My Family & Loved Ones Reaction to My Natural Hair

My Family & Loved Ones Reaction to My Natural Hair

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In my last review, I promised to come back with a more relaxed update on where I’ve been and what’s been going on in my life…and with my hair of course!  Well, as always the holidays were a very busy time for me, but even moreso during 2015 with two out of state weddings on top of Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years.  So I did a lot of traveling, gift shopping, wrapping and having fun!  I tend to be long-winded in posts that don’t have a specific intent such as a review or styling tutorial, so I will clump my thoughts together as much as possible…

my family's reaction to my natural hair

My Family’s Reaction to my Natural Hair

As you may recall, I cut the last of my relaxed ends back in September.  Prior to that, my family saw my hair during my two year transition period only once in a “textured” look – the other visits I wore wigs, weave, braids or a straightened style.  Nobody had a majorly strong (negative) reaction, for which I am grateful but if I am being really honest it is not because my immediate family has such open and accepting mindsets towards natural hair or natural hairstyles.  Quite the opposite actually.

My grandmother still relaxes her hair at 85 years old every six to eight weeks like clockwork – and she still has beautifully thick and healthy hair.  My mom had to be “tricked” into going natural a few years ago for the sake of her hair’s health and even then only wore it pressed straight.  You get the picture, right? Well, I think their reactions were mild for a several reasons:  One, I was very vocal about my decision to go natural and why.  I wanted my hair to grow longer and healthier than I had been able to do it while relaxed and it was also getting more difficult for me to relax my own hair since I hadn’t found a go-to stylist where I currently reside.  So, they understood that I had my reasons.  Two, they know I know hair.  I have always known how to take care of and do my own hair and wouldn’t dream of walking around with my hair looking unkempt (which is a common misconception about natural hair), no matter what the chemical status.  Three, they also know that I don’t accept negative opinions well and require that if they don’t have something nice to say – to at least say it in a nice way.  Black people have a tendency to think they can say whatever they want, however they want to those closest to them because it is all in “love.”  *Raises hand* Ummmm, no!  You don’t have a pass to intentionally hurt my feelings just because you are my mother/father/brother/grandmother!  Absolutely not….not to me anyway.  I’m going to need you to “love” me enough to put forth effort into expressing yourself in a non-hurtful manner!  And trust me, it gets ugly when I feel they don’t therefore to avoid all the drama the unspoken agreement is either say something nice, say your un-nice comments in a nice way, or say nothing at all.  Lastly, my hair looks pretty damn good – if I do say so myself – so what could they say bad about it?

While their reactions weren’t negative per se, they also haven’t been particularly positive either.  They aren’t gushing about how much they LOVE my natural hair, they aren’t overly complimentary.  It’s moreso “that looks nice” or as always “is that ALL your hair?”  No matter what the length, my thickness always prompts that question, even to those who know me best.  My daddy did stop me the day of the above photo and specifically tell me he liked my hairstyle – in the awkward manner only men who don’t really “get” hair can.  He said “Ebony, I really like your hair do…your natural hair, or whatever it’s called, looks really nice.”  And of course, being newly natural (no matter how secure I may be), I really appreciated the sincerity in his compliment and that he took the time to let me know. My two year old nephew just stares at me.  I think he’s confused because every time he sees me, my hair is different.  🙂  I did have one really bad argument with my mother about my hair, but that is deep enough for its own post!

My Mister’s Reaction to My Natural Hair

Where as my family had a somewhat blase reaction to my hair, my mister really likes it.  I can’t say loves because he loves pretty much everything I do to my hair.  He has his favorite looks of course, but unlike a lot of men, he likes my wigs and weaves as much as he likes my real hair.  We met while I was wearing a wig (don’t think he knew it was a wig at the time) and later saw my real hair at it’s worst health ever so I think he is just grateful that it is thick and healthy.  Also, he has locs down his back so he has his own appreciation for natural hair.  His attitude has always been “as long as it looks nice, I like it.”  I think he is more impressed when I style it in different ways like the twist out, flexirod set and roller set I’ve done.  Additionally, he likes seeing my length progress (I think).  He also really seems to support me showing the beauty and versatility of 4c textured hair, although he wouldn’t state it quite in that manner.  We both have similar hair types and textures and understand that another misconception is that 4c hair can’t, won’t or doesn’t grow long.  He’s proven it with his locs and I’m attempting to do that same with loose hair.  But let me not speak for him – I’ll have a full interview with him soon.

Others’ Reactions to My Natural Hair

One of my little cousins went natural before me and we can talk hair to each other all day.  I love her dearly and she’s even gotten involved with the L4L business side of things, which I’ve obviously been neglecting lately.  So I can always count on her for support when it comes to my hair – relaxed or natural.  My mister’s grandmother is probably the biggest source of positive encouragement I’ve received.  Like I said, I’m pretty secure.  I love my hair and its texture.  I know how to style it and what flatters me.  However, who doesn’t like positive reinforcement, especially when trying something new?  His grandmother, Ms. E for short, loves natural hair on her own and to see a similar texture being so full, thick and healthy she always gushes over it…and I really appreciate it!  She absolutely loved the HerGiven Hair extensions as well.  This is a great example of the difference between she and my family.  My mom said “Oh, that’s how you want it to look?”  (referring to the extensions) “Oh okay, it looks nice.”  Ms. E’s reaction “Is that all your hair?  No, it’s extensions?  Oh my gosh, I love it!!!! I want some hair exactly like that!”  See, the difference?  It’s super sincere and flattering.  It’s nice not to have to convince someone my hair looks more than just presentable, but actually looks beautiful. I will be having a few more updates coming soon, including a length comparison and a few reviews, but I hope you enjoyed hearing about how others around me feel about my hair.

  • Great post! Honest and relatable. Getting my family to appreciate natural hair is a work in progress. At first my grandmother thought I was being foolish because I already had long relaxed hair. Then after I ended my transition and started wearing my natural hair out she switched her tune and applauded the fact that “I stopped using those chemicals” *heavy sigh*. I had my hair in a fluffy twist out a couple months ago and she said it was beautiful and I nearly cried. It’s one thing to think your own hair and texture is beautiful. It’s a totally different thing when a woman who is so stuck on European beauty standards calls it beautiful. My mom: She told me I had to go comb my hair once (it was in a puff) and I still haven’t gotten over that nearly 6 months later lol.

    • YES! I haven’t gotten over my mom’s comments either and it was 6 months ago! Especially since I’m the one who has helped her so much with her hair! Thanks for stopping by girlie!

  • From Mrs. to Mom

    I never really thought you would get “negative” reactions. I thought everyone was embracing the natural hair “movement” (for lack of a better word). But your dad’s use of the phrase “hair do” has me rolling!

    I wanna see the mister’s hair! It didn’t really look that long in the pics (from the destination wedding)- or maybe I just didn’t realize it?

    • My dad is hilarious. He never knows the proper name of anything but tries his best, bless his heart!

  • It’s really nice of you to share the reactions you received, especially of those closest to you. We think they should be the ones to blindly support us (constructive and positive criticisms aside), and it’s always easier to accept/swallow/brush off unfavourable comments from strangers and those unrelated to us.
    Either way, it all comes along with the change and the journey. We just have to take those who don’t subscribe to the same or similar concepts, ways of presenting and imagery,with a pinch of salt (as the saying goes).