03/05/2012 10:23 pm ET Updated May 05, 2012

A Night to Remember

As a hair stylist, I have always loved the glitz and the glamour of the Academy Awards. An amazing night of beautiful gowns, jewelry, and of course hair!

Viola Davis chose this night, with the world watching, to step out for the first time with her natural hair. No wig, no flat iron, just an amazing head of beautifully styled short curls. Women all over applauded her bravery, and the blogosphere has been abuzz as to how empowering and inspiring this was for so many people.

I have had the privilege of helping many women transition from relaxing their hair to going natural, and I can tell you what an emotional experience it is. For many, it is the first time in years that they have seen their real hair. The cumulative damage that can be caused by long term use of wigs and relaxers can include hair loss, scalp damage and in some extreme cases baldness.

Fear is a powerful force, and can make us continue along with things that we know are no longer good for us. So why do women fear their natural hair? Unfortunately, it has historically been bogged down with negative connotations -- unruly, nappy, even slave-hair are but a few. The idea of transitioning can cause fear as well -- women assume they have to do the "big chop" in order to go natural. Transitioning simply means to stop relaxing your hair. Nothing else has to happen -- you just stop. You will want a trusted stylist along with you, to trim your hair every few weeks to keep it from splitting and breaking. You can view your hair as "play hair" as it grows out, and continue to experiment with different styling options. You can also get it wet! Wash it, condition, dry, and style -- just be sure to use moisturizing products and avoid sulfates. The important thing is to embrace the process, it won't happen overnight, but you will be beautiful every step of the way.

There is a movement underfoot, one that is letting women of texture be confident in wearing their hair naturally. Women are discovering that their natural texture is beautiful, sexy and even versatile. Natural hair is being accepted in the workplace, and now on the red carpet! Has this movement inspired you to rethink how you wear your hair? Share your thoughts with us.

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