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Feature photo by Trisha Chaudhary

Individuals embrace natural hair

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]atural hair has become the new trend amongst black people, from the twist outs all the way to protective styles like box braids. Even celebrities such as Nicole Parker, Janelle Monae, Erykah Badu and more have started embracing their natural beauty.

Junior Ellyn Nickens said she has embraced her natural hair her whole life and is glad to see others choose the style, as well.

[quote]“I think it’s become more comfortable for people to become natural. We can be ourselves with our own hair, naturally,” Nickens said.[/quote]

Dealing with natural hair comes with patience, risks and hard work. There’s a lot of time and dedication that black women have to put into their natural hair in order to maintain its health and beautiful look.

Sophomore Camerin Powell can testify to taking a big risk in cutting off her mangled locks and starting over when she transitioned to natural hair.

“My hair was experiencing a lot of damage, and I needed to do something to fix it,” Powell said. “I had to do the chop. I was scared. My mom cut my hair, and it was pretty traumatizing, but I got over it.”  

The big chop is a risk many women decide to take after putting heat onto their hair, causing breakage and damage. The chop involves cutting off all the damage at the ends of hair as a first step into having healthy hair.

Nickens said she has always been natural but admits she had a few perms in her hair from time to time before she went fully natural. Perms are basically chemicals and heat used to straighten hair. Although it works well, it can badly damage hair from too much heat being applied to it, causing breakage.

“I’ve had a perm here and there,” Nickens said. “Natural is more healthy, and I started to realize that when my hair started falling out and I was getting perms but not keeping up with it.”

A popular natural hairstyle is an easy twist out or the old pin up ponytail. In a natural hair case, many would call this the puffball.

“For natural hair, there is a curl pattern you have,” Nickens said. “And when you do a twist out. Usually it will stretch your hair from shrinkage and gives you that curl pattern your hair has.”

Along with all these styles, products play a huge role. When going natural, water is the main factor. According to blacknaps.com, “first you should use a liquid like water, then use an oil, then seal the moisture into your hair with a moisturizing creme.” There are healthy products used to help maintain a style or to simply keep hair moisturized and healthy.

“I’m natural, but I’m old school. So I use curl activators and hair grease,” stylist Crystal Linzie said. “The thing is products are so personal it’s like choosing toothpaste and deodorant, so it depends on the person. I like to use a lot of oil based products because lots of African American hair is dry. I would say Cantu is good; shea moisture is better.”

Linzie says each of her clients has her own choice of products.

[quote]“Natural hair thrives on natural oils that nourish, moisturizes and seals the cuticle like coconut, olive, avocado, and I like argan oil products.” Linzie said.[/quote]

Of course, after putting products into one’s hair, a wash day is well needed. Wash days just involve washing the hair and all the built up products in it.

“On my wash days, me personally I like to plait my hair in fours and so it won’t get tangled while you’re washing it. And then you wash each section,” Nickens said. “Usually you don’t put shampoo on the ends. Then you wash your roots, which is where most of the buildup is. Then you condition each part. Take it down. Comb it out. Twist it back up. Then rinse and you’re done.”

Nickens continues by having a set goal for her natural hair journey. Hoping to improve more and better on her styles and learning the do’s and don’ts of natural hair in order for her hair to grow naturally and healthy.

“Its true beauty, natural beauty,” Powell said. “You don’t need to wear weave if it just makes you look better. Whatever you do with your hair, do it because you want to.

What do you do with your hair? Let us know in the comments below.

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