Venturing into the territory of bundles and wigs is usually a trap that snowballs into Black women slowly but surely falling in love with hair textures that look nothing like the hair that grows out of our heads, quiet as kept. After a while you keep telling yourself and others it’s just protective styling when the truth is you haven’t worn your natural hair out for over a year in order to avoid wearing your natural hair out. So what exactly are you protecting now? Your hair’s health or the fear you have of how your hair will be perceived by yourself and others?
It seems that protective styling has now turned more into avoiding having to deal with our natural hair and the process of learning to love and accept it, rather than actually using it as a tool for healthier hair the way we’re supposed to. Protective styling has turned into a crutch of sorts for the reluctancy we have towards our own hair. So this brings in the question of whether or not we’re wearing weave for the wrong reasons now? I wear weave to periodically protect my hair and allow it to grow uninterruptedly. If that were the case for most Black women, then we collectively wouldn’t feel the need to wear textures that are completely opposite of our own. I don’t want to wear a texture on my head that would never completely blend in with my own, it’s become an unsettling feeling. It’s very possible to still experiment with different hairstyles while using your own texture, very shocking. I know. It seems that we’re not wearing weave to try different styles and protect our hair, but rather we’re using the textures of other types of hair as a helmet of shame to bury our natural hair under at this point.
One day while searching for hair companies to buy curly Indian hair from, I ended up on youtube for hours and I suddenly realized the abundance of videos there are of Black women doing hair reviews. We’re spending hundreds of dollars on hair that looks nothing like ours and never will, literally and figuratively stroking the hair, fawning over how beautiful it is because it’s so smooth and silky and loose. No one ever does that for kinkier, textured weave, so why is that? It’s even more bizarre once you realize we're the only race of women to do it. You don’t see nonblack women fawning over afro-textured hair, it’s quite the opposite. It’s a foolish look at this point for us. Weave, wigs, lace fronts, etc. are such a huge part of Black culture which is unsettling because it’s centered around hair that isn’t ours. It’s problematic that it's become so deeply imbedded in our culture and community to have such an emphasis on foreign hair.
Once I realized this, I decided that I no longer wanted to participate in the ongoing demotion of Black beauty. Now I’m taking baby steps and that starts with embracing my hair texture. I don’t wear weave/wigs that aren't coarse or yaki textured now. Long gone are the days of trying to force myself to look like something I'm not and forcing my hair to do things it’s simply not meant to do, damaging it while doing everything under the sun to blend in with hair that doesn’t have not one kink in it. I wear weave and wigs for length and length retention of my own hair, so there’s really no need for me to wear a bunch of different textures that don’t match the hair I was born with. Moving forward with this, there’s 4 key things we should keep in mind when it comes to buying and wearing hair:
1. It takes a lot of effort and manipulation to blend our hair with a totally different texture. When I used to get sew-ins, my hair stylist would have to blow dry my hair, hot comb it, straighten it, then lay it down with oil and hair spray just to get it to blend in with Brazilian hair, and i had to maintain that regimen. Same thing with looser curly hair, I would have to straighten my natural hair first to get it to be smooth, then curl it with a curling wand to get it to blend. Why do all that when you could wear hair that matches your natural hair? It’s more believable, low maintenance, and you end up doing less damage to your hair, which is really the goal when protective styling.
2. I believe that as we keep wearing and praising hair that mimics the texture of nonblack women, it feeds their ego and the narrative that we want to be like them. This isn’t what a lot of Black women want to hear but we do indeed look very stupid trying to emulate other women, and I refuse to keep giving them that satisfaction and validation, which brings me to my next point.
3. I want to show that I can still look beautiful with my own features and hair texture. If you keep wondering why people question if your hair is real when you’re wearing weave, it’s because they know that texture is not yours, to be quite frank. Wearing hair that looks like mine makes me feel more comfortable and confident because I know I’m not trying to pass off someone else’s hair as my own.
4. Most importantly, we should put our money where our mouth is because the dollars is what really matters. Asians dominate much of the hair industry, they prey on Black women and pander to us with deceptive sites like Wow African and we continuously fall into their trap. We need to stop giving our money to these hair companies that aren't even owned by Black people and don't promote our own hair. To not only keep wearing other textures of hair but also give nonblack people our money for it feels counterproductive to any progress towards self-love and elevating Blackness, both financially and culturally.
To avoid further feeding the pockets and egos of nonblack folks, I’m encouraging Black women to embrace their own texture more when wearing wigs/weave and to stop being to afraid of it. It may sound corny and something that you don’t want to hear but, a lot of you need to breakaway from the obsession with loose curls and silky straight hair while neglecting to love your own hair just as much. For better or worse, hair is a huge part of Black culture and our confidence. It makes no sense for us to keep putting other types of hair on a pedestal. So, to get you started, here are a few Black-owned hair companies that sell hair to blend in with your natural hair whether it’s curly, straight, or blow dried:
• Mayvenn Hair
• Finger Comber
• Kinkistry Hair
• Heat Free Hair
• KRS Hair Group
• Kinky Curly Yaki
• Boho Exotic Studio
Erin Dyana – “Erin Dyana is a freelance writer with a focus on pop culture, criticisms, and beauty. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Urban Social TV, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Clementine Zine, and Philadelphia Print Zine. In her free time she likes to create art, watch films, read books, and eat everything in sight."