Monday, March 26, 2012

Natural vs. Fake Hair Debate: Weigh In

Hey guys! I'm ecstatic and bubbling over to announce my latest story. A few months ago, the beauty editor at Refinery29 tapped me to ask 5 of my fab friends about their hair journeys, regimens and how they feel about the natural vs. relaxed, fake vs. real and everything in-between debate. This week, they posted the article and it's been stirring up tons of interesting commentary.

Here's a snippet about the story:

At the root of every bad hair day is a desire to achieve the highest level of hair amazingness possible...and the subsequent failure to meet those expectations. We always want what we can’t have, so we set ourselves up for disappointment when our strands can’t live up to our high hair hopes. We all fall prey to mane envy, and with that comes the desire to enhance — whether it be through straightening, coloring, cutting, or adding extensions.
Photo by Erin Yamagata

There’s been an interesting debate brewing recently over what "natural" hair actually is and whether hair enhancements like wigs, weaves, and extensionsplay a misleading role in how we define beauty these days. Is wearing your hair natural “better” than wearing extensions? What exactly gets everyone so riled up when a woman chooses to wear fake hair?

We found five real, stylish girls who have all dabbled with faux hair to answer those questions and more. Read on for their insightful opinions on this hot-button issue, then weigh in with your own thoughts on the “natural or not” debate.

What are your thoughