Thursday, 25 October 2012

Flair for Natural Hair

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'Team natural' has been the recurring trend for afro-hair, used by advocates (both professional and amateur) for healthy hair. Many believe that chemically relaxed hair has been an age-old way of trying to westernise the African woman, creating an illusion of a self-image that is not authentic. On the other hand, some disagree saying that this trend is just another fashion fad that has come back as a trend, just like the 60s' and 80s' 'goggle-like glasses'.

Whilst this may be a heated debate, a few things run through my mind as I question this topic of 'natural' hair. If the purpose is truly to promote healthiness and self-confidence, why has the goodness of natural hair been hidden from the 'center' of the media (i.e. Youtube) world until now? It may just have turned viral thanks to a few Youtube celebrity make-up tutorials, which was then imitated by individuals who now 'teach' from their bedrooms. Is this just another example of a celebrity-led and endorsed world? Solange for example has made the natural look (afro) the 'must-have' look. I'm not sure where natural hair-care products would be today if she had continued to parade in slick, long hair from one cover photo to the next. We can't forget that celebrities are being paid to endorse a look- which is maintained by personal stylists, taking away the pain and time of actually looking after tough hair (or weave). So why go through all the aches and time of actually maintaining tangle-endowed hair?

Either way, its interesting to note that it is a breakthrough era for Vogue and black super models who are no longer hiding behind excessive weaving and lace-wig buying. Suffice to say that Facebook, Youtube and twitter have made it easier for fashionistas, stylists and designers to know exactly what their consumers want. Information on hair care is easily accessible, everywhere and anywhere. As a social media user and as an African woman, I am persuaded that this is an authentic trend, reflecting a real need for self-confidence in one's identity, coupled with the right knowledge and application. Of course, there are certainly aesthetic and commercial elements of 'team-natural'. For all we know, this may have all stemmed from a research breakthrough by a hair care company, who is working endlessly to promote the goodness of natural hair- but unfortunately, I don't have the facts on this. We are definitely returning back to the 'natural African woman', and this time on a bigger platform.

Black models and hairstyles on Vogue Italia 

What is your view on the natural hair trend?