Question of the Day: Natural Hair Confidence

Q: You seemed so confident after your big chop and still are. Do you have any advice for people who aren’t as confident as you are and want to become natural? It takes a lot of guts, and some people are way too sensitive to deal with rude comments afterwards.

A: Okay so…you may not like my answer…but my advice to those people is that they aren’t ready to go natural yet (emphasis on yet). We like to say it’s just hair, but going natural does take a certain amount of confidence, because you WILL get at least some rude comments. I did not get too many, which I think was a result of my hair not being the kinkiest of the kinky. No, I am in no way, shape, or form saying that my hair is better than anyone else’s (I love ALL types of hair, even straight), but I do recognize that if I had kinkier hair I most likely would have gotten more negative comments. I received a lot of comments like, “If my hair looked like yours, I would go natural,” over “You need to relax that kinky/nappy mess” (although yes, some people did say this to me). Anyway, my point is that the last thing I would want someone to do is change their hair and end up utterly miserable because of the comments they receive, which basically becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because people can often get a vibe from low self esteem and react accordingly. Ultimately, your love for your hair is going to have to outweigh the negative comments from others. You are going to react very differently to negative comments when YOU are comfortable with your hair. Instead of responding with, “I can’t believe they said that about my hair, it’s so ugly,” you may think, “They have no idea what they are talking about, I love my hair and that’s all that matters.” Therefore, it’s really up to the person to establish their own sense of high esteem regarding their hair before introducing it into the world, otherwise, they are going to be doomed. Negative on top of negative equals negative x 2 (or negative squared, or 1, depending on the visual you get in your head).

Now, how do they establish higher self esteem for their hair? Well for one, I’d say look at photos on the internet, YouTube, and hair forums for inspiration (NOT imitation). Before I went natural, I looked at ALL different types of hair because I did not want to get gung ho about a certain hair type and have my hair come out completely different. Do not (I repeat, do not) often think, “I hope my hair comes out just like hers.” Because you know what? It probably won’t. Your hair is its own unique little gem of awesomeness, and is something to be celebrated. I mean, it literally grows out of your head, like grass, how cool is that? We’re all our own gardens. (Yes, corny, get over it.)

Second, I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again – EMBRACE THE FRO, and by fro, I don’t just mean super tightly curled hair, I mean hair that grows out rather than down. I won’t even begin to talk about how many times I’ve heard women agonizing about how their hair will not “hang.” The reality is that due to the number of strands on our heads and tight curl pattern, a LOT of women don’t get hang without doing a certain style, or it takes a longer amount of time for the hair to begin to hang (for instance, you may need arm pit length hair rather than shoulder length). Frankly, when people go onnnnnnn and onnnnnnnn and onnnnnnn about this (like it’s the #1 priority for their hair), I really want to tell them to get over it, be patient and see if it hangs when it gets longer, or just get a texturizer (gasp!). An afro is not the end of the world, and I think that people should get that through their heads (I used to have more of a mullet fro, and I look back at pics of it, and I still think it was darn cute). If you concentrate on the actual health of your hair, rather than how you “think” it should look, I believe it will thrive.

Last, try to avoid asking other people about your hair and what they think of it. This is something you need to do on your own, and you need to develop your opinion of your hair without the interference of others. I admit, when my hair was shorter, I did this a few times with male friends, asking, “Seriously, does it look terrible (although I didn’t think it looked terrible)? Do I look like a boy? Tell me the truth.” And in the end…all it ended up being was a way for me to basically ASK for negative comments in order to make myself stronger. Now, I mean…if that’s your goal, by all means, go ahead (lol), but I’m not sure everyone is a glutton for punishment like I am. It was always, “Yea…I mean…you do look sort of like a boy” or “Well I just hope it grows back…it will look nice when it is longer,” (See that nice little note on WHEN it gets longer? Oh men, you guys are so sweet.) or “I want it to hang…” Now, I realize that I asked for the truth, but regardless of whether you hear it or not, people are going to have these thoughts about your hair…so take a look in the mirror, examine your hair, and figure out what YOU like about it. Then, whether you receive a compliment or an insult, it won’t sway how you feel about what’s growing out of your head.

