The Real Deal on Black Hair
Since the dawn of time the topic of hair weaves, and dye especially when it comes down to black women are very controversial. When it comes down to the way, we present ourselves in the workplace, social media, or around our loved ones there is a change now then perhaps 20 years ago. Today we want to provide information and knowledge to such a sensitive topic, and it's about time we get down to the real nitty-gritty on black hair. Now the real question we tend to hear a lot is why do African American women seem to wear so much weaves, wigs, or get hair perms and dyes? Unfortunately, the answer to this question can't be explained in a couple of thousand-word blog post, but we can sure do our best to try. As a fellow woman of color, if you want to know the root of why we are particularly compulsive over our curly manes, we will have to go back to where it all begins.
Brief History of Black Hair
During the mid-1700s in slave societies, white women would cut off the female servant’s black hair because supposedly it would confuse them. As the decades roll on black women would braid their hair as an extra precaution from damage and from people making fun of how their hair looks. Fast forward several more years you would see women perming their hair to be more accepted into society, or in some cases look identical to non-women of color.
Thankfully in 2009, Chris Rock produced the movie "Good Hair" which highlights the many reasons why African American women go to extreme precautions to add extensions, perm, or dye their locks. We can give you a summary of what the documentary is all about, but it would be very beneficial to give it a watch yourself. But basically, the idea of having nappy, curly, untamable curls can be very displeasing to other people. In the world we live in conformity can take over, and by choosing to let your hair be different or unlike everyone else's you are risking the chance of being an outcast. Take notice on how I'm generalizing on “who” tend to disagree with natural hair. The feeling of being uncomfortable is general to all ethnicities including black women. Surprisingly as time is showing black women are just as likely to discriminate their own race for the hair styles they may choose, as would any other ethnicity.
We are happy to say now in 2019 that black women love to wear their natural curls and it is an increasing beauty trend that I don't think will ever die out again. We have actresses like Lupita Nyong'o and Issa Rae who wear their natural curls proudly and give other women of color the right to do so. What's so satisfying to realize is that black hair no matter how controversial is always fascinating. Throughout history from artists, to designers, even photographers get most of their influence from African American culture and political movements such as Black Panthers. Although the history of black hair goes back to centuries, we can come to the consensus that some reasons women of color wear weaves or get hair perms are to uphold beauty standards society places upon us in the media and by other people.
Perms and Hair Dyes
Like we will mention throughout this blog post before the end of slavery black hair was unattractive. The beauty standard for a while was undeniably clear; silky straight hair is in, everything else is out. After slavery, the same standards remain intact. If you were someone with coarse, kinky hair, it was considered unprofessional, especially within the workforce. As humans’ one of our basic needs are wanting to be accepted. We find out in th past decade African American women began to do the traditional hairstyles of White American women to gain acceptance.
Growing up I remember having my mother hot comb my hair to maintain a sleeker refined look. Unfortunately, as time went on the hot comb didn’t work as well and was led to use more drastic measures which were perms with harmful chemicals. I took the initiative to ask some mothers why they would perm their daughter’s hair. I ended up hearing so many reasons; some said because they were tired of dealing with the tangled mess. Others thought the style was pretty and made their child fit in with other classmates. I can't 100 percent say that societies beauty standards force most black women to want to change their hair, but these reasons did play a significant part in the increasing sales of hair perm several years ago. I am happy to say now as of 2019 perm sales have drastically decreased as the black hair care market continues to increase. Thankfully the beauty industry is prevailing, and as a unit, we all are coming together to prove how beautiful black hair will always be.
Weaves and Wigs
When it comes down to perms and weave the reasons African American women wear it are for two different reasons. Let’s clear the air on all the misconceptions when it comes down to black women and their weave. First, the most common statement We hear daily is “why do you wear weave? Or why wear a wig your hair is beautiful already?” To answer all those questions, we wear these styles for a myriad of reasons.
Most importantly African American women wear weaves as a protective hairstyle. Having natural hair can be strenuous, time-consuming, and flat out stressful. Our hair texture is very different than that of native Americans and other ethnicities. There is extra maintenance that is necessary for black hair to grow long and healthy. The most common assumption that many people tend to think is that women who wear weave either have short hair or none. Let's finally break that stigma; we wear weave to give our natural hair a chance to grow and be healthy. At the same time, we can try many different cuts, colors, and lengths without dealing with a long term commitment. There is no trick answer to why this style is common among African American women. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of extensions that we start to ignore our real tresses. But that doesn't mean we hate the hair on our heads and it's time that we make that clear for everyone to know. Since the market for hair weave and wigs is continually growing, we don't see a decline in sales in the African American community declining any time soon. If we feel beautiful and look great, you can guarantee we will be rocking a 32-inch lace frontal flawlessly and with no remorse. So, the next time someone asks why black women wear so much weave, the response should be “the same reason why whites, Latinos, and other ethnicities wear extensions, to achieve a beautiful look without the extra work.
Have You Heard Any Common Black Hair Misconceptions?
We hope that we were able to break any stereotypes you may think of when black hair is in the conversation. Our curls are different than that of any other ethnicity. Black hair can come in tight coils, spirals, zigzags and many other patterns that come to mind. If you ever wonder why our hair grows up and not down it's because of our unique texture, our tresses can defy gravity and create shapes like Afros and puffballs. Yes, throughout the year's many people have encouraged us not to love the hair that we have, and that did play a huge part in why we get perms and weaves so much. But we can't neglect the fact that black women also love to switch up their style while keeping their original curls intact. The moral of the story is we are all learning to love ourselves, especially the skin and hair that were born with from the start. Just remember we all have the freedom to try new things when it comes down to our looks, and we should not discriminate or treat others differently for trying something new.
Did you enjoy this blog post? We want your feedback. And if you know any wild or common black hair misconceptions, let us know in the comment section down below.
July 28, 2020
Having been raised in a Black neighborhood, I totally disagree with your premise. Having lived thru “corn rows”, BIG Afro’s & Cam Newton’s granny style, I don’t
Believe they feel Pressured to wear a blonde wig. If you are truly proud of your African heritage- Then SHOW IT!