Natural, Please.

28 Jul

What does it mean to be ‘natural’? Using natural hair and body products, as well as eating organic and natural foods (as opposed to conventional and processed foods); and using natural methods of exercise versus diet pills etc would define being ‘natural’. The dictionary defines it as having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemical additives. I know some women who grow their own vegetables and fruits, eat exclusively local and certified organic products and no meat. It can be quite extreme, of course. Some people consider themselves natural if they don’t use a chemical perm–yet the products they use in their hair are chemical-laden, conventional hair products.

I find myself somewhere inbetween the two. It is difficult to define being natural because so many people can take it to so many different levels. I *prefer* my hair and body products to be all-natural and organic, as well as my food but if I am unable to make it to a store to buy Tom’s Natural Toothpaste, I will settle for Colgate and be content. And then there are stereotypes of what natural people are like. For instance, that these people are extremely health-conscious, nature-loving yoga fanatics. But that is such a broad picture to paint and doesn’t match everyone’s personalities or lifestyles. I prefer high-paced dancing to yoga, I love being in nature but my fear of bugs and insects ensures I spend most of my time in cities–and even though I try to eat healthy I prefer chocolate cookies and deep fried calamari any day!

When someone says “natural hair”, we all have a picture in mind of someone who looks like Solange Knowles or Janelle Monae. The truth is, “natural hair” women and men have locs, fully cascading ringlets on near-white skin, Congalese twists on cocoa skin, braids, Afros, twists and multi-colored hairstyles. Being natural is as diverse as anything else. We’re all different.

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