Why Black Women Everywhere Are Going Natural

Two years ago, I decided to go natural. After years of being addicted to the "creamy crack" -- a nickname for chemical relaxers made popular by Chris Rock's 2009 documentary "Good Hair" -- my hair had been reduced to a short mess of split-ends and brittle strands.

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My roommate had made the transition from her chemically-straightened hair to her natural texture the previous year and after seeing her beautiful, healthy curls, I decided to return to my ringlet roots, too.

Turns out we were part of a growing trend: Between 2006 and 2011, sales of chemical straightening kits dropped by 17 percent, according to one industry report. Plus, a bunch of African-American A-listers, like Solange Knowles, Halle Berry, and Viola Davis, each emerged in the paparazzi limelight with their hair in its unrelaxed, free-flowing glory. Natural hair hasn't been this popular among black women since the afros of the 70s. So why are so many African-Americans embracing the look now?

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In a New York Times Op-Doc, documentary filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa tries to answer the question by capturing her own transition to natural hair, along with 50 other black women who say that this natural hair movement began as "an evolutionary process that has turned into a revolution" -- a revolution characterized by "self-discovery and health."

Like Saro-Wiwa, returning to my curls was an amazing experience. Not only did I get to discover -- and test! -- new curly hair products, but allowing my hair to grow in its natural state has put an end to my damaged ends and parched strands.

So, what about you? Have you made the natural jump? Let us know about your journey in the comments below.


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