March 18th, 2013
Beauty, Fashion Discussion, Hair
Beauty Discussion: Is Natural Hair for Everyone?
By Claire

Last night, Bravo debuted a new show called Fashion Queens, hosted by Fashion Bomb friend and style maven Bevy Smith, and featuring Real Housewives of Atlanta hairstylists Miss Lawrence and Derek J.
bravo tv fashion queens bevy smith derek j lawrence
All grades of shade were thrown in every direction–even André Leon Talley fell victim to a quick ‘read’–but their assessment of natural hair was the shade heard all over the Twitterverse.
bravo tv fashion queens hair derek j lawrence bevy smith
Bevy Smith introduced a picture of Solange Knowles performing at SXSW, and asked the hairstylists what they thought of her ‘fro (couching her question in her knowledge that they both ‘bow[ed] to the altars of relaxers and weaves’). Though Lawrence allowed that some women could work it with a little weave (watching for density), Derek J offered, that “Natural hair isn’t for everyone.” And then my timeline blew up.
2013 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival - Day 7
Some tweets agreed with his statement. @Ican0NLYbeME said ” I’m natural but natural hair isn’t for everyone. It shouldn’t be that way but hey creamy crazy was created for a reason!” @Serenity_Speak added, “If you cant maintain your hair with a perm it’s gone be hard to do it without one #ijs folks walking around looking crazy lol.” @Meikab85 joked, “That’s so true I know a few ppl that look like they from the Color Purple.”

The Color Purple? Really?

The Color Purple? Really?

Others were just not ok with Derek’s statement. @DoctorRenee said, “Be SMART with your passion about hair, not ignorant. Promote healthy hair care, relaxed AND natural #teamNatural.” She added, “Society has clearly brainwashed us into thinking what’s an “appropriate” look for our hair..” @ButtaBaby typed, “ This natural hair shade on fashion queens is uncool and unnecessary.”
bravo fashion queens lawrence derek j bevy smith
My stance? Natural hair isn’t for everyone. But weaves, perms, and creamy crack aren’t for everyone, either! I think that whatever hairstyle you choose should be polished/maintained to be the most flattering. So with weaves, make sure it’s done correctly–same with natural hair.
claire sulmers natural hair fashion bomb daily
I’ll admit when I first started my dreadlocks, I rubbed my hands with glee at all the money I would save on salon visits, and how much less time I’d have to spend, say, under a dryer. I thought natural hair meant I could just do it myself. I mean, how hard could hair care be when I was styling what came naturally out of my head?
le Coil Tumblr Fashion Bomb Daily
But, as all the natural hair care blogs and tutorials suggest, there is a learning curve when it comes to coiled hair maintenance. It’s hard to get that polished look at home. I mean, I probably don’t spend as much time as someone who has a perm does on their hair, but I still go to the salon every couple of weeks for a wash and twist.

claire sulmers fashion bomb daily noel new york sammy noel new york
So in sum, I’d say that black women–and all women–should just find a style that works for them. And whatever you choose, take care of your hair the best you can.
What do you think?

*Sidenote: Did you tune in to Fashion Queens? What did you think?
bravo tv fashion queens bevy smith derek j lawrence

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134 Responses to “Beauty Discussion: Is Natural Hair for Everyone?”

  1. t says:

    our people are the most self heating people on the planet. it you want a perm or remy weave for fashion, then by all means go for it. but when you say that natural hair isnt for everyone, you are basically saying that what God saw fit to put on our heads is not ok – that God made a mistake by giving some folks natural hair.
    i wish people would just say how they really feel – that natural hair us ugly and dirty to them and they wouldnt be caught dead without a relaxer.

  2. Lolodoll11 says:

    That show was a HAM and further perpetuates stereotypes about gay black men. All sorts of wrong. For the life of me, cannot fathom taking fashion advice from two “men” who lack style. Derek J refuses to dress appropriately for his cheese block shape and Lawrence, don’t get me started. Interestingly, I could likely stomach the show if Bevy wasn’t on – she is trying wayyyy to hard! It works for Joan but not her.

    Derek’s comment on natural hair was all sorts of ignorant. Maybe he didn’t get the memo but natural hair is actually for everyone as we ALL have it – some just choose to alter with chemicals. Let me click submit – not “goin” get my BP up this AM. Lol!

  3. lili says:

    It may have been freudian for t to say “our people are the most self-heating” because all those relaxers and curling irons certainly pack chemical and real heat.

    I am a white woman with mixed hair. Nobody can do it right. Well, not true, for a wedding I had my hair pommaded and combed out with a hot iron by a black stylist. Only time any one ever really worked it quite right.

