People Share How They Learned To Let Go Of Their Insecurities To Embrace Their Natural Hair

“For me, my hair represented who I was and my personality.”

Over the last few years, more and more people of color have spoken up about the importance of embracing their natural hair, helping to make hair diversity commonplace in mainstream spaces. While that's great news, the journey to natural hair acceptance has been very difficult. In a new BuzzFeed video, people with natural hair share how they've learned to love their textured strands despite living in a world that made no room for it. 

"For a long time, I thought my hair was really ugly," said one participant in the video above. 

Unfortunately, many people developed insecurities about their hair in childhood. Children who have hair with curls, coils or kinks,  are often made fun of at school or, even worse, disciplined for simply wearing their hair in its natural state. Beyond that, children are exposed early on to society's standard of beauty, which typically includes long, straight hair.  

"Even when I was looking at Black women on TV, they would always have relaxed hair or long hair," said one of the participants. For many people growing up, this concept of beauty was reinforced by other societal interactions translated through who was popular at school, and the type of look that was considered most attractive. 

Thankfully, our culture is slowly shifting to broaden its definition of beauty. The natural hair movement was revived around the time the Internet began creating spaces for underrepresented people to share their experiences and celebrate their identities. Online natural hair communities may have helped encourage some people to rock their natural strands, but some made the decision based on other personal reasons. 

"I committed to having longer hair right around the time the Trayvon Martin case happened," one of person explained in the video. "When the verdict came out, I was like it really doesn't matter how acceptable you look to someone else, so you should just look however you want. Do what makes you feel comfortable. There was a strong push for natural hair and I really wanted to embrace that."

For others, it was the years of hair damage that inspired them to go natural. One participant noted motherhood as one of the reasons for her loving her hair. "I have a 16-month-old daughter, and her hair is identical to mine, and I tell her how beautiful her hair is. [...] It's important that she sees a reflection of herself in me."

For many of the participants in the video, embracing their natural hair also meant embracing themselves. Hair can truly be a path to self-love. 

"For me, my hair represented who I was and my personality," said a participant. "As I grew older, I got more comfortable with my body and got more comfortable with who I was as a person, and I wanted my hair to reflect that."

"My hair taught me to embrace myself," said another. "To love me: the way that I came, the way that I was created, and the way that I am."

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