For The Uninformed, This Is What 'Natural' Hair Looked Like Before The 'Curly' Infiltration aka "New Black" Took Over

Before the latest anti-black dysfunction adopted by many black people who have not worked through their color racism and hair texture discrimination, was slapped on top of the current “natural hair” phenom encouraging black women to embrace the hair that grows out of their scalps and it became all about achieving loose waves and ringlets, there was this:

Vintage Afro Sheen ad

Look! Hair that looks shiny, moisturized with no dry ends or single strand snarls!


It’s an A-F-R-O.

Just a hairstyle…..

The ONLY act of militancy from wearing a legitimate afro TODAY is doing so in the midst of BLACK PEOPLE!

No texturizing, heat-training required. No Bantu-Knot, Marley Braid-Out, Two-Strand Twist, Roller Set, or a $200 product list and 50 minute DAILY morning regime in sight. The ORIGINAL WASH-N-GO!!!  And I believe the fro didn’t shrink in humidity. No number-type categorization, no mixed-gals or poly-racial ad campaigns (i.e. Carol’s Daughter, Shea Moisture) either….


THIS IS HOW B-L-A-C-K Women and Heritage GETS ERASED:


I thought I should mention that I stopped chemically processing my hair about four 1/2 years ago. It wasn’t a deliberate decision, I just got tired of not seeing certain results I wanted with my hair and shifted my budget elsewhere. I had no idea there were so many hair blogs and YouTube channels devoted to “natural hair”. I’ve skimmed through most of the sites and vlogs since and even shared a few here on the main site and on our social media channels.

I even posted some photos of my first blow-out after a long-needed haircut a few weeks ago. My hair felt like cotton candy and while I liked wearing it straight for a few hours, I’m used to my curls. While I don’t pay direct attention to most of black-related media, I can count on many part of those channels to exchange information which I’ll review. So, between a mother discussing her son’s PTSD from experiencing violence while living in Blackistan and the anger about a non-black woman claiming to share the same experiences as non-mixed black women on a hair site frequented by black women as well as the passing of an R&B legend, it’s been an emotional few days for some people.

Isn’t it ironic that Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has a video on HAIR BRAIDING in Vogue (celebrating blackness as normal), while some African American women are stunned to discover they were inadvertently supporting blackface fronts for white interests?

It didn’t take me that long to figure out one major hair blog was in fact, white-owned. I googled her name, an early hair forum of the parent company  popped up in the results and it was rather plainly laid out. While I do have great research skills (lol), I actually thought this was common knowledge.

By the way, watching too many of the YT vlogs will drive you insane. Given most of these sites don’t have my hair texture and results vary, I’m glad I didn’t start viewing them until after I completed my own learning process. I have three different textures on one head. And even looking at videos of 4C vlogs my hair doesn’t quite look the same. I think there is an obsessive fascination with “curls” and hair length status updates, but realize if someone is trying to make money from their vlogs, they’re going to push more complicated hairstyles and tons of products. And at least one vlogger has publicly discussed the texture hypocrisy.

The problem of course is that many black women were already coming from a lesser-than point of view and you see how easy it is to gravitate towards women whose skin tone or hair texture are viewed as more desirable thanks to our anti-black woman devastation, that making stars out of them is very similar to how other women (often lighter toned, biracial, etc) are lifted up. You can’t just be relaxer-free, your hair must behave and look certain way!

*And by the way I figured out that most of the problems I’d attributed to relaxed hair (dryness, breakage, fragility) is MY HAIR and has nothing to do with a relaxer.


Go figure.




But I will pop back in to say thank goodness I skipped following all of the hair blogs and YouTube ‘Gurus’. I may have missed all of the back-stabbing drama from a few years ago but I’m finding the public dragging of the DIRT people do being exposed rather enlightening. In fact, some of it reads JUST like the stuff that some fake-BWE infiltrators tried to pull. So, the latest outrage over a white woman trying to dominate a conversation on what is in fact a white-owned hair blog that black women put on the map would not have been a surprise had people been paying attention to what was going on the entire time. Which includes who they flocked to for reasons other than haircare tips.


**P.S. I did catch a black woman blogger known for her weight loss, clean eating and fitness blog who rocks an old skool AFRO mention on her Twitter feed last week the number of dirty looks she gets from other ‘Naturals’ on the regular.


