There are a plethora of hair textures when it comes to black women: straight, wavy, curly, coily, and everything in between. Deciding whether to perm it, go natural, press it, add some weave to it, or shave it all off! It is a never ending struggle to try to determine what works for them, and what will make them look like they have good hair.
Yvonne Branom, a licensed hairstylist for over 30 years explained the route to “good hair” is going natural.
“Some people look at their hair and say, ‘Un Uh! Look at all these naps let me put some chemicals in it!’” Branom said. “It’s just like food, when you put additives into your food it’s no longer good for you.”
The media used to portray good black hair as straight hair. Many black women would relax their hair every 6-8 weeks to maintain the straight look.
Black women have began to find interest into their natural curls, doing acts such as: the big chop, which is cutting off all of their hair to re-grow it in its natural state.
Simone Mayes, FAMU alumna and founder of “Just Kinkin It”, a hair organization that helps black women understand and manage their hair, explained that society causes women to form an opinion on what good hair is.
“Society forms people’s opinion of good hair by the media they put out, commercials, print ads and things of that sort, depicting one specific type of hair consistently,” Mayes said. “People associate that with beauty.”
Andre Walker, Oprah’s hairstylist broke down black women’s hair into categories: 1, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, and 4c. This hair chart allows for women to figure out what type of hair they have, and makes it easier to determine what products would work best for their hair.
Even with the chart the question still remains, what is good hair? Mayes says there is no answer.
“I think good hair is indefinable,” Mayes explained. “It can’t really be put into one particular place because everybody has different textures, different lengths, different things that are appealing to them personally.”
Every black woman has a different hair remedy, hair is like a fingerprint, and there are no two alike. One will usually discover that finding out the proper remedy for, it grows and becomes easier to manage.
Sherie Carter, a naturalist from Kansas City, Mo., believes that when a person finds a proper remedy for their hair, then they have good hair.
“I think good hair is healthy hair,” says Carter. “As long as your hair is taken care of, you know washing and conditioning regularly, making sure you are using the proper oils, and stuff like that.”
What does that mean? Well, healthy hair is the state of hair, not the way hair looks. One could have the kinkiest of coils, and her hair may be extremely healthy. Therefore, it is safe to say that good hair cannot be solely based upon what it looks like.