Skip to main content

The New Natural Aesthetic: 4 Shifts and Trends in Natural Hair Styling

Avatar • Nov 19, 2014

When I first began my transition to natural hair, I was concerned about two things: thickness and length. All of the articles I read re-enforced the same things — gentle hair handling, proper moisturizing, pH balancing and endless bouts of protective styling to gain and retain covetous length.

Women would debate (and some still do) if coloring your hair made you any less natural and a perfectly defined twist-out was considered everything. Now that we’re in the tail end of 2014 and on the precipice of 2015 (wasn’t it just May like two weeks ago?), a new natural aesthetic has taken over. Of course there will always be loyalists who won’t roll with the changing tide, but many of our favorite naturalistas and hair crushes have jumped in hair first and embraced change. Let’s take a look at 4 areas that are shifting and defining the aesthetics of natural hair:

1. Shaped & Tapered Cuts instead of Endless Length

pRoy, www.steelfeatherlaceelephant.com

 

Hair length has been a point of obsession for Black women long before natural hair even came about. Somehow, our beauty and social value became linked to the length of what grew out of our scalps. Many naturalistas are taking a “been there, done that” approach to long hair, and getting second big chops, tapered cuts or frequent trims to maintain a certain length and shape. This shift in style takes the focus away from hair growth challenges, length check videos, and the pressure to hit certain growth benchmarks along the natural hair journey. Short cuts are about self-expression, convenience and of course, style.

Jenell Stewart, www.kinkycurlycoilyme.com

 

2. Not Being Afraid of Hair Dye

Kala, www.youtube.com/thekglifestyle

 

Somewhere in the mystic handbook of everything natural, there is a clause that states one can no longer be considered natural if she uses anything other than henna, juices, berries, and plants to dye her hair. Fortunately for us, that clause is outdated. I think I can safely say that we’ve arrived at a place where the full spectrum of what defines natural hair does not dis-include ladies that like color. Even with acceptance, there are still plenty of ladies are still on the fence about hair dye and their concerns are valid. But with all the knowledge and information circulating the web about how to care for colored hair, why not take the plunge and switch it up a little bit? Naturalistas everywhere (myself included) are stepping outside of their comfort zones and embracing new colors — from honey blonde highlights to purple ombre (and everything in between).

Donna, www.youtube.com/donedo

3. More Creativity with Protective Styling

photo credit: www.mommynoire.com

 

Protective styling used to be a loathsome chore, full of unflattering tucked twists and braids. Even on their best day, most protective styles were still nothing more than glorified buns or a straight wig that looked nothing like your natural tresses. Thanks to the ever-present creativity and ingenuity of naturalistas everywhere, protective styling has become more inventive and glamorous than ever. Companies like Heat Free Hair, Big Chop Hair and even Indique are offering wigs and weaves that can look just like your own natural hair. Faux locs took off after the box braid and marley twist trend, allowing transitioners and naturals alike to experiment with the look sans commitment. I don’t think I even need to mention what crochet braids have done for folks in terms of protective styling.

 

www.youtube.com/thechicnatural

 

4. A New Relationship with Frizz

Bianca Alexa, www.youtube.com/simplybiancaalexa

It used to be all about achieving perfect curl definition for wash and go’s, or getting that uber defined braid-out. Combatting frizz used to be a major part of the conversation in caring for and styling natural hair. A few fro’ picks and upside-down diffusings later, the right amount of frizz is everything! Using lighter styling products and a little more fluff action to get that “day 3 look” on day 1 is the new goal. Perfectly defined hair has its place too, but the shift in embracing frizz (whether on purpose or because of the weather) is fly.

Sumetra Reed, www.youtube.com/supernaturalmetra

 

Do you think your attitude towards styling has shifted since the start of your natural hair journey?

Avatar

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

24
Leave a Reply

avatar
20 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
22 Comment authors
Milagros MillinermonniejToluoriginaleveAshlee Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
tinycurls
Guest
tinycurls

I love to look at beautiful hairstyles ON OTHER PEOPLE. I love well-shaped haircuts Especially the ones where the hair falls perfectly and seems effortless. For me, I don’t believe in hairstyles I can’t do myself. I’m cheap and refuse to visit a barber regularly to maintain my hair. I love color-treated hair. Well, I only “love” color-treated hair if the color is complimentary to and hasn’t damaged the hair of the person wearing it. Right now, my hair is sun bleached and I’ve contemplated making it darker. I just have a fear of ruining my hair or that the… Read more »

Michelle
Guest

If you want a darker color, you can use a semi-permanent hair color that is temporary and doesn’t penetrate the cuticle. Henna or Indigo is another option!

DuvaLH
Guest
DuvaLH

I also think that we embrace out “undefined” 4b‑z hair more. The I woke up like dis version of our hair that’s not twisted and set to perfection.