Here’s the full history of the shenanigans at the Curly Nikki blog if you’d like to catch up (yes, I’m linking to LSA and yes, no stone has been left unturned):

and apparently there’s some current Plantation behavior over at BGLH, too:

158 comments to For The Uninformed, This Is What ‘Natural’ Hair Looked Like Before The ‘Curly’ Infiltration aka “New Black” Took Over

  • qyxx

    I can't believe some of these comments. As they say, "a hit dog will holler"

  • foreverloyal

    Your point is clear and well-articulated, Faith.

    Some people are just playing dumb.

  • Howdyhi

    I'm not going into the rhetoric because I don't think it's that important but I will say this much: A month ago, I ran into the Curly Nikki blog/founder & we chatted for about 5 mins. While she's rEAlly really light, I don't think she's white. Also… she hates her hair, couldn't do anything w/it & that's why she started the blog. Whoops oh, I said it. Then end.

  • IamKM

    The lack of comprehension and deflecting in these comments only remind me of the verse from Hosea 4:6 -- My people perish for a lack of knowledge. I really just can't anymore, I don't even get this need to deflect, defend, and blindly allow yourself to be used, abused, and perish for others. This makes my brain and heart hurt.

  • Guest


    There are many, many, many non-black trolls on LSA that pretend to be black. Please keep that in mind!

  • Curly fro natural

    Oh please, an Afro takes manipulation and products etc. etc. this isn't the naturalest or the blackest style. Back in the day people tried to have the fluffiest and biggest Afro and used blow out combs and other means to get their hair "right". This photo you posted seems to have a lot of styling involved in the "natural look". The truest natural is just letting your hair do whatever it does.

    I wonder how many of the ultra au naturale would rock these styles.

  • D, Palmer

    I enjoy your article, well written and informative. Thank you

  • Sisterlocgirl

    The " We Are the World " posters here sound like PhD candidates defending their thesis on quantum physics when performing dizzying feats of mental gymnastics to justify their own ERASURE from issues SPECIFIC to unmistakably BLACK WOMEN, but seem unable to acknowledge Sesame Street basic ABCs when it comes to black women SPEAKING OUT ON BULLSHITE WITHOUT APOLOGIZING!I mean seriously? Okay…for the remedial course…no one's hair is natural, unless you do free form dreads as most Rastas. That being said everyone knows nappy/kinky/tightly coiled fill in you verbiage of choice has been uniformly derided/degraded/ridiculed/shamed/insulted ( I think this is clear enough ). The same dynamic applies to darker skin tones as well. No one has ONCE said anyone has to be ashamed of their hair…but kinky black hair is in no way similar to white/Asian/Hispanic/Bi-Tri-quadriracial hair. It is unique & special on its own. Now why anyone would seek to insinuate themselves into these conversations who obviously has no horse in the race is there to yet again place themselves at the center to try to become the focus, ie hijacking a space that is not nor ever was intended for them. Have any of you " confused " folk gone to any other blog space/page/group not intended for you & tried to insinuate yourself into Jewish/Polish/Nigerian/Jamaican/Venusian etc conversations? I think not. If the idea of " gasp " black women calling out stupidity & setting boundaries frightens you is then simply go elsewhere. These types of spaces are not meant for you. Some of us believe in setting and enforcing boundaries without apology or explanation. If it were really just about hair why get into the fray at all? No it's yet another attempt to keep bw in our place. How dare you negroes try to establish something for you, about you, without affirming/reassuring/coddling and building up other folks sense of self at your own expense. This is not " The Help ". Let these folks who have 99.5% of the attention of media tell each other " You is smart " " You is special ". I for one am not a cheerleader for e'rybody. I cheer for unmistakeable bw & our upliftment. That & go read Faith's archives, Khadijah's 2 blogs, Evia's blog if you need further explanation. Hope that helps.

  • Lynn


    I totally agree! Kudos to Faith for even trying to reason with all these obsuficators. The comments here and at CN are SICKENING. They are truly brain-dead to cape so hard for white/biracial women to be lifted above them in ALL things. So sad BW women at CN support a white woman who equates her 'hair struggles' with the history of BW's hair denigration in this country. Unbelievable! I never joined the 'natural' hair movement and I'm glad that I did not.

