Many ladies on healthy hair journeys (myself included) defend our use of wigs, ponytails, and weaves by stating they are accessories! When some people see my real hair, especially when I remove a long-term protective style like a sew in weave or braids, they compliment it and ask incredulously why on earth I wear fake hair when I have hair often described with words such as long, healthy and/or thick.
It is usually a waste of time to attempt to explain the theory of protective styling, so instead I decide to explain my use of fake hair as an accessory. I patiently discuss that asymmetric cuts, choppy layers, blunt bangs and different textures are wildly popular right now but that hair trends change constantly. I don’t feel comfortable committing to drastic changes to my real hair but I like to update my look as the trends come and go. I took part in this conversation recently (while I was wearing a very stylish bob wig* by Freetress) which led me to think about my real hair. Is relaxed hair “out”?
Allow me to take you down hairstyle memory lane and please remember I am from New Jersey so you may have called these styles different things in your region. Do you remember fingerwaves? Horizontal French rolls with scrunchies in the front? Teased bangs, side ponytails with cloth holders, and the mushroom haircut? How about waterfalls? Box braids with wooden beads on the ends? Oooooh, and what about the fan?! While I didn’t rock all of these hairstyles, I certainly wore my fair share and remember every one. As the different hairstyles have come and gone – I’ve changed my look accordingly because I like to change up my look and I truly do believe hair is the ultimate accessory.
That being said an increasingly large number of black women are transitioning to natural. Big, curly, textured, kinky hair seems to be so “in” right now and I envy every healthy head of natural hair I see. Even wigs* and weaves are mimicking natural hair more and more. 10 years ago Senegalese and kinky* twists were worn by very few while now they are one of the most popular and sought after hairstyles. Big curly and even frizzy wigs* are bestsellers and new kinky textured extensions* are available for sew in weaves. I absolutely love these styles, yet I remain happily relaxed. Is my style outdated? Am I completely off-trend? Do my chemically straightened locs lack edginess?
My answer is no! All of the reasons with which I defend my use of fake hair are the exact reasons I do not consider my relaxed hair to be outdated. I absolutely LOVE natural hair but I do not want to commit to transitioning. To get my “natural look” fix I do twist and braid outs and my favorite wigs are big textured looks. Straw sets require a large amount of time to complete but the results are gorgeous and mimic natural hair marvelously. Kinky* twists are awesome protective styles, convenient and allow me to rock my favorite natural hairstyle (two strand twists). If you love your relaxed hair, but are dying to participate in the natural hair look – take advantage of all of the styling options at your disposal and you can achieve the look without commitment!