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Natural is the new Normal
“Going natural” is now more than just a hash tag; it is a bold statement about yourself to show that you are proud of you and your hair.
Hair enthusiasts all over the world are calling it a movement. More and more black women are cutting off their relaxed or permed locks and embracing their natural curls and waves. And why is that? Is it because it is the current trend? Or are things really changing and natural black beauty is being appreciated all over the world. No matter what the reason is, it is fantastic to see so many black women donning natural hairdos.
How the trend started
It is difficult to know when or why the trend started, but back in 2009, Chris Rock produced a documentary that went on a journey, exploring the history and politics of Afro hair and the women’s strive to obtain that ‘European Standard’.
The film won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival that year and the documentary really opened the eyes of many.
How it changed the hair care world
Hair trends are always changing; it’s inevitable the style that was in last summer will go out as soon as an influential celebrity changes their look. What never changes though, is the need for hair styling. What never changes though, is the need for hair styling. Global Market Research company, Mintel conducted some research in this field. Since the “natural hair movement”, relaxers have seen a 26% decrease in sales since 2008, making it the only hair care category to see a growth in their sales. They also said that based on a 12 month span, 70% of black women said that they have worn their hair natural.
Due to the increase in black women leaving their hair natural, the sales of certain styling products, such as setting lotions, curl creams and styling moisturisers have increased.
The reason why it is seen as bold and courageous to ‘go natural’ is because the afro-Caribbean hair has come under a lot of scrutiny over the years. No-one can forget that controversial cover of The New Yorker in 2008 which depicted Michelle Obama with natural curly locks and it was used to convey “The Politics of Fear”. Possibly the worst attack was against the hugely talent Gabrielle Douglas, a gold medallist at the 2012 Olympics. At the tender age of 16, she became the first African-American woman to win her competition, yet the media did not focus on her amazing performance and how she helped America win the team gold medal. Instead, Gabrielle was slated for her natural hair and how it wasn’t up to standards. She was described as being “in need of a perm” and “unkempt”.
Celebrity ambassadors of natural hair
For several years now Solange Knowles, baby sister of Beyonce has rocked a completely natural look. She has become the signature celeb for this hairstyle and is the inspiration behind many black women trying this look. Recently, even Queen Bey herself has sported some natural ringlets at the Grammy’s.
Singer Janelle Morae has tried styling her hair into a natural Mohawk, creating a really original look for herself.
What this means for natural hair
Whether this is a trend that will pass, or natural hair is here to stay, there is less pressure on black women to get their hair done in a salon. With the right products, your hair can look fabulous all loose and natural. Even if the trend passes, it will always be more accepted to wear your natural look, allowing black women all over the world to exude the confidence they deserve.