What Men Really Think About Natural Hair – Part 1

what men really think about natural hairI eventually ask all of our newsletter subscribers the following question: “Is there anything you want me to write a blog post about”? Over time, I’ve received several different responses and now have a long list of topics that our subscribers want to hear about, but today’s topic is a bit controversial.

One of our subscribers asked me to write about the following topic: “What do men really think about natural hair?”

While it’s impossible for me to speak for all men, that’s never stopped me before.

I think everyone already knows that I’m an advocate for natural hair, so instead of giving my viewpoints, I’ll tell a story.

Patrick and Keisha

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a newly married couple named Patrick and Keisha. Patrick truly loved his wife, and mutually Keisha loved Patrick. Throughout their childhoods, growing up, both had mostly been exposed to relaxed hair. Keisha, who was considered by many to be very pretty, had been relaxed for many years – including the entire time she had known Patrick. Her husband, Patrick, was very proud of her and had pictures of her up everywhere in his office at work.

One summer night in August of 2010, Keisha, who worked full-time as a registered nurse, decided that she wanted to go natural. She had stumbled across a popular natural hair blog and started reading it every day – consuming information and learning rapidly. Honestly, she had become obsessed with natural hair.

She knew this was going to be a drastic change for her and Patrick, but she had made up her mind. While looking at herself in the mirror, Keisha made the following comment – “I love myself and the hair that God gave me regardless of how it looks. I’m going to embrace it and learn to care for it properly. I’m going to big chop and start my natural hair journey.”

The entire time, in the back of her mind, Keisha knew she would eventually have to tell Patrick. She started to tell him immediately, but ultimately decided to sleep on her decision and wait until the time was right.

The Next Morning

The alarm clock went off for the fourth time – buzz! Keisha woke-up, rushing to take a shower and get ready for work. She was notorious for hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. She woke Patrick prior to jumping in the shower. After showering and getting ready, she jumped in the car heading to work. Ripping through traffic and speeding her way to the office, Keisha made it to work on time, but she knew that a long day was ahead. After dealing with the stressful activities of her nursing job, she was planning to tell Patrick about her decision to go natural and big chop during dinner that night.

Nevertheless, Keisha felt as free as a bird. She had been reading interviews of other women who had made the decision to go natural – some who transitioned from relaxed to natural hair, others who decided to big chop.

Now, once Keisha’s work day had ended. She immediately jumped in the car, ordered Chinese food for dinner and headed home. After picking up the Chinese food, she pulled in her driveway and noticed that Patrick had already made it home. Patrick, who is a crime scene detective, was doing some work around the house when Keisha got home.

Keisha set the table and the couple sat down to eat dinner. After a few moments of pleasantries and general chit-chat, Keisha told Patrick of her decision to join the natural hair community.

The conversation went like this:

Keisha: “Patrick, I’ve been thinking about changing my look a little.”

Patrick: “Really? What did you have in mind?”

Keisha: “I’ve decided to go natural.”

At this point, Patrick pauses – probably because he’s not completely sure what that means. He then ventures into the unknown and asks, “What does that mean”?

Keisha said, “Going natural basically means that I’ve decided not to get another relaxer. With this decision, I can either transition to natural hair or big chop. I’ve decided that I’m going to cut all of my hair off. This is referred to as a big chop in the natural hair community.”

Patrick’s Research

Patrick is utterly confused by the news that his wife is going natural. He’s still not really sure what going natural means. After dinner, Patrick went downstairs, grabbed his laptop and started doing some research of his own.

He started searching the internet for keywords like natural hair styles, natural hair community and many other related terms. Having only been exposed to relaxed hair throughout his life, he didn’t understand what was wrong with Keisha’s relaxed hair. He didn’t want his wife to cut off all of her hair. To him, she had lost her mind.

Patrick rushed upstairs after about two hours of research to strongly question Keisha’s decision to go natural. The confrontation began when Patrick told Keisha that he had just finished doing some research on going natural and thought she was making a bad decision.

Before you read Part 2 of What Men Really Think About Natural Hair, please be sure to left your thoughts on Part 1 below in the comment section. Here is the link for Part 2: Part 2 of “What Men Really Think about Natural Hair”.