    This is just another symptom that the masses of AA BW are on their last gasps. I'm not going down with the majority and I hope the BW who get it are working towards separating from the masses of deluded BW. I hope this post sparks at least a few BW to rethink their ideologies. But I won't hold my breath.

  • Lynn

    I totally agree.

  • lula bell

    I like to call “trends” and “fads” subliminal manipulation from the entertainment industry. In media, esp tv commercials promoting household items, you see these Brown skinned families and all of the kids, including the boys, and the mom have these big afros full of curls. My cousin puts her daughter in missing agencies and she processes her daughter’s hair to have the curls because that’s the look the industry is after, which means that’s what they’re impressing upon us. If you want to manipulate your hair to be curly so you can have this Bohemian look, with flowers and adornments in your hair, more power to you. But can you really claim to be natural? Because there’s nothing natural about spending 4+ hours on a hairstyle.

  • Crystal

    What's interesting is I remember loving to rock my afro and the only reason I stopped was because my hair would get too matted afterwards. My hair flourishes when it's in a curly state instead. Yes, some people are caught up in the "curly hair means good hair" title but not everyone. Also, if some people haven't realized… being black doesn't mean that your hair is going to grow out into an afro texture… being a black american means that your racial background includes much more than African decent… your complexion and hair type can come in all colors and textures…simple. It's all about genetics in the end though. You could have all black parents with dark chocolate skin and come out with curly hair or be light complected with a 4c hair type. Being mixed may not have anything to do with it…. Quite frankly, there is a growing number of biracials with curly textured hair, so why wouldn't companies advertise towards this large group of people? I think this article creates a type of divide that we don't need in the natural hair community. We should support each other on having healthy hair, not the fact that we think afros look more "black" and separate ourselves as far as possible from European looks. Enjoying our hair in all types of versatility is apart of what makes our hair so amazing! Please, don't try to conform us to a box that we cannot be held in. Thank you.

  • Really Y'all?

    Instead of talking about unimportant topics like your definition of natural hair, how about talking about real concerns for Black women, like the Black woman Marlene Pinnock who was recently brutally beaten by the police in LA? You're outraged over a stupid, unimportant topic like this when Black women are being physically attacked, and no one is being called to task for it. When no major civil rights groups are taking up her case. Talk about that and stop worrying about the natural hair litmus test.

  • This really hurts my heart. I'm African American. I'm dark skinned but my hair is what you call "the new black" what is the difference from us relaxing our hair where we in turn change our hair entirely…than going natural where all we are doing is taking care of our hair. I cannot help my hair being curly. I'm sorry but I do not want my hair to be broken off by not taking care of it and in turn altering my natural hair to become matted and brittle to achieve a look that my hair does not do. I do not do twist outs braid outs etc. I wash my hair and I let my hair be free. I do not drench my hair in product. I eat right i take care of myself and my hair and I'm proud to represent my blackness. It's not right. I do not see why so many issues. It's like we are damned if we do and we are damned if we don't. So should girls like me go back to relaxers? Or stay natural and be looked down upon because now my hair is just not kinky enough?

  • BWLivingWell

    *blank stare* at the majority of the comments…JUST WOW.
    when black women complain about being prodded, studied, and analyzed, I want everyone to return to this comment section because the proof is in the pudding.

    NO OTHER GROUP OF WOMEN on the planet…that I can think of….would take a post, intended and CLEARY WRITTEN to free and release us from the chains of yet ANOTHER "movement" that places bw AT THE BOTTOM, and turn it into a pity party and basically kick the person helping them in the teeth. Are some of you actually going on about the different textures in your hair?? Y'all think this is about some goddamn hair??? Oh my days….

    I don't think these disturbing comments are just from trolls and bi-racials…i think some of these are from bw…the ones Faith, Khadija, and Evia have talked about who will LITERALLY try to kill you for trying to save their life.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but was it Khadija who said in a post on her site that this is one of the reasons why Harriett Tubman carried a gun or some kind of weapon on her. not only yo protect herself from slave catchers, but in case the black folks she was trying to help decided to sabotage her efforts and take her down?!!? When I read that…..WHEW!!!

