Oh how we love our hair

Ariel Burks wearing her blonde wig for the first time. Photo courtesy: @ariix.co Instagram

A Black woman’s hair is her treasurer. It is a form of expression and is versatile in so many ways. Whether it is worn as a silk press, locs, or in a protective hairstyle, a Black woman’s hair is her crown.

However, Black women face many critiques in their choice of style. Black women come in all shades and different tones—there are many debates on the color of one’s hair not being aesthetically appealing based on skin tone.

According to theJasmineBRAND, former reality TV star Peter Thomas, shared a few words regarding dark skin women wearing blonde hair.

“I do not like to see people darker than me wearing blonde hair,” Thomas said. “Alternatively, honey blonde hair is not even done right. It is just crazy. It looks like you are wearing a messed up hat.”

Thomas faced much backlash for his comment from social media users and had over 300,000 views. His statement showed the controversy Black women (specifically dark-skinned women) face in the beauty industry.

The beauty industry is now breaking these barriers of colored hair, and more Black women are starting to embrace all colors no matter their complexion. Female students on the campus of Florida A&M University are also taking part in this movement.

Ariel Burks, a fourth-year political science scholar, says she had been scared to try new colored hairstyles but now embraces them.

“I was very scared of trying blonde hair because of my complexion,” Burks said. “I was more so scared of how society is because of the stigma of darker complexion only allowed to wear certain colors. Once I tried blonde hair, I felt confident. It let me know I can do colored hair.”

Burks also has a hair vendor, Arii B’s Collection, where she sells a variety of wigs and bundles. She says this played a role in her trying new hairstyles and how the beauty industry is evolving.

“When I found a reliable vendor, and it increased my love for different styles, I try more, now that I sell my hair,” Burks said. “Everyone is stepping out of the box because years back, we were only doing hints of color never full blown.”

According to PRNewswire, hair wigs and extension products had the largest market share in 2021. With the boom of human hair wigs, we also see a rise in beauticians who specialize in wig installments.

Janai Moss, a fourth-year business administration student, is a licensed cosmetologist with a hair business, BeautybyJanai, where she does hair installations. Moss said her favorite look she has done on herself and others is red.

“My nickname is actually ‘lil red’ because it is like my signature look and alter ego,” Moss said. “When I wear it I feel beautiful and powerful, I get many compliments when I wear it.”

Moss said she was also scared to try blonde at first and advises young Black girls who want to try new colors.

“I did blonde for a photo shoot for my birthday, and I was really nervous, but it came out cute. To young girls who want to try new colors, I say just do it! Never be scared to try different colors because you never know how it looks until you try it,” Moss said.

Although some barriers are being broken, the feedback of society and social media still affects some Black women to this day of trying new colors.

Akiva Bell, a third-year psychology student, said she wishes she was brave enough to try colored hair.

“I am not interested in the feedback from the society that no one asked for,” Bell said. “Color screams attention and means maintaining your confidence and not caring what other people think, such as wearing neon pink lace and not caring when walking into a room. I appreciate the bold queens who do it effortlessly every day.”

Public opinions on Black women wearing colored hair based on complexion still have an effect in 2022. Although some Black women are nervous to try new colors, many boundaries have been pushed with the evolution of beauticians and Black women not being afraid of any judgments.