The pure hair motion embraces black hair that’s free from extensions, wigs or straightening chemical compounds. But why is pure hair seen as political and what sort of help does the motion have in Britain?
When Kadian Pow was visiting London from the US in 2009 she was impressed to have her relaxed hair lower off and develop her pure curls after seeing a Matalan advert that includes a black mannequin sporting an afro.
She says: “I used to be jealous of a mannequin on a billboard. But I rapidly snapped out of it, realising my very own hair might try this.
“By the time I returned to the States, I had resolved to cease stress-free the roots of my smooth bob. Four months earlier than shifting completely to the UK in April 2010, I had my hairdresser lower off the relaxed hair.
“I was left with a short crop of curls, what we in the natural hair community call a teeny weeny afro (TWA).”
While she settled into her new life in Britain, the place she was a PhD researcher and assistant lecturer in sociology at Birmingham City University, she started wanting on-line for the right way to care for her “growing mane”.
She says: “No-one ever taught me to correctly nourish the kinky hair that naturally grows out of my scalp.
“I used to be taught solely to tame and manipulate it, as if it had been some scary beast. And, to be trustworthy, black girls are sometimes made to really feel that approach in skilled and informal environments that subscribe to inflexible European magnificence beliefs.”
Her expertise is echoed by different black girls, who’ve reported being informed to straighten their hair for work within the UK, and within the US the place pure hair advocates took on the military.
Presumably even somebody as outstanding as Michelle Obama felt the stress to sculpt and straighten – final month a uncommon emerged of her sporting her hair au naturel, in sharp distinction to the years she spent within the White House.
Khembé Clarke has been styling pure hair for the reason that age of 15. Now 56, she organises the Return to your Roots pure hair occasion in Birmingham.
She says she began with a small-scale occasion in 2008 and since then there was a “actual urge for food” for going pure.
When she opened her personal salon in 2005 she stated hairdressers providing to do pure hair had been uncommon, however they grew to become extra in demand as girls moved away from the weaves and perming chemical compounds that may result in hair loss.
She says: “Weaving locations stress on the hairline, which begins to recede; our hair is sort of fragile and there was a motion within the States away from perms and weaves and in the direction of going pure.
“There was additionally a drive in the direction of heritage, identification and a reawakening that our hair is a part of who we’re.
“There was a political resistance: why change to be accepted or thought of skilled?”
She says that whereas the US is “way ahead” when it comes to the extent of help for pure hair, the motion has gained numerous help within the UK, notably amongst younger girls.
“It’s changing slowly, it comes from us not backing down. This is our hair, this is how it grows,” she says.
“There has been an unconscious bias and a lack of awareness for the way our hair is, with colleges considering perms are commonplace with out realising the regime required to realize that.
“Professionally too, numerous our girls are involved – they already really feel discriminated in opposition to for being black, [they worry] can I am going to work and be accepted [with natural hair]?”
Indeed hair care product firm SheaMoisture not too long ago confronted a backlash over its promoting marketing campaign which was accused of creating black girls invisible.
The pure hair motion is large on social media; within the UK vloggers have created lots of of YouTube tutorials about caring for and styling pure hair.
Shannon Fitzsimmons, from Mitcham, London, who blogs as UK Curly Girl, says girls usually contact her with questions on pure hair.
She says: “The hottest questions folks have about going pure are; ‘But I do not know if I’ll like my pure hair?’ ‘Where can I get my pure hair lower?’ and ‘What merchandise ought to I take advantage of to cease my hair from turning into dry?'”
She has written a e-book, titled Get My Curls Back!, which is all about her pure hair journey. It features a small dictionary of the phrases which have sprung up round pure hair.
Co-wash – Washing your hair utilizing conditioner solely, to keep away from the tough chemical compounds in shampoo and to retain moisture
Pineapple – The model of sporting your hair up in a unfastened ponytail, which is nice for sleeping as it can cut back frizz and maintain curls intact
She says when she started running a blog in 2014 the pure hair motion within the UK was simply starting to take off however since then it had seen an enormous rise in reputation.
“I’m so pleased to have been part of the entire scene, seeing a few of my favorite pure hair manufacturers going from laborious to come up with to now being simply accessible to everybody within the UK through mainstream magnificence/beauty shops.”
Alongside the movies, girls use a wide range of hashtags round pure hair to share their very own experiences, types and recommendation on websites like Instagram and Twitter.
According to social media evaluation instrument Spredfast there have been 554,048 posts utilizing the hashtag #naturalhair on Instagram within the first two months of 2017. The posts obtained 1,646,842 feedback and 81,303,058 likes.
On Twitter for a similar interval 49,745 tweets used the identical hashtag.
It was this on-line group that Kadian Pow turned to, the place she discovered principally black and mixed-race girls sharing their very own journeys and data.
And she says whereas her causes for eager to develop pure hair weren’t political, she feels calling it a motion is appropriate.
“‘Movement’ is an appropriate time period for the increasing constellation of pure hair care gurus, companies massive and small, hair care movies, trend and equipment spawned from the ingenuity of black girls.
“There is an financial benefit that has come from all this, however most actions are inherently political, as they contain folks working collectively to advance shared beliefs.
“The basis of the pure hair motion is that the hair curling from our heads is innately lovely and needs to be free to exist that approach.”
Black pure hair by: Pamela Hendrix published: