7 Things that Natural Hair Veterans (those with over 10 years in the game) are completely over!

Author’s Note: Just over a month ago, I wrote this blog post after pondering the things that bothered me about the natural hair movement that my sister-friends and I had brought up as mild to uber-annoyances.

In college around about 2000 after a series of bad perm and coloring jobs I did on myself trying to save my undergraduate pennies I just gave up and cut off the multicolored scraggly lifeless ends of hair. I didn’t really mention it to anyone besides my closer girlfriends and just went on with life as usual. No big chop announcement and no ticker tape parades. My natural hair journey consisted of afro puffs, cornrows, twists and a set of locs done by my then-Jamaican boyfriend in Negril during vacation (… yea I said it but that’s another post for another day!). The point is there was not all this fanfare pomp and circumstance that orbits the natural hair world now. I remember when Mickey D’s had a curly-haired sister on their commercial selling coffee or something and I said to myself “Wow the game done changed!”

So nearly 20K views later, I got a whole range of opinions most of them agreeing enthusiastically that when it comes to this natural hair thing. Less is More! Many folks chimed in to say that not even being a Natural Hair Vet they noticed how silly some of this stuff was beginning to get. Notably though everyone didn’t agree with me. Some called the post divisive pitting New Naturals against the Vets in a environment where yes the natural hair movement is larger and more extensive but newbies are still facing discrimination and negativity from the others and this kind of ridicule might force them back to perming their hair. Others just said the Vets were jealous because the newer naturals were innovating in ways we couldn’t imagine. I’m still giggling about that one! You keep paying $150 for crochet braids and be “INNOVATIVE” boo! SMDH!

While the positive affirmation and celebration is really awesome especially for the young naturalistas coming up the tipping point comes with some of the things I talk about below.

 


1.     Big Chop Anniversaries – some of us MAY remember the date that we cut all our hair off after that bad perm, tough semester in high school/college, horrible break-up/divorce, exhausting pregnancy ecetera but we really aren’t about all this fanfare for remembering those occasions and forcing our natural sisters to celebrate it with us.


2.     Excessive Products and Accessories – many of us are minimalists when it comes to our hair nowadays. A nice smelling Shampoo, an oil or two and a head wrap that’s it. Not some fancy twist butter custard avocado cinnamon flan rinse and shine cream. Nah nope nu-uhn…..especially because those prices are too hefty and we already know the buildup just isn’t worth it. Same goes for magical brushes, towels and styling tools. If I need to call my cousin who is an engineer to understand how it works I’m already over it.

3.     Naturalista Nazis – Ok now I have got to roll up my sleeves and really read these chicks the riot act. Here you are all hyped up on India Arie albums and vegan wraps and rooibos tea or better yet no diet change still eating regular fast food garbage and smoking swisher sweets and only been reading natural hair bloggers (see 5 below) tips for 2-3 years and now you’re an expert on the purity of what natural hair is or isn’t. You got something to say about henna, you got something to say about sulfates… and weaves and braids and grease and EVERYDAMNTHING that doesn’t fall in line with your half-written HOLY BOOK OF NAPPOLOGY.  GIRL BYE! Us veterans in the game don’t have time to criticize other folks hair choices because we know that in our life we have gone through just about everyone of those hair phases (twice!) before we got to the glorious happy place that we are and really everybody needs to do them and shut their traps about other sisters’ journey. If your style is well-executed in your box braids or TWA or Curly Weave we’ll give you props. It just AINT ever that serious.

4.     Natural Hair Expos – so I’m not trying to come at anyone’s neck because I know and have personally worked with many event organizers but I can’t neglect to mention that whenever I invite my natural hair vets to these events they are rolling their eyes and checking their phones about 20 minutes in. They are usually chock full of the same jewelry and accessories, T-shirts, MLM products and a few hair product makers. I have long said that the real customers of expos are NOT attendees but vendors. They pay top dollars for spaces (with and without tables provided) with little support from event organizers and I rarely hear that many make what they hoped to make or break even for what they pay to be there. I’m developing a webinar as we speak to assist vendors to decide if an event is right for them.
That issue aside, I still think it is a beautiful thing to see naturals all in one room rocking what their Creator gave them but the magic ends when the programming begins. The reason is these events are heavily catering to NEW naturals. The folks that are still focused on big chops, finding products to make their hair do what it did while permed or classifying whether their hair is 3c or 4a.
What natural hair vets are looking for is events that represent their concerns like overall scalp health and how to prevent alopecia. A lot of us only hit up salons for real special occasions but the stylists that can give us hands-on instruction on how to do a few quick styles to look great during an interview or important presentation when funds are tight and time is short would make us SO Happy. Not only that, natural hair vets like talking about improving their understanding of politics, finances, technology, health, wellness, family responsibilities and relationships. #sidenote if I have to sit through one more natural hair panel focused on male partners of natural hair bloggers (see 5 below) I will scream. It’s the most pointless part of a hair expo unless you count it as a comedic relief filler content.
It’s not really the event organizers faults’ because New naturalistas are gung-ho with cash and credit cards ready to buy and will believe the hype of about anyone who comes across semi-confident whether they know what they’re talking about or not…which brings me to my next one.

 
 5.     Natural Hair Bloggers/Vloggers – so here’s the thing MANY of these fabulous women I salute for empowering the natural hair industry with a personal touch. They are rockstar brand ambassadors or have their own product lines, books and brands and have paved the way for many businesses so NO SHADE FORREAL. I can tell you that if my past employers knew how often I was checking in on MahoganyCurls or AfricanExport via their YouTube channels back in the day to see and then go home and try (and usually fail) the styling suggestions, I may not have health insurance or a place to live. I was all the way in! Yet still as a natural hair veteran today I think I can confidently say we have reached the tipping point and really there isn’t anything new under the sun. A quick google search is going to bring up articles with almost the exact same titles (like 5 Amazing Oils to try on your Natural Hair!) from 2008, 2010 and 2014. The info is all over the place so what I’m not going to do is listen to your 10 minute video or read your 1200 word blog post or worse sit through a painful panel full of you all talking about biotin supplements representing some unknown company because I’ve now had the advantage to speak to many natural veteran sisters about their experiences over the years some with actual medical, science and cosmetology degrees and they’ve given me the quick and reliable version while we waited for our drinks and appetizers. That and there are too many Instagram stars who have been natural all of two seconds dispensing 20% helpful information and 80% sales pitch they learned from some blogger conference or webinar. I didn’t have to subscribe to their channel so #sorrynotsorry I’m good on most of this nowadays.  I won’t even get into how many times I’ve heard a blogger or vlogger say something DEAD Wrong to an audience. I guess everybody has to figure that out for themselves. My youtubing time is reserved for how-to organize my ridiculously small closet space or figuring out how change my memes to different file formats.

6.     Old Styles Presented As New Trend$$$ – My homegirls and I were getting crochet styles back when Teen Summit was on BET.  Box braids were so apart of my middle school identity that I should have  had my face on a pack of Kanekalon. It just hurts my heart that these cute protective styles are back on the scene with MAJOR Prices tags over $100 now. I guess that’s capitalism and inflation for you. Some labor-intensive styles like straw sets or fingercoils might deserve it if your hair is as long as the sisters from the Daughters of Dust movie but seriously most of these hairstylists and braiders are getting all the way over and it’s sad because they aren’t doing much more than my homegirl was from around the way and she only charged like $40 and split her shrimp fried rice with you.

7.     Relatives that want to know why you are STILL wearing your hair like that. It is definitely an epidemic. Natural Hair vets still have that 1 auntie or cousin who can’t get why you’re insist on ruining your pretty face with that “wild bush” all over your head or them “long snake looking things.” It’s been way over 10 years and it USED to really hurt your feelings but now it’s just like “Here We Go Again” while your eyes roll all the way into the back of your head. They’ll cite Michelle Obama or Oprah (who are natural but press her hair to make it decent!) or whomever else they see on TV because perhaps you’ll one day see the light and rush off to look less threatening to their close-minded friends and the nonexistent scared white folks (knowing most of them are fascinated and biting our styles HARD). No matter that you have Masters Degrees or your own profitable businesses. It’s actually just funny at this point because what they should be worried about is that gout in their toes or replacing that crusty mascara they’ve been using for the last 3 years but I digress. They aren’t going to change so don’t pay them any mind OR cuss them out whatever seems appropriate.

