Black women with natural hair was popular long before Lauryn Hill rocked it in the 1990s.
Taking a Look at the Natural Approach for Hair Care
By Meta J. Mereday
Most would say that men have it easy when it comes to hair care and prefer more natural easy going styles.
With the current rage highlighting that bald = sexy, it is even easier for the brothers to just shave it, shine it and show it.
Now for Black women with natural hair, they face many challenges and often succumb to societal dictates that strongly suggest that a tamed mane is a professional one.
With the hunt being on to ascend the corporate ladder, many Black women with natural hair have incorporated a variety of trends to assimilate their “do” into the mainstream model.
Others have found it necessary to break down the natural curl to impress a significant other.
Many articles have been written with horror stories and personal testimonies about the great hair debate, but most often it is from the Black woman’s perspective and not the Black man’s viewpoint.
We wanted to know just how the brothers feel about Black women with natural hair.
Surveying Black men from around the country, we have found that the views vary widely regarding whether they like or dislike Black women with natural hair.
For most, they felt it really depends on the woman and for others, they did have specific preferences.
Guy in Atlanta stated, “I am a big fan of natural hair. It is freeing and liberating to see a woman give up a rite of passage and pass on ‘The Accepted Corporate Look’ and focus on ‘The Corporate Outlook.’ Companies today are less loyal and more concerned with what you can offer and having a perm isn’t going to do a darn thing for the bottom line. Go natural and be true to self.”
Dennis in New York prefers either style stating, “Natural and permed hair styles worn by a woman are both appealing to me. It’s simply a matter of how the style fits the woman’s face and figure, and how it’s maintained.”
With a view from deep in the heart of Texas, Cedric from San Antonio said, “I like a woman to wear her God-given hair. So bald and wigs are out, unless she is undergoing a health related issue. I also prefer natural hair, so only a weave if absolutely necessary. Length is not that important to me, whether it is natural or permed hair, as long as it is styled nice and classy works for me.”
Mike from Detroit said, “I would never tell a woman how she should or should not wear her hair. If she looks good wearing a perm and that’s what she wants— great. But, I hope she is truly in tune and in touch with her inner being and isn’t feeding an addiction to ‘creamy crack’ because she believes the only way she can be beautiful is to hide her true self.”
He added, ”The women I know who have gone through ‘beauty shop rehab’ and given up the perm in favor of their natural look tell me they feel truly liberated and will never go back.”
Others have specific preferences regarding Black women with natural hair. Roy in Birmingham stated, “I like permed hair; the longer the hair, the better. However, I am not a fan of weaves.”
He added, “I like Black women with natural hair if they are big, but that means the hair is long. So my major preference is towards long hair. The short natural cuts are cute but they remind me of a man’s cut.”
Stephen in Atlanta has no real preference although he believes that permed hair “adds to the look of some women.”
We even asked the experts for their view on this debate. “I prefer the permed look for women,” stated Mr. Terry from Mr. Terry Hair Design & Treatment Center, LLC in Atlanta. “If hair is properly analyzed and given the right treatment for the woman’s hair type with a great cut and style, then permed hair is glorious.”
According to Danielle Kwateng who wrote “Beauty: Relaxed Hair vs. Natural Hair – The Great Debate” in Madamenoire.com, there are pros and cons to both hairstyles with the natural look allowing women to have stronger hair and less breakage.
Therefore, whether Black women with natural hair decide to focus on their “fros, locks or dreds” or get their hair “fried, dyed and laid to the side,” it really is about what they feel about themselves inside and projecting that confidence – with whatever hairstyle that works for them – to the world around them. Clearly, the brothers agree.
Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.
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