The Natural Hair Movement
Gone are the days of spending hundreds of pounds on relaxers; nowadays, bigger means better and bolder. It is now known as the ‘natural hair movement’ and more and more black women are embracing their natural curly/wavy hair.
How the trend started
It is difficult to know whether this just a trend or whether it is really here to stay, but it is really fantastic to see hold bold and beautiful black women are parading around with their natural hair. In 2009, Chris Rock produced a documentary that won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It described the stress and strain that women with Afro hair went through to obtain a ‘European Standard’ of hair. The results revealed were really shocking.
How has this affected hair care?
Mintel, a Global Market Research company, released some interesting statistics regarding the sales figures of hair care products. Since 2008, there has been a 26% decrease in the sale of relaxers, which made it the only category in hair care than didn’t see a growth in their sales. Instead, the figures of products such as gel, hair creams and mousses have increased, as these are the products used to maintain the natural look.
It was also believed that during the last 12 months, approximately 70% of black women have worn their hair naturally.
You may wonder why people are seeing this movement as so bold, but it is because afro-Carribean hair has been criticised many a time in the media.
A horrifying attack was conducted recently against Olympic gold medallist Gabrielle Douglas, during London 2012. At only 16 years old, she managed to become the first African-American female to win her gymnastics category and helped America win the gold medal in the team competition. However, Gabrielle was not praised in the media; instead the focus was on her natural hair and how “in need of a perm” and “unkempt”.
On the flip side of the media, there have been some celebrities who have really helped to boost the image of natural hair. Solange Knowles has been donning a natural afro for several years now and even her sister, Queen Bey herself, was seen at the Grammy’s with her natural wet look. Singers Janelle Morae and Corinne Bailey Rae have also been wearing their hair naturally for years, inspiring others to do the same.
Is natural hair here to stay?
It doesn’t matter whether this is a trend of not, this ‘movement’ has taken the pressure off black women to get their hair westernised in a salon. If the phase is suddenly overcome, the after-effects will still be there; it will be more accepted worldwide to wear your hair naturally, meaning black women can exude confidence in their natural beauty.