Happy New Year, everyone! Now that 2016 is in full swing, I think it’s time we had that conversation.
You know, that conversation.
Yup, that’s the one. That heart to heart I love to have with my fellow transitioners and naturalistas at the top of the new year, so that our kinks, coils, curls, community, and edges flourish.
Without further delay, I’d like to offer up for discussion 6 things we don’t need to hold on to in 2016. Ready? Let’s chat.
1. Hair Texture Hierarchy
For better or worse, the Andre Walker hair typing system has left an indelible mark on the natural hair community. We’ve discussed ad nauseam the benefits, drawbacks, shortcomings, successes, failures, and flaws of the typing system, so I’ve got nothing more to add to that conversation. But what I’m absolutely not here for in 2016 is the desire to continue to create a hierarchy out of the typing system, which sits perfectly springy, bouncy, baby soft curls squarely at the top. Even if within ourselves and our circles we’ve established that all textures and hair types are beautiful, we’re still met with social and conventional media imagery that suggests otherwise. I for one believe it’s high time to call shenanigans on brands and media outlets that fail to support the beauty and diversity of all natural hair textures. If you don’t see yourself reflected in a brand’s marketing, don’t toss a single coin their way.
2. Damage Denial
2015 seemed to be the year of the heat and color plunge for many naturalistas. I for one am so happy that we’ve (for the most part) moved past the “you’re not natural if…|” mindset and the definition of natural hair has evolved. This open embrace of ombres, silk presses, and unicorn curls made for some dope selfies, blog posts, and BuzzFeed articles, and I was here for every single bit of it. But while the colors and sleek tresses were absolutely gorgeous, the aftermath wasn’t always peachy perfection — because heat and color damage are very, very real. If your curls, coils, and kinks don’t curl, coil, or kink like they did pre-color/heat, are constantly breaking or splitting, or are perpetually dry and dull, you’re a likely candidate for damage. And that’s okay. Just embrace the truth and keep it moving.
3. Unnecessary “Rules”
Use silicones if you want.
Use products with petroleum and mineral oil if you want.
Dye your hair if you want.
Straighten your hair if you want.
Protective style with wigs if you want.
Big chop again if you want.
It’s your hair; do what you want.
4. Not Supporting Black Brands
The natural hair community is a financial force to be reckoned with. With the Black hair industry being worth over $700 million, and relaxer sales continuing to decline, I firmly believe that it’s time to invoke the post-LA Uprising mindset of the 1990’s: Recycle Black Dollars. At some level, we should be aiming to devote a portion of our beauty budgets to Black owned brands and businesses. In 2016, find a few Black owned haircare brands to support throughout the year. I promise, you’ll discover at least one new staple your hair can’t live without. By the way, I’m a huge fan of Be Kekoa, tgin, Soultanicals, Obia Natural Haircare, Eden BodyWorks, and Up North Naturals. Need more buying Black inspiration? Check these out:
5. Not Prioritizing Self Care
Prioritizing my total wellness in the final quarter of 2015 (via #EveryDayFitness) taught me one thing: everything on the outside is a direct reflection of the inside. While I still have a looooong way to go on my wellness journey, I’m more committed than ever to taking care of myself. For those of us who find ourselves sacrificing our energy, emotions, and time for others (and our jobs), we owe it to ourselves to invest in self care. There’s tons of way to manifest this — massages, working out, therapy, writing, traveling, and much, much more. Here’s to happiness, healthy hair, and healing in 2016.
6. Believing Products will Reduce Shrinkage & Elongate Curls
With natural hair being what’s hot in the streets, companies are more pressed than ever to part you and your precious coins. They’ll craft product cocktails that make all sorts of lofty promises — elongated curls, perfect spirals, texture management, shrinkage reduction, and more — and disappoint you every single time. Let’s walk into 2016 understanding this: your natural hair is not some ill-behaving problem child that needs to be manged. Shrinkage is a part of the package deal, and Magical Potion Royal Curling Jelly with Random Never Before Heard of Extract is not going to give you a curl pattern that you didn’t have to begin with. But your hair is dope, so don’t be hoodwinked and bamboozled by some relaxer turnt natural hair company…
What things are you leaving in 2015?