Weaves, extensions, braids, twist and the perm or relaxer (also known as “creamy crack”) are all examples of popular hairstyles for black women. The idea that wearing these styles makes a black girl “anti-black” because they don’t consist of wearing hair the natural way it grows out of the follicles is beyond preposterous.
Protective styles are hairstyles used to act as a protector for when the natural hair is either growing, transitioning from processed to natural, or just to give your hair a break from constant styling, products, or heat.
Oftentimes, these styles are even more convenient than wearing natural hair out. Having hair in braids, twists, corn-rowed down under a wig or a weave, or straightened is a lot less maintenance.
Natural hair wore out needs to be consistently moisturized, washed, conditioned, combed, and styled. Waking up early to do hair doesn’t always fit into the schedules of most women, especially female college students who are always rushing to get somewhere. Whether it’s work or class, those 10 minutes used to unravel and perfect your Bantu knots or twist out could be the difference between you taking or missing a quiz, or being late for your shift.
Another reason for protective styling is to include diversity and variety in your appearance. Wearing a sleek burgundy straight wig one day, then going to a voluminous braid-out the next is all a part of what makes black girls magic. Options for versatility in hairstyles are essential and it’s always hilarious to change your hair so drastically that it takes classmates or co-workers a few minutes to recognize you.
Being that black girls, in general, have a more coarse and curly hair texture, it’s okay to want to switch it up with a different hairstyle that is easier to maintain while also being protective. Different hairstyles for black girls is more of an expression, while still embracing their blackness.
Sheryllyn Gayle, a self-described “weave-ologist” seems to think the same.
“Us as black women express ourselves through our hair, just because it takes a little more to maintain than someone with a 2A to 3C hair type doesn’t mean we have to limit ourselves to our natural hairstyle.”
Over the years, weaves have expanded into an everyday hairstyle, we have left the hot comb and hair bows behind. Protective styles will always be my first choice in hairstyles, being that my natural hair journey started in December of 2013, weave has been my best friend. It has grown my hair like never before and is very low maintenance, I love the feeling of having a get-up-and-go hairstyle.
Onyx Franklin, a third-year Florida A&M University student and “naturalista” said, “with me having short natural hair, it’s easier for me to get up and go with my hair or a wig, that doesn’t make me less black, it makes me a girl that likes to keep my hair healthy while being convenient.”
Weaves have made a huge mark in African-American history, and have been used for generations all because of Christina Jenkins that created the hair weaving process back in the 1950s.
Although many black women today may wear “hair weaves like Europeans,” like Lauryn Hill said in her hit song “Doo Wop (That Thing),” it doesn’t mean we’re idolizing hair textures that don’t look like our own.
It’s okay to embrace your beauty through a hairstyle, at the end of the day the beauty will be forever while the hair is only temporary.