*Honorable Mentions* – Length Obsession & Edge Control

natural hair length bs

Length Obsession –  This one was raised by a ton of folks who read my post and with good reason. This madness has got to stop. Sisters are going around doing olympic acrobatics with their camera phones and mirrors and marking up their good t-shirts to show everyone their length checks. I mean these are seriously some people’s life goals to get their Pocahantas on with hair that can stretch down to their waistline. I’m trying to figure out what’s the real prize for the natural sister with the longest curls. Is it a really big bag of cookies? a lifetime supply of conditioner? A New CAR? Unless you’re aiming to beat out the current Guinness Book of World Record holders like Aevin Dugas (for largest Afro) or Asha Mandela (for longest Locs) what’s really the point? I honestly think this shallow business should stay with the Permers and Weave Wearers. I’ve seen plenty of folks holding on to their “long” hair at the expense of healthy hair because they think they’re doing something by swinging their dry split ends around all proud. Are we so subconscious about shrinkage and all that biz that we have to update and prove to people that we are still worthy of naturalista love by literally pulling our hair out of its wonderful curl pattern?

no edges

Edge Control – Before I can even type this out I’m giving a deep and heavy sigh and sucking my teeth because back in the day I was guilty of this so I get it but facts are facts. Can we agree that hair that is naturally curly is physically different than hair that is naturally straight? OK! Now somebody explain why in the hell me, you, Scooby Doo and the crew are off scouring the interwebs, hair stores, expos and whatnot trying to seek out the Holy Grail of Edge Control product so they can fleek their baby hairs like Chili from TLC? I almost fell out my desk chair after reading from some commenters that folks are out her perming their edges. Honey… STOP! No I’m serious!!! Natural hair is only going to stay straight temporarily because that ain’t what natural hair does. I can’t tell you how many bottles of Motrin I’ve gone through trying to make a headband smooth my edges down into a “perfect Afro Puff” only to sweat from the pressure of the task and render whatever meticulously brushed and gel or pomade laid work null and void. This is an exercise in futility. Anything that keeps your edges THAT straight is breaking your edges off so eventually you won’t even need to control them because they’ll be packing their bags and chucking up the deuces. Make peace with your hair texture sisters. Resist the urge to tamp down what the Creator has bestowed upon your kitchen regardless of the jokes and jeers that I’m sure you’re getting. Anyone selling you an edge control product might as well call it Wooden Puddin’ cuz it aint real.

 

Want to Chat with me LIVE about It and everything else that’s a trip about Natural Hair Movement?  This will be my first Live Periscope broadcast so you’ll have a chance to win some HOT Metallic Body Art from my company Glimmer Body Art by GoldenLadyP? Download Periscope App and Follow Me @GoldenLadyP on Tuesday July 14th 9PM!

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54 thoughts on “7 Things that Natural Hair Veterans (those with over 10 years in the game) are completely over!

  1. Lol what an awesome posts! Especially #7, I am four years in and I noticed all of the above. I never went to an hair expo. I am like the natural hair vets I keep it real simple. I stopped buying products once I figured out my hair just needs water and oil.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I go to plenty of natural hair expos shaneto1 and it’s like groundhog’s day at this point lol. extra products eventually just have to be washed out. there is no silver bullet to give you hair like Amel Larrieux or Esperanza Spaulding ~ GLP

