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My Hair Is Too Nappy To Go Natural!

by Angel


i've often sat in interesting, long, hair-focused, conversations with transitioners or women thinking about going natural or even those who recently big chopped only to learn by the end of the conversation that they were heavily contemplating going back to being relaxed. while i'm not 100% anti-relaxer or 100% pro-natural for everyone, i do know where i stand on the "my hair is too nappy to go natural" issue for myself.

my hair has been described as all kinds of things and for the most part it has been called bad hair. i often got good hair (not that i consider this anything close to a compliment at all, instead mostly a back handed slap in the face) after i learned how to moisturize my hair, but when i was subjected to unwarranted and unwelcomed comments about my hair during my relaxed days, the comments often were reflective of the ignorant thought patterns that still affect our community today.

i understand that women with kinky hair often have fears of going natural; been there, done that. i get it completely. being natural is a looking glass of oneself and proves to you, even if you've convinced yourself that your relaxed hair is your "true" hair, that your real look, your real self, is you with what you were born with. that's a big pill to swallow for some.

for many, the reality of accepting kinky hair is just too much. it's "too much" to go natural because their hair is just too nappy, just too bad, and would be better if only they had type 3 curls. as much as we've made leaps and bounds in the mental fight against hair hate, we have to be honest here, we still have a long way to go.

the main reason this website was started was to showcase beautiful women with the kinkiest of hair textures. kinky hair is not limiting in look and style, nor does it hinder one's fashion or beauty despite what we are told by the media, your mama or your daddy.

and though i won't go into my heavy thoughts on this issue just yet; saving that for later, i have to ask you: how do you feel about the "too nappy" sentiment? have you heard it from other women or even said it yourself, that your hair is "just too nappy" for natural life?


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  • http://d isa

    ok hold on…..
    after what we have been through as blacks, of course we are afraid of being to blasted nappy!!!! from africa, to our new countries, like america that is all we had to hear about from the white man that our hair is ugly and this and that, in africa i dont think we even knew otherwise, but the slave masters actually made us cover our heads to prevent having to look at our natural hair because they thought it was so ugly???? so what can we do,
    we feel bad – yes!!!

    and in all honesty we all know mixed hair is beautiful, nappy hair is too, but back then mixed race people were rare, and being brown was not well known, well that all changed and blew up with slavery up, mixed people got all of the power, privilege and preference etc! we have been conditioned and abused, blacks actually still need psychological help! now we are talking like we should just up and big chop and love a short tough dry naturals, i think not!!! we have many steps to go to get there. and i agree it is a big huge pill to swallow or choke on!!!

    first of all, natural hair needs to be maintained, it need specific products and styles, to look good, but dont get me wrong i love it, I especially got to see natural hair in its glory in Jamaica, w.i. where many women wear natural hair and it is not a big deal, they just do. there it is not about the big chop or anything contrived or fashionable, some are just to poor to afford chemical processing and all of that, some are so country and naive that they dont even know much about chemicals, others just love themselves and dont have so many whites around with silky hair to develop a complex about being nappy or natural, many just were raised that way and their parents forbid them to relax or alter their natural selves! imagine that, it is very different there, being there and seeing this gave me so much strength! I felt like a crazy person at first, i saw grown women with natural hair and was shocked, that is just not how it is in america,, at that time all grown women i knew were straining to be straight as possible, some way or another nappy was not an option at all!

    africa unfortunatly is very different, weave is selling out there now like hot cakes!!! the black women there are embracing false hair and feel sweet! who can blame them, they see colored women around the world running from their nappiness and afrocentricity, so they must feel ashamed to be sitting in the place of origin with nappy hair!

    americans are always looked up too, we are world leaders, so now i see this world wide trend to go natural!!! the relaxer companies must be in panic, i see natural hair topics, products, blogs, etc all over the internet! good, look out here we come nappy,kinky curly and lovin it.
    the next thing we need to address is if we love our color or not! you know that is a touchy issue! so i wont go there now, but……ahhhemmmm anyway

    as i said, just being natural is the start of something big, it is not just our personal anxiety that we fear dealing with about out naps, but others, our man, our family, our children for gods sake, asking what is up with your hair??????? and looking embarrassed and confused for our transition looks which could resemble one hot mess!!!!!! no lie!!!!! and we are standing there talking about its okay i am natural, they are not feeling it like we are, believe me!

