– by Ieshia McDonald
Editor’s Note: With the natural hair movement carving out a space in the US as something that’s more than just a trend, we were curious about how it was doing in other parts of the globe. As such, we’re dedicating this week to our Natural Hair Everywhere series and are speaking with women in five different countries about the rise and growth of kinky hair in each of their locales.
GO Natural Spain is a resource and natural hair platform from the mind of creator Awanda Pérez. In addition to natural hair resources, the site is also the home of the “Miss Natural Spain” contest, an annual contest that crowns a naturalista who exemplifies a healthy and confident lifestyle.
“GNS is the first website in Spain to care about all aspects of natural hair,” says Awanda. She explains, that GNS was created as an attempt to connect all those who wish to be natural in Spain. The natural hair community, according to Awanda is growing day-by-day, but it is still hard for the community to connect as one because the local media does not support such platforms or events. “Much work remains to be done here, but we are proud to have already helped hundreds of women overcome the fear of being themselves and appreciate their natural beauty,” says Awanda.
Natural is an up-and-coming trend, according to Awanda. Straight hair was and still is the norm in Spain. However, more women are trading their straight tresses for their natural curls. For Awanda, going natural was something she always yearned to do, but was too fearful to embark on. Born in the Dominican Republic, where straight hair also was the norm, going natural was more than a healthy journey to Awanda, but a step outside of her comfort zone. But a few encouraging words from her husband, pushed her to give her natural hair a chance. “In the beginning I was a little bit afraid about other people’s opinions,” says Awanda. “But my hubby told me, ‘I love you relaxed, curly or bald; but I dislike fears and wrong ideas. Be yourself and make the world respect that!’”
Similar to natural hair blogs within the US, GNS likes to share hairstyle tips and tricks. Popular protective styles consist of: flat twists, natural braids, finger coils and braided extensions. Naturalistas also rave about Shea Moisture and Mizani hair products, however, it can be quite expensive to import products, so many of the naturals in Spain mix their own products using natural oils.
GNS has stirred up discussion and pride amongst black women in Spain, but there is still a lot of progress to be made, according to Awanda. “Natural hair is unusual here in Spain, but not controversial,” says Awanda. “People will look at you, but with curiosity. Our biggest problems are within the black community, because many still think that natural hair is a symbol of poverty.” But Awanda, and GNS hope to put an end with this misconception and influence more women and their communities to accept their natural hair.
Check out the all the profiles in our Natural Hair Everywhere Series.