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The big decision: natural hair or straighten hair?

The topic that has really been on my mind lately is hair. I know some of you are like, really, hair? Let me say that personally I have a love/hate relationship with my hair.

Recently, especially with ethnic hair, there has been a movement to go natural. I personally have had many friends that have decided to wear their hair naturally instead of getting it chemically processed. The chemical process known as a perm makes your hair straight.

However, this process can be time consuming, costly and not healthy for your hair. There is also a huge debate about how individu­als with perms are not staying true to the texture of their hair and how they are conforming to the white European form of beauty.

Personally, I am on the fence regarding that debate but as a person who has been chemically straightening her hair for most of her life, I started to wonder how my hair would look naturally. So with some convincing for my cousin who has been on a natural hair journey for about a year, my best friends and a few other close acquaintances and after watch­ing about 100 YouTube vides on natural hair, I decided that I would transition (stop getting perms) to natural hair.

The transition to natural hair is one that takes time. Doing natural hair also requires that you use lit­tle to no heat on your hair because it is so delicate which makes it, at times, hard to style.

Let me tell you that this process has been a long, tough journey. It's hard deciding what products work best for my hair as well as deciding how to style.

I have also been concerned about how others would per­ceive me with natural hair. As a senior, I am currently going on a lot of job interviews and attend­ing many networking events and I have wondered if my natural hair is "professional enough." I hate to say it but first impressions for jobs interviews are everything and hav­ing natural hair is a deviation from the traditional professional look.

While interning at McDonald's this past summer there were a lot of ethnic women in the office and one day we were at lunch. We were discussing hair and our per­sonal hair routines. Each of the women that worked in the office said that they would not wear their hair in braids or naturally because they did not feel comfortable and felt that those styles were not pro­fessional enough.

I thought to myself that those statements were so sad but true. Women who do not have straight hair have to conform to fit into this Eurpeourcentic standard of beauty and professional dress by straight­en their hair. Despite what those women said, I have still decided to transition.

So if anyone has any natural hair suggestions or just want to discuss their personal hair journey, please let me know, seriously!

Let's have a chat.

Briana Knox is a senior jour­nalism major from South Orange, NJ. She can be reached at

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