Comments

  1. says

    Great post! We never understand how much we value our husbands opinions of us or that they notice or care about our changes, until we change or mention change… hahaha

  2. Kapri_H says

    In my experience, I’ve never come across a man that was completely against natural hair. I’ve never had a perm, but I’ve always pressed my hair. At one point I wore 16 inch sew in weaves. When I decided to go “natural” (let the weave and pressing comb go), my husband was more relieved than anything else. He was free from having to buy expensive indian hair and pay for my sew ins. He was also relieved that I could go outside and not have to worry about “humidity”. He also prefers my big natural hair, because he says its different. But I believe he likes the freedom it gives me; I’m no longer scared to sweat, be in the rain, wind…and I no longer have to pat my scalp when it itches. :)

    • says

      So many women experience “push back” from their husbands or significant other. It’s great to hear from someone who hasn’t had any negative experiences.

  3. Tomika says

    I and my boyfriend met when we were children I was 11 and he was 15. We have been together a very long time. We are now in our 30’s and have 2 kids. He found it difficult accepting the fact I wanted to go natural. In fact, he is still finding it difficult to embrace it. I just simply tell him I rather go natural and savage the hair that I have rather than stay relaxed and suffer through chemically induced alopecia. And then I asked which one would he rather have. Since I made that statement he has been wonderful. He prefers me natural than balding anyday. :)

  4. Si says

    Kenneth I think I am Keisha! what you described is the same process I went through. My Partner thought I was crazy looking at all the natural hair blogs and Youtube video’s and I admit I was (still am) obsessed!

    I did a big chop in January and I have not looked back it is very liberating to not have to suffer chemical burn or spend hours sewing in a weave…I really feel like me in my truest form.

    Also what I told my partner is relaxers are readily available so not only will my hair grow back but it can also be re-relaxed.

      • Si says

        Hey Jael,
        I just used the relaxer is readily available comment to appease my partner mainly! lol (but it is true).
        I can’t lie I am anti-relaxer at the moment and not just because of that scene in Good Hair when Chris Rock learns about sodium hydroxide and how a tin can disolves when placed in it. I have done a lot of research regarding relaxer and I don’t think it’s for me anymore, so to answer your question no!

  5. Angela says

    My then boyfriend/now husband, low-key DEMANDED I get rid of my perm. At that time, I was looking for something different, as the chemicals were ravaging my hair. I didn’t fight it. I sometimes wonder if I would have if my hair would have been in the condition I wanted it.

    • says

      That’s interesting. There are probably many women, who haven’t really had a horror story type experience with a relaxer (yet anyway), who wonder why some are so passionate about natural hair.

      • Angela says

        I was at a point where my relaxed hair could not consistently stay in a ‘good place’. I was playing around with more kinky/textured weaves to see how it would look on me. Him constantly telling me how beautiful I would look pushed me over the edge. But because I have a big head, I didn’t do the BC – I wore braids for 3 years (take them down after 3 months, wash, trim, then braid again) and cut my hair gradually. I was afraid because I had never handled my hair in it’s natural state. I knew relaxers never got my hair completely straight, so I was afraid of the ‘fight’ I would have on a daily basis. I used a texturizer for a couple of years no problem – then the breaking started again. The texturizer was kind of like training wheels for me (too bad I had to loose all that great length I had, though) so I wasn’t as afraid or self-conscious. I get compliments left & right now. And it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – just a lot of trial and error with products that worked for my hair AND didn’t break me out (I have acne-prone skin) and getting to know ‘the real me’!

        • says

          Angela – Did Jael tell you how much she loves your hair products? Her mom really likes them also. We can discuss it more privately, but I think Jael is planning to write a review soon on your product line.

          For those who are unaware, Angela owns Butterscotch Baby Total Body Experience. Butterscotch Baby Total Body Experience is a small natural ingredient-based bath and body product line located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

          • Angela says

            She did! I am so happy that she does. And her mom liking them is such a bonus! Now what I REALLY want to know is, how did you like the items I sent for you? I make the Aftershave & Toner in 4 different essential oil blends, but I sent you my favorite. I’m grinding hard this week to get ready for Milwaukee’s 1st Natural Hair Care Expo happening this Sunday, but contact me whenever!