I hope you found my incredibly long rambling answer helpful. xoxo

11 thoughts on “Question of the Day: Natural Hair Confidence

  1. Anonymous says:

    umm *claps hands* well said girl. To the girl who wrote you that question elle your right YOU and only You have to be ready and let me tell you why you are scared. The same thing she just said comments its just that in my journey i have never gotten comments that rude like a mess or anything like that because i would rash and it would get ugly lol. People need to mind their own you will have your moments but girl being natural is F-A-B-O-U-L-O-U-S PERIOD. I say to myself girl your are beautiful your hair is beautiful short long curly thick whatever the brothers and sisters who are embracing their TRUE selves are far better off than the sad souls who deny and hide and hate what hair they refuse to get to know. I look on you tube and see some people bash natural hair and i laugh its sad society has completely brainwashed them and sadly i was them at one point and hate to say that. girl i get angry when i think about how big my hair was before i relaxed it, i imagine damn my hair could’ve been at my behind lol. but thats what happens when you dont know that you have been conditioned to believe theres one standard off beauty. I didnt big chop because in my natural journey i was to chicken lol but now that i am its been about three years im thrilled. Theres so many typical heads of hair but when u see someone natural and their head held high girl theres better no feeling . Its liberating and my hair is a breeze low manipulation is key!! i ONLY comb my hair Once a week and when its soaking wet with conditioner and it always comes out great. and you dont need all kinds of products neither.

  2. AJ says:

    woohoo well said elle couldn’t of said it better I BC like 2 months ago and I’ve heard it all it but IDC because I Love My Hair !!
    Check out my Fro on FB Angie Fran

  3. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Honesty is the best policy. I couldn’t have said it better. But it’s the bare bones truth.

  4. Gruuvy1 says:

    Great advice!

    My BC-W/-NO-TRANSITION anniversary is coming up — 6/16/11! Now that I see the issues that many struggle with in going natural, I’m SO GLAD I dove in with NO expectations. That’s actually MY advice — HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS!!! HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS!!!!!!!! My decision to BC was so spontaneous — I never watched any videos, looked at any pictures, “wished” my hair would turnout like those with the wavy curl pattern vs. kinky, never studied the what/what nots of natural hair…I figured I’d just handle it as it came (trying to keep this brief, so I’m not going to go into detail. There were some life changing issues that followed my BC, but too much to discuss.) Just as you mentioned above, so many women look at others’ hair textures and say, “Now, if my hair was like YOURS”, or “I WISH my hair was like yours”, etc. ***That, I think, is unfortunate (see below.) The only expectation I believe one should have is this: that they WILL accept what God gave them. Pray about it, and DO YOU. Period. “Easier said than done” is what one might say, but believe me…when you finally get to that point…that SELF-ACCEPTANCE (even if a small step in a larger LIFE transition) — IT IS THE GREATEST FEELING EVER!!!!!!! WHAT?!! TO LIVE LIFE AND NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOUR APPEARANCE, ETC.?!!! WHAT?!!! WoMAN!!! I’m here to tell ya…YES!!!! IT IS POSSIBLE!!! You’ll feel like you can conquer ANYTHING that comes your way! I had the lowest self-esteem. I kept long hair to cover my face, to cover my “perceived” flaws which were external, as well as internal (“perceived” is the keyword there.) I stressed so much over and with my relaxed hair (whether it looked right, if it covered my face, covered my forehead, etc.). Since I’ve gone natural, I have not stressed ONE DAY over my KINKY (w/ a tad bit of kinky-curly) HAIR!!! (If you use hair typing, I would be 4b/4c.) I thank the Lord EVERYDAY for helping me to get to this point b/c I never thought that I could have a confidence like this about MYSELF! I look in the mirror, and I just smile and laugh with happiness b/c I love my hair, and b/c I NEVER thought that I could feel this way. I walk with a confidence that I’ve NEVER experienced before (even when I know folks are staring at my fro that I rock with pride!) In the area/state where I live, I’m not the “norm” as far as hair goes. I KNOW that folks here would prefer me back with my relaxed hair (I’ve heard comments, etc.). Well, good for them…but it’s not about THEM! I’m telling you…this attitude here is HUGE for ME!! Not only do I not worry about others’ opinions, I ALSO had to check MYSELF on how I viewed/judged others’ appearances, etc. (I honestly was never a really judgemental person, but sometimes one can get “caught-up” when others need you to be their affirmation to their opinions when THEY think someone else’s appearance is “not right.” And the worse thing about THAT (sometimes) is they’re supposed to be “Christian Folk.” SMH. (#underlyinginnerissues) ANYWHOOOOO…that’s another topic.