    in fact our families actually take pride in the beauty of our hair styles! Men feel powerful with a girlfriend with long hair that is real, they will say “hey man look at my woman and that is her real hair not a weave” black children brag and say that is my mom she has indian hair, or long hair etc!!!,and I have actually talked with some black girls who know other black women who did the big chop and went from having beautiful relaxed long down their back hair to having short tough naturals , and they were stressed angry and distressed!! saying “they cant believe ____ so and so cut off their hair – it used to be so pretty and now i saw her at a party and she looked crazy etc” some people had such pretty relaxed hair that they were our hair envy, and inspirations! and now they are nappy post big chop! like i said we need professional help!!!!

    anyway in time i think this to shall pass, our own natural hair novelty will wear off and we will be glad to get straight some how, i know a lot of women who are going back to the press & curl! but I really think hair product companies will come up with better products and processes for taming our hair types. and this is good, this is evolution, this is progress, if we stand up and demand a better process then the old time konkalines, the super lye relaxer extra-strength that burns straight thru skin, we may get somewhere, but
    we will see..?
    bye for now!!!
    i have to go moisturize my fro! :)
    love and blessings

  • La Toya

    I’ve been natural for 2 years and 2 months I first was thinking about going natural Oct. 2009 but I was nervous because I had “bad hair, my hair was not going to look like someone mix with other races, my hair was too nappy” I said it all but thank God for my husband he was telling me hair is just hair it all depends what you are going to do with you’re not just not do your hair do something to. Thank God I know how to do hair because my transitioning hair styles was cornrows or Bantu knots out twist outs but mostly cornrow. But now I love my flat twist that is my protective style. I love being natural now I embrace it and I encourage my fellow sistas to do it also because they complain about their hair and give me complement they say “oh I can’t go natural my hair too nappy”I say “yes you can just do your hair, go on youtube”.

  • dejha

    hey, my name is dejha i am 16 years old i have been “transitioning” for about 2 years now- im scared to get the big chop- well i like my natrual hair but its really puffy-dry and uncurly unless wet . are there any products i can use on it to make it curl better even when dry?… im in highschool also and i get teased alot about my hair people call me nappy head boys laugh and girls talk about me. i dont really care what they think but sometimes it hurts :( my mom says that i should be proud of my natrual hair. i am proud and im not going back to relaxers EVER but i was just wondering if anyone has any tips on how i can deal with my natrual hair- make it curlier and if u have any styles i can try out please email them to me ( TY! S.N my hair its basicly perm free i have maybe 5% perm left in my head :) and im going to cut it out but i still feel like my hair is not growing – can any one reccomend morturizind products for 4b type hair TY so much for ur help – Love Ya,D

    • Nika

      Hello Dejha,

      I have 4a type hair and the thing is our hair is curly by nature. You don’t have to do anything special to get your hair to curl. People who have an puff that’s not curly have combed out their curls or damaged it by heat.

      My trick is to shampoo and condition (once a week) or just condition (1-2 times a week) then let it dry without touching it (sit under a dryer or air dry). I squeeze the water out of my hair after I shampoo, then put in the condition and comb it through, then leave it in. If you comb it while it’s dry, it begins to look like the traditional afro style, if you don’t it will stay curly. Now since everyone has different hair types, the size of your curls will vary from others and even from other hairs on your head, but it will be curly. The only exception to following my regement and not getting curls would be due to the pH of your hair products. I didn’t know anything about taking care of natural hair when I first started and it took a lot of trial and error (hair breaking off) and some youtube videos to help me. Check out kimmaytube on youtube. I follow her channel and learned a lot about the science of hair and how pH is very important. I use Shea Moisture shampoo and conditioner (the gold/yellow bottle) and they can be found at Target for around $10. My sister likes Taliah Waajid products which are around $7 at Traget and Rite Aid. Be careful with products, many companies are jumping on the natural bandwagon, but their products have a lot of chemicals that affect the pH and can lead to breakage. Reading labels will become a part of your life until you find products that work for you. Good luck.

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  • asafekindofhigh

    I used to think that my hair was too thick and too unmanageable to go natural. I also used to think that you needed to have loose curls have your hair look good or acceptable in its natural state. After much research and playing with my hair i realized that my mindset was soooo wrong. I have really thick hair. And with some daily moisturizing my hair is soft and easy to comb. Many people talk about how bad their hair is but none really try to take care of it properly. If they took some time to research their hair type and look at other peoples tchniques of taking care of they’re hair, they wouldnt feel the way they do. I admit, i almost gave up trying to style my natural hair but over time i figured it out. It’s not easy at all but once you get the hang of styling your hair it’ll be worth it.

  • BriancaRae

    when I hear “to nappy” I automatically think clearly this person doesn’t want to take time to put in effort with their hair and they think a relaxer is the solution and I don’t give a second thought to the laziness because I am a firm believer in taking pride in all efforts made, however, when I hear people say “it’s ugly” it deeply saddens me but I have to remember not to judge because it wasn’t to long ago when I thought straight was right.

  • Natasha

    Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but admiration for women who are brave enough and confident enough to sport natural hair. However, I don’t understand you ladies so-called ‘frustration’ with other black women feeling that their hair is too nappy. Human beings are social creatures, the last thing anyone wants is to be looked at funny because their hair isn’t ‘good enough’. Its going to take a long while for all black women to be comfortable with their own hair. The best you natural ladies can do is wear your hair proudly and be a good example to the rest of us that natural hair can be stylish. We are watching and are being inspired even though we do have our doubts.

  • Amy

    I was just thinking this (hence, why I’m here). I’ve been considering going natural for a while now, but honestly I’m really scared that my hair won’t be able to curl. My new growth is really wiry, and while it does curl, the curls are so tiny (think tiny little ringlets). I don’t want a puff of hair. I’ve seen some people rock the puff (or ‘fro, whatever you want to call it), but it’s just not for me.

    I come from a spanish family where everyone’s hair is type 2-3. Because of that practically no one (not even our spanish stylist) knows what the heck to do with my type-4 hair other than perm/straighten it. Heck, I don’t even know what to do with my hair other than straighten it. The fact that I can’t even handle my own hair when it’s not relaxed has recently started to bother me a lot. I’m tired of having to go to the salon 2-3 times a week and spending a crap load of money. I’m tired of my hair falling out in clumps when I try to wash it, and it breaking every time I try to grow it, and finding scabs on my head from the heat of the relaxer. It’s so frustrating. I want to be able to have a natural style that I learn to manage and take care of and rock, but I’m wondering if I’m setting myself up for something I can’t handle. Or something I honestly don’t want.

    I’m planning on doing the BC tomorrow, before I really chicken out. I guess I’ll just have to see how things go. I’m crossing my fingers that my natural hair journey goes well. And if it doesn’t… well, at least I can say I tried.

  • Lauren

    The key word for people who believe their hair is too kinky to go natural is education.

    I used to think this, until I saw a woman on a youtube who explained the different hair types. I think it was dprincess48 or something like that. At any rate, after watching her videos I realized it was about the products we use and when to use them.

    People aren’t generally aware of the no-nos like brushing your hair when it’s dry and the leave in moisturizers. I feel as though it’s a shame that I’m in my 20s and just learning about these things, but better late than never.

    Too kinky to go natural? If your hair type doesn’t look like natural curly flowing locks then it’s not your hair. Is it less beautiful? Hell no!
    It’s never good to hide your natural beauty.

  • MemphisKatie

    To Relaxed and Happy

    I think you are missing the overall concept of hair acceptance that is being promoted. I say this because you are comparing relaxed hair and the decades of self-loathing and chemical altering of our natural hair texture to simple acts like shaving your legs or underarms. It’s like comparing apples and oranges really. I don’t think that anyone here is saying that what works for them will work for you. If you have a relaxer and you are taking care of your hair, then more power to you. But relaxers for black hair has such deep historical connotations that I cant see how you don’t see the difference. European standards of beauty being imposed on black women is the first place you should start to look at when trying to untangle the “BIG DEAL” surrounding Natural black hair and why it’s such a profound step for women who have decided to go natural. I am in fact transitioning right now and I cant bring myself to Big Chop because I know that Long hair is considered beautiful and I cant let go of my length. If I could wake up tomorrow with long nappy hair I would do it in a heart beat. I said all that to say, if you’re going to be a cynic and a skeptic and look down your nose at women who are already having a hard enough time accepting their hair in its natural state that’s been frowned up on for centuries, try to look past the surface issues and dig a little deeper.

  • whocares

    I truly don’t understand the big deal or the dislike towards each others hair. Does it really matter? All that should matter is if YOU like what YOU WANT to do with yourself. I believe all hair is beautiful. It’s funny to me how everyone on here is saying be true to yourself and be natural love yourself. However, you get on here and talk crap about another person because of what they do. How are we as women, not just any kind of women, but as African American women, can we say support one another when we are tearing each other down by going off on each other about our hair. Kinda reminds me of that scene in the movie School Daze. Please my fellow sisters get it together and come as one. Show love and support.

  • loveLee

    I can’t wait for my kinky hair to grow out. I’m transitioning only because I love the length i have right now. I do have the kinky of the kinkiest hair and I love it. My coils are tight and shrink a lot. This is the second time I have gone natural and this time I made sure I was educated about my hair type. I have heard from many people I am to nappy to go natural but I say blah. My husband is supportive, my kids love it, and I get compliments from people on the street. I will say that my sisters out there are a little more brutal to my change but that won’t stop me. Education is the key in handling your hair type. Straight, wavy and kinky we’re all beautiful.

  • http://kisforkinky kwatishea dorsey

    Ok I’m a prime example of “bad hair”. I say it all the time about my own hair, but too me it has nothing to do with black, white or other. Don’t get me wrong, all I wear is afro type styles, but I use weave because mine is so not manageable. I love the big hair, but the only reason I don’t wear mine is because it wont do what I want it to do. I’ve tried the natural hair several times, get frustrated and add a relaxer(which I hate cause I don’t like the straight hair look).If there is another name for my hair please share it and I will use that instead. What I know is my natural hair 1. Hurts when I comb, 2.can be very long but appears to be short, 3.never stays the way it looks in the mirror (all pretty and stuff, and when I hit the outside draws up to a tight hot mess). I’m going to try natural hair again, but I’m looking this time for awesome products that might make the difference. I’m taking all suggestions.

  • justfinerelaxed

    Those of you who make negative comments about people who choose relaxers are just as bad as the people who make stereotypes and judgments about you for going natural. You’re not better than anyone else because you made a choice about your hair. I think my hair is too nappy to go natural and it’s not a “stupid comment” as Jacqueline stated, neither is it “self-loathing” as afrodiziac80 stated. I think caring for relaxed hair is easier, fits my lifestyle, and gives me the look I want.

  • Andrea

    My mom started with chemicals when I was in first grade. All my life I’ve heard my family talk about how my cousin has “good” hair that only needs water. My family described my hair as the “naps”. Now that I’m getting better at taking care of my hair which really just needs water and conditioner. Now they’re saying I have good hair. My advice is ignore the comments of people who obviously don’t know what they’re talking about.

  • Tamara

    I looooooovvvvveee the “I Love My Hair” clip from Sesame Street. I watched it 3 times and almost cried. We’ve come a long way since getting your hair “did” every two weeks and banned from playing so you won’t “sweat your hair out”.