  6. Barbara says

    Since I am not coupled up and single, I am concerned/afraid of how men will perceive me now. I am not going to let that change my mind, but I am concerned about it.

    • says

      Barb-
      If you date, do you feel that you should wear your hair straighten for the first one and slowly ease your natural hair on him…? What has your experience been with dating and being natural?

    • Angela says

      That’s a totally natural feeling; just stay true to who you are inside AND out and who will be attracted to you know that they are getting the ‘real deal’. I’m reminded of an episode of Fresh Prince when Will Smith’s character was locked in a room with his girlfriend (played by Tisha Campbell). During the course of them being trapped in that room, she took out her colored contacts, took off her wig/fall, and popped off her nails! He was rattled by the fact he had something different (physically) than what he thought.

  7. Sauleta says

    I’m single, dating, and natural, and at times I do worry that being a natural head narrows my options. The guy I’ve been dating recently hasn’t expressed any distaste for my kinks and coils, and says I have “organic hair”. When he first said this I got offended, but then the more I thought about it, it was a compliment, because it meant that my hair was prue, homegrown, and without chemicals =)

  8. Jill Matthews says

    I have been natural for about 10 months. It has been a thin line between love & hate! I previously have long past shoulder length permed hair. When I dated with long perm hair, i attracted very different men. Now with natural hair, i attract men that care about my personality and find my hair beautiful. Men that are into a healthy lifestyle and having fun like exercising together, swimming. I just ask the guy I am dating now what his take on the natural hair style. He stated that with all the fake wigs & weaves on the stars and everyone else that it’s refreshing to get a woman that loves just the way she was made. That’s why I am falling for my guy! Stay strong my sisters, love yourself. When you do, it’s easy for someone to love you.

    • says

      Jill – That’s awesome. It really helps to have the support of your significant other. Also, congrats on 10 months natural. You’re getting close to the one year mark – time to celebrate!

    • says

      ITA, it’s refreshing that he looks beyond your hair and he actually sees YOU. Most time in relationships ppl fall for what the person looks like and not the actually person. It is definitely a plus that he likes you for more than what you look like on the outside :)

  9. kiwi says

    I have been transitioning to natural More ten months. When i got a relaxer prior my fiance was mas at me. He said i didn’t need one, i should wear my own hair. He doesn’t caer much for weaves so he loves that my hair has grown a considerable amount since the journey. I love my hair like this and so does he.

  10. Rhonda says

    I don’t really have any negative experiences with men and my hair. I receive more compliments, but I’m not sure if it’s due to my hair or if I exude a freedom that I didn’t have before. I’m single, so I don’t have a beau to ask. I do know that I don’t plan on relaxing my hair again, regardless.

  11. says

    Interestingly, my boyfriend approached me because I had natural hair. To initiate conversation, he began by asking me was I natural (I obviously was lol). He loves my hair!! It’s what drew him to me in the first place :) More men should have this mentality as our hair isn’t meant to be straight…psh, it’s best like this.

  12. Marina says

    When I informed my husband that I wanted to go natural, he supported me fully. After a total of 2 trials of no relaxer for seven months (without cutting my hair), my husband came to me and expressed that he saw frustration in my process and recognized that I did not keep my hair neat. He admitted that he did not care if I was natural or relaxed, just that my hair needed to be presentable. I struggled with styling my natural hair so I gave up. I am happy that he was honest with me, he supported my decision each time.

    • says

      Hi Marina –

      Couples often struggle to communicate with each other. It’s great to hear that your husband was able to express his feelings about your hair without offending you. You clearly understood what he was trying to say. I’m glad you’re reading the blog. If you ever have any questions about your hair, feel free to reach out to us. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Kenneth

  13. Phylicia says

    I LIKED THE STORY =). I CAN RELATE TO KEISHA ABOUT BEING OBSESSED WITH NATURAL HAIR LOL. BUT MY BOYFRIEND DOESN’T LIKE THE FACT THAT I HAVE CUT MY HAIR OFF. HE EVEN TOLD ME THAT I LOOK UNATTRACTIVE! I SENT HIM A PICTURE OF MY HAIR WITH MY PHONE. AND HE LITERALLY SAID THAT. HE SAID NO MAN WOULD BE ATTRACTED TO MY ME WITH MY HAIR BEING IN MY TEENY WEENY AFRO.

