Reflecting on the Meaning of 'Good Hair' for Black Women: Liz Nolan

Liz Nolan
Liz Nolan (Juana Arias - Juana Arias/ftwp)
Sunday, October 4, 2009

Liz Nolan

65, Northwest Washington, owner of Natural Motion beauty salon

When I was growing up, one side of my family was very fair-skinned. As they said in the olden days down South, where I was born . . . if you had straight hair and light complexion, you were pretty. Nice looking. I was born with kinky hair. So I remember going to the beauty salon trying to get my hair straight as possible. They were using all this grease on my hair. I used to have to come home and take a towel and take it out so I could look like my cousin. I wanted to look like my cousin because they told me my cousin was very pretty because she had good hair and I didn't have good hair.

But then my grandmother told me it doesn't matter your complexion [or hair], you are gorgeous.

I went into this beauty business for one reason: Everybody in this world is beautiful whether they do their hair or don't do their hair. People have been told so many times they are not beautiful. When clients come in and say, "I just want something done," you know right then and there that somebody has told them they are not beautiful. My job is to make them know they are beautiful.

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