I swear I heard TLC’S “Unpretty” playing in the background the entire time I was getting my first hair weave installed. The other day, I crossed over to the dark side and I am now feeling… conflicted; I hope talking this out will bring me some solace. I have always taken great pride in being all-natural. I’ll even go so far as to say I felt superior to women that enhance themselves with artificial hair. Wait, before you start a black woman riot–Pink Lotion and judgment spilling all over my doorstep–recognize that our standards of beauty are all conditioned until we learn to embrace concepts foreign to us. This is a personal blog and this is my testimony.
As you know either personally or from my mini-bio (at the main menu up top), I am of Puerto Rican and stolen African descent. I was raised by Latinas and the only male figure in my life for a time was Irish. Fortunately, my brown skin and hair texture was never a ‘thing’ growing up. Yea, they all struggled with my hair, but the hassle was never verbally associated with me being black, different, or unattractive. They said I was cute, so I was cute. I started getting relaxers twice per year at around age 7 to meet my family at their hair care skill-level; that was the extent of the conversation. It wasn’t until *new father entered stage left* and sent me to the salon bi-weekly that I learned the whole “good hair” concept and that my natural hair was bomb. Since then, I’ve switched to a texturizer to manage frizziness twice per year and just a wash & set brings all the boys to the yard. My not-quite-black-not-quite-Latina-hair and features made strangers constantly stop and ask me what island I’m from. My friends were always infatuated with my hair and I loved being pet. Some females disliked me over it and spread rumors that it was fake (all publicity is good publicity, lol). My father and most boys (now men) all said they hated weaves even if they tolerated them; they said I was exceptional. And so my hair became a big part of my identity, my weave-phobia ensued, and the cycle of ignorance continued.
Beginning tomorrow morning, I’m taking a long weekend to West Palm Beach and I’ll be participating in water-activities. The only way I could have uninhibited fun and not waste precious vacation time grooming was to get braids or get a “w-word” that takes on a nice curl pattern when wet. Beyoncé-life chose me.
The Warm-up: I started doing a ton of research a few weeks ago: I watched hair reviews on YouTube, I read hair blogs, surveyed my friends, and scoured Instagram. You know, because weaves smell like wet clothes left in the washing machine and snatch your edges. Turns out that’s caused by improper installation and/or leaving your weave in too long. Once I became educated, I asked my girlfriend, Lorraine, for a referral to her weaveologist (yea, I made that word up). Then it was time *dramatic pause* to ask Paul for permission. Spare me the “I’m a strong, independent, black woman who don’t need no man”-speech… that’s why you’re single. I know that he finds pride in having an all-natural woman; especially, in this Kardashian-world we live in where artificial hair, nails, skin and silicone bodies have become a trend and particularly plagues the hip-hop culture which we identify with. Since he’s the type that’s going to tell me I’m beautiful everyday as I age and ruin my body busting out his babies, I wouldn’t force him to accept a major physical change that is within my control, and isn’t something I feel I need to make me whole. If he would have said “no”, I would have been purifying myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka raw. He gave me his reluctant support (good enough), and my friends and I did our little celebration twerk via text.
All-in: That night I emailed Krystal and she patiently and thoroughly texted me the answers to all of my ‘first-timer’ questions, and debunked some of the weave myths I read. I was also able to buy my hair directly from her. Thank God, because I was so intimidated and overwhelmed by all of the hair and installation terminology I found online. No, the hair-world is really like a whole society, lol. So we made an appointment, we decided on a “versatile installation” so I can leave out some of my real hair for a more natural look, and I bought 3 bundles of Brazilian Deep Wave. Yaaasss, honey!
The Aftermath: Why I am still struggling to come to terms with this when I look f*ckin’ fabulous?! It’s just vacation hair! It gives my look temporary and non-damaging versatility! It’s protecting my real hair and helping it grow healthier and faster! Here’s why…
- Someone else’s hair is sewn into mine. Ew, lol.
- I’m the girl who will totally deny that I’m anything other than African-American whenever I get a compliment and then immediately asked what I’m mixed with (you know, because black girls don’t come like that); just to make a point. Even though my natural hair isn’t far off from my weave’s texture, I feel a twinge of guilt that I feel sexier with hair of a more European beauty standard.
- I like being exceptional.
Ok, I feel better now after talking that out and I’m content with just being conscious. My weave won’t become a staple accessory, but I will definitely do it again for vacation maintenance or a dramatic look on special occasions. Now watch me werk this hair in front of my diva fan like I don’t have any damn sense on Instagram @1st.noelle.