    I admire the amazing versatility that black women display with all the various hair stylings. I am so jealous. I wish I had the nerve to get a weave.

    As for me, I ditched the hair color and rock the grey. I get a lot of compliments. I let my hair go natural and have an asymmetric bob. I use Mark Antony products or a coconut oil product on my hair to activate the curls. It’s very easy, wash and wear.

    I do want to get some extensions one day, but I’m afraid the black women at the salon would laugh at me! I am as lily white as my name.

    You see, we all have our inhibitions.

  4. FabEllis says:

    I didn’t watch the show, but from the pictures I’m getting a “Men on Film” vibe. Nevertheless, I saw a few tweets regarding the topic and I always find this question to be a bit amusing. I find it amusing because on one hand, we are all born with natural hair. At some point in our lives, our parents, guardians and/or ourselves, made the choice to relax our hair. When you’re born with something, how could it not be for you?

    Now, what I do know is that everyone does not have the patience needed to rock their hair naturally. There is, in fact, nothing wrong with that. If you know in your heart, you don’t have the time or patience, then natural hair may not be for you. I have been natural over two years now and although it can be time consuming and sometimes frustrating, I adore natural hair. I love the versatility of it and I love the fact that I can try new things. I go from twist outs and puffs to blow outs and sew ins.

    The bottom line is natural hair CAN be for everyone, but it’s up to the individual whether they can handle the added work.

  5. Its sad that some people think its not for everyone. What????Its the hair we was born with! Im nappy and happy!

  6. 05girl says:

    I’m wondering does he really mean “curly hair isn’t for everyone” ? That Solange should rock her hair straightened?

    I’m not going to auto-assume that he means relaxed hair is what’s best.
    It’s not for everyone — but that’s for the PERSON WEARING the HAIR to decide. We don’t need black people spewing such hate about wearing hair in it’s natural state.

  7. Mely B says:

    I think natural hair is for everyone (woman or man) who takes the time to learn what does or does not work for their hair given its texture, porosity & density. I stopped relaxing my hair about 15 years ago and last year decided to stop putting heat on my hair following an illness that caused significant hair loss.

    I think that all textures of hair are beautiful when taken care of properly and styled and feel sickened by our people who make nasty “runaway slave” comments to those with more textured natural hair. I think they are truly brainwashed into hating that which grows out of their head. I also really hate this growing division between women who have gone natural vs those who relax.

    I am not a “natural nazi” and feel that people should wear their hair in whatever way makes them feel beautiful and that they are comfortable caring for.

  8. I don’t understand why would someone say that? If Natural hair isn’t for everyone, then why the friggin heck is it coming out your head? This is what don’t make sense. I believe he means it is not for everyone because yes, it is hard to maintain however, it is just like buying a $1000 weave, the better you take care of it the better it looks or maintained… So stop being friggin lazy… and Solange looks stunning! wtf!!

  9. I doubt I’d watch the show. “Throwing shade” and catty flamboyance isn’t my thing. I’d agree natural hair isn’t for everyone; not because of texture but because everything simply isn’t for everyone. I am perm free, but don’t use it as an agenda to convert others. I do think “celebrities” should think twice before making blanket statements that could offend so many people.

  10. Sugdadime says:

    I agree with Claire. Find a style that works for you. No, I don’t think natural hair is for everyone nor is a perm. However, why must we look down on one another for our choices. As Solange once said, its just hair. So somedays I rock my natural curly hair and other days I wear my 26 inch weave. It just bothers me when #teamnatural looks down on anything not natural and when straight hairs look down on natural. Just do you

  11. Tiffany says:

    Personally, I didn’t watch the show for a couple of reasons. I don’t have cable and it’s not my cup of tea. But based on your summary, I don’t necessarily disagree with the comment that “natural hair isn’t for everyone”. I may instead say “natural hair maintenance and styling isn’t for everyone”. But then that wouldn’t be controversial. Claire, as you pointed out, we have expectations about maintenance, styling, etc for natural hair that may or may not be realistic. In order to take care of your natural hair, you have to almost re-learn your hair. What types of products work, how often you should wash it, how to style it, how to keep it moisturized, etc. If someone’s not interested in dedicating the time, effort, patience, and money it takes to learn how to take care of their natural hair, then I don’t recommend it. At the end of the day, I care about healthy hair. Healthy hair can be permed or natural. “Crazy” looking hair can be permed or natural, too. But that’s just my two cents.

  12. endESQ says:

    Natural hair is for everyone who wants it, regardless of our unrequested, undesired, and/or unwarranted opinions.