    (Well, looks like I just made my year anniversary confession right here on this post. Wow! I’ll be copying and pasting into my about-to-be-existent journal. 🙂

    So, to sum up all that I’ve said above, here it is: H A V E N O E X P E C T A T I O N S !!!!!!!!!
    It’s a learning process REGARDLESS of if you study it before, during, or after your decision. In the end, you have to do what’s best for YOUR hair. You can watch ALL of the videos in the world…it doesn’t matter (actually, videos and blogs are PROOF that you pretty much learn as you go, anyway!) You have to do YOU! And I pray that you will have the inner peace that is destined for YOU, and the courage to accept YOU!

    Pray it on through, chile!

    (***Oh, yeah…just realized last week that I have a friend who’s been natural for 4 YEARS and I had NO idea b/c she wears her hair straight EVERYDAY. After finding out that she was natural, I asked if she’d ever wear her hair in its curly state. (Here we go.) She said “NO” b/c “[her] beautician said that [she] didn’t have that nice hair texture to be just wearing it out like that.” :/ Say WHAT????!!!!!!! Can you say SCREWED UP?!!! Ok…don’t get me started. Matter of fact, imma have to say goodnight on that one. SMDNH!)


    • Anonymous says:

      wow i just read you post very moving girl and i am applaud by what you said your friends beautician said thats not professional nor respectful i hope she doesnt go to her anymore . tell you friend to tell her stylist to shove it i know i would lol im so serious. thats disgusting that basically sums up what i said. im the anonymous comment that begins with umm claps hands. tell your friend she can rock her hair and its beautiful i hope her beautician hair falls out lol. thats terrible ill pray shell get the courage to say f that MY hair is fly WHo the h are you haha

  5. blackangelplayah says:

    I am loving my new hair! I took my locks down almost a month ago, and since I chopped the back it was really uneven and looked a hot mess. Oh, the comments my DH gave me about my hair! ALL negative and unhelpful!! But I know I love my natural hair. It just needed to be evened out and now it’s nice. But I do ask him for his opinion (like an idiot) from time to time and it’s always negativity.. I don’t know why we have a need to validation from another person that we did the right thing- even when we KNOW we did the right thing for us. Locking taught me to not focus on what it may look like now. Just ENJOY the ride! And knowing that it is getting more and more awesome with each passing day. I was locked for almost 6 years, so I learned a lot of patience! LoL!

    Anyway, a wonderful post, and I will be sure to pass it on!!


    • HB says:

      I agree, I feel like as humans we often have the need to “check” ourselves to make sure we are making the right decision, but ultimately, we need to just listen to ourselves!!

  6. diamante says:

    Beautifully put! And it’s good advice for living a full, confident life in general, actually.

  7. journeytogoodeats says:

    Good advice. When I did my bc 2007 (medical reason) people were shock/numb/quite ,lol. I did have a few that was very supportive. My daughter (15 yrs. old at the time) was my biggest fan and she decided to go natural (transition) a month after I did my bc. Remember that it doesn’t matter what people think about your hair and that was something I had to realize. My hair is kinky (4b/c) and I love rocking my fro or twist out and believe me people look at me sometimes strange but it doesn’t matter. Walk into a room like you know your hair is rocking and trust me what people may think wouldn’t matter. I hope that my comment will help someone make that decision to go natural because it was one of the best decision I ever made, I love the freedom. To “Quest for the Perfect Curl” thank you and I love following your blog, it is such an inspiration to me and my daughter.

  8. Renee says:

    Well said Elle!!!!! Now let me forward this to those who need of a Lil inspiration and dose of reality.

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