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The Truth About Black Hair: Do African American Women Wear More Weaves & Perms?

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The Truth About Black Hair Do African American Women Wear More Weaves Perms

 

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

 

African American Women perms

 

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

 

African American Women

 

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

 

Black Show Hair big curl hair weave

 

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.

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8 comments

  • I am a white female and a licensed hairdresser.
    I now have more gray hair than I like, so I dye my hair back to its original color.
    Adding chemicals to the hair to color it is damaging, no doubt. However, I would much rather do that than wear a wig which I consider to be extremely uncomfortable. Also, I can wash, rinse and condition my hair without worrying about pieces falling out, weaves coming lose, etc.
    Personally, I do not have the most beautiful head of hair, but it is reasonably healthy and “carefree”. On special occasions I go through the trouble of styling, pressing, curling, etc. Day to day I spend little time on styling. Getting a good haircut and keeping the hair in good condition is key to making it look and feel attractive, in my opinion. I like to run my fingers through a man’s hair, not his toupee, wig, weave or something like that.
    I know it is a little hypocritical of me to say so because I dye my gray hair, but I think sticking closest to nature gives the easiest care and most attractive look.
    I have a female neighbor who is African American.I have seen her in every weave, wig, braid, wrap, etc. imaginable.
    She is a very beautiful woman with naturally curly black hair.
    One day I stopped her and said “Wow, your hair looks beautiful like that!”
    She quickly pulled it back in a severe pony tail and said “Oh this mess? I haven’t done anything to it.”
    It was the most beautiful I had ever seen her hair look and she seemed to think it looked “bad”.
    I am a middle aged woman and, apart from dying my gray hair back to it “original” color, I go natural almost every day, except for sometimes lipstick. I have not received any complaints and I feel fine the way I am.
    By the way, I eat a very healthy diet, exercise regularly and maintain the same healthy weight and size I’ve always had. Some of the women of color I have seen would be better off spending less time on their hair and focusing more on managing their health and fitness. “Good hair” is no substitute for a smart figure, healthy teeth, etc. This applies to women of every color.I find it incredible the lengths women go with their wardrobe, nails, shoes, hair, accessories, etc. and they completely neglect the main “package”, which is the part from which their beauty and self confidence originates.
    I see it in every woman. If they are fit and take care of themselves they look happy and beautiful. If they are unfit, eat junk food and are unhealthy, they project that on the outside.
    That said, just wear your hair however you like.
    Mine is long and it requires a little more care, but I do not spend a fortune at the hairdresser and I color the gray away myself (anyone can easily learn to do that). As for conditioning, a good hairdresser should be able to teach their client how to properly maintain the health of their hair and scalp.Personally, even putting pins in my hair to hold it up, back or out of the way makes me feel very uncomfortable.
    Keep your hair and your scalp clean, properly cut and in good condition. It will look naturally beautiful, woman or man, any race.

    Freida
  • The notion that sewing hair into ones own somehow “protective” is simply ludicrous! The data speaks to the contrary. But assuming arguendo that this fiction is true.., black women, unlike whites women ALWAYS choose hair different from the texture of their own!!!! Were it merely for “protection” or “volume” one would choose hair textured as ones own. But like they said in “Good Hair,” “Don’t nobody want that mess” The psyche of all persons of color in the world has been ravaged by white supremacy. The first step to healing is to admit the true nature of our decisions. To paraphrase Malcolm, “ WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO HATE OURSELVES FROM THE TOOS IF OUR WEAVED AND PERMED HEADS TO THE BOTTOMS OF OUR BLEACHED AND PEDICURED FEET” We must unlearn that which we have learned. But we must first face the inconvenient truth of our psychopathology. Asserting that one sews someone else’s hair into ones own to protect it. Is like saying that one protects one own back by carrying another in top of it…

    Preston Wigfall
  • Great article up until the “Weave” section, you addressed all of the racist beauty standards of trends old, but didn’t mention how most weaves worn buy black women are more “straight and silky” just like the effect of hot combs and perms. If the weave trend was simply to have protective styles and easier hair care, why isn’t anyone wearing type 4 hair wigs and lace fronts. Some weave styles are locs and braids, so I believe the racism and self hate behind kinky hair has improved, but I believe the weave trend is still at its core and extension of that same paradigm.

    Timothy
  • Doesn’t that fake hair get in the way of being intimate with someone? Seems like it would be a freak out to run your fingers through a weave and have it come off.

    Lou
  • I am a caucasion Woman born in 1974. Personally I love the afro look. The natural look. Not saying any other look is better. Just do you and whatever makes you happy. I struggle with my hair sometimes also. No one is immune to that. Men or Women. Also. We need to stop letting “society” dictate what is ‘right’. Ya feel me? We all gonna go eventually.Even the “society” dictators. ‘F’ em.

    Stacie Denham
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