Japanese Lunch Time Rush
Guest
Japanese Lunch Time Rush

I’ve never been able to ‘combat’ my frizz, but for me it’s never been a bad thing so, BRING ON THE FRIZZ PLEASE~ =D

JustSaying_Divagirl_with-a-curl
Guest
JustSaying_Divagirl_with-a-curl

Im All for the PRO-COMB movement. Its one thing to have our kind of hair that can mimic all other hair types and can be shaped and styled as we want. Is another to have it free flowing like a bird and damaging it because we trying to be different (aka giving up on retaining length because hair is “unmanageable”) Look after your body and it wont kill you, look after your hair and you wont have to be chopping it off or suffering from massive hair loss in your golden years when you really couldn’t be bothered by your… Read more »

Indigo
Guest
Indigo

#4, but a true fizz though…

Vanessa Osbourne
Guest
Vanessa Osbourne

Love this article. It’s spot on

Tina
Guest
Tina

I still want length! Chasing you baa <3

Carlee
Guest
Carlee

I like the article, and I agree. I am so glad that the length obsession has been shifting. I think natural women were eager to learn if their hair can grow once quitting relaxers. Thanks to so many representations of Youtube and our own personal experimentation, natural women know how hair can indeed grow. So we are not attached to length so much anymore. I love seeing all of the women with color. It is tempting me to color my hair. I would like highlights rather than a big color change. I want something that will make my natural color… Read more »

Carlee
Guest
Carlee

By “smoother look” I mean a smooth cotton like texture for my 4c hair, rather than a super spring-coily, defined look.

Lizzie
Guest
Lizzie

Curly girl advocate, Lorraine Massey and Teri LaFlesh, who popularized the Tightly Curly Method using conditioner and a Denman Brush turned people on to defining your curls with all of these different kind of conditioners and gels. YouTuber Mahogany Curls also popularized that look. Different strokes for different hair types. I was on that bandwagon off and on for two years and ended up with hard, crunchy shrunken poodle hair. Not cute. I have noticed those movements are not as popular now. I personally can’t have very curly AND long hair. If I do a wash and go my hair… Read more »

Beautifully Curled
Guest

I have been natural for over 10 years and points 1 and 2 hit home for me. I have grown my hair out to almost waist length just to shave it down to a buzz cut a few years later for something different in my journey. I think the “been there done that” attitude allowed me to enjoy my short hair even more. And by just knowing I achieved long hair once gives me motivation now as I go back to the growing out stage. Natural hair can be amazing at any length and style depending on the confidence of… Read more »

Cygnet
Guest
Cygnet

I like things simple, so I can’t be about too many processes going on no my head at once. Right now—and probably for the rest of my earthly life—I’m all about CG. Seriously, I wish someone had taught me this years ago! I like nice cuts on other people, but I like me with hair. Masses of it! The more, the merrier, I say :-)! And as soon as I got enough of it, I ditched the braid fiber, ditched it permanently after trying toyokalon and being sick from the moment I installed the first braid until I took the… Read more »

Lucila
Guest
Lucila

This article is SPOT on! I can’t explain how my life has changed after discovering and experimenting with crochet braids.

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

I like seeing the changes in natural hair. I’ve hennaed my hair for years but now want more color. I’m thinking more chestnut or auburn but my low porosity hair does not take color well. Any suggestions for coloring over my henna? I’ve done it before with no visible damage, but usually wait about 6 months between henna and color.

Desi
Guest
Desi

My natural hair journey has definitely has taken a shift. I’ve been natural my whole life and my knowledge on caring for it wasn’t up to date at all, until my sis in-law big chopped and gave me some tips (to think that took more than 10 years to get help). But even before she came along and helped me my natural styles were definitely differt and fun and funky (due to my mom taking the time to do my hair). My mom did crochet styles on me from kindergarten up until today, and my model hairstyle (aka go to… Read more »

Nancy B.
Guest
Nancy B.

I actually believe that there is more acceptance of styles that use heat. Consequently, there is more information about heat protectors etc.

Michelle
Guest

I love this article! I recently did another big chop for the change and I was bored with the length. A plus is that I can also experiment with more colors without worrying about breakage!

Natty Res
Guest
Natty Res

Love the article and I agree with all of it. What I’m surprised at us the cost of those wigs on the two websites mentioned. Really $400–800 for a wig resembling what you can do yourself???
I hate that every time hair trends change you get price gouged for it.????????????

Ashlee
Guest
Ashlee

I LOVE this article. Everything written is so true and I’m really glad to see this shift and growth in the natural hair community

originaleve
Guest

Love the article. Good information. I am amused by the new younger perspective regarding natural hair. Been a natural hair wearer for the greater portion of my life. I just embrace the natural hair ethic always have. So did my mother even back in the day. As an athlete and swimmer, I love the water, pool, ocean, lake, spa I’m in the water. I’m not bi-racial and don’t have the Tracy Ellis Ross type hair the new naturalista’s crave and aspire to have. I guess the term is the “curly girl” look. I’ve always worn my hair natural and grown… Read more »

Tolu
Guest
Tolu

I think the categorizing has more to do with learning personalized hair care, than anything else. Different care techniques and styles are more likely to work on certain hair types than others. The purpose of classification isn’t to label some hair types “good hair”, and others “bad hair”. It just provides a language that all natural women can understand and work with. For example, if I want advise about hair products and styling, I’m more likely to seek an opinion from someone who shares my hair type (4c) and from someone who’s hair behaves differently (3a hair). Especially nowadays when… Read more »

monniej
Guest
monniej

i just love evolution! like most new naturals i thought more about my looking a certain way instead of understanding that my hair wanted to BE a certain way! this article is the evidence that many more of us are moving toward BEING and that’s very cool! 🙂

Milagros Milliner
Guest
Milagros Milliner

I love the freedom the new aesthetic offers within the natural hair community. It leaves room for individuality. No more frustration, or pressure to have your natural hair look a prescribed way. I’m a Latina with curly/frizzy hair. I choose to wear it in an Afro style, rather than blow drying it pin straight (not all Hispanic women have hair like J.Lo or Sophia Vergara). The new natural “hair rules” make it that much easier to be who you are. There should be no pressure to make hair grow down your waist, or have curls with perfect definition. It’s all… Read more »

Shopping Cart