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Obsession & Oppression | 10 Ways To Tell If You Are A Natural Hair Extremist

by Andrea


Like most of you, I love the natural community. And like most of you, we all know a few...ahem...not so welcoming ladies who smile patronizingly at every newbie that tries out a new product, throws shade under many a YouTube tutorial or leaves angry comments on hair blogs. Natural hair extremists. Hypocritically "pro-natural" naturals.

Yes, I'm talking about the woman you have started to recognize from her angry rants on discussion boards and Facebook posts, or the curly headed beauty at work who breaks her neck to give you a play by play of her hair regimen, all while dropping as much natural hair care lingo possible. All you asked was, "How are you doing?" and the response you get is something like, "Girl, I’m still transitioning from this Big Chop into this TWA. I'm co-washing every morning, rinsing and repeating two times followed up with a lil ACV and my 3C strands with a touch of 4A in the kitchen and edges are in heaven...but it’s been a blessing."

Again, I love you guys. And I don’t want you to start down that slippery slope of natural hair obsession and oppression (in my Al Sharpton voice). So, if you can admit to more than three of the statements below, we hate to break it to you - YOU are the one who might be a natural hair extremist, or slowly becoming one.

  1. You can't help but agree -- black people with straight hair, have glaring self esteem issues.

  2. You have no hair rules: Weaves are a no. Extensions are a no. Sew-ins while transitioning? No. Color--unless it’s henna and you grew it yourself (because who can read or trust that Indian writing anyway?) -- no. No straightening your hair ( even with a flat iron). Just no.

  3. You orchestrate interventions for your bestie who still gets relaxers, by inviting her to join you at all the natural hair meet-ups and then introducing her to anyone who will listen as your "closest creamy crack friend."

  4. More and more you find yourself beginning arguments with, "Well, if your hair was in its natural state...and end with, "and that's why black people have so many problems now."

  5. When a product review is posted, you have a ingredient list with side effects on standby, along with a prewritten response on why you can’t "get with" anything you haven’t grown in your backyard, or picked up from the farmer's market...all while you put that yummy SmartChoice frozen meal in the microwave.

  6. All your hashtags have the word natural in them. #truenatural, #natural_til_I_die #YOLObnatural

  7. You don’t trust anyone’s hair tips who doesn't have a natural salvation story... you know: how going natural changed their life, marriage, politics, career aspirations, relationships, eating habits, belief system, body image...

  8. You might pad your bra, whip out the spanks, and throw on those lashes, but you WOULD NEVER be caught in a lace front.

  9. You wish Beyonce was natural so you wouldn’t feel guilty about subscribing to that Spotify "Bey Runs the World" playlist last night.

  10. You keep blasting India Arie’s song, "I am Not My Hair"...buuut everything you're doing says you absolutely are.

Recently, Solange stated over Twitter that she didn't want to talk about hair anymore after people went in on her natural hair, calling it "unkempt" and "dry and un-styled", and how could we blame her? "Look, all I’m saying is. My hair is not very important to me [...] I don’t want to talk about no damn mo," she sated.

Though this is a site that educates women on natural hair care, talking about hair all the time is not even something that's done here at K is for Kinky, because really, how many detangling articles can one person read? There is more to life than conditioners and length retention. It's call living.

I say all this to say, have fun, ladies! And don’t take yourself too seriously. Kinky girls do what makes them look and feel good, without having to throw shade on the next. So, while going natural sends the beautiful message that you've (hopefully) embraced all of who you are, don't assume that others have not discovered their own "awesome" in completely different packaging.

[Editor's Note: This post has been updated as of March Two Thousand Fourteen]

  • Andrea

    I couldn’t care less what other people do with their hair. I realize the author didn’t invent the term, but I do find it in poor taste when people trivialize the murder of millions of innocent people by comparing it to a hair style debate so I personally don’t use that term. Or the other N-word for that matter.

  • Sunny

    I agree that I can get obsessed sometimes over natural hair styles, tips and products. It is a faze that many of us newly naturally curly girls go through. I had to laugh reading through your list because I have seen the same issues on forums and blogs. It can be a lifestyle for many who take it to the extremes. I guess everyone who decides to embrace the natural hair world needs to find some balance. Thanks for the post, it was an enjoyable read.

  • Kelsey

    Oh my god. Get over yourselves. It’s a word. Nigga is a word. Nazi is a word. People use tyrant, which can be a varying form of a Nazi. You hate that word too? She onviously didn’t mean anything. “This why black people got so many problems now.” :P

  • K

    Can we stop using the word ‘Nazi’ used to mean something quite horrific.

    • Aurelie

      I agree, while I understand that we’re trying to find a word to best describe naturals who have too many rules and are judgemental to non-naturals, “Nazi” is a step too far and nowhere near as horrific.

  • thefword

    thank you!!! for this post geeze louise.. i thought i was the only one who was observing this.. Lately i’ve seen a lot more negativity from the natural hair community.

  • Kurlee Belle

    This is too funny! I am happy I don’t meet the criteria but you are right…how many detangling stories can you one person write/read…

  • AnaDion

    My fellow naturals make me crazy, trying to use me as their Natural Extremist, relaxer-bashing partner.

  • Hopefullynotanazi

    Awesome and timely post! I just find it interesting that Solange, who is a spokesmodel for Carol’s Daughter doesn’t want to talk about hair anymore. With that type of position and stardom, the negative and positive feedback will come. She should toughen up, imo.

  • Jarmelia-DIY Hair Care Blog

    Yes!!! This post is everything! Natural hair is not the end all be all to self acceptance. Love it!

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