I Won’t Go Natural

Over the past few years, the natural hair movement has dominated quite a bit. I am here for it. As ever, my little country, Jamaica has been pushing boundaries on the international stage regarding what’s acceptable as beautiful hair. I am here for it!

Davina Bennett – Miss Jamaica Universe 2017

A few shining examples are the recent Miss Jamaica Universe, Davina Bennett sporting her fro while snagging her place as 2nd, runner-up in the Miss Universe competition. A spot many people worldwide agree fell short as we feel she deserved the crown. But 3rd out of 92? We’ll take it. And we’ll keep coming too, so watch out world!

Sanetta Myrie – Miss Jamaica World 2015

Other notable Jamaican queens pushing hair boundaries are Miss Jamaica World 2015, Dr. Sanetta Myrie, finishing as a top 10 contender on the world stage with her gorgeous locks.

Miss Jamaica Universe 2014, Kaci Fennel-Shirley rocked her short mane on the global stage too, ending in top 5 for the Miss Universe 2014 crown.

Kaci Fennel-Shirley – Miss Jamaica Universe 201

Even before then, there was Terri Karelle Griffiths (now Reid), Miss Jamaica World 2005 who rocked the fro and puff quite regally.

Terri Karelle Reid – Miss Jamaica World 2005

Despite this liberating shift for freedom and the appreciation for the beauty of hair in all its forms, some are, as ever fighting to turn this beautiful thing ugly. Scores of women (and possibly men) now feel entitled to spew all kinds of advice and commentary about hair, effectively attempting to ostracize black women who choose to get relaxers. It’s unfathomable that in 2017 we’ve seemed to abandon the concept of choice and preference. It seems it’s perfectly acceptable to have damaged un-cared for natural hair, as opposed to well maintained relaxed hair.

If I had a dime for every time some self-righteous woman thought it was a compliment to tell me how nice my hair would be if it was natural, I’d be rich. I am very appreciative of the natural hair movement as a black woman, and love that women are enjoying the freedom and beauty of their crowning glory. It’s our right to do so. Sometimes I think I want to go natural because it’s beautiful, but then when I think about it, I know I don’t really want to. It’s also my right to decide that it is not for me. My lifestyle, hair type and temperament do not support it, nevermind the actual transition. I know natural hair is versatile, I also know that if I were natural, I would spend so much time straightening my hair, there’s no doubt of severe heat damage, so what is the point? Simply, I’m not here for it. I am not interested.


I’m relaxed, I prize the ability to apply some moisture, take my hair down from a wrap and scrape my hair into a ponytail or bun and be out the door in 5 minutes. Anything lasting longer than that thoroughly annoys me. When I need a relaxer, roughly every 4 weeks, it takes longer to do my hair in a way that I deem presentable. Suddenly, a ponytail or a bun can take as much as 15-20 minutes to craft, following many a grunt and frustrated sighs on my part.


This has always been the case, but now that I’m a mother, it’s increased tenfold. The last thing I want to do is bother with spending 15 minutes combing through a tangled mess of 1/2 inch new growth. By the time I need to redo my hair in another ponytail, it will be tangled again and in need of a comb out. My scalp will start to become sore and tender. I don’t have whole days to dedicate to a washing regimen, or thousands to spend on an embarrassing collection of chemical-laced products we all like to think is ‘organic’. I would not be doing the transitioning thing either. After braiding for two or three months, I would hack it off. That’s just me.

I get a braid every few months, primarily because I don’t want to be bothered with hair at all for a few weeks. However, no matter the style, it won’t last more than 3-4 weeks.

Hair Type (4b/4c), Tangle Prone, Fuzz Loving

Just this past summer, I pushed the limits (I know I really shouldn’t have, but I did) and kept my braids for 7 weeks. Yikes! My hair matted at the roots, as is its tendency. When my hair is braided though, it grows twice as much, sheds twice as much. So much so, it’s my go-to’ recovery/quarantine. If I’m experiencing breaking or excessive shedding, I get braids and the problem usually corrects itself.

The point though is that I choose to have relaxed hair. Every 4-5 weeks, I to choose to re-affirm and reinforce that decision. Please don’t tell me I’m trying to be white, or self hating, or ignorant, or any other half-assed attempt at reasoning to appear ‘deep’ when potholes on Jamaican roads are deeper than your level of cognitive thinking, or attempts to be so ‘woke’ that the lack of sleep is making you psychotic.


Stop. I know what chemicals are. I went to school too. I have Google, just like you. Natural hair is beautiful. Let us bask in the liberty and appreciation for hair of types. Let us unite to prevent someone being told afro is unprofessional, unkempt, ugly or distracting. And cease and desist from trying we all must be natural to appreciate our blackness.

I might go natural one day, but it ain’t today… or tomorrow… or even the day after that.






  • alayshasw11

    I have seen natural woman with raggedy ends, edges pulled out, dry, and matted. Then there are woman with relaxers who hair is thin, clearly suffering from breakage, and damaged. As long as your hair is taken care of it should not matter whether it is natural, relaxed, colored, etc. Healthy hair should be the goal. Your hair is beautiful queen!

    • Shandean™

      Thank you for stopping by. You’re quite right. Health above all else.