  • Corrine Selden

    While I don’t fault women with the “long, silky, curly” hair type for having the texture they have, I agree that this beauty standard for black women is an issue. The fact that a beauty standard even exists in the first place is an issue. If you want to straighten your hair or use something to enhance your curls, fine—as long as you’re not doing it to meet a standard that ALWAYS changes. First it was the perm that made your hair beautiful, then it was the natural movement. But now that it’s natural, your hair’s not beautiful unless you have a certain curl pattern or texture. What’s next? When will we be satisfied with ourselves AS WE ARE? If black women come to truly love their hair as it is, regardless of the texture, there would be no hair envy. We’d be able to embrace the beauty of ALL hair types.

  • Really Y'all?

    sorry to be a debble downer, but our hair doesn't grow out of our heads in the perfectly coifed, immaculately rounded, neatly picked, shiny, moist domes that are Afros either. black women are allowed to style our hair just like women of every other race, so if you want to two-strand it and then take it down for a NATURAL bouncy, shiny curly look, why not? it's still natural and beautiful and yours. Black people are too fixated on whites -- who cares if some white woman decides to admit that she has curly hair on a hair blog? what the heck does that have to do with my self esteem or the hairstyle i decide to wear?? absolutely nothing. that in no way affects black women and what we do with our hair. i can't believe all this controversy and belly aching simply because some white woman.

  • Chelle

    Hey from LSA!
    The article acknowledges that 'they've not worked through their color racism and hair texture discrimination'
    Yes exactly, it is not easy for 100% of black women to go out there with a 70's style 'fro when years of racist brainwashing has informed THE WORLD, not just them, that those features are ugly.

    Yet many black women are beginning to like a 'natural' look again rather than bone straight and are experimenting with texture and curls only to be attacked again for that not being 'natural enough'.


    You really can never win. I find afros beautiful for the black women who are strong and confident enough to carry it off but in this westernized straight haired, pale skinned centered world it is not easy.
    Sorry black women are human and still 'dealing' with these issues that years of racism and discrimination have created. Articles like this can have their fun attacking black women on top on that.

    Talk about crabs in a bucket mentality, why couldn't the tone of the article have been, 'we should bring this back, well done to the beautiful black women rocking the full afro'? Why did it have to be black women dragging down other black women, policing their hair and sufficient blackness levels in public again? Pathetic.

    The people who write this kind of ish won't dare say boo to their white boss for doing something discriminatory, but will be quick to shout down Keisha for rocking a curly fro. Before the author tackles hair hatred, maybe they should tackle their unnecessary hateful nature towards other black women.

    And 'Plantation behavior'?
    Really think about what you said. You are shouting down opposing arguments saying they are slave-like. Not only is that a pathetic failure to debate, it's also an insult to USE 'plantation'/slave as an insult. The slaves were a proud brutalized people who survived with dignity, and perished too, horrendously. They deserve better than to be used in mocking tones by you as an insult! You sound beyond stupid. You sound messed up. I hope you didn't use your real name to write this, I'd be embarrassed to have this hateful nonsense attached to me forever.

    And another thing- the argument that a full afro is the only 'natural' black hairstyle is BS. So black women aren't allowed to style their hair? Pre colonial Africans had many beautiful intricate plaited and manipulated hairstyles, not everyone was walking round with an afro.

    Well done to the author for going on her natural journey, that doesn't mean she has the right to denigrate others, especially when she's ignorant enough to not acknowledge the above.

  • Proud3c/4awoman

    So the B-L-A-C-K woman and heritage gets erased by the mere existence of her own children and helping them take care of their hair ? Three of the women in the photo the author is using as the symbol of that against which she's railing, look like they could be the children of a black parent. Although "natural" was a term coined to refer to the cottony and woolly hair allowed to be it's best self without straightening, it has grown to mean any curly hair that is not processed even if that curly hair is corkscrew or ringlets instead of cotton or wool. There's no such thing as the "new black" in connection with curly hair. We have always practiced hair versatility and while the afro is one choice, we have also always worked with braid outs, braids, twists, tool-based locs and other styles that caused the hair to hang instead of stand up and out. Yes! the hanging corkscrew and ringlets are probably the most popular curly style right now but the customers wanted that. Black and other curly haired women have wanted ways to wear our natural hair and be accepted at work and in other spaces. Some opt for the Afro and the social and labor fight that can often accompany it and others go for locs, braids, weaves, and corkscrew curls. Yes, the full range of well coiffed natural hair should be accepted in all areas of society and we are constantly working to make that happen but the afro and kinky-coily hair has not been the only representation of natural hair since the first African sailors and slaves voluntarily explored or were exported by force to the world wide diaspora and created children with Asian, European, and Native American people and it still isn't the only representation of our natural hair and, unless society reverts to segregation and anti-miscegenation laws again, "natural" will forevermore mean all textures and appearances of non-chemical processed curly hair.

