I know what you are thinking, another post about how weaves pull on the edges of your hair, causing receding hair lines, or something about how not caring for your hair underneath the weave can cause breakage and irreparable damage etc.
You may even have expected pictures of various people who suffer from Traction Alopecia as a direct result of wearing a weave. And of course to seal the deal we could also include something about the not-so-glamorous side of wearing a weave with the poster child Naomi Campbell all over the article.
Well respectfully, you are wrong. There’s only so much we can say about Naomi and her busted edges so our perspective on this article is from a slightly different angle, some of which is somewhat psychological.
Let me explain, have you ever seen a celebrity glam squad at work? They do everything for the celeb, short of giving them baths and brushing their teeth!
Seriously they do their make-up, hair, nails, tucking, waxing, buffing, fixing and smoothing clothes to perfection. Their job is to ensure that the A lister looks perfect even if they are just going to the grocery store. Paparazzi everywhere don’t you know.
Anyway, celebs have a certain dependency on the glam squad and one might wonder, if there was no glam crew would they actually be able to function? Would they know how to care for their own hair or know what underwear to wear under a white A-line skirt?
Some of them might, but with a great team of professionals always there at their beck and call, what would be the motivation to do or learn anything for themselves? When you have an entourage, you don’t have to worry about spanks and styling gel, just leave it all to the professionals!
Like the glam squad, a weave when worn close to 100% of the time can also be the ultimate hair crutch and in some cases can do more harm than good in your hair journey.
Certainly most of us recognize the value in wearing a weave to protect our hair. We even agree that a full weave can be considered the ultimate protective style because your own hair is not being constantly manipulated so you experience more length retention in comparison to other methods of protective styling. Good right? Not really!
The truth is that experiencing your natural hair in an effort to learn to care for it is as much part of the healthy hair journey as is protecting it. Wearing a weave close to 100% of the time does not allow you to experiment with what works for your hair, or even decide on what your ultimate go to hairstyle is. You have essentially robbed yourself of the ‘work’ that comes with dealing with your own tresses and ultimately, the love of your own hair that follows.
How you wear your hair is a unique experience no matter how you slice it and what you do with it consistently is what resonates in your mind as to weather you enjoyed the experience or not.
Remember back in the day when you were relaxed and then you decided to transition. While you were transitioning you often wondered, ‘OK when I am done with this transition, what in the world do I do with my hair next?’
Because we have been so used to dealing with our relaxed hair, natural hair was a new experience that we looked at with more than a little trepidation.
Yet when you move from having a relaxer to wearing a weave 100% of the time, you still have not experienced your natural hair, you have avoided it yet again just like in your relaxed days.
Likewise if you are a relaxed head and you are on a healthy hair journey, hiding your relaxed hair under a weave 24/7 does not give you a real shot at really learning what your relaxed hair needs to grow long and reaping the benefits of keeping your hair healthy.
The weave has become a hindrance to the very thing you need in order to learn about and achieve your goal of long hair.
Psychological dependency is a funny thing, because when we practice something for a long enough it suddenly becomes a part of you. So much so that you feel practically naked without it.
Have you ever worn false eyelashes faithfully for a week and one day just suddenly decide not to wear them anymore? The first couple of days without the lashes you might look in the mirror and question how you look without them, or even if you should go back to wearing them. Its almost as if your own set of lashes which were perfectly fine two weeks ago are no longer good enough. You lashes didn’t change, you mind did!
Even though this scenario sounds simple, it is actually quite difficult for some women who are so used to physical adornments including weaves to let go of them. They simply ‘don’t feel pretty’ without them.
At what point does wearing a weave become more of a hindrance instead of a benefit? Are we simply wasting valuable time protective styling with weaves and missing great opportunities for experiencing our own hair in the raw and learning its likes and dislikes?
Wearing a weave and seeing yourself everyday in it might lead to feelings of, ‘I look better with a weave’ or ” I don’t feel right without long hair” or other such excuses that do not allow for an appreciation for what is naturally you.
Knowing that psychological dependency is very real but understanding that what you are feeling is only what your mind is telling you based on the habit you have created is the first step towards losing that dependency.
Our suggestion is when you wear a weave, have more of a balanced perspective. Don’t wear it for too long and allow for plenty of time in between your weave installs to spend with your natural hair.
A true protective style doesn’t last forever, at some point it will no longer be protective and become a barrier to what you are really trying to achieve.