Black Women Opting for Natural Look

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Many black women are choosing to style their hair naturally instead of chemically straightening it. (Published Monday, Nov 19, 2012)

    Many women are choosing to style their hair naturally instead of chemically straighten it.

    Like many black women, Vera Campbell, 52, has used chemical relaxers to make her natural hair straight.

    "All my friends were doing straight, long hair, and the thing was straight, long, pretty hair," she said. "You thought that you were pretty if you had long, straight hair. That's not the case anymore."

    But five years ago, Campbell opted to stay with natural hair.

    "You can wear it straight sometimes, you can wear it curly, or you can do twists," she said. "There's such a variety of what you can do with your natural hair."

    Campbell was among of hundreds to attend the Nappiology Expo in Hurst, where vendors and stylists focused on highlighting and embracing natural hair.

    Cost is a factor in the trend.

    Hair relaxers used in salons to straighten hair are around $60 -- and that doesn't include coloring or stylist tips. Many women must return to the salon within two to six weeks to maintain it. And hair extensions which are weaved into hair start at $20 each and take hours to add.

    According to the Black Owned Beauty Supply Association, $9 billion are spent every year on hair care products.

    Celebrities are part of the trend.

    While celebrities such as singer Janet Jackson, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and actress Raven-Symoné have straightened their hair, many today are opting for natural hair.

    In the September issue of O Magazine, Winfrey showed the public her natural hair on the front page.

    Actress Viola Davis, who starred in the award-winning "The Help" wore natural on the red carpet during the Oscars.

    Two years ago, actress and comedian Kim Coles cut off all her extensions and went natural.

    "I would hide my hair or I would hide it with a weave or with braids for so long," she said.

    Stylist Andrea Harmon at Studio 1514 in Dallas said the trend is growing among young women.

    "The younger sisters are being edgier, because they're coming into their careers. You know, they're not vice presidents yet," Harmon said.

    Besides avoiding the chemicals and the costs, black women say natural hair gives them something else -- pride.

    "It's glamour within itself because you're like, 'Wow. I did not know that the look can be so diverse from one sister to another' as far as the curl patterns and designs," said Chandra Carroll, who now wears natural hair.