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5 MORE Things I Learned And Love About My Natural Hair!

Whew! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind weekend for Good Enough Mother; actually the last few months have been, with more and more people are asking the Head GEM to come speak to their groups  (Click here if you’d like me to come talk to your organization. Yes, I know. Shameless plug). Anyway, I’m just back from the third annual Nappiology, a natural hair gathering held in Dallas-Fort Worth, a place near and dear to my heart. It was organized by the dynamo that is De Phillips Johnson, one of my hair mentors, who helped me early on in the transition from relaxed to natural.

Anyway, I tell you this to say that even though I’m 2½ years into my natural journey, I still learn new things and this weekend was like a crash course.  So here they are, 5 MORE things I learned and love about my natural hair.


*HAIR RULES: The product and the man behind it. Those of you familiar to the site know how I feel about Hair Rules but I had a chance to hang out with the creator, Anthony Dickey. Thank GOD for his vision to help those with multi-textured hair understand and unlock it’s beauty.

*ITS VERSATILITY:  Now, I’ve known Dickey a little while but this was the first time he’s done my hair. Man, was I in for a treat and when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My first thought was, “Who is THAT with all that hair?” My hair hasn’t been this healthy and strong and LONG in probably 30 years!

*THE COMMUNITY OF WHICH WE ARE A PART: And when I say we, I mean my follicles and me. It was so good for my heart and head to be in that hall with all of those women with the same goal; to have happy, healthy hair. They were just so BEAUTIFUL, underscoring once again that beauty come in all shapes, sizes and hair textures.

*THE EXAMPLE I AM SETTING FOR MY DAUGHTER: Truth be told, my heart was a little heavy when I went to Nappiology. You see, a few days prior, my hair idol, inspiration and teenage daughter,   Casey, asked me how I would feel if she got a relaxer. I tried not to scream but my heart nearly broke in two, especially in light of what I’ve been through with my own hair. When I got back home I asked her about it again and she said words that made me breathe a sigh of relief. “Mom, don’t worry about it. I was just having a bad hair day.” Then she promised to go with me next year. Whew.

*MY HAIR IS THE EXTERNAL MANIFESTATION OF MY INTERNAL SELF: Quick story: I was having lunch on my layover at the Detroit airport when a man walked by me. He didn’t look especially friendly; he had kind of a craggy, worn look about him and wore an uninviting scowl. But as he walked by, his face lit up and he drawled “You have the coolest hair.” With my mouth full of salad I mumbled,  “Oh thank you.” Then I had to look away. Why? Because I started to tear up (I know, I know). For the first time in many, MANY years, I love my hair. Scratch that; am IN LOVE with my hair. I love its coils and kinks, how unruly it is; I even love it when it’s fuzzy instead of perfectly coiffed curls. It has a mind of its own, rebels against gravity and nature, just like me.

Hair is a big, damn deal to women and I am so happy to have made peace with my locks, even at this late stage in my life. What about you? Is your hair a physical manifestation of your inner self? Are you happy with it and its representation of you or is it time for change?

Want to see more? Join my Facebook page and spy them over there! Then join in the conversation!


  1. Pleschette

    November 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Rene, you are a very beautiful inspiration to me through my transition. I haven’t had a relaxer in 2 months, and I’m committed! Thanks for your stories. 😉

  2. Ann

    November 8, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I love the line about “making peace with your locks.” I have been natural for about 4 years now and have been in sisterlocks for one year. Finally happy with my hair and focusing on my LIFE. Your daughter is beautiful and her hair is fab. But like they say in the islands “Goat don’t make sheep.” She is her mama’s daughter. Go GEM.

  3. Lashell

    November 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Great article read!! Thanks for writing it. My recent decision to go natural is one of the many changes I’m going through in my life. Lifestyle changes are happening to me. My relaxed hair isn’t a true representation of me: all put together and predictable, which I am not always. Going natural with my hair is more than about hair for me… And I’m going to stop typing before I start weeping. Again, great read! 🙂

  4. Michelle Donatto

    November 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Hi Rene,

    Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend the Nappiology event this past weekend. I had to be in Dallas with my youngest child. I was really looking forward to finally meeting you in person. 🙁

    I am so glad you wrote this piece. It’s important to spread the word about how wonderful it is to discover your natural hair after years of relaxers. I have fallen in LOVE with my hair. i ahve never in my life received so many compliments regarding my hair. No relaxer, wig or weave have ever been so highly regarded while on my head. I’ve learned so much about my hair this past year and even more about myself. I feel like I’ve FINALLY grown up and am at peace with who I am in regards to my hair. It has a personality of it’s own.