  13. Jen says:

    Ive always rocked my hair naturally curly, i dont know any other way. In fact the few times that I straightened it out with the blow dryer and iron it was NOT easy to manage. Any little wind comes thru and i have all types of strands flying everywhere.

  14. Martinique_Fr says:

    I can’t believe “WE” are still having debates about hair. People should wear wear their hair HOWEVER they want, because VARIETY is beautiful… It’s just hair people!

  15. Anonymous says:

    claire i think its time to get rid of that blonde hair.natural,perm or weave who cares.wth its 2013 and were still on this mess.

  16. AD says:

    Though I think Solange looks great and the shade towards her wasn’t necessary, I do agree with Derek J — it’s just not for everyone! I had my last perm in 2009 and did my Big Chop in April 2010. While the natural hair journey has gone great for me and I’ve learned a lot about what works for me, I definitely don’t think that it’s for everyone. Some people don’t have the patience to learn how to care for their hair — whether they have a perm or are natural. And many just aren’t comfortable with their natural hair texture. It’s a personal choice, and there’s nothing wrong with doing whatever the heck you’d like to do with your own hair.

  17. Afrikka! says:

    if it wasn’t for you do you think u would have been born with it? it just doesn’t fit everyone’s view of beauty or preference. . .

  18. bella says:

    1) None of them are fashion mavens so i’m confused as to why they even have a show critiquing other people’s appearances.

    2) I agree that natural hair is not for everyone. i’m currently transitioning. Sometimes I wear weaves, sometimes i get a wash & set, and sometimes i wear a curly fro. Depends on my mood, the weather, my outfit etc.

    3) At the end of the day, I feel like black women should stop letting trivial stuff like hair divide us. I’m sick of natural haired nazis looking down on women who choose to wear long weave as if box braids down to your ass is any different. We all use things to enhance our beauty (makeup, push up bras, weave, etc) so is it REALLY that serious?

  19. lccl says:

    What endESQ said…x1000!!! I work in a professional environment and when I first started growing my locs, there were MANY unwarranted opinions…however, now that they are bra strap length, those same opinions have changed. Natural or not, the message these “HAIR STYLISTS” should be promoting is healthy hair.

  20. RHONYC says:

    love the Durls, but here’s the what:

    everyone is entitled to their opinion. Miz Lawrence & Derek J. are my faves (btw, i n-e-ed Derek’s ENTIRE outfit! Spring gorgeousness in full effect, chil’!). no one ‘has’ to like natural hair…it’s all subjective.

    i am what they call a ‘transitioning nat’ i guess. i’ve reached the age where my boredom level is at an all time high and i’m trying to do as little to my hair as possible. (i mean lets face it with these eyes and cheekbones, my hair is an afterthought anyways, lol).

    my daughter encouraged me to go for it and have my hair the way it was when she was a baby, so i am. i intend to let my hair just grow and do what the hell it wants to & can give a hoot to what anyone thinks.

    i do, however, stand by my previous notion that natural hair needs to be mainstreamed. for sure. the idea that regular ‘type 4 whatever’ black hair ain’t good enough is for the birds. not having ‘our’ hair out there is saying that very thing and i’m not a dumb-dumb, so i ain’t havin’ it.

    that is all. ;-)

  21. Tori says:

    I love Bevy Smith…but this was very polarizing for me. Derek J is just…looked like…very men on film.

  22. Bri says:

    Do what you want, But make sure you look is polished and talk bad against anyone who has natural or processed hair. do wht you want just be fab

  23. jillibooboo says:

    Ive noticed some naturals think washing it and letting it be is enough. I also can’t help but notice they look a mess. Natural hair isn’t for those who refuse to learn how to take care of natural hair. Also, relaxed hair isn’t for those who refuse to learn how to care for relaxed hair.

    this is all from a relaxed head.

  24. Kitana says:

    Ummm Claire that blond is the business! Its looks sooooo good on you. I hate to hear black women saying natural hair isn’t for them but I can’t help but to agree. I’ve been natural before the sudden boom. I won’t ever stop wearing weave, its protective and far too convenient.

  25. RHONYC says:

    @ bella

    LMAO @ ‘natural haired nazis’ :-D

  26. Keity says:

    I just have to state the obvious, why would anybody let 2 things looking like that, tell them anything about what works and doesn’t work, because clearly they didn’t get their own memo! People security in yourself, will outshine anything on your head! #enuffsaid

  27. savage says:

    Ok…I’ve been natural for almost 10 years, and it is some maintence involved. My hair color, keeping my edges trimmed, and having great products at home to keep my hair soft. But as far as is natural hair for everyone, the answer is no. Not bc of the texture but some women don’t have the patience and time to go through with it. Esp after the chop. It’s a real awkward phase and some with their schedule would rather just throw it in a ponytail and keep moving.