  • I feel the vent haha. Well said Shandean. I’m natural and (try to) keep my hair healthy but transitioning certainly isn’t easy. It takes a while to figure out what your natural hair wants and worse, sometimes it changes over time as your hair grows which is frustrating. Eventually when you get your hair needs right, natural hair can be just as easy so whenever, if you’re ever ready at all, do give it a try :). At the end of the day though, hell it’s all yours baby, strong, healthy and beautiful 💕

    • Shandean™

      I really can’t hide my rants 😂 Girl I’m too lazy. I went natural once and one week after ‘big chóp’ I got relaxed again. I cannot 😔

  • lilianokibe

    People always like to force their decisions on others, I understand. Everyone should have the freedom to make their own decisions without people judging them. No one should feel compelled to go or remain natural, it should be a personal decision. However, caring for natural hair isn’t as stressful and time consuming as the internet portrays it to be. There are several unnecessary steps that can be skipped even if you want healthy hair. The hard part is figuring out the regimen that works for you and fits into your lifestyle which might take some time but once you do, it becomes a lot easier. I hope you give going natural a try again, not because of society’s acceptance but because you feel it’s the right time for you. That’s the only way you’ll enjoy it.❤

    • Shandean™

      Thanks for stopping by lilianokibe. I understand that, but I know for a fact that my hair high maintenance and not health-wise (my hair just requires moisture and to be left alone to grow like weed). The styling would drive me crazy, the methods I would have to employ to be able to easily style it would drive me even crazier. It’s not true that relaxed women don’t know how handle their natural hair. Some of us do, and still choose not to. It’s about preference.

  • touchinjamaica

    It’s a fact, that people never are satisfied with the things they have and always looking to the thing the don’t have. My mid european hair is straight like something and until about 15 years before I had a permanent wave every 3 months. Nowadays everyone likes to have straight hair and some girls are jeleaous about mine. Since then I am satisfied with my “Spaghetti hair”, specially since I found a very good hairdresser, who created a perfekt haircut for me.

    • Shandean™

      Haha, wanting what you don’tis have is the epitome of human nature. The thing though, is that I don’t wish I had straight hair. I relish in the ability to exercise choice. Some women stay natural because their hair/scalp can’t handle a relaxer. I love my hair, I love that it permits me to shall we say… ‘do what I want’.

      Thanks for stopping by! ☺

  • Tazanna

    I like your candid thoughts in this piece. I often tell most people that natural hair is not for everyone but if you chose to go that route, then there is a lot of hard work and patience required. Whether it is natural or relaxed the main goal should be taking care of it. I agree that everyone should always have the option to choose what works for them.

    • Shandean™

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tazanna ☺

  • With you on this! Naturally kinky / curly hair is indeed beautiful, and as a black woman I am so appreciative of its growing acceptance in the media & public over the last few years. The only time I’ll have an issue with someone diverting from their natural roots (whether straighteners or weaves) is if it is primarily because they believe that’s more beautiful / acceptable, versus for other understandable reasons such as daily maintenance.The diversity of our hair as black women, products or not, in itself is beautiful in my opinion.

    • Shandean™

      Thanks Jhunelle! I agree with your sentiments.

  • Alexis Chateau

    Getting dreads was one of the single best decisions I ever made for myself. I don’t know what you’re talking about lol. It takes me 3 seconds to fix my hair and head out the door. I unwrap the tie and toss it in the hamper and step out the door. Sometimes I apply coconut oil, especially if it’s cold. That’s 2 minutes. Tops.

    Costs me nothing but the price of the wax or gel to do my hair. I haven’t set foot in a salon in years. Touch ups can take 2 hours if I want, or I can have it all done in 15 mins and be back at the computer. No one knows the difference. I’ve learned to style what shows and leave what doesn’t, when I want to.

    To each their own, but your reasons don’t make sense to me. The most high maintenence hair style I ever had was relaxed hair. Wrapping every night, the deep conditioning, can’t get it wet… the horror! I don’t even condition my dreads 😂😂😂

    • Shandean™

      Maaann! Locks sounds like the life!! But I’m afraid of the committment 😂 And my relaxed hair really endures alot without following the rules, so I keep at it, haha.

      • Alexis Chateau

        Locks is a commitment but if you can handle marriage and kids, you can handle locks lol. I love how low maintenance it is, and how easy it is to go from homeless hippie to Ethiopian Empress in 15 minutes when I need to. 😂

  • hearthealthyloving

    Boldly and well said! Fellow relaxed girl here and ready to support lol. To avoid the tangles though, maybe try increasing the moisture levels of your hair and see if that helps.

    • Shandean™

      Oh my hair absorbs moisture like nobody’s business. I wont ever avoid root tangles though. So I’ve made peace. Thanks for stopping by.

  • lisalemuya

    I understand you completely keeping natural hair is a hustle for those who can handle it well and good

  • iamtinu

    Great post dearie.. I love the way u write..😍😍

    Check out my new post.. Its on ways to style relaxed or natural hair..

  • obeythefro

    I’m glad I ran across this! I think that it is an interesting take on the hair community as a whole. Black women are like soooo tied to their hair it’s crazy and the hair community can be a little hostile too! I think everyone should wear their hair the way they want to. As black women we have always been taught to keep our hair maintained cause if you don’t then basically you have no self worth, no one will love you, no one will hire you, you just ugly if your hair ain’t done lol. I wish that thinking would change in the community all hair choices should be embraced, yes even the matted up do’s lol everyone likes to do their own thing lol!

    • Shandean™

      Thanks! I’m glad u liked it! It’s true we are our own worst critics. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Iriowen

    Great post!🌸❤️
    It amazing other black women are thinking like me. I get bullied by our natural sisters because I am still relaxed, some of them give me unsolicited advice in public. It became ridiculous, so I ranted on one of my recent posts.

    • Shandean™

      Thank you, Iriowen. Checked out your post, I’m in total agreement!

      • Iriowen

        You are welcome! 💋

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