Going Natural in Midlife—Now That’s a Crisis!

September 23, 2011

I chose to go natural in July of 2008 in preparation for my move to Dallas, Texas.  At the time I was sporting a cute short haircut with relaxed hair.   At the time, in Cleveland, Ohio; natural hair WAS NOT the move and anyone with natural hair was an oddity!  Additionally, I was becoming disenchanted with the whole “getting your hair done” routine (for a multitude of reasons!) and I decided that when I moved to Texas I was just going to cut my hair off and wear it “short & curly”.  I was “over” the following circumstances that come with getting your hair done:

Summer 2008

    paying the stylist ($75 w/o the tip!!) to allow me to sit in the shop from 8a-5p; while I watch/wait for 7 other people get their hair done

  • paying the stylist to quadruple book the first appointment slot with me and 3 other ladies and for the stylist to arrive 2 hours late
  • having to add-on an extra $20 to my bill for the babysitter I must have in order for me to sit in the shop ALL DAY
  • having 2 inches of hair, yet it takes the stylist 4-5 hours to wash, condition, wrap, and curl my hair

the stylist looking for a tip after all that!

I had decided that I would not search for a new stylist in Texas because I thought it would be a waste of money to get my hair done in the Texas heat; I did not feel like trying to find a reputable, reasonable and professional stylist, and I liked my “short & curly” look. So right before I moved, I went to the Barber Shop and requested that he shave me down to brush waves (CHILL—I was nearly bald-headed already with my short relaxed haircut!) and thus started my natural hair journey (however, at the time I was clueless about the “natural hair community”!!!)

Fall 2008

After moving to Texas, I discovered the natural hair community on YouTube with my initial encounter being meganjerae’s natural hair journey.  Then I saw that soooo many women in the DFW area were natural.  I am talkin’ big-afro-bantu-knotted-twisted-out-‘til-you-shout NATURAL!  That made me buy the farm on continuing on my hair natural hair journey and started my goal of growing long natural hair.

December 2008

All of my female relatives have voiced their desire to “go natural in their older years”, but none of them have made the leap.  When they first saw me with my teeny weeny afro (TWA) their reaction was less than endearing, but as my hair has progressed, they are warming up to beauty of hair in its natural state.  Even my mother, who swears by a relaxer and flat-iron, likes my 2-strand twist (go figure???)

Summer 2009

So I share this story to say that my reasons for going natural where strictly out of laziness, frustration and quite frankly by accident.  I am not a vegan or “save the world” type chick, nor do I confine myself strictly to the usage of “natural” products.  However, I am beginning to understand the importance of using “natural” products for purposes of retaining hair length.  Would I advise women to go natural in Midlife?  ABSOLUTELY!  During this time of your life is when most women will see a decrease or halt in monthly hair growth or may even begin to lose hair.  I believe African-American hair is the healthiest in its natural state.  Hair growth is faster and more consistent; if you take proper care of your hair you will have little to no damage (i.e. no split ends or ends clipping required!); and believe or not; there are a lot of styling options. 

Summer 2011

Taking care of natural hair is time-consuming, but no more time-consuming than the amount of time you spend doing “charity work” (i.e. going to pick up your stylist’s lunch and kids!!!) at the hair salon!!!  At the end of the day hair styling is a personal choice and do what makes YOU happy because I am definitely doing what makes me happy…MY NATURAL HAIR!!!!

Are you a natural Middy?  Share your story and comments here….


One comment

  1. Thank YOU to the sista & author of this article “A BLACK WOMAN’S MIDLIFE” I love your story. I have been chemical free for well over 7 years but I just started learning how to really care for my natural locks over the past two years. I am 44yrs old and I have very fine strands of kinky hair and I love it. I am actually quite proud of my natural hair and it’s not even long. I have lots of fun with it and the versatility seems endless. I am single, never married and I thought going natural would hinder me further in the search for that special someone; but as I get older, I realize that if someone is going to love me then my hair won’t stop them. I AM NOT MY HAIR, but it is a reflection of me and bears my individualism. So, I’m moving right along and enjoying my natural hair along the way. I keep my FOTKI album (listed as Newlynatu-rale1 on it) updated and it is fun to see how my hair is progressing and I’m able to keep track of good styles that work for me and NOT REPEAT the ones that didn’t work so well. (LOL). I too live here in Texas (Dallas) and I moved here from Ohio (Canton) and have found the whole move (hair and all) to be very liberating. My hair doesn’t seem to grow as fast as the young ladies that I’ve followed on YouTube and that’s okay, it still works well for me. So, if there are other MID-LIFER’S out there struggling with the thought of going natural, I’d say, “Try It, You’re gonna like It!!” (smile).

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