    Now am I surprised that they threw a little shade about natural hair? Hell no! Hairstylist such as them, their bread and butter is relaxers and weave. My mother has been a hairstylist for over 30 years and even though she never wanted me to get a relaxer, she will never shame it bc its what pays the most. It’s like Claire saying “Fashion isn’t that important..It’s just clothes” lol

    Oh and FabEllis…Men on Film..I died first thing in the am lmao

  28. Martinique_Fr says:

    @ bella … “natural haired nazis” … hilarious!
    And I agree.

  29. Beans says:

    First off natural hair is for everyone, however, the time it takes to maintain natural hair may not be. Literally all of my natural friends that had babies went and got a relaxer within idk the first two months. However, to state the way that God made us isn’t good enough is a bunch of crap but at the same time this advice is coming from men who dress up in girls clothing. If they don’t like the way God made them, then what kid of advice do you expect they’d give about someone else’s appearance?

  30. Michelle says:

    I must say that I care NOT what a fat man with a beard & stilettos has to say about my hair.

  31. Kahalia says:

    What exactly is “natural”? is it free from chemicals? Does that mean relaxers? Does that mean dyes? Does that mean heat? Does it mean any altering of the natural state of your hair? I am really questioning the labeling here…I thought it just referred to perms. But I have done no research.
    Claire do you consider your hair natural?

  32. yusufswifee says:

    just sitting down so I dont have time to read all the comments first.

    My first thought is, how could it not be for everyone when it is your natural hair. However, as with anything, different strokes for different folks. Everyone is not super fly and fab or confident and will not be able to bring those elements to ANY hairstyle.

    I just want us to stop the hair hate. Do you. If you are natural or permed or weaved up – keep it fab and neat and rock it. And dont throw shade at folks who are wearing their hair differently. We are all sisters.

    Lastly, claire you are that platinum hair are giving me so much life. When are you coming to the DMV? I wish to stalk you – jk:-)

    I just want us to celebrate each other for being fierce – for keeping our hair, skin, bodies, and overall appearence on 1000

  33. Genie says:

    Get over it already!

    You do you.

    These people have to keep the ratings of their show up, or else. They can’t dictate to anyone!

  34. 202 says:

    while it raises a good topic of discussion – i think as stylists, they are probably referring to the style (or lack thereof) in which (some) people chose to wear their natural hair. …not deciding “dmn this natural hair aint working boo” – & slapping a weave on a baby right out the womb. if youre born with it of course its for you – its God given. if you have coily, dry, hard to manage natural hair and do not take the time to properly DO your hair – then yeah, maybe natural hair STYLING isnt for you (if youre fine walking around looking like Who Done It, fine). a natural hair style may seem effortless – but having it look like a great style requires proper maintenance and care… especially if you dont just have that easy breezy ‘wash-n-go’ type of hair. so to be tremendously analytic – choosing to wear hair in its natural state may not work for everyone ..just as relaxers arent for everyone.. short hair isnt for everyone, blonde/red/black hair dye isnt for everyone, curly hair isnt for everyone, bangs arent for everyone, BOBS arent for everyone. at the end of the day – its your head, and other ppls opinions are only opinions. & just to be clear — the choice of wearing natural hair isnt a black thing. while we tend to discuss it more & there has been a sort of reawakening to ‘black natural hair’, there are whites/asians with natural hair quirks also (too curly, easily dry, too straight, too thin, etc etc).

  35. Lea says:

    I’ve tried natural hair before. The learning curve was very difficult and I never quite got the hang of it. Thus, I went back to perming my hair. I love natural hair, but its personally not for me! As long as your hair is HEALTHY, that is all that should matter.

    Also, I saw someone comment “stop being lazy” (in regards to caring for natural hair). Though I can agree that some people are simply lazy, not all are lazy. Maybe some just don’t have the time?

  36. Camillia says:

    Sadly I have heard more than one hair dresser say that “Natural Hair” isn’t for everyone. I disagree. It’s for anyone who wants to wear the hair that GOD has given them. I have worn my hair natural for 4 years and I’m not going to let anyone convince me that I should be putting something in my body that I don’t want in it. Period. They sound ignorant, maybe the problem is they’ve felt their pockets getting a little lighter since the natural hair movement.

