The Summer of the Natural Updo

headbackLabour Day has come and gone, which means that my favourite season of the year is now pretty much over…sigh!  It’s been quite the summer though: my hubby and I have attended six weddings so far (and we still have one more on deck for October!)

My old go-to wedding updo

Out of those six weddings, I was a bridesmaid in three of them; so, you know, my hair had to be on point! And nothing says “wedding hair” to me more than an elegant updo.  There was a time when that “elegance” meant having to blow my hair out, flat-ironing it as straight as possible, and slicking my fancy bun, wrap, or roll back using a hard-bristled brush and (what would feel like) half a jar of EcoStyler® gel to make sure that it would stay sleek; and then hoping and praying that on the wedding day that (a) it wouldn’t be humid, (b) it wouldn’t rain, or (c) I wouldn’t sweat my style out during the outdoor photos…or while turning up on the dance floor at the reception.

Thanks to the Natural Hair Movement, however, textured updos are now more acceptable than ever (to the point where I was even in a wedding this year where the bride only wanted to see textured styles on her bridesmaids! Never thought I’d live to see the day!)

Natural bridesmaids - Gen's Wedding

All naturalista bridesmaids!

Although we’ve come a long way, I still found myself asking the brides if they were okay with me wearing cornrowed styles in their weddings—even though I think that braids are just as beautiful as the next style, I know that not everyone feels that way.  Needless to say, the brides this year approved of my textured style choices; so it turned out to be “the summer of the natural updo” for me, courtesy of none other than my hairdresser sister, Sarah Anderson of Sarah Naomi’s Hair Care & Beauty.

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Check out Sarah’s masterpieces on social media: @iamsarahnaomi

Here’s a snapshot of what my summer wedding hair looked like:

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Sarah & Me - Gen's Wedding Sarah & Me - Gen's Wedding #2

20150801_172401 imagejpeg_3 efua's wedding

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 What about you? Would you wear a natural updo to a wedding or some other formal event?

Are cornrowed or textured styles “elegant enough”, or is straightened hair the way to go?

“He loves me from my hair follicles to my toenails…”

What are you going to do with your hair on your wedding day?

When I was teenager, one of my guy friends would always ask me: “what are you going to do with your hair on your wedding day? You’re not going to wear it natural, are you? You’re going to have to perm it!”

I used to say to him: “if I met a guy who liked me enough to want to marry me, that would mean he would have had to have liked me, natural hair and all! So why on earth would I change my hair on the day when I would want to look my absolute best for him? I highly doubt that he would appreciate that kind of shock on his wedding day.”

My friend would laugh at me, and insist that I would perm or at least straighten my hair on my wedding day. He was also ready to put money on it because he couldn’t imagine the thought of a bride not having straight hair on her Big Day. What he was basically saying to me was that “you can’t look pretty with natural hair on your wedding day!”

May 31st: a day to celebrate love

Well, today is my 1st wedding anniversary, and it’s also, coincidentally, International Natural Hair Meetup Day– so, for me, it’s a day to celebrate love for my husband and love for myself, too!

A year ago, I married the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful, amazing man I know!

And on my Big Day, my hair was natural…

Wedding - Natural Hair #1

Photo credit: Matthew Kozovski Hair: Danika Battieste-Geddes Makeup: Soraya Prado

Wedding - Natural Hair #2

Photo credit: Matthew Kozovski Hair: Danika Battieste-Geddes Makeup: Soraya Prado

Wedding - Natural Hair #3

My Mom and Auntie – both naturalistas – tying me into that dress! Photo credit: Matthew Kozovski Hair: Danika Battieste-Geddes Makeup: Soraya Prado

 

Believe it or not, my now-hubby would not have wanted it any other way…

Back then…

When we were still dating, one day I decided to switch it up and flat-iron my hair. My-then-boyfriend was not happy- and I was shocked! Why? Because I was so accustomed to guys giving me a lot more positive attention when my hair was straightened.

I have a distinct memory from undergrad of the first time I went to Mass Appeal salon in Atlanta to get my hair “whipped”. When I left that salon, please believe, my hair was “laid”—and the reaction I got from my male friends was astounding! It was as if they had never seen me before—all of a sudden, I had been transformed into this “hot” girl…who they now wanted to talk to, lol! (To be honest, I enjoyed the attention, but what I didn’t enjoy was that my hair took the press too well: it took several weeks to wash it out of my hair, and some of the ends refused to turn back…so I had to cut them! Not cool!)

At the time, I didn’t realize that straightening my hair was such a big deal. I figured, I’m the same person, with the same face, just with a different hairdo; but clearly, straightening your hair was the “sexy” thing to do.

Needless to say, I was expecting my boyfriend to go crazy about my new ‘do. But his response was less than satisfactory:

 “Why did you do that to your hair?” he asked when I got into the car. “It’s so flat and weird now,” he said, as he ran his fingers through and rubbed my scalp.

 “Um, what’s that supposed to mean? You don’t think I look pretty?” (I can honestly say I was a little bit irked by his reception because it had taken me over an hour to straighten it by myself, and this was not the reaction I was expecting.)

 “Yeah, of course you look pretty; but it’s not the hairstyle that looks pretty: it’s your face!”

And that, my friends, was the day I fell in love with him! I’m just kidding! But knowing that he liked my hair—just the way it was—did make a world of difference to me! From then on, I didn’t have worry about whether he was just “accepting” my natural hair—I knew that he actually liked it. Which also meant that there was no pressure on my end to try to change it to “keep” him.

I count myself blessed and I am so grateful for his love.

My soul sista, Jill Scott, captures it so well:

You love me especially different every time

You keep me on my feet happily excited

By your cologne, your hands, your smile, your intelligence

You woo me, you court me, you tease me, you please me

You school me, give me some things to think about

Ignite me, you invite me, you co-write me, you love me, you like me

You incite me to chorus, ooh…

 You’re different and special

You’re different and special in every way imaginable

You love me from my hair follicles to my toenails

You got me feeling like the breeze, easy and free and lovely and new…

(Excerpt from “He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)” by Jill Scott and Keith Pelzer)

He loves me

He loves me… Photo credit: Matthew Kozovski Hair: Danika Battieste-Geddes Makeup: Soraya Prado

 

When you meet someone who loves you from your hair follicles to your toenails, and everywhere in-between, be sure to hold on to them!

Happy Anniversary to The Love of my Life!

And Happy International Natural Hair Meetup Day to all naturalistas around the world! Visit this link for events near you: http://nnhmd.com/about-the-event/

How are you spending your International Natural Hair Meetup Day?