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I understand that the vets may be sick of some of these things…however my problem with this is that, women are going natural for the first time every single day. And every single day there is a new natural who knows nothing about her natural hair and nothing about protective styling. So just because she didn’t go natural 10 years ago, its too late? I’m sure she doesn’t want to read an article from 10 years ago, or watch an out dated video made 10 years ago showing her how to do it take care of her hair.
    Imagine a teacher has been teaching first grade math for 10 years and one year she decides she’s “over it” so she starts just expecting her new first grade class to come in already knowing the whole year’ s worth of info just because SHE has been doing it for years. No every year she has to teach that class as if her students have never seen the info before, BECAUSE THEY LITERALLY HAVEN’T. If we want natural hair and natural beauty to be widely excepted and to become the new norm, we need more and more women to go natural and there doesn’t need to be a divide between new naturals and vets.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Kandie Leigh thank you for your comment and I completely understand. My points are 1) the wrong information is being shared by people that don’t know as much as they pretend 2) celebrating natural hair doesn’t and shouldn’t mean spending a ton of money and 3) I’m saying the market is saturated with people wanting to capitalize of new naturals at the expense of losing tons of existing naturals. I’m actually trying to help the industry because they are losing us and we spend money and would like events that cater to our needs as well. Just imagine continuing to go to a beginner exercise class. After a while anyone wants to step up to intermediate and advanced levels. It’s all love though I get it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the post, truth! Two years natural and never felt better over number 4 never been to a hair expo or will I attend one… LOC, Liquid, oil, conditioning, period!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Dora, I won’t say they are worthless if you’ve never been. The best part is the fellowship with other naturals if you’re not in a place where you see them all the time.

      Like

  4. i understand this totally except the hair expos. I would love to go to one though. There isn’t a lot of people I know (I work in the medical field) that are natural. I would love an edge control that could last all day (especially in the heat). Any suggestions?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. OMG OMG OMG!!! I swear I was having this convo w/ new natural today a kids bday party. She asked me what I use in my hair and I told her suave. I was like, “YES a $3 bottle of shampoo & conditioner from Walmart.” And guess what? My hair looks healthier than hers. I may switch up and hit Trader Joes, but long gone are the days of $30 products. No ma’am!! I’m almost 8 years in the game, but I can relate to some many of your points. I’m so over the “movement” it’s just hair. And those crochet braids, I swear that was the thing back in 97, like for real, that ain’t new boo boo.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ha, I am so here for this. I’ve been natural 10 years and I’ve been there, done that and got all the t-shirts.

    While I still natural hair events they do tend to have repeat vendors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lol and bravo I truly appreciated reading this from the consumers perspective, as a natural hair stylist of over 25 years we do have to approach this industry as all inclusive from the natural newbie to the natural veteran. And sometimes that can get a little tricky with all the bloggers youtube videos and misinformation we have to combat against, it can get repetitive when you continually explain that the person in the video is sharing about her hair and I do feel some of it is deceptive. But my goal is to provide support and encouragement for a healthy hair journey. And as far as my natural hair expo I do here every year I try to bring more then the same stuff I see whenever I teach or asked to be on a panel we have to keep it fresh an inviting and continue to evolve…but I loved the insight…Thanks, working on my planning for next spring maybe you can come do a workshop newbies love veterans.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve been been natural for 12 years and I’ll NEVER be over the moment until I see more naturals vs silky weaves. I’m not a natural nazi but would enjoy seeing more natural hair. Also for the posters saying how the crochets braid is a old style yall know good and well the crochets braids we use to wear look nothing like they do now . So the new generation put a much cuter twist on it cuz those thing were busted back in the day, no matter how neat.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. OMG I laughed so hard through this article but must admit after 13 years I’m still a product junkie. I like to try new things but always come back to the tried and true. One things I keep repeating to new naturals is to deal with their unrealistic expectations for their hair. My texture allows for certain styles but others not so much. Learn to love YOUR hair and stop comparing it to someone else who honestly might have a texturizer or weave. None of which are bad by the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great post! It reminded me of my first few months after getting Sisterlocks. I was all into creating a blog to document my journey. I planned to post pics every month and discuss products I tried. Well… I was over it after 3-4 months. LOL. I decided that this was hair, my hair. Its not more important than any other part of my body or my life. So there was no need to document it at every turn. I do have pictures, and I personally reflect on my journey from time to time,but that’s about it. I do still chime in from time to time on some postings, but I chose this style because it fits my lifestyle, it didn’t become my LIFE. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So true! Natural since 2005 and I only need coconut oil, JBCO and aloe vera gel. I went to a natural hair conference, got all these free samples and they’re still sitting in the bag. I’m probably going to give it to a new natural who will be excited about it. Is that what all this is… we’ve lost the excitement of being natural? I got bored with my hair so now I wear hairwraps 98% of the year. Trying something new… now I follow all the wrappers and where to buy different wraps. lol do we really grow out of the phase or just move on to something different?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is always amazing to look back at the stumbling blocks from the pinnacle of success. The craziest thing about being a veteran of anything…when you attempt to pass on the knowledge that you have acquired, the newbies ignore it and continue to trip and stumble.

