"Natural hair" movement gains followers among Afro-American women

A New York Times article published this week describes how more and more women with Afro-textured hair are flocking to YouTube channels and product sites that support "going natural," growing hair out and stopping chemical treatments.

The movement, which was previously detailed in Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair and which led to last month's World Natural Hair Health and Beauty Show in Atlanta drawing 50,000 visitors this year (up from 8,000 in 2006), has entered the mainstream, writes author Jamila Bey, but it isn't the most unproblematic of beauty trends.

"Many women with Afro-textured hair have not seen it in its unadulterated state since childhood. And even some who are acquainted with the texture of their untreated tresses are not comfortable styling their hair in ways they believe are fashionable and appropriate for them. Figuring out which of the countless hair-care tools and products on the market might work can make the undertaking even more overwhelming."

Enter a new generation of beauty bloggers who are taking to social media in addressing "natural hair": Nikki Mae aka Natural Chica, for instance, is raking in thousands of YouTube views for her hair tutorials that aim to help with getting used to the new texture and look.

Kim Love, who also self-published a book called Grow It (entering the top ten best-selling books on Amazon), left her management consulting career to explain tools and accessories in videos - one tutorial on how to make hair conditioner with castor oil and aloe vera juice got about a million hits, Bey writes - and to sell them through her online store, LuvNaturals.com.

But psychotherapist Alicia Nicole Walton knows that "going natural" is about far more than products, explaining to the NYT that Afro-textured hair is often subject to discussions on "self-esteem and body image," which she regularly prompts on her site CurlyNikki.com,

Walton has also created a free phone app that helps with shopping for the right products.

Read the full article at http://nyti.ms/my4joU.