Hair is beauty

  A lot of black women's identity is surrounded by their hair. If you want to go natural then your curls must be “popping”. If you want to wear a wig, then we shouldn’t see the lace. In the hair department, we must be perfect. Allow no room for nappy hair and falling braids. No afro in professional settings and make sure that we can prove to the world that we can grow long hair.

My natural hair journey

For many of us, the pungent smell of a chemical relaxer will never be foreign, followed by the excitement of seeing our once tightly coiled hair magically become bone straight. You stare at yourself in the mirror with more endearment than ever before, brushing your fingers through your hair. You walk a bit taller and sway your head from side to side. You feel beautiful.  

But when the new growth starts to emerge you rely on your next relaxer appointment to feel confident again. Until then, you wrap your hair up in scarves and keep it hidden.  

I never knew when my last relaxer was going to be. But I did realise that the damage it was doing to my hair meant that I had to stop eventually. My hair began to shed more, and it was getting thinner. To be honest, I remember not being that keen on getting my hair relaxed, but my parents thought it would be easier to do it rather than having to deal with me screaming and crying when styling my natural hair. As far as I can remember my sister never got her hair relaxed and they allowed it to grow beautifully in its natural state. I believe this was down to the difference in texture between us. Her hair was deemed more “manageable”, whilst mine was not.  


The transition from relaxed to fully natural did not happen overnight. However, I went through a transition period, where I would get my hair texturized, which is a less chemically harsher version of a relaxer. My memory of this period is vague, but the last time I did texturise my hair or put any sort of chemical in it, is still very vivid to me. That was when my natural hair journey began. 


Reality set in, and I decided that any amount of chemical I put in my hair will always be damaging. I stopped and decided to take care of my hair from scratch. Like many first-time naturals, I spent most of my time watching haircare videos, excited to see which one would suit my 4c hair texture. Whilst watching everyone's natural hair care journey is inspiring, endless lists of do’s and don’ts is overwhelming. You tell yourself, “If you want waist-length hair then you must buy all the products listed in the video”. I knew for me that was not going to be the case, as lack of extra spending meant that I could not buy all the products. Deep down I also believed that you really don’t need a cupboard full of products in order to grow healthy hair and I still stand by this!  




It’s been five years since I properly started to take care of my hair. I don’t consider myself a professional, but I have got to the point where I have established a routine that works for me.


For any natural, I believe it is important to adopt a routine that works for you. The ‘natural community’ will bombard you! Therefore, it is our job to take what we want from the tips provided, because not everything will work for you.


So is hair truly beauty?


The “correct” answer is no.  


But society has taught us ‘yes’.  

Hair can be a means for one to enhance beauty, but to say it is the defining factor of beauty is wrong and damaging. It is unfortunate that black women experience pressures from both sides, (that is) conforming to western beauty standards as well as standards set by the black community. The only way forward is to fully embrace the hair that comes out of our head, which can only be done when we are ready to unlearn all the negative comments, we received about our hair growing up. To love a thing you have always hated is not possible overnight. Rather it takes time. When you finally embrace and feel comfortable in your most natural form then you begin to notice a few things: 

  1. 1. People’s opinion of your hair will be of less importance to you.  

  1. 2. You feel free in how you choose to style your hair 

  1. 3. Taking care of your hair feels more like an act of self-love, rather than a burdening ritual 



“You may be amazed that you are still unique and beautiful as your natural self. Only you can decide if this style is for you” Monica Millner                                                                                                                                                                                


Hair is beauty