In Defense of the Straight-Haired Natural Girl

Shannon Washington laments at Parlour magazine that her blowout -- which is all about versatility, not European beauty standards -- seems to have earned her a citation from the "natural-hair police."

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Writer Shannon Washington (via Parlour)

Shannon Washington laments at Parlour magazine that her blowout -- which is all about versatility, not European beauty standards -- seems to have earned her a citation from the "natural-hair police."

... About a year or so ago, I started to get regular blow-outs. After going to my local salon to get a trim I noticed that my ends had fell victim to endless twisting, brushing ... just being messed with in the name of natural "styles." So about three weeks later -- I went back ... and it's become a regular thing for me to have long straight hair for long periods of time. Frankly, my hair grows faster, and it's extremely easier to maintain for my lifestyle. I keep it conditioned, and after leaving the salon, I don't put any heat in it. I don't even use oil-sheen (except when its a #struggle day) and rotate between a variety easy/maleable styles and ponytails. And yes, I work out, I sweat and let it be great. The less I do to it, the better it looks and there is nothing like having variety on a hot day that involves a body of water. I will gladly jump in the pool and emerge with a 'fro full of curls.

But somehow during this time, I think I lost my 'natural' card to some. After trading hair horror stories with an old colleague last month, I described myself as "natural" while standing there with chest-length straight hair. The look on her face said everything. She jokingly referred to me as 'faux natural.' [Sidenote: I hate the term 'natural' when describing a group of women, ie "What's up with the naturals?" Are we one big singing group?] And while I understand where she was coming from, I replied by affirming that if having natural hair means hair that is free of processing/chemicals, etc -- then I rightfully fit in the category. The important thing is that it grows amazingly fast, it moves, it shines and it is strong. So what if it is straight? Am I any less "down" than I was with locs? Can the straight-haired natural girls get some love too? Is it even that serious to you?

Read Shannon Washington's entire piece at Parlour magazine.

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