Undefined Curls Equals Unkempt Hair?

I have been trying VERY hard not to comment on the whole Solange Hair Saga. However, in light of my recent quest for  ‘perfect curl definition’, I feel a few questions arising .

My recent natural hair experiment on trying to get curl definition was inspired by several discussions I had seen on the online natural hair community, where curl definition seems to be the MUST-HAVE.  I have noticed a lot people perpetually chasing after this or that wonder product that is meant to give them perfectly spiralled ringlets, regardless of their hair types.  It seems like your hair is not ‘done’ if you don’t have curl definition going  on

I have never been one that particularly cared about getting perfectly defined curls because I know:

  • My hair type will never give me type 3 curls
  • As long my hair is healthy & moisturised it will achieve its own definition, which does not look like ringlets.
  • My hair can & DOES look good, with or without curl definition.

The picture below of my hair was taken last summer whilst on holiday in Cyprus.  This was how my hair looked like after several days of swimming, both in salty sea water & chlorinated pool water.  I didn’t use any products to get this look – this look was very natural, very organic and my coils were quite random.  I got more compliments on my hair in this state then when I wear twist-outs, coil-outs etc.

Paige Ellean - blogger natural hair, beauty, fashion, curly hair, afro, model, 4b, UK, British, london,

I have personally found the recent attacks on Solange & her curls rather disgusting.   The whole debacle began when Curly Nikki posted this Article  about Solange & her natural hair – which was about the interview she had with Essence.  Whilst some of the comments left on the Curly Nikki article were positive & encouraging, many others were negative enough to have one of my friends, Moderne Meid, a UK natural hair blogger, express her distaste HERE. 

Now Solange came across my friend’s blog post and boy was she NOT happy about the vile comments made about her natural hair!  She responded via her Twitter exactly what she thought about the nay sayers and just like that……the whole drama erupted, with several blogs, forums and online media discussing the issue of Solange, her natural hair and what constitutes ‘appropiate natural hair’! *rolls eyes*

First of all, kudos to Moderne Meid for highlighting a prevalent issue within the natural hair/black community and bringing this topic to the forefront for frank discussion.

Secondly, kudos to Solange for standing her ground against the natural hair ‘police’ and wearing her hair with pride – the way she sees fit!

I have always admired the fact that she chooses not to coax her hair into perfect curls, only achievable via the use of products.  Like me, she focuses on keeping her hair healthy and her hair does look great for it!

Yet, she met a barrage of insults from several ‘curlies’ who branded her hair ‘unkempt’, ‘dry’ and akin to ‘the look of a homeless person’  All this, simply because she lets her natural hair texture do its own thing, rather than coaxing it into perfectly defined curls.

In fact, in the article above from the Daily Mail, one of the many nasty comments said:  Thandie Newton’s hair is gorgeous! That is the correct way to wear “natural” hair. Solange’s hair is just nappy! She should borrow one of Beyonce’s weaves

My last blog post (which was rather tongue-in-cheek) highlighted the ridiculousness  of the eternal search for curl definition & the lengths some people would go to get those ringlets.  I kid you not, there are lots of people who are taking the Coca Cola hair treatment seriously and using it on a regular basis!

Why can’t people just embrace and work with their own natural hair texture, instead of  trying to make it do what it can’t naturally do on its own?

Why is it that someone who chooses not to have defined curls is branded dirty, unkempt, homeless hobo?

Does undefined curls equals ‘undone’ hair?  Is the hair only ‘done’ when it is perfectly curled?

EDITED – 13 jUNE 2012, 9PM:

Thank you to everyone who RT & shared my latest blog post. From the messages, comments & reactions I have received, it is clear that a lot of you are similarly enraged at the attack on Solange for her afro.

It is also very clear that many of you, like me, are not overly obsessed about curl definition and are more concerned about the health of the hair.

Please share & RT the article to help continue the raise awareness.
The more we embrace & flaunt our ‘undefined coils’, the more the world and those around us will embrace and accept that our natural hair texture is beautiful just the way it is.

The more images of natural hair there are out there, the more the world/natural hair community will have a reference point as to what is truly natural hair texture

Whilst I am not against the use of curl definers, we must remember that if 90% of us naturals are wearing our natural hair 90% of the time in defined curls (aided by the use of products or techniques), then our community around us will have no reference point as to what is normal natural hair.

So whether our true texture is coily, zig zag, curly, kinky or even candy flossy…let us flaunt our true selves and not all mould ourselves to the same template.

You, me and everyone of us can make that difference, destroy the stereotypes & educate the ignorant simply by how we present ourselves and of course, our hair.


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15 thoughts on “Undefined Curls Equals Unkempt Hair?

  1. I personally like when my curls are undefined. I like the style that solange rocks because it is “free” I personally feel that natural hair should be just that, Natural. I do not feel that it is neccessary to define each and every curl in order to look like you have your hair done. It is nice sometimes to just let it be… Although i am a no comb girl, somedays when i am rushing instead of working to define my curls I will moisturize my hair, pick it out and then rub my hands back and forth all over it achieving that “wild look” The natural Hair community is supposed to be welcoming, and it sadens me that we as a community are starting to be so judemental. I love solange’s hair especially when it has no weave or tampered additives. Good post.

  2. I was pretty disturbed by all of those comments to her. It’s her hair. I think it looks good on her that way. It fits for her. That’s how a hairstyle should be. It should fit the person wearing it. Curl definition should not be the ultimate quest. People spend hundreds of dollars trying to get curls. Solange shouldn’t be insulted because that isn’t her goal.

  3. i think if more of use threw in the towel and just wear it in an afro then it will become more popular.who has time to twist each night and all that manipulation is not good for our ends anyway.

    • Right on, Tope! All the manipulation is definitely not good for the hair. I do not re-twist or re-braid each night. I just spritz, seal, roll into a bun and off to bed I go

  4. I like the way she wears her hair. It’s sad to say but it seems as though natural hair will never be fully accepted by some.

  5. This is really deep.Big ups!!!wonderful insight.it’s got me thinking how i try effortlessly to get curls defined in my hair.

  6. This onslaught on Solonge is utter BS!!! her hair is perfectly fine. her hair is probably more healthy than most. when my hair is its natural form, most of it is wavy, straight even, with a mini coil on the ends (if im lucky)! so does that mean its unkempt? she has such a natural beauty hair and all. society (i.e media) need to look at the bigger picture. this vexes my soul! it really does!

  7. I hope Solange doesn’t give in to the negativity. Like she said she’s not the spokesperson for natural hair and she does natural hair her way so everyone just needs to leave her alone.

  8. I also refrained from commenting because I didn’t care one way or the other. Do what you do, Solange. I really don’t even think the diatribe was necessary.

    But to answer your question…yes, undefined curls do equal ‘undone hair’ to most black people. Just because we’ve accepted our hair in its natural state doesn’t men that everyone else has, too.

    Sometimes I forget that as a natural hair enthusiast many of the natural hair things that are everyday and normal to me are novel to the average black woman.

    Solange’s hair, to me, is nothing to bat an eye. After all, I’ve rocked that look many times. However, to the regular black woman on the street, this look is often considered messy and unkempt, as proven by the criticism that sparked Solange’s rant.

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  12. I like the way Solange keeps her hair. I think it’s pretty. It looks healthy and cared for. I actually just made a comment about not wanting my child’s hair to look unkept and this is definitely wasnt what I was talking about.

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