  37. Tiara says:

    I can’t even remember how many times I had gone relaxed then back to natural. I had a hell of a time trying figure out these coils and naps.

    I really thought my hair would be like Tracee Ellis Ross. Nope. Hell, nope.

    So the fist step to natural hair being “for me” was to accept the fact that I had Ciely from the Color Purple hairtype.

    The 2nd step finding the right products.

    The 3rd step was finding a hairstyle that worked for me. That made me look feminine.

    The final step and the biggest: being comfortable with rocking my hair in public.

    With all the phases I went though I could easily understand why some say natural hair isn’t for everyone. It’s a steep learning curve which takes a lot of time and dedication.

    The permed life was easy.

  38. s says:


    I agree 100%

  39. simiyalala says:

    Heels are not for everyone.

  40. Nikki says:

    Nonsense. Natural hair is a state, not a style. Anyone can wear their natural hair in whatever style that they choose, be it an afro of whatever size or shape, loose, buns, braids, twists, locs, straightened or whatever.

    And it’s funny how so many of us allude to natural women looking messy or unkempt but don’t cite crispy, permed, damaged hair as a reason why “relaxed hair isn’t for everyone.”

  41. Crystal says:

    I’m sad we’re talking about this in 2013. This is almost as worse as light skin vs. dark skin. Black women will find anything to divide themselves over. smh. I agree with whomever said it’s just hair. And I’d also argue that permanent dye is not natural hair, it does change the molecular structure of your hair and it’s PERMANENT so i’d also agree with whomever said what exactly is natural hair? by the way, that was a rhetorical question because i really don’t care what anybody thinks about my hair and i would hope they don’t care what i think about theirs.

  42. RHONYC says:

    @ Tiara

    LMMFAO @ “I really thought my hair would be like Tracee Ellis Ross. Nope. Hell, nope.”

    DEAD @ “…accept the fact that I had Ciely from the Color Purple hairtype.”

    you da wo-man!!!

    that’s my point as well. perming was easy, but i just got tired of it, and i’m no slouch when i comes to a challenge. i got relaxed against my wishes at a child and that action made me believe my nat hair sucked.

    nobody’s gonna convince me that my hair is NOT good enough. it’s b-e-t-t-e-r than good…its a TEXTURAL PARADISE!

    i’ve got coils like a damn spring on a ball point pen, but they are mine and i’m a baaad, bad gurl lemma tell ya. ;-D

  43. aliana says:

    CLAIRE CLAIRE! can you do a post about BEVY SMITHs outfit?? i need that COBALT BLUE JACKET in my life!!!!

  44. Kimberly says:

    I’m natural and I love it

  45. jeda says:

    black hair is so versatile…why limit it to one style? And no natural is not for everyone. I have a very unique hair texture where its not quite afro and not quite straight. (I blame my mixed heritage). But nevertheless, I work with natural, weaves, sometimes perm, color, texturizer….just make sure you take good car of your hair. And if you want to start over, we have the freedom of shaving it all off and beginning again.

  46. Claire says:

    @Aliana Yes ma’am! I’ll ask Bevy. Her jacket looks like Iro’s long sold out blue leather jacket, but we’ll get confirmation soon.
    @yusufswifee Thanks! I will start doing Meet N Greets soon. Stay tuned, DMV, will be first on my list!
    @Kahalia I do consider myself natural. For me, natural hair just refers to that curled texture/i.e. how my hair naturally grows out of my head. I just add styles and color!

  47. KBS says:

    Im so over this hair discussion, but Claire I flatllined for 30 seconds after seeing that picture of you. That’s hot!

  48. Whatevs says:

    Why would I listen to anything those 3 hams have to say? Black people have been brainwashed to the point it’s down right frightening; we continue to feed the same ignorant mess to generation to generation. We wonder why we have a black family in the Whitehouse but still no respect in this country. Smh…

  49. Kitty B. says:

    Once again, here’s another example of black ppl being overly senstive and taking a conversation waaaaaaay out of context!

    NATURAL IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! As for me I dont have the time nor the patience for natural hair, which is why im at the salon once a week, having my hair styled and/or pressed by someone else.

    To have a weave, wig, braids, perms, or whatever it is that what works for YOU and is easier is whats best!

    I dont feel in any way shape or form they were trying to be disresepectful, I think they just said what many ppl think…There are plenty of natural women who I look at and say “more power to them, couldn’t be me”

    Hell, I look at Claire’s hair and say the same thing *shrugs*

  50. nmillmich25 says:

    High heels and lip stick is not for everyone especially men….imo

    On the natural hair issue…just do you! Perm/Natural/Wig who cares!

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