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Black Girl Hair Struggles

Art + Culture

Black Girl Hair Struggles

Simply put, the struggle is real. Yes, those black girl hair struggles are, unfortunately, the hallmark of many of our lives. What’s the first thing that most people worry about, after coffee and their morning ritual? Their hair! There is some historical context around black hair that we will touch on, just a little bit, that makes caring for it seem even more arduous and complicated.

Some of us just don’t believe the hype that we have been taught about our hair. We actually believe the polar opposite of the oppressive rhetoric. Truth be told, black hair is the MOST VERSATILE type of hair on the planet! It has a transformative power that other cultures’ hair just does not have. Black girl hair can, literally, be styled in more ways than people can even imagine. From braids that don’t need scores of rubber bands on the ends to stay put to curly afros that can take shape without buying stock in hairspray, and even to delicate looking tresses that can be pin straight and flowing…black girl hair has the style paradigm on lock! Black girl hair is just all of that. But, the truth remains…it can be hard work to achieve the looks that we want.

All of that aside and back to the reality that we do actually have black girl hair struggles. Here are a few black girl hair struggles that we would love to “poof and be gone” to make life simpler:

Product Overload, Time, and Cost Of Salon Care

It can take a lot of products to properly take care of black hair. Pre-poo, leave-ins, hair masks, you name it, we need it. While we understand that each product serves a different purpose, we would love to limit our hair product shopping list to just a couple of items. That stuff can cost a mint! Plus, the cost and time it takes to get it styled in a salon. Sometimes we want to just say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”! But, alas, we cannot. So, we plop down our bankrolls and sit down in that salon, with the utmost patience, acknowledging that we are embarking on an 8-hour journey to looking good.

Always On Damage Patrol

One of the biggest enemies of the black girl hair struggle is the ever-lurking threat of damage to our hair. When we keep it natural we have to drench it with moisture or else it breaks off from being too dry. If we relax it with chemicals we have to worry about it breaking off because of chemically fried split ends. We use heat and we have to worry about it getting damaged or burned out. For some, they say that getting the big chop was the best move ever because there were no worries about their teeny weeny afros. With and without care, damage can happen. We just have to do our best to handle it quickly to keep damage to a minimum.

They Don’t Understand It But They Want Our Styles 

Short of wearing a “Do Not Touch” sign, there is not much that we can do to demystify our hair for the masses. People of other cultures just have a hard time trying to figure it out. Well, truth is, that’s THEIR problem, not ours! Plus, just like the song says, “There’s a thin line between love and hate”, and most people in other cultures walk that line all of the time. So much so, that they cop our hairstyles. Must we bring up the whole “boxer braid” thing from the early 2000s? So, while we are getting all frustrated about what we have to do to get our hair in our styles, they are trying to figure out what they have to do to get theirs like ours too! It’s actually quite interesting and humorous.

Dealing With Other People’s Perception of Black Girl Hair

From the smells of the products, to the way that it feels to the touch, we are always dealing with what others think. No doubt, there have probably been countless times that you have had to explain all that it takes to do your hair. Then, afterwards, you felt like you just wasted more time and energy than you wanted in discussing hair. It’s quite tiring. 

Hair is different, from race to race. Yet, we are often made to feel like we are aliens for our hair care routines. The fact remains, no matter what we do, the perception is generally that our hair is not “as nice” or “as manageable” as other cultures. Girl, BYE! Yes, if black girl hair sweats out after a strenuous activity, it will not look the same. When our hair gets wet, it will change. Black girl hair requires cleaning, styling, time, and effort. But, Sisters…the same holds true for other cultures. Contrary to popular belief, we are not the only culture that requires a lot of hair care. It’s not, necessarily, JUST a black thing. It’s is JUST a hair thing.

Learning to Love Our Own Black Girl Hair

The truth is, black women have been mentally conditioned to degrade their our own hair. Unfortunately, it’s actually a shame that this has happened.  But, it is very much the reality of it all. Let’s try to keep it in perspective. Every culture has to deal with hair care. Let us not forget all that it takes to create a “bouffant” with thin, stringy hair, or consider those working with thick, board straight hair that fights coloring and curls with a vengeance. Hair care is work! Sisters, we must rise above and overcome, and embrace our beautiful black girl hair and all that it is…unapologetically. It is a part of our black girl magic and we should LOVE it!

 

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