    Both of my daughters, 13 and 11, have a healthy respect for their natural hair and know that the options are nearly limitless. Articles like yours are help to aid in teaching them to love themselves as God made them.

    Thank you for continuing to inspire……………………………

  5. Ella

    November 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I love my natural hair and my natural haired sisters! That being said I love my creamy crack heads, too! I’ve been natural for 15 years and locks for 12. I always advocate natural, but in doing so I have learned that the reason for creamy crack heads (I love ’em and that name sounds so derogatory, but *they* say it)…well, the reason they love relaxers has a lot to do with their fear of self and the love of the way they look. They think they are cute and why should we think that their lifestyle choice makes them less so? I’ve come to still advocate for naturals and hope we all find a way to not need to spend all that loot and time on processing our hair, but understand, sympathize and even celebrate my “other” sisters. We are all beautiful in our own right, yes? 🙂

    A side note: I went blond a few years ago. Struggled with that because it isn’t how GOD made me. Now that was “unnatural” but still DANG GAWGEOUS! LOL

  6. Teri T

    November 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I’m posting this here instead of Facebook because there are too many family members/friends there. I want to thank you for this post. I love that you love your hair. I totally get you wanting to tear up after being given a complement on your hair. I’m at a work-related conference with my natural hair blown straight because I got tired of hearing my mother ask me when I was going to “do something” with my hair. She absolutely hates it and has no problem letting me know. She’s entitled to her opinion, I know, and what is really bothering me is that she is the ONLY person who has said anything negative about my hair. It’s crazy that I am still concerned with pleasing my mother at this age. I can’t count the number of people who have complemented me in more ways than one. I’ve also seen people give me this horrified look because they thought I’d given up and gone back to the creamy crack (relaxers). The truth of the matter is that I like my natural hair. I like the curls. I am even learning to like the fact that there are at least three different textures depending on which part of my hair we’re looking at. I’m going to go back to my curls and, as I do, I’m going to think about you. I’m going to be encouraged that today you are able to look in the mirror and love the person staring back at you.

  7. Marie

    November 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

    First of all I want to say that I love your hair. It is absolutely beautiful. I have been natural for over 2 years now. I love the way that my hair looks and feels. But my natural journey is not just about my hair. Its about loving myself and accepting myself just as I am. And that is the best thing about being a “NATURAL BEAUTY”.

    P.S. – I’m from Birmingham, Alabama. I have been a huge fan of yours since you worked at NBC13. You are a beautiful woman GEM!!!

  8. Will Jones

    November 11, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I think the big lesson people need to learn (especially our people) is that the definition of “good hair” is “any hair that you’re happy you have.”

  9. Sandra

    March 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I love my natural hair. I did the big chop in November after wearing Sisterlocks for about 6-1/2 years. My hair had started to thin in the top even before I got the Sisterlocks. Before the locks, I was perming, weaving, braiding and coloring. My hair was going through a lot. My big chop was a little over 3 months ago and my hair has finally started to grow, although unevenly. I went to a professional barber today and he shaped my hair really cute. You can’t even notice the thin area because the cut blended it all in. I love my natural hair! I feel unique, almost royal wearing my hair naturally. I am on a natural journey and so far so good. No if I can just figure out which products will help moisturizer and give some curls/waves to my texture of hair

  10. l

    March 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Love the article… I’m 1 yr into not having a perm. Prior to that time, I would get perms 3 times a year. I like to wear m hair straight because I dont know how to control the curl. Can you recommend products that would help define my natural curls?

  11. Rene Syler

    March 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    @I and Sandra: The hard part about this is it’s really trial and error. It’s taken me a while to hit on what works for me and it changes as the length of the my hair does. What I do is section my hair and just apply conditioner, lots of it (the kind you would normally rinse out) and water. When the curl is set, I use a little gel and then DON’T TOUCH IT! Let it air dry or sit under an dryer. But that’s it 🙂

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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