“I have come to realize that it’s much deeper than that…” This quote is from a woman who I met and interviewed on the street for Blooming Queens. She made the statement when referring to the mindset shift that occurred during her transition to natural hair. She let me know that gone were the days when she only focused on having super long hair because she entered a new phase...
*This is Blooming Queens first featured post! Featured posts indicate that we know someone personally or contacted an individual to request an interview after meeting them in person. More often than not, we’re interviewing women who we meet on the street, but we’d be remiss to not acknowledge the women who we personally know are great representations of Blooming Queens. This woman, in particular serves as a reminder to Carla to always own her voice in the workplace and not be afraid to be bold.
“Figuring out my curls took a while, but I mainly wore my hair curly instead of straight while in college. I realized that some men would only talk to me when my hair was straight, so I knew that wearing my hair curly sent a message about the person I wanted to attract which was someone who would appreciate my hair in it’s natural state just as much as when it was straightened.
I wear my hair down in all of it’s curly fabulousness. In IT, people like it because I have big hair and I’m typically one of a few women in my department. I never felt like I had to change my hair, however. At my current organization, people think that my hair looks beautiful.”
“I decided to wear my hair natural for financial reasons. It was just easier to maintain. At the time, my daughter motivated me the most to transition to natural. It took a little while for my spouse to support the change, however. Now he’s okay with it.”
“Growing up in Indiana, people could be vehemently mean if you were different. Especially people within my own community. I’ve been natural for most of my life with the exception of one year. A memory that has stuck with me throughout life involved someone in middle school telling me that I would look less black if I straightened my hair. I decided to never let hearing things like that impact how I feel about myself or dictate how I wore my hair, however.”
“I first wanted to go natural because I wanted my hair to be super long and thick. I realized that my hair would’t be that way if I continued using relaxers, however. I’ve been natural for five or six years and have come to realize that it’s much deeper than that….I’ve changed the way that I eat since I’ve been natural because I’m more cognizant about what and how much I eat. I also pay more attention to the products that I use on my hair and skin.”
“A co-worker would regularly get on me about going natural, so I tried it out but I’m not anti-relaxer. I would actually relax my hair again to try a short pixie cut. My hair does define who I am, but I’m also very comfortable with regularly changing my hair styles.”
K (on the left): ” I didn’t get a relaxer until I was seven, but I’ve had a texturizer since I was five. I’ve been natural for three years. I initially went natural because fibroids are common in my family. At the time, I was aware of a possible connection between fibroids and the chemical straightening process. I noticed that quite a few of the women in my family had thinning hair as well as some balding, so I wanted to do whatever possible to be more gentle with my own hair. In my family, my sister paved the way with natural hair because she had locs. In the workplace, my boss was supportive of my natural hair. Now I work in a more conservative building and I’m the only woman who has natural hair and I’ve noticed that (often times) older black women are the least supportive of my hair.”
N (on the right): “I’ve had locs for 15 years. When I initially went natural, my hair was super, super short. So short that my mother thought that I looked like a boy and I should get a relaxer. I loc’d my hair after five years in and never looked back! I’ve embraced my natural hair journey and oftentimes make my own hair products using olive, jojoba and tea tree essential oils. I do not understand when people refer to natural hair as not being professional. I’m still the same person, my hair is just different.”
“I transitioned to natural in my early to mid-50’s. At the time, my daughter encouraged me to consider going natural. I went natural because my hair was shedding really, really bad so I knew that I needed a change. I honestly think that my hair was shedding because of stress and the chemicals from the relaxers. My mother had thin hair at the crown and other females on my mothers side had thin hair as well so I knew that I didn’t want to lose any additional hair.
Being natural has been great. My hair turned around and has stopped shedding outside of the normal daily shedding. At work, everyone wanted to touch my hair and that’s a little irritating, but the overall support of my new look has been very positive. My husband has even supported the transition to natural hair because he often tells me not to ever consider going back to the relaxers.”
“I’ve been a hair stylist for 10 years and natural for several. At the time, I helped my clients transition from relaxed to natural and if I had clients who didn’t want to go natural they found someone else to do their hair. I see myself as a hair coach because sometimes women need a little help learning to love their hair. My clients are in all types of professions. For example, my eye doctor wears her hair natural, there’s a lawyer as well as a banker. One client did mention that her job wanted her to have a more professional look and at times all that could mean is a nice trim.”
L (on the right): “I’ve gone natural several times in my life. I cut my hair short and eventually wore locks to then wear my hair loose. My hair has changed with my health throughout the years and has turned grey as well. The whole process of being natural has really taught me that wearing my hair as it is represents who I am and if someone doesn’t approve of that then I need to go elsewhere. ”