14 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman With Natural Hair

Jacqueline Laurean Yates

Natural hair that is curly, wavy, kinky, or dreadlocked has become increasingly represented in society and media, largely because black women are stripping away the shame that has been attached to their textured strands and celebrating their crowning glory.

Social media-led movements like the #BlackHairChallenge and #NaturalHairIsProfessional, and celebrities, including Lupita Nyong’o, Solange, and Yara Shahidi, have helped to propel women of color with natural hair to the forefront. But unfortunately, there are still lots of people who don’t quite understand natural hair and feel the need to treat it like an intricate science project.

Genuinely intrigued or unabashedly aloof about the complexities of natural hair, people’s comments and questions often arise that may come off as rude, or even worse, racially insensitive. Asking “Can I touch it?” and then reaching in to grab someone’s hair without getting a clear “yes” or “no” is inappropriate. FYI: Women with naturally textured hair are not petting zoos.

To gain a deeper understanding as to why that question and reaction can come off as odd or impolite and spark an enlightening conversation, we asked 14 beauty bloggers, influencers, and editors who proudly rock their natural hair to reveal the most annoying things they’ve heard regarding their hair texture. Scroll along and take note!

Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:

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What Not to Say to a Woman With Natural Hair

Fourteen women of color open up about some of the weirdest comments they have ever received regarding their hair texture. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Jade Kendle

Reality check: A woman rocking her naturally volumious curls is just as sexy as someone wearing it straight. The term “sexy” isn’t defined solely by someone’s hair texture.
Follow Jade on Instagram at @lipstickncurls for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Jessica Cruel

Reality check: “There are so many things wrong with this statement,” says Cruel. “First if all, you are touching my hair. Second of all, it implies that you are flabergasted that my kinky, coily hair is soft. I use deep conditioner on the regular and of all the comparisons somebody could make cotton?! Really?!”
Follow Jessica at self.com for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Jamé Jackson

Reality check: “While I try to believe it’s well-intentioned, it’s not a compliment to me,” says Jackson. “Those of us with locs are all beautiful in our own unique ways. I love to show people you can have the hairstyle and do multiple things with it in a professional setting, but don’t flatter me with a backhanded compliment.”
Follow Jamé on Instagram @theblondemisfit for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Patrice Yursik

Reality check: “Even at this stage of the natural hair game, there are relatives that will ask me this, and suggest that I wear my hair straight to satisfy their desires. I wear my hair natural because this is how I love it, point blank,” says Yursik.
Follow Patrice on Instagram @afrobella for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Chanel Parks

Reality check: It is pretty darn annoying to assume someone’s TWA (teeny weeny Afro) would feel “rough.” It comes off negative and borderline offensive. Avoid it.
Follow Chanel on Instagram @chanelinezp for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Maria Antoinette

Reality check: “This is never OK to ask a complete stranger. Try starting a conversation, and allow the person to share that information if they want to share it,” says Antoinette.
Follow Maria at @themariaantoinette on Instagram for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Courtney Stradford

Reality check:Simply say, ‘I love your hair! How did you achieve that style?’ The compliment definitely butters me up, and the manner in which you ask implies you’re genuinely interested and not just gawking,” says Stradford.
Follow Courtney on Instagram @curlsandcouture for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Jessica Franklin

Reality check: Making a blind statement about someone not combing their hair is simply rude. Pause and abort before embarassing yourself.
Follow Jessica on Instagram @heygorjess for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Melissa Chanel

Reality check: We get that TSA staffs are just doing their jobs, but this is a bit much and highly offensive. There has to be another approach.
Follow Melissa on Instagram @melissachanel for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Dana Oliver

Reality check: Naturally coily hair textures can appear longer or shorter due to shrinkage after being freshly washed. It’s not that the person is doing magic tricks; it’s just the nature of their dynamic strands shrinking up when hydrated and healthy.
Follow Dana on Instagram @_danaoliver for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Cristina Gomez

Reality check: Hair should never be looked at as “too big or too small.” It’s a matter of preference for what makes the invididual wearing it comfortable.
Follow Cristina on Instagram at @barbie_conga for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Claire Sulmers

Reality check: “This is insulting because people assume that your hair is dirty or not clean,” says Sulmers. “Yes, of course I wash my hair. Perhaps not as frequently as you, but, yes, I do.”
Follow Claire on Instagram @clairesulmers for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Grasie Mercedes

Reality check: “I get people’s awe of natural hair — they are used to seeing us with straightened hair, and I guess they just assumed that’s how it was naturally,” says Mercedes. “I don’t blame them, but haven’t we all seen enough curly-hair girls at this point to know better?”
Follow Grasie on Instagram @grasiemercedes for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

Taylor Bryant

Reality check: “No, a little frizz does not qualify as being an Afro, and neither does throwing some “rag curls” in your hair, as Allure has learned in the past,” notes Bryant.
Follow Taylor on Instagram @taylahgram for more of her natural hair adventures. (Art: Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Beauty)

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