I remember when I first decided to go natural. I confided in my friend and she asked me why I wanted to do something like that and what would I do with my hair? At the time I wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but the look on her face told me she did not approve and it totally discouraged me from even attempting to go natural. It took me two years after this conversation to get up the nerves to start transitioning; this time I didn’t ask anyone’s opinion nor did I reveal my plan to anyone.

After being natural for a few months, I continuously heard things like, “See, you can wear your hair like that, but I could never get away with it”, or “I would go natural, but I don’t want to wear an afro or locs”. There are many natural styles that fit different personalities and lifestyles. I quickly learned that natural hair is much more diverse than relaxed hair; not only can natural hair be straightened to mock relaxed hair, but it can also be coiled, twisted, curled, braided, knotted and much more.

I’ve had many of my customers complain about wearing their natural hair to a wedding, a graduation, or some other special celebrations, so they decide to straighten it when these occasions arise. They either press it or get their “last” relaxer because they can’t go with “nappy” hair. The first thing I say to these people is that they have to change their psychology when thinking about what is acceptable and beautiful, especially if their hair is the opposite of this. Also, there isn’t only one style that is acceptable when celebrating a special occasion; be open-minded and don’t be afraid to be creative. Here are some tips on how to wear your natural hair to a special occasion.

If your hair is short, coils can be very sassy and sexy and a twist out can also fit the occasion.

You don’t always have to wear your hair up or pulled back, but if you do decide on these styles, be sure your hair is long enough so you don’t have to use a lot of bobby pins; this may ruin the entire style.

Feel free to adorn your hair with hair accessories. I’ve even hooked a cowrie shell earring into my twists to add a little flair.

Braids can be very eloquent and are very versatile. You can wear the hair French braided into a bun, or you can spiral curl box braids.

Think about the occasion and where it will be held. You may want to wear your hair pinned up if the occasion is at a windy outside wedding or in a funky, chunky Mohawk if the occasion is fun birthday party.

Don’t try to make your natural hair do what relaxed hair does; the texture is different and it may cause more frustration than anything.

There are countless natural styles that are eloquent, fun, sassy and just plain beautiful that can meet the satisfaction of any celebration. I would always suggest trying the style out well before the occasion so you aren’t stuck with it if you don’t like it. I would also suggest finding images of natural hair styles and taking them to your stylist or practice them on yourself in advance so that you are comfortable with it when the time comes (although the next time you do it, it may not come out exactly the same; that’s the beauty of natural hair). Instead of trying to make your natural hair conform, embrace it and celebrate it!

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