  • Guest

    The same way you choose to wear your hair, is the same way others choose to wear theirs. The fact that you want to call out women for making a choice that in no way affects your life is ridiculous. The last time I checked, we live in a country where we are free to make our own choices. If some women choose to "go natural" in a way that doesn't please you, that is their prerogative. If you don't like it, just like they chose to watch the countless youtube tutorials and the natural hair gurus, is the same way you can choose not to watch it. Just like you said, not everyone has the same texture as you, and not everyone has the same texture as the photo above, which I might add is not the original wash n' go. So for you to go on a rant about why some women make the choices that they do is beyond me. Until it affects the way you live and the way you go about your life, it should not be any of your business what another women chooses to do with her hair.
    And for the record, I'm natural. I chose to go natural, because as a college student, I couldn't afford to get my hair done every six weeks. My hair IS naturally curly, no manufactured curl pattern or use of numerous products to achieve a curly look. If I wanted to have the "original wash n go," I would have to spend 50 minutes to achieve THAT look.
    I think whatever message you were trying to achieve is covered by ignorance. I took offense to this article at first, but then I realized that not everyone else has my opinion. I respect the fact that you have your opinion, I just don't appreciate the way you delivered it. There is a better way to voice that to women versus attacking their choice.
    With so many things in this world tearing women down, we don't need another woman to join in. Spread your message in a more positive way. I think people will receive it better…

  • Black Dahlia

    Following all of these natural hair gurus and blogs I slave away with masks and protective styles wondering why I don’t have a distinct curl pattern like them only to realize THATS NOT THE TYPE OF HAIR I HAVE. I only had to read your article once to understand what you’re saying. You are not trying to put down mixed women or women with certain hair types. You’re trying to speak up for the women that lack representation in the natural hair movement. I see some women trying to derail your argument by claiming victim and saying they can’t help that they have curly soft hair. That is not the point please stop that.

  • Ebony

    While I understand where you are possibly coming from, I must ask what about the women (Black) with naturally curly hair or is it your premise that none of these said women exist? If that is the case what do I ask my mother, her mother and her mother's mother regarding my own curly hair? I mean for the most part a lot of women can achieve the look you are referring to by stretching our hair. But then I feel like that is defeating the purpose of wearing one's hair "naturally." I feel as though I am missing a part of the argument. Care to explain it a little more?
    I guess what prompted me to respond to this article is my concern for the development of this on going argument of so-called bandwagon "movement" or the lack thereof. Does it really matter? I think if someone is offering advice for your hair (as you desire it to be) then what is the problem? When is is okay for us to finally just be and dress however we want without having to be berated for being ourselves? The only standard of beauty anyone should adhere to is their own….maybe that should be the argument instead of lambasting others for so called "hijacking" anything. I had no idea that hair concerns belonged only to certain races….

  • Faith,

    I just can't with all these "playing obtuse" comments. It all basically boils down to almost nobody will voluntarily give up whatever privilege they have. The same applies to biracial Black women—who occupy places of privilege relative to the masses of BW who have 2 Black parents (and especially relative to BW who have 2 Black parents who LOOK like they have 2 Black parents).

    Nobody said anything about "ostracizing" anybody. What people are talking about is having a clear demarcation of who's who and what's what. Because, as things have stood for the past 30+ years, African-American Black women who have two Black parents (especially those of us who look like we have two Black parents) are being robbed, whitewashed, and erased in favor of biracial women. We're being erased and many of us don't comprehend that we're being erased because we mistakenly want to believe that biracial women are "in the same boat" with us.

