Talk Back

Team Natural…or Nah?

Credit: Thinkstock

JET wants you to Talk Back.  This is one of the reader submissions that we received and opted to publish.  Want to make your voice heard Submit your commentary, TV show recap, poem, 500-word book excerpt or essay HERE.  Read all the rules  so you know how it works.  

You know how some people get food envy?

Well, I get hair envy (and the former, but that’s another story). When I see a naturalista with a beautiful crown of curls, I get jealous. And I think, for a hot nanosecond, about going natural.

After seeing a former coworker’s ringlets at a recent event, I seriously considered weaning myself off the “creamy crack.” So much so that I went out that weekend and bought flexi rods to achieve a pseudo-natural twist-out look (spoiler alert: it did not work). After all, I’d already gone without a relaxer for three months at that point, so how hard could it be?

I immediately went into research mode and uncovered all I could about going natural: from the pros and cons to the Big Chop to patiently growing out my relaxer with the use of protective styles. I pestered my natural friends with the hair version of Twenty Questions and I watched every YouTube video I could find on Bantu knots.

You could say I was obsessed. But I quickly grew frustrated with my bi-textural state. It’s just. So. Thick!!!

I was on the verge of frustration tears while trying to tame my mane when I had an epiphany: I’m extremely lazy when it comes to hair maintenance. Call it boring, but I typically wear my hair in a wrap style. And if I’m having a particularly bad hair day? In a ponytail it goes!

I moan and groan about the average hour and a half it takes to shampoo, condition, dry and flat iron my hair (just ask my husband). So I can’t imagine dedicating an ENTIRE day to detangling, twisting or anything of the like.

I’ve been getting relaxers since I was in middle school and it’s just easier for me to maintain my hair this way. It doesn’t mean I hate myself or the hair God gave me. It just means this is how I prefer to wear it…simple as that.

My hair is not a political statement nor is it a “submission” to standards of mainstream (aka White) beauty.

There are two things every woman is entitled to (among countless others): her opinion and her hair.

It’s not growing out of your head, so don’t worry about it. No matter what side of the Great Hair Debate you’re on, we can all agree that the hair shaming has got to stop once and for all.

All of you criticizing little Blue Ivy’s locks? Get a life.

Everyone who thinks the natural way is the only way? Have a seat.

And if you think straight, flowing hair reigns supreme? Girl, bye.

If we spent as much time doling out compliments to one another as we do throwing shade at someone’s hair choice, the world (or at least social media) would be a much better place.

And if I change my mind about going natural down the road? That’s my business. Likewise, if I decide to wear relaxers until I’m chilling in the retirement home? To quote Drizzy Drake, “that’s all me.” One isn’t necessarily better than the other.

At the end of the day, it’s just hair. What is more important is the person underneath it all.

About L’Oreal Thompson Payton

L'Oreal Thompson Payton

A Charm City girl in the Windy City, L’Oreal Thompson Payton is a professional storyteller with a penchant for people and a passion for purple. When she’s not busy writing, L’Oreal enjoys reading, dancing and devouring delicious cupcakes. Follow L’Oreal on FacebookTwitter or Instagram and visit her blog at