    Keep on passing the pearls of wisdom.

    Regards,
    Clifford T Mitchem
    Advocare Distributor
    Nutrition + Fitness = Health
    http://www.AdvoCare.com/13087657

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for this article! I used to organize big natural hair events and I just lost the drive. I felt bad but it’s because of all of the reasons that you named, I just never really put it into words. Lol I think what finally let me know that I was just basically over it was when a newly natural coworker came up to me and said “well I’m just going to put a perm in my hair, its only been 2 months and it’s driving me crazy!” She looked at me like she expected me to jump all over her but I just simply responded “well its your hair and your choice, if that’s what you want to do.” Lol SLAM went the lid on the Natural Nazi’s coffin. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 19 years a vet and I still couldn’t tell you my hair type. It’s nappy and I love it! There was hardly any info available back in the day. I spent many days looking like Miss Celie under my head wrap until I figured out what worked. Despite all of the new info, expos, videos and product swaps, nothing beats good old trial and error.

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. Hilarious! So true.. “How long have you been natural” 😩😩😩 Let’s seeee I’m 33 sooooo 32.8 years of my life … There was this one time in college when I got a “just for me” in my Grown woman naps and aprently didn’t take.. But what did I know, lol!!! It kills that some folks cannot BELIVE you didn’t get a relaxer at the age of 5! Yeah we do exists

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m so here for ALL of this. After 20+ years of being natural, I don’t even entertain the conversation anymore. What got to ME was the disbelief when I told them what I used on my hair and stressing health and being patient if length and volume is your goal. I spent more time saying no, I don’t use that product or that product. Lawd. If I roll my eye’s back any harder in my head, I’d loose my pupils and go blind.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on “edge control” products either. WHY are we always trying to control our edges? They are NOT supposed to lay down. 3a edges and a 4c puff. Dahell sense does that make. tschups.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I went natural to a) see what the hell my actual, unprocessed hair looked like (mom started relaxing early) and b) to simplify my life–I’ve always hated spending a lot of time on my hair! So when I started reading up on natural hair routines and products, I was overwhelmed and turned off–10 different products?! None of that actually seemed NATURAL to me! I wash my hair, and put two things in it that I like and I call it a day. Maybe I could do more to protect and nourish or whatever, but I’m really not that interested :-/

    Second, you say, “I’ve now had the advantage to speak to many natural veteran sisters about their experiences over the years some with actual medical, science and cosmetology degrees and they’ve given me the quick and reliable version while we waited for our drinks and appetizers.” WHAT IS THE QUICK AND RELIABLE VERSION?! TELL US!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You ain’t never lied lol. Truth, all of it! I’m over natural hair blogs because I figured out my own routine long ago. The Internet is full of photos and tutorials. I don’t watch YouTube channels unless I need something particular. And the days of free natural hair meet ups are over, sadly. So unless I want to shell out $30+ to go look at pretty natural haired women (and I would, for the entertainment, but not for education) I just keep my money. But on the flip side, I’m happy natural hair is so ubiquitous and so widely accepted nowadays that we can even afford to be “bored” with its newness 😄.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. A 4C natural since November 2013 when I had the big chop and currently only using 4 products max! Egg/Cow peas flour for shampoo, rosemary infusion as the leave-in, and the oils that I never even mix …the water. And my hair is doing so so fine! Having not to spend some cash only to wash it all off feels great!

