Which do you prefer false or natural hair?
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Since 2011 perceptions about a black woman’s hair has been measured at either of two extremes; false hair or natural, unprocessed hair. The initially widely sought after style of straightening the hair by adding relaxers is not even being considered by most women of color anymore. If we search ‘black women hair videos’ on YouTube the first result will be a tutorial of sewing weave into a woman’s hair, followed by a history of black women’s hair and thirdly ‘how to’ tips for natural hair. What does that say? It says that a black woman’s hair, her crown, today is being accepted whether it came with a price tag or grew from her scalp.
Isn’t that interesting? I mean, no longer are women afraid to reveal to their friends or
partners that they just got their ‘lace-fronts’ installed because their natural hair is just not up to par, without being criticized as being ‘fake’ or ‘materialistic’. In fact to have your weave or wig ‘slayed’ by the best hairdresser in town is a free pass to boast to your friends or on social media. Furthermore the business of creating these human and synthetic lace-front wigs and extensions is quite lucrative, experts estimated approximately $500 billion in profits in black hair-care up to last year , 2017.
Likewise, other women at the farther end of the spectrum-like myself- deem it prestigious to don their kinky, curly or mixed textured, natural hairs. They are considered as brave and ‘true to their roots’ by most. Being able to accept your strands as
they truly are, embrace and support them instead of ‘managing’ and ‘taming’ without scrutiny has left black women around the world feeling empowered and that in itself is a wonderful thing. Unsurprisingly, this increase in the natural hair trend has negatively affected experts’ estimations in the false hair department. However business is booming for natural hair products retailers such as Sundial Brands who are now worth an estimated $700 million thanks to more women buying Cantu and SheaMoisture products for instance.
Studies have shown that black woman have been forced to purchase false hair for various reasons: hair loss due to illness or damaged hair due to excess heat and chemicals, among others. In the same breath many women who sport their natural hair have been forced to grow out their hair because of it being damaged over the years while others truly love their mane just the way it is.
Nonetheless I think it’s great that the most expertly installed wig can make a woman feel good about herself just as much as if she grew it herself. Because as women of color our hair means more than style, it is apart of our identity.
Thank you so much for reading and remember “it is not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s HAIR”. Dr. Maya Angelou