  • Ann

    Been getting my hair done since I was eight! Sent to the beauty shop to spend each Saturday getting it done between the ‘real’ customers and going home and sitting like a statue so I wouldn’t sweat it out before church Sunday (I’m 61) and sleeping with that pillow rolled under my neck. ENOUGH!!! Or so I thought.
    Have spent thousands of dollars on perms, curls, relaxers, whatever. So I’m trying natural. For a year, it has ruled me with an iron fist and I am almost in tears. It’s a challenge. It is too short, hard, tightly curled, and breaks off like mad. I have tried many black hair treatments, gone organic and used all kinds of oils. Maybe I really am too ‘curly’ to maintain a natural hairstyle because it is driving me up the wall. I really don’t want to spend all day getting my hair ready for a two hour appearance! People say ‘what happened to your beautiful thick hair?’ Well, I say, this is what’s left of it!! My sister has a mantra, ‘can you believe what she did to all that hair she used to have?’ She is fixated on my head for some reason.
    I have been told that my hair is a very tight curl and also very porous. It would frizz even with a perm.
    I’m am going to try the recommendations given here for caring for this hair through the winter and wear hats and scarves. But next summer I am not wearing wigs!

  • Relaxed and Happy

    So I’ve made this comment before. And I haven’t read anything on here that has made me think otherwise. I think it really comes down to what is best for you. I’m not big on doing much to my hair. So getting regular relaxers, and styled ever 2 weeks works for me. Maybe it’s not the healthiest option. But I haven’t had problems with breakage since middle school.
    The statement I really don’t understand is the focus on accepting what you are born with. I feel like saying that is like saying we shouldn’t alter ourselves in any way. So we shouldn’t shave our legs, our underarms, arch our eyebrows, all because this would be changing what we are born with right?

  • Diva!

    I just did the big chop after a couple of months of soul searching. During my waiting period, I visited this website every day of the week (except weekends). Before the BC, I went out with my new growth and my hair in its majestic splendor and I felt confident and free and I said “I’m gonna do this” Everyone was amazed when I did the BC and so was I. I always felt my hair was ‘too nappy to go natural’ and yes it is extremely nappy but I am willing to give it all it takes natural products and all the care it deserves till I become the queen of nappy!

  • artsylee

    I think it also depends on the support system. I’m a 4b -c and when I decided to go natural no one in my family supported me. I didn’t care though and now with the help of virtual support from blogs such as these, I have a beautiful head of 4b-c curls. I agree that there is a self hate though. Once, I was explaining my hair to a white friend of mine and I described my hair as curly. Well my black room mate snickered and said sarcastically, “i just love how you refer to it as curly!”, laughed and walked off. People such as her reinforce the self hate that exists.

  • SoHappyNappy

    The first and last time I ever had my hair relaxed was when I was 3 years old and it was by my grandmother, who cried my hair was to kinky; my mom found out shortly after my hair started to breakoff she freaked out and demaned to know what my grandmother put in my hair…ever since then i have been terrified of getting my hair relaxed…and proud to say Ive been natural ever since, now ive never had a weave but ive worn tracks and I stayed getting my hair pressed in high school for fear of what others would think….but after high school my mom showed me how she use to rock her fro and 5 years later im proud of my hair and have got nothing but compliments from alot of people black , white, asian,latin…I do notice some people get a bit culture shocked seeing a black girls hair in its natural state ….ecspecially in a job interview lol but ive gotten more good complimets than bad and my hair makes my life way easier , my pockets heavier , and I feel like “Me” and not socially conformed autobot….changeing up the style everyonce in awhile but the end result is still the same big naturally curly 3a/3c hair

  • JeRessia

    I was just talking about this the other day. I just recently bc’d and when I first did it. I barely had any hair and my hair was extra dry and it looked rough. Everybody was like WHY did you do that?! When I got a little more length, I started learning to moisturize my hair and it is apparent that I have 3c/4a hair. The same people who thought I was crazy before are now trying to go natural so they can have “good hair” too. I think it’s ridiculous.

    I had to push my cousin to go natural. Her mother and everybody else in our family dissed her 4b/4c hair. It’s super thick AND BEAUTIFUL and I just wished more people would learn to realize that it’s not even about what’s on your head that matters; it’s what’s IN your head.

  • Noelle

    I hear it ALL to often. My family disapproves of my hair texture and wishes I would relax it or “do something” to make my hair look more “presentable.” Lately it’s been taking a toll on me and I’ve thought about relaxing my hair again but, I can’t for the life of me imagine being a slave to the three month touch ups and the infamous Dominican blowouts. I guess my hair is in that awkward stage and I’m just a little frustrated. Hopefully it passes soon because it’s really bringing me down.

