Yes, I Rock Perms and Believe In “Bad” Hair


I attended my last natural hair convention—you know the scene: ”natural power” hair talk about loving the “real” you and learning to embrace our un-manicured tresses. Naturalists from around the city slotted time towards boasting about their great life with their even greater curls.

And I’m pretty sure life is pretty great for them, as they continue to lead me and every transitioning girl to believe. Most of them are entrepreneurs, employed behind a laptop, or simply in revolt against anything corporate or orthodox.

Up until a few months ago, I would have been raising my “fake” power fist right along with them, digressing the fact that I was suffering throughout the entire transitioning period.  I uncomfortably sacrificed my addiction to creme of nature boxes, to replace it with a bunch of “jane carter solutions,” and “mixie chicks.” All of my girlfriends had divorced their weekly doobies, and pre-warned me that the transitioning phase is and would forever be a bitch. That it’s the distressing period to learn your hair, play with products and figure out what works best for your texture.

My mother pledged her natural vows a long time ago and I adored how easy it looked living a lifestyle that seemingly appeared carefree and less maintenance. Who wouldn’t envy a woman who could jump in the shower, throw on some leave in condition, and have her curls automatically take form—effortlessly.

Well, damn my father and his entire thick-headed side of the family, because I just wasn’t blessed with the same easy breezy curls. In natural hair lingo, I just needed to find the “right” products to train my hair (which I always thought was a sly way of addressing my nappy roots). Luckily, watching re-runs of Girlfriends and gawking over Tracee Ellis Ross’s luxurious curls, I regained the strength (and delusion) to press on and hopefully achieve similar results. I just needed the good products, right?

Here’s the thing: 2 years later, my hair never bounced like Joans. I didn’t come to love what was growing out of my hair, and not one product for my 4b naps was giving me an inkling of hope. Hello, my name is Nicole and I believe in “BAD” hair. And furthermore, I’m almost certain I have it.

Why do we get in so much trouble for establishing our own definition of what makes for good or bad hair? Fact is, I don’t believe everyone looks great stripped and natural. Some hair is a bit too brittle, or stiff, or doesn’t take the right form for our faces. Some may experience more difficulty adjusting to the environment of corporate, and some would just look better straightened. Similar to how some women look better with longer hair, the natural hair world shouldn’t feel as if they are above the politics and critics.

To the natural hair girls: I’ve been you, so my decision isn’t based on ignorance or lack of patience or results. I fully converted, and hated it. I sacrificed and committed to the YouTube searching/product junkie lifestyle. I’ve had encounters with people that questioned my hair just as much as I did. I felt uncomfortable, and unattractive. I didn’t approve of my lack of styling options or your “no heat” methods. I felt sentenced, just so I could embrace this “real” me that I’ve been neglecting. Or perhaps the black fad was just too infectious to resist.

I know there is good hair because I’ve seen it. My friend Bianca, has great natural hair. Tia and Tamera, awesome curls; Andrea Lewis—greatness! Even natural hair pioneers like Taren Guy and Miss Jessie founders can’t relate to my struggle. Although I appreciate the dedication of tutorials and product recommendations that have no relevance to my nappy hair world.

Question: Am I really wrong for rocking perms and believing in bad hair? I just want to enjoy my life of being the cream of nature, weave wearing, loving the “fake” me type of chick without feeling bad about it.

(Image courtesy of stock images at



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