    Instead of seeing the whitewashing that's been going on for decades, a lot of us can't quite seem to notice the entrenched pattern that's been in place. Because we're confused about who's who and what's what, many of us somehow don't notice that, in particular, the bulk of the entertainers who've been occupying "Black" roles and "slots" in the American entertainment industry are White women's children. Such as (partial list, because this could go on forever and a day):

    Halle Berry
    Alicia Keys
    Lisa Bonet
    Shemar Moore
    Persia White
    Rashida Jones
    Jennifer Beals
    Jasmine Guy
    Victoria Rowell
    Boris Kodjoe
    Lonette McKee
    Sidney Tamiia Poitier
    Clark Johnson
    Mario Van Peebles
    Jordin Sparks
    Nicole Ari Parker

    and so on ad infinitum. Most recently, yet another WW's child had been miscast to portray Aaliyah (thank God that didn't last). It's not simply about "light skin." It's about how roles portraying African-American BW (meaning BW who have 2 Black parents) are increasingly reserved for women who are NOT African-American BW. When you look at the pattern of what’s going on, it’s obvious that if Angela Bassett, Diahann Carrol and Vanessa Bell Calloway were starting their acting careers now, they would never get hired.

    It's all connected. The above situation has mostly been foisted upon AABW. Then you have the internally-generated replacement and erasure due to BW with (so-called) type 4 hair running behind the video blogs of women who have hair textures that are typically natural (meaning it grows out of their heads like that) for biracial and/or mixed women. The same masses of type 4 hair BW are buying tons of product (and I do mean tons) to change the texture of their (so-called) type 4 hair into something that resembles these other women's looser curl patterns.

    These Natural Hair BW Desperately Seeking Biracial Curl Patterns women have been using products to alter their hair texture while viciously berating other BW for doing the same thing with relaxer and perms. I remember all those nasty, insulting comments many of them directed toward other BW about "creamy crack," etc. Well, they're getting their comeuppance. They could dish out these harsh critiques of BW with perms, but can't take what they dish out when it's pointed out that they're doing the SAME thing as the women they dragged as being addicted to the "creamy crack."

    For all these offended biracial women, why weren't they complaining about "division" and "divisiveness" when products came out that were called "Mixed Chicks"? I don't recall seeing anybody (and certainly not biracial BW) complain about that product "excluding" or "ostracizing" other BW. All this complaining is a transparent effort to hold onto biracial woman privilege.

    For the confused, self-sabotaging masses of AABW who have 2 Black parents, the only way to clear up this confusion is to have some clear boundaries. Biracial BW are NOT in the "same boat" as AABW who have 2 Black parents. And when you as an AABW with 2 Black parents continue to support the elevation of biracial BW, you are supporting your own displacement and erasure. The ongoing elevation of biracial BW has been coming at YOUR expense. The sooner y'all realize that, the better for YOU.

  • Simone

    I have never heard so many “points” all over the place supported by nothing but emotion. When I take a shower I put olive oil from the kitchen in my hair to keep it moist. How is that a manufactured curl? In order for me to get any kind of Afro I have to use heat to blow dry it which is damaging and then a pick. That sounds more manufactured to me. As women of color we all have different textured hair and I think it’s about time we stop this self hating nonsense of comparing natural hair. It’s about celebrating our uniqueness and as women we can do better. My hair is long always has been, does that make me less of a natural?? And btw people wore wig Afros back in the day too.

  • Corrine Selden

    I agree that there is a major issue with how black women use the “long and curly” hairtype as the standard for beauty. More importantly, however, I believe the bigger issue is that a standard for beauty even exists. If black women simply ignored that standard and embraced their OWN beauty, regardless of what other people believed, there would be no issue. Curl patterns wouldn’t matter. Mixed or non-mixed hair wouldn’t matter. We’d be able to embrace ALL hairtypes and see the beauty in ALL of them. By the way, I don’t know what my curl pattern is, but I do know it doesn’t fit the “standard.” I’ve just come to a place where I’m tired of trying to fit a standard to please others. It takes too much energy, and the standard always changes. We went from the perm making your hair beautiful to natural being beautiful. And now that we’re natural, the beauty standard is based on the curl pattern. What’s next? When will we be satisfied with ourselves AS WE ARE? Self-acceptance will bring black women sooo much peace.