10 Names We Use to Describe Natural Black Hair

When I was growing up, I wanted my hair to be the perfect dome shape like the Jacksons (with the exception of Tito and Marlon) and Pam Grier (I wanted to look like Pam Grier).

        Jackson 5        Pam Grier                      

Unfortunately, it would flop on the top and it would end up looking like “Hey Arnold”.  Arnold

As I grew older and even now I want the wild natural hair look of Chaka Khan and Diana Ross. chaka khan diana ross

However, my hair is still flopping in the middle and I’ve come to realize that my hair may never look like Chaka Khan’s or Diana Ross’s. I have also come to realize that with the popularity of natural hair, there are so many names for it. I remember calling natural hair “Natural” or better yet “Natruh” because it was chemical free and non-straightened. Today with the popularity of natural hair, people are using all kind of names to describe it. Here are my top ten names for natural hair (in alphabetical order) and my thought on what it means.

1. Afro

According to Oxford dictionary – 1. a thick hairstyle with very tight curls that sticks out all around the head, like the natural hair of some black people.

I think this is a term that was given to African hair by people other than black people. I do remember wearing my hair out one time and a classmate said they wished they could get their hair in an “Afro”. We of course had adopted and shortened the term to ” fro” as in “I don’t think your hair will go into a fro!”

2. Bad/Good

Many Black people (I might want to say at least 80-90%) give hair human characteristics of being Bad or Good. I didn’t know hair was bad or good until I went to an all black school in Chicago and was told I had Bad hair. That was after I was schooled on dark skin and light skin as well (a whole nutha subject). I took it to mean that Bad hair is a tighter curl and Good hair is a looser curl. Recently I was told I had Good hair (wth?), I think because of the length (does it ever end???).

3. Coily

Sounds like twisted wires which can define some natural black hair. Actually it would be the best description for my moms hair. With one strand you could probably string some beads for a necklace. However, I think this is just a made up term to describe black hair.

4. Curly Curly Sue

The majority of people in the world have some curl to their hair. So in describing black hair, curly doesn’t sit right with me. Black hair comes in a multitude of textures just like our skin tone comes in a multitude of shades. Therefore curly is just way too broad a term for describing Black hair.


I can’t figure this out yet.

6. Kinky

I thought kinky had to do with sexual behavior. When it comes to describing Black hair,  I think it has to do with your hair if the strand is like in a Z pattern. Yup, that sounds good.

7. Nappy Naturals be like

Oh boy here we go….. Nappy is a term that Black people can use, but no one else can. Some would say it is a derogatory term to describe black hair.  The term Nappy I assume comes from hair having the texture of  Berber carpet. Personally, there is a lot that can be done with this type of hair. If people would realize why we have hair in the first place then they would realize that this type of hair is the best for protecting our scalp.   

8. Natural

This is my favorite term used to describe Black hair. To me it means hair in it’s natural state, no chemicals, no heat straightening, just what you were born with. If you love yourself which I hope you do, then you will love your “Natruh” hair.

9. Textured

Assuming our hair was made of material fibers or flooring.

10. Wooly Sheeps wool

Some Black people describe their hair like sheep’s wool. They may choose to relate their hair to how Jesus’s hair was described like lambs wool.  I will leave this one alone.

Of course I prefer the term “Natural” hair to describe my hair like the three beautiful sisters from My Natural Sistas.  My Natural Sistas


What do you prefer? Does it really even matter?

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