  • Uche

    I get tons of compliments on my super 4a/b hair, yet people are still on some, “My hair is too nappy to go natural, it ain’t like yours!” ish. And they’re right…my hair is “nappier” than theirs! I want to smack people out of this ridiculous mindset that if it doesn’t grow out of your head straight, wavy, or big curls, then it isn’t acceptable. It’s so FRUSTRATING to see the self-dislike so many women place upon themselves.

  • Sheila

    “My hair is too nappy to wear that style.” “Your hair looks good, but everyone can’t wear that.” Oh my gosh, what are you going to do with all that Hair!”
    My hair is 8-9 inches,3c/4a loose curl on the top and 4 b-c shrunk underneath. I am probably older than most of this audience at 57. I get mostly positive feedback about my hair, though. I love it! It’s so versatile and I think it makes me look younger. I hope that I encourage other older women that they don’t have to cut their hair short to wear it natural and loose.

  • Camille

    When people tell me “but my hair would never look like yours,” I tell them the truth, which is, my hair didn’t look like mine until I learned which products worked best for it. I refer them to a salon that does consultations where stylists look at your hair, then put several styling products in sections of your hair so you can see what works and what doesn’t. Going and staying natural takes patience, trial and error. I had some serious errors before I found the right products. People just need to give things a minute before giving up and going back to relaxed.

  • Carla

    I’ve heard that too. The “you got good hair” excuses has gotten a little old. I try to show people photos of beautiful 4a-4c hair, but people will do what they will do.

  • afrodiziac80

    Whenever I hear women say that their hair is “too nappy” for them to go natural, I cringe inside at the level of self-loathing that such a comment reveals. How can something you’re born with be “too” anything for YOU? Your hair could be too nappy for someone with straight hair, cuz nappy isn’t their natural texture. Your nose could be too big for someone with a thin nose, or your skin too dark for someone with light skin. The reality is that you will only believe you are “too” something or “not enough” of something else if you are comparing yourself to someone else as your standard of beauty. I know we all do it, but I think it’s healthier to find role models that look at least somewhat like you to look up to. When I had my hair relaxed in a pixie cut, people used to tell me I looked like Halle Berry, but she’s not my beauty standard cuz I’m not half-white with wavy hair. I would’ve been miserable if I tried to live up to that! Instead, I looked up to the women in my family that were REAL people, with REAL struggles, but who still managed to rock what God gave them with pride!

  • sarahsosincere

    I’ve had friends say they would go natural but their hair is too nappy. They say, “oh, but your hair is curly!” This always evokes the O_O face from me. Even my natural stylist said this. I have type 4 hair so I’m always surprised when people mention my curls. It always makes me thankful that I went natural to embrace what I was BORN with, not to chase what someone else has.

  • Gigi

    I’ve heard these comments, more than a few times that if so and so’s hair looked like mine they would go natural.

    I’m a 3b, and I get it. But I too lust after the lush coils I see on the street some days.

    We have what we’re supposed to.

  • A Simple Thing

    I just make make faces at them – I don’t have time for people who have negative opinions. I don’t understand why some people feel like other people’s business affects them.
    Unless it’s as offensive as something like a T-shirt that says “(My name) is a biznotch and I despise her”, I don’t care what other people are doing, and I’d appreciate it if they’d pay me the same honour.

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  • DreamchaZer

    My mom loved the idea of me going natural, my dad not so much. They both had snide remarks when I first chopped and grew and had NO idea what I was doing (I was looking a lil unkept). But now that I have gotten the hang of it and realized what my mistakes were…everyone is happy and positive. My mom really gave me a lot of a young age she always told me “natural beauty is best”. It could be the hair, my poise, or any other thing I’m doing, but the respect I recieve is through the roof. I owe that in part to my natural hair!

  • Jacqueline

    I have heard the stupid comments often. Basically it seems that if your hair is kinky it is not classy. I even notice I am treated differently when my hair is kinky. People are shocked if you are intelligent with kinky hair. Its sad. I have been going natural for a while and Its has been hard. I admit some days I did not feel glam with my TWA. So I guess I am a little guilty of the silly thinking.

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