severe damage from perming/weaves, and it’s from neglect not how they wear it. Plus, half the naturals I know have either turned back or are considering it. Going natural DOESN’T guarantee STAYING NATURAL. And there’s nothing wrong with just trying it to try it and not for a political or cultural statement. So it makes no sense scaring people into anything.

They must hand out a free soap box when you turn in your box of perm.

http://MySoCalledFashion.com

Josette
Guest
Josette

“They must hand out a free soap box when you turn in your box of perm.” hahahahahaha I totally agree with you! When I began my natural hair journey in 2008, there weren’t all these natural hair narcissists who, like vegans, think they’re somehow more authentic and superior in some way just because they are natural. I love my natural hair but on principle, I don’t want to be apart or connected in any way to the cultishness / fanaticism that has become prevalent in the natural hair community over the last three years. For this reason, I actively avoid… Read more »

Valerie
Guest
Valerie

I don’t think the scare tactics are necessary. The are risks to every decision we make. If you are fully aware or become fully aware of the consequences of a decision you make and continue on that path that is your personal prerogative. I wonder how many hair (not just natural) recruiters are vegans and vegetarians. We don’t bash people over their food choices, so why lecture people about their hair choices?

Twinkle
Guest
Twinkle

I don’t call myself recruiting..people just ask about my hair and natural hair in general and I just try to give them helpful,positive advice or info..and it’s worked..some women amd girls I know are natural right now because I pointed them in the right direction in a nonjudgemental manner ????

Twinkle
Guest
Twinkle

I put a happy face and it came out as question marks lol sorry

Cala
Guest
Cala

I don’t think women sharing their true experiences or motivations should be considered scare tactics. Do we want them to lie instead and say, oh I just loved the look, if what truly made them stop relaxing was their hair falling off? This community should be honest and open. Besides, if relaxers really hurt them and their hair, they have every right to want to warn other women of the possibility. Just because you had a happy reason to go natural doesn’t mean everyone else has to censor their life and edit their experiences to seem the same as yours.… Read more »

So pleased
Guest
So pleased

Interesting. Maybe I’m not looking the right place but I really don’t see a lot of this. Way way back in the 80s I was a little militant ( ok, obnoxious ). But I’ve forgiven myself for that and I quickly learned it was silly, cruel to try “recruiting” relaxed ladies to the cause. Our hair issue is just so absolutely personal. When people decide to go natural and you’re already natural I’ve found it is just best to lead by example and be sounding board and give advice only when asked.

Chandra
Guest

I learned real quick that if a person does not have their own convictions for why they went natural they may not be natural for long. As far as the health scares with relaxers. I think too much, of a lot of what we do can be bad for you. With any chemical you really have to exercise caution when you use them. For my relaxed friends and family members asking how they can have healthier relaxed hair, I advise them not to leave their relaxers on as long, don’t relax too often, and use protein treatments to keep your… Read more »

Robin
Guest
Robin

I don’t actively recruit other people to go natural. To me, there’s nothing wrong with a woman wearing a relaxer. It’s her hair, not mine, and it’s not causing me any harm or grief. I see no need to get all political about other people’s relaxed or texturized (or shaved off, or dyed green, etc.) hair. But if someone approaches me and asks about my hair, I’m happy to talk with them about it. Sometimes black women will ask me “how do you make your hair do that,” and that starts a friendly conversation about my hair’s natural behavior and… Read more »

Ajia Eberhart
Guest
Ajia Eberhart

I don’t personally recruit anyone to go natural with the exception of my mother but when I’m out at walmart, target, or the local mega hair supply store if someone asks me anything specific about my hair I’ll speak to them. There’s usually a variety of people that ask me questions about my hair but I don’t look down on other women with relaxers bc I once had healthy relaxed hair. I don’t think videos used for recruiting women to be natural are bad and they personally don’t bother me. It’s only excessive when there’s no information about pros and… Read more »

Jane Lorraine
Guest

I don’t recruit women to go natural, I simply wear my hair with confidence and pride in myself and it attracts people to ask about my hair.

Victoria Sallie
Guest

I returned to natural hair fairly recently (almost 2 years ago) and through that experience I love seeing the growth of the movement itself. Even so, I think that more positive aspects of a natural hair journey should be promoted opposed to horror stories. I find that I often try to ‘recruit’ women to go natural simply by answering their questions and through the inspiration of beautiful women that already have natural hair. While the majority of us know and understand that relaxers are bad, we shouldn’t try to force our viewpoints upon other women that aren’t ready to make… Read more »

Keysha
Guest
Keysha

My Hair does the recruiting…I have had several people go natural because they saw my results and were interested.

Carlee
Guest
Carlee

I’ve never told anyone to go natural because I know it takes a lot more than seeing beautiful women and feeling inspired. Some women just can’t get over the mental barriers and social stigmas against wearing their hair natural. I can’t be the one to make that connection for a woman that her hair is beautiful and worthy. She has to make that connection herself. Now once someone has already decided to go natural, THEN I can step in with advice, links, information, etc…

@tishushu
Guest
@tishushu

People have to stop using relaxers for themselves. I refuse to be pushy. I can suggest and advise, recommending products and techniques, and that is all I have done.

Cherise
Guest
Cherise

@Carlee Cosign and +1

Deedeemaha
Guest
Deedeemaha

Most of the time the ones showing and posting the horrorable edges, and damage or those people experiencing it. I did not go looking for a horror story, my two best friends pulled the wigs off in front of me to show it. They did not need to see horror pictures are scare tactics, they were living it. I gave both of them a piece of my mind, because they had bueatiful hair. Gave it up for wigs and weaves, and that was their business until they took them off in front of me at my house. So yes I… Read more »

veronica
Guest

I do not recruit because that decision is personal and comes with a lot of responsibility but if they are curious I will share with them info and encourage them and let them know that God made them naturally beautiful.

.T.
Guest
.T.

Usually i let my hair do the inspiring. But i do admit to showing my besty horrible pictures of women with no edges and telling her she would have no hair left if she kept relaxing. Now she’s got a headful of natural hair and almost all her edges back.

African Naturalistas Hair Products
Guest

Okay, so I am here wondering why we need to ‘recruit’ people into going natural. Leave people alone!!!

Victoria Owl
Guest
Victoria Owl

I would never go out of my way to recruit anyone. That’s a personal decision that they need to come to on their own time. But I am always open to answer any questions and to give guidance and encouragement when needed.

Shopping Cart