Photo: Grace and Ashley of ChiChiRomeo and Me
Last week, I received an Instagram comment from a young 13 year old girl who had been transitioning for 3 months, asking how to get products to keep her hair healthy. Her struggle was that her mom wouldn’t support her choice to go natural and thus wouldn’t pay for products, because she felt natural hair was “nappy”.
Upon seeing her comment, I asked her to send me an email, and with her mom’s permission, I shipped Onyi a box of natural hair products and samples that had been resting unused in my closet. While I know I can’t send products to everyone’s child, I really felt like it was the best thing I could do for her know. The situation got me to thinking, at what age should kids be allowed to make a decision to go natural?
In thinking about my hair choices as a child and teenager, the one thing that I wanted to do and had to “wait” was to have my hair colored. I’d wanted to have my hair colored at least since the beginning of high school, and it was the one hair thing my mom said that I’d have to wait and do on my own when I was out of her house. Her reasoning was that coloring relaxed hair was super damaging, and she wasn’t about to take me to the hair salon more often because I had breaking hair. For some people, getting a relaxer was that thing you begged your mom to allow you to do at a certain age; for others, maybe it was getting a weave. If we can all agree that natural hair is generally the healthiest state of hair, then should a decision to go natural be met with as much apprehension by parents as relaxers, weaves, or hair color, which are much more damaging? From a non-parent point of view, I think a child should always be allowed to resist chemicals or toxic things on their body, whether that means relaxers or whether they want to be vegetarian. While it may cause inconvenience for parents, I think it is dangerous to stifle a child’s healthy decisions, and going natural is the #1 healthiest hair decision there is.