The Struggle of Being Natural As A Teen

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By Kai Washington-Brown

Being a teenager with natural hair most definitely is not the easiest task in the in the world. It is impossible to schedule life around your hair alone. School work, extracurricular activities, family functions, part time jobs, spending time with friends, and hours on twitter and instagram can all get in the way of having time to tame the mane. Sometimes you have to make choices and sacrifices because either your obligations are more important OR your hair is just a hot mess and it is critical that you find some way to style it. So you must make your choices wisely. Negative criticism or that ugly “b” word (bullying) can get in the way as well.  

School is a major factor that gets in the way of doing your natural hair as a teen. Personally, in the mornings, it is THE STRUGGLE trying to find something to do to my hair if it is not already in a particular style. I have to find a way to do my hair in at least 5 minutes and at most 10, because I still have to get ready! And I’m sure that is the same with other natural teens in high school or in college. Besides getting ready in the morning, homework and projects can get in the way too. Especially when you know that you’re due for a good wash.

School is important, very important, and you should not put your school life on the back burner for anyone or anything; but you should try to find some way to squeeze in time to take care of your hair. Spreading work out and not trying to get everything done at one time will allow you at least a space to dedicate to your hair. I suggest picking a day and time that you usually are free doing absolutely nothing. For most teenagers like myself this could be a day  after school during the week or a Sunday afternoon after church.

Let’s not forget how much we also love to be a part of extracurricular activities whether it be sports, clubs, community service, etc. and I know you love to spend time with friends and go out and have fun! However, sometimes you have to turn those friends down and say “Look girl it’s wash day”. And that sucks… a lot. So again it comes down to you being able to manage your time.

Other than the time management aspect of natural hair as a teen, dealing with pressure from other girls who don’t have natural hair can be hard and mostly annoying. When long hair and getting the best weave money can buy is the trend, it can be hard to find people who are on the same page. It can also be hard to learn to accept our true beauty and express who we really are when other people just do not support you. Being a teenager, I understand that other teens can be very critical. I live in an area where natural hair is not seen very often, so straight hair and weave are hairstyles that majority of teenage girls wear, however I consider myself a trendsetter because after I cut my hair and went natural lots of girls in my school complimented me, asked me tons of questions and shortly they decided to go natural. So when girls with straight hair ask, “Are you ever going to straighten your hair” or “You look like a boy with your hair cut so short like that” it can be the most annoying thing in the world to hear someone say. There are always going to be naysayers, but you have to stay what’s true to you and keep your personal goals in mind and forget about what the haters say.

In the end, you know what is best for your and you know what your perspectives are on your own natural hair. No one can take that away from you. Be true to yourself all while managing your time because it is certainly possible to neglect your natural hair. And we cannot let that happen. Keep your best interest in mind and everything will fall right into place. We natural teens know we can make it!

Kai Headshot About The Author:  Kai Washington-Brown, is a high school junior dedicated to her education as well as her natural hair. She is known by many in her community for her excellence in academics and community involvement.  She is a notable dancer; as has been dancing for 14 years of her 17 year life. Chat with Kai on Twitter.