We often hear people talk about going natural when referring to their hair, but what does this really mean? Is “going natural” limited to hair? Does going natural mean embracing a natural lifestyle? Many debate this topic and take one of the following sides. Some feel that embracing natural hair means to embrace all that is natural, including products, styling (heat free, etc), and avoiding chemicals and color. Others feel that to go natural one must merely embrace the natural texture of their hair, and adding heat, chemical color, and other styling options that do not permanently alter the natural texture of one’s hair still makes it natural.
A great place to start is for us to take a look at the definition of “natural” according to thefreedictionary.com:
“Present in or produced by nature; of, existing in, or produced by nature; in accordance with human nature; not acquired; innate; being so through innate qualities; not constrained or affected; (Dyeing) not artificially dyed or coloured: a natural blonde; following or resembling nature or life; lifelike; not affected by man or civilization; uncultivated; wild; being or made from organic material; not synthetic; an Afro hairstyle.”
By taking a look at the definition, we can see that the word natural can apply to hair that is left completely unaltered. The definition even includes an afro hair style which is hair that is completely loose and out. As an adjective, the word natural can be used to describe other things, as it can also be applied to locs and other hair styles. It does seem that it would tend to lean towards a viewpoint of minimally altering hair, especially with the use of color or other texture changing agents (whether permanent or temporary). If we think about it, something in nature would utilize nature, for instance, in nature we would most likely not have flat irons, chemicals, etc. We would tend to see loose or locked hair, braids, and twists. We would also have available to us natural ingredients for hair care like nut and seed oils, avocados, fruits and more.
However, in a technologically advanced society such as our own, we have ready made products and an array of styling tools and methods that are far developed than former primitive and natural means. Many people who “go natural” have come from a history of using texture altering chemicals like perms, texturizers and silkeners as well as color and heat applications, wigs, and weaves. To go natural for many in our society can basically mean ridding themselves of these former methods of hair care and embracing their natural hair texture. They will refer to themselves as a “natural” due to the fact that they are no longer using these methods and are appearing more as nature intended. They may like the “natural look” and get a weave, wig, or extensions that resemble their own natural hair texture.
Despite the side taken, it is common that those who embrace their natural texture tend to embrace a more natural lifestyle as well. They may start to use more natural hair products as well as eat a more natural diet. Part of this can be due to simplifying their life and wanting to connect to things that are more natural and less artificial and complicated. It may feel better to use less harsh chemicals, and to avoid over-processing and damaging styling techniques. There is a liberation associated with letting go of perms, weaves and wigs and baring one’s true self, as nature intended. People also tend to connect with their cultural identity and self-esteem, as well as attract people that connect to them on these levels as well. “Going Natural” has been shown to produce a great healing affect among men and women, whatever their definition. It symbolizes to many the act of releasing ideals and images that are not achieved naturally, and standing true to one’s self.
Whatever your view on your “naturalness”, embrace it confidently.