Hair is significant to the majority of women. Still, for Mash-Ups, hair and the cultural rules that surround it can symbolize everything difficult about straddling two cultures and their competing beauty standards. For Black women, particularly, a hairstyle is frequently viewed as a political statement rather than an aesthetic choice, as they have numerous concerns.
Newsflash: Black women devote a significant amount of time and money to braided wig maintenance. The Black haircare industry has been valued at $774 million by marketing firms. That is a significant quantity of deep conditioner and bobby pins!
Black women take their hair seriously. Their hairstyles can affect their moods. Hair speaks its language. It binds us together through our style triumphs and failures.
Yet something so fundamental to our identity is frequently misconstrued by others unfamiliar with our culture. However, resolving minor misunderstandings — about hair! — can go a long way toward resolving major misunderstandings — like a race!
Black hair is physically distinct from all other types of hair.
While other ethnicities' hair can be straight, wavy, or curly, most black people's hair is tightly curled to varying degrees. (For a more detailed explanation, see this article's chart.) Spirals, coils, loops, zig-zags, and various curves are all possible. This is why it grows upward rather than below, resulting in gravity-defying shapes like afros and puffs.
Black hair indeed grows.
The belief that black hair does not grow is untrue. Human hair grows at a rate of approximately half an inch every month, depending on your health and genetic makeup. Having long hair is more about the amount of hair you maintain following breaks.
Due to the curly nature of black hair, it might be more fragile than straight hair. Each bend in the strand symbolizes a point of weakness in the hair shaft, increasing its susceptibility to breakage. This implies that it requires a little extra tender loving care to avoid breaking. As a result, Black hair is often shorter, but it does not mean it does not grow.
For Black women, perms weave and extensions are all viable options and are frequently used concurrently.
However, what are all of these styles? Excellent question!
When non-Black women use the term "perm," they frequently refer to the chemical technique of adding a permanent curl to their hair. However, black hair is naturally curly. Thus, when we use the term "perm," we mean permanently straightening our hair (also known as relaxing.)
Weave: A weave is created by braiding the woman's natural hair into cornrows or other scalp braids. Then, the excess hair is woven into those braided wigs using a needle and string designed specifically for hair weaving.
Extensions are similar to weaves but do not typically require cornrows as a basis. Depending on the type of extensions, hair may be added via braiding or even a specialized glue.
Natural: This term often refers to Black hair that has not been chemically changed. Some take it a step further by avoiding using any chemicals or anything that does not occur naturally.
Natural hair is significant.
Throughout much of Black America's history, Black people have been encouraged to look as European as possible. Thus, for a long period, straightening their hair with chemicals or a hot comb was the only method for a Black woman to be "presentable." If you want to be attractive or have a good career, your hair should be as light as possible.
Natural hair enjoyed a resurgence during the Civil Rights Era and has maintained a steady increase in popularity. Natural hair is not always indicative of the wearer's Black pride, but it is unquestionably indicative of accepting their hair as it grows from their heads.
Hot combs are your adversary.
A hot comb is a medieval kind of torture used to punish Black women for not having straight hair that meets European requirements for hair straightening tools.
It is a piece of metal with a heat-resistant handle used to hold food over an open flame or on a stove. Once it reaches a temperature high enough to burn your skin, it is used to "squeeze" the curls out of your hair by combing it. Additionally, depending on how sure your hairdresser's hand is, it will burn the back of your neck, the tips of your ears, and any other area it comes into contact with.
Although the hot comb has largely fallen out of favor, any Black woman over twenty can recall being burned by one.
Hair is not washed daily because it is Black.
The secret to truly beautiful, lustrous, healthy hair is to maintain a good balance of the natural oils we all create. Oil readily goes down the shaft of straight or wavy hair. However, if your hair is curly or kinky, oil is difficult to travel through those loop-the-loops. Thus, although non-Blacks may frequently wash their hair to avoid excess oil, Black women are more concerned with preserving their current style or adding more. If they shampooed their knotless braided wig daily, it would become dry and unhealthy.
They frequently change their hairstyles because they can.
Black women, culturally, have the most hairstyle options. It may be permed or unpermed. Purchased or grown. Straight or wavy.
Yes, black knotless braided wigs are real!
To begin, black people appreciate your inquiry. It is exceedingly impolite to touch a Black woman's hair without her permission. However, even if you ask politely, the response is likely to be no.
They're sure where your hands have been and are not interested in you tampering with their hairdo. More importantly, everyone believes that allowing strangers to touch our hair to feel it is equivalent to being petted like an animal. At best, it is inconvenient; at worst, it is demeaning. Therefore, while admiring hair from a distance is acceptable, please keep your hands to yourselves as the black braided wigs on their heads are very real.