    I’m officially a newbie vet 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Great post. I’ve been natural for 18 years now and agree with everything on the list. For me, I am so over figuring textures or whatever it’s called. I never understood the importance of that. Another thing I’m over is “Acheiving the perfect wash and go.” Why is that a complicated hair style? Maybe I’m jaded because W&G’s have been my go to style since the beginning, so I don’t underrstand the mystery and level of diffulty. Again, great post. I really enjoyed reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a wash n go girl too I can understand the desire to get the curls popping minus the crunch or frizzies though since that can lead to breakage. I like the LOC method.

      Like

  22. I’ve been natural eight years and I would say that one thing many hair veterans may be over is hair length. I feel like we are more free to cut our hair than others because we know it will grow back.

    I also went natural about two years before it started to become a trend. I was never one to attend events etc. I went natural not necessarily being cognizant of entering a community because there were not a lot around me. I went natural hoping to inspire others.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. When I was a little girl, mama shampooed, air-dried, greased and braided our hair. No pre-poo, double butters, mayo and mango. And our hair was thick, strong and long.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Funny article. I’ve been natural for over 25 years. I had no idea it would become a trend. Back then it was easier qand cheaper than going to the hair dresser for a perm. When I wanted it straight I heated up my hot comb for tempoary straight. My hair routine was and is very simple: shapoo, condition, oil and a braid set. Thats it. My hair is shoulder length, its been longer and its been shorter. And when a newly natural asks me how I got my hair care routine she will often ask the same question more than once. I suppose they don’t believe it can be that simple.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I think its a little unfair that you would group all new naturals in the same category as if only vet naturals would understand. I was screaming amen to about 90% of this post. These are honestly thoughts I think to myself all the time as I browse through internet. Give us new naturals some credit, we don’t all fall into the hype. I’ve only been natural for almost a year and a half and from the beginning my motto was all always, Keep it simple, you dont need all that extra stuff, its just hair. I celebrate naturals old and new. And I definitely enjoyed your post.
    Side note: I don’t think I’ll ever understand why ppl are so obsessed with edge control and baby hairs. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Technically I’ve been natural all my 18years of life (I’ve never had a perm or relaxed or whatever), and basically until 4 years I’ve been living life with my mother braiding and twisting it and adding little bobos and barrettes. When I got 10-12 she would flat iron it. When I started doing my hair myself I only did simple braid outs with water alone. Now I use a bit of product.I didn’t know what I was doing but it came out nice anyway. Now I start looking up natural hair videos and I’m confused about these do ‘s and don’t’s and sulfate and parraffins. I thought I was just lazy but it’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one finds some of these things overrated. If you don’t mind can you share what it is veterans do and use? Why waste years listening to people who are learning with you when you can just hear it from the masters.

    Like

  27. Heavily Enjoyed…. I’ve chopped my locs three times in thirteen years . Last year was the first time I simply cut them short and not completely off. All for various reasons and stages in my life journey. The most liberating feeling I’ve yet to feel. Although I’m quite certain the next would be purposely heading to N.Y. to stroll topless (one for my fuckitlist instead of bucketlist).
    For hair maintenance, I love the organix line that’s fairly new on the market. They run about $8.99 when not on sale. Walgreens have the bogo for them quite often and sometimes they’ll give you the extra 50% in the bottle bonus. (Yes) I ‘ll purchase two to have plenty on deck. Other than that, I maintain moisture with the same oil I cook with: Olive Oil or Coconut Oil. Well, I use those for just about everything from cooking, to cleaning, body, hair, alot. But yes, being in the natural hair game for extended time does eventually simmer to simplicity. A quick brush for the edges and keep it moving. Edge control in the summer is pointless, when the fall sets in a quick tie up over night keeps them laying pretty good.
    But the craziest thing for me is, people still occasionally ask me for a comb. I always reply like, “Really.”

    Like

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