Nashville women ‘go natural' for healthier hair - WSMV News 4

Nashville women ‘go natural' for healthier hair

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"Going natural" is a movement that's slowly sweeping across the country. But, what does it mean?

"I think women are embracing their God-given hair," said Blair Fleming.

"The natural hair care movement represents the freedom to be, the freedom to love yourself as who you are," said Charmaine Gibbs-West, the founder of Essence Tree Holistic Life.

In simple terms, going natural is a process many African American women are exploring in which they've stopped using chemical relaxers to straighten their hair, and instead are wearing it in its natural state.

While creating these natural hair styles can be tedious and painful at times, a lot of women say they'd rather put in the work to stay natural than put chemicals in their hair to straighten it.

"It's a place of not being dependent on a chemical to manage our hair," Fleming said.

"Now that they're choosing natural hair, they're choosing natural ingredients to work with the natural hair," said Gibbs-West. "It's giving their bodies a break from all the buildup of toxic chemicals," she added.

 Be it, kinky, curly, puffy or wavy, many naturalistas have said the style isn't just about outer beauty.

"It also goes deeper than natural hair," Fleming said. "It's self-acceptance, self-love, and confidence."

 At Nashville's first Natural Hair and Wellness Expo it's also about physical health.

"When women start to go into the natural hair they start to understand their diet, said Marie Walker, the project manager for the expo. "They start to understand the products that they're using. So, we also added the element of wellness."

These women are not only sharing styles and products, they're defining a new standard of natural beauty.

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