Does Natural Hair Equal A Healthier Lifestyle?

Bibi McGill

After getting to know many black women with natural hair via the web and a few personally, I’ve become curious as to whether a link exists between natural hair and healthy living. More often than not I’ve found that black women with natural hair are vegetarian, vegan, or eat health consciously. They exercise regularly and are very knowledgeable about harmful ingredients in hair products and food. Many hair forums have linked healthy hair to healthy eating, but I wonder if natural hair in itself is an incentive to adopt a healthy lifestyle?

For me personally, it has been. I remember mixing my own hair products after watching some demonstrations on youtube and thinking about making more of my own products. I became very interested in making bath and body products and making most of my food from scratch. After finding out about some of the harmful ingredients in hair products, I began to examine the ingredients in all of my products. I became much more environmentally conscious. I also started to take exercise more seriously. I wanted my entire body inside and out to be healthy and beautiful.

The researcher in me wonders- are black women with natural hair physically healthier than black women with chemically-straightened hair? Research shows that vegetarians and vegans live longer than meat-eaters (Eating Ecologically), studies show that those who exercise regularly live longer than those who don’t (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Do black women with natural hair live longer than their counterparts? Maybe I’m reading too much into this…or am I?

If this is the case should we be more adamantly promoting natural hair in the black community, if for nothing more than the health benefits? Black Americans have higher infant mortality rates than all other racial/ethnic groups and we have a shorter life span as well (Macionis, 2010; Kendall, 2011; Feagin, 2011). Many illnesses that plague Black Americans are directly related to our diets (i.e., high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol). Of course many other variables come into play when examining life span, like economic standing, housing, and access to resources. So we cannot state definitively that natural hair will prolong the lives of black women, however, if there are any health benefits at all it can’t hurt to share this information in our community.

-Evelyn

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5 thoughts on “Does Natural Hair Equal A Healthier Lifestyle?

  1. It started with my hair I figured since I wasn't putting any chemicals in my hair anymore why not look at what I was putting inside my body and so on

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