The Dawn of Embrace: The 1960s and the "Black Is Beautiful" Movement
The inaugural wave of the natural hair movement took form during the culturally transformative 1960s, a period marked by the rise of the "black is beautiful" ethos.
This revolutionary wave empowered people of colour to fully embrace their natural skin, facial features, and, their hair. Activist Marcus Garvey advocated that women of colour should feel free to celebrate their natural kinks and coils. He underscored that adopting Eurocentric beauty norms undermined the intrinsic beauty of Black women.
However, the journey wasn't smooth—over time, countless heads of curly, kinky, and coily hair suffered damage due to heat and chemical treatments aimed at achieving artificially straightened styles.
The Second Surge: Lorraine Massey and the Curly Girl Method
2001 marked a significant milestone in the natural hair movement when Lorraine Massey published "Curly Girl: The Handbook." This seminal work lit the fuse for the movement's second wave, equipping people with textured hair with an invaluable resource. Known for its "Curly Girl Method", the book inspired men and women alike to reclaim and nourish their natural hair textures, arming them with specialised products and innovative styling techniques.
The Global Curl Community: A Tapestry of Textures
Today, the curl community is a vibrant, inclusive space for individuals worldwide to share stories, tips, and resources related to their curly hair journeys. While the movement has historical roots in the experiences of men and women of African descent, its appeal and influence have transcended racial and ethnic boundaries. The second wave, particularly, has resonated with people of all backgrounds, embracing an array of wavy, kinky, curly, and coily hair types.
More than a Hair Affair: A Community of Support
Beyond serving as a platform for sharing haircare tips and resources, the curl community has evolved into a sanctuary for discussing life challenges that individuals face due to their unique hair textures. United in diversity, community members contribute to a more inclusive and accepting society, challenging not just aesthetic norms but social ones as well.
Through its dynamic history and evolving presence, the natural hair movement has not only transformed individual perspectives on beauty but laid the groundwork for a more inclusive society.
It is a vivid testament to how a change in personal aesthetics can blossom into a far-reaching social revolution.