Last June, Natalie Samuel went through with the "big chop."
The 33-year-old Columbia resident cut off all of her chemically straightened hair in an attempt to return her mane to its tightly curled, natural state.
Samuel said she doesn't regret the decision to leave behind salon appointments for relaxer treatments every three months and biweekly visits for upkeep.
"Now I just wash and go," said Samuel, a manager for an accounting firm. "It doesn't really require a stylist."
Samuel represents what has become a larger cultural movement to embrace chemical-free, natural and curly hair — especially among black women. And never before,...