    • says

      Phylicia – That’s really disappointing. I’m really curious about how the situation ended. Are you and your boyfriend still together or was that the end of the relationship?

      Thanks for sharing your story. I would love to chat with you in private if you’d like to talk.

      Kenneth

    • says

      Hi Phyicia, thanks for sharing your experience with the community. I know that making the decision to big chop was huge. Further, you are courageous, you went through with it and stood your ground. Did you ever talk with your boyfriend about your intentions or your decision? If so, how did the conversation go? If you and your boyfriend are still together, has the relationship changed because of his text?

  14. Sheena Y. Evans says

    I can relate to what she went thru, I had the same reactions from both family and friends; when I decided to do the BC in December. I still am getting negative comments from “I”ve become a lesbian” to “Why would you do that, your bald”.

  15. says

    I have been natural for quite some time and I have only received “push back” from family who just don’t understand…I’m don’t try to force people to go natural but people always seem to disaprove of my decision to be “free” I have only had positive comments from men though (especially older ones, lol), including a caucasian guy that I dated who LOVEd my to rock my fro! I could never go back…

    • says

      Marissa – I think a lot of the “push back” comes from people who clearly don’t understand the situation completely. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Sharon says

    Marissa – I’ve found that people from other ethnic backgrounds really seem to like the look of our natural hair. I have gotten plenty of compliments from caucasian men and women just as well! I went natural 6 years ago and I am still loving it! I love my hair now more than I did before I became natural…although I used to get Press-N-Curls (Hot Comb). I really feel that I look more like myself with the way my hair is now and no one can duplicate it. Also, my hair doesn’t smell like smoke anymore from that hot comb. LOL. There is so much liberty, versatile styles, and the shower, rain, dew, mist nor hair sweat bother me any longer … I say bring it on!
    Maybe if black men knew more about the health benefits of natural hair vs. toxic hair products that damage the scalp, lungs, etc. they would love their black women enough to embrace it. I would be happy if a man is turned off by my naturalness, because that would tell me some things about him from the start.

    • says

      Sharon, you make an interesting point about if a man doesn’t like your naturalness, that it tells you something about him from the start. What type of things does it tell you? If anyone else agrees or understands her point of view, please chime in and give your perspective as well.

      • Sharon says

        Hi Jael, thank you for asking about my perspective – Well one, if a man is set against natural hair, it may tell me that he may not be fully aware/knowledgeable about why women go natural, and that’s it’s not another fad or the “in” thing. Could mean he cares too much about what others would think when they see him with a natural. Could mean he thinks the only way women are attractive is if they have that long, straight hair as those seen in the videos. Could possibly make him feel that’s he’s not in control if in a relationship. At this point, once we begin to dialogue, the conclusions can be drawn. I haven’t had any problems with anyone disliking my hair, that I know of, but of course it wouldn’t really matter because I have more to offer than hair. Thanks again Jael! I haven’t had an opportunity to ask any brothers, so I hope that my comment wasn’t too far out in left field.

        Sharon

  17. Christiana says

    Kenneth, this is a really awesome story. You guys are so talented. I’m glad that you and Jael started a natural hair blog. I love reading articles like this.

  18. Zelaika says

    I really enjoyed reading part 1 of this story. My husband also had a difficult time with my transition from permed hair to natural. I think he was caught up in the belief that long straight hair was attractive and everything else was not. It was hurtful to not have his support and to think he valued my long straight hair more than who I am on the inside. He has improved but I still believe he would prefer the old me if he could choose.

    • says

      Zelaika – My prayer is that things will continue to get better for you. Going natural can be difficult for the individual going natural and their family and friends. If there is anything that we can do to help, let us know. I recently wrote an article called How to Tell Your Spouse that You’re Going Natural and I think it might offer some tips that would help in your situation.

      Let me know if you want to chat. @Jael and I are really here to help.

      Kenneth

  19. MEGAN says

    Your best point is that a woman is so much more than the length or shape of her hair. Grow your hair naturally, and go for a trim for split ends. But split ends are caused by all these unnatural products, therefore don’t use them at all and find that trims and split ends will come less and less and less.

    Indeed, for years I too have taken my precious time and money to butcher my natural or you might say God given hair, but for too many years have I spent my time and money in the wrong way.

    Spend it in the right way, not on your hair anymore. Just let it be. The only reason you spend money on it is because you have spent money on it to damage it, don’t you/we see the vicious cycle?

    In the same quest, MEGAN

  20. Judy says

    I don’t mean to sound mean, however, WHY DO WE AS WOMEN MAKE ALL OUR DECISIONS BASED ON WHAT MEN THINK????????? Why do we keep catering to men about the way we look and/or want to look??

    When are we all going to put ourselves first?? I went natural 6months ago. I didn’t even ask my husband what he thought about my decision. If he loves me, he loves me PERIOD!!!! Why should it matter that I cut my hair???? Men don’t ask us before they change things. It’s not like he is going to ask me if I want him to be muscular before he starts or stops working out..

    Ladies, it is time we took control over our own destiny whether a MAN likes it or not….

    -Judy

    • Kenneth says

      Hi Judy – I wouldn’t say all women make their decisions based on what men think, but if a women has a spouse, boyfriend, father, brother or etc. it could very well factor into their decision making. There is a real concern about what men think, because there are some men who have reacted negatively towards natural hair. Actually, many men continue to respond negatively. I think that you will find that validation (from another person) helps the individual feel comfortable communicating with you (man or otherwise). When a little girl gets validation from her father it can mean the world to her. So, I hear what you’re saying, but emotionally validation is important and honestly I think each us – male or female – like to have some form of validation from family or friends.

      Kenneth

  21. niph says

    My life is the opposite. My other half would probably go mad if suggested a perm. Interesting read. I love my natural hair (always did) permed when I was younger because of my Mom but the chemical gave me literal H—.

    • Kenneth says

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the story and that your home life is the exact opposite. It’s great that you have your husband’s support.

  22. Zina says

    My husband wasn’t too sure about me doing a big chop. He liked the long, wavy look of my permed hair. So I transitioned for a while and big chopped when I had enough new growth (about 2 inches) to put in box braids extensions. I kept the braids in for two months at a time as my hair grew out. He never saw me without the braids, so he didn’t know what my natural hair looked like (nor was he curious) – he just figured I put in braids for a different look. Once I finally reached the one year mark, I let him see it. He was surprised that I had so much natural hair. I’m loving it and he hasn’t said anything negative about it. And I wear protective styles 99% of the time, so it’s not out much right now anyway. I’m looking forward to wow-ing him again after a 2nd full year of growth.

  23. Ann says

    I was unlucky where I didn’t have much of a choice to go natural, so my husband listened to what I wanted/needed to do and gave me his full support, even our children said they thought it was a wonderful idea (they’ve always been natural). My husband told me that he didn’t marry me for my hair, plus he said my hair grows so fast that I’d hardly miss it when I did the big chop.

  24. Beatrice says

    I have been natural almost all my life, relaxed for 1 year, back home people were used to me with natural hair and guys approached me with or without braids. I have had mostly short hair. But in the US, it is different, people make you begin to wonder if what you thought was beautiful truly is or not. I occasionally braid my hair and take them down whenever I feel like. People get shocked when I take my braids down and then tell me that they like my hair in braids when I get them re-braided. I feel really bad, it means they don’t like my hair the way it is, I should always have braids on. They get disappointed when I take my braids off, they ask why I took off my braids. I’m really scared to meet a guy here unless I meet a guy who first like me with my natural hair, I can’t see myself dating. With all these, I have never thought of relaxing my hair again.

  25. Theresa says

    My natural hair was my choice, for the simple fact that I realized that perming my hair was unhealthy and wrong for me. Point blank, period. It caused breakage in the crown of my head, and scalp burns and the overall health of my hair was suffering. So I just quit. And I transitioned using wigs. It allowed me to change up my hairstyles so much that my boyfriend couldn’t keep up. A few of my wig choices were not to his liking, and others were. I think he prefers my natural hair. I usually wear it in a bun or in a round, Jackson 5 Afro. I think that it all comes down to understanding our type of hair and what makes it flourish and achieve a healthy state. Furthermore, we have to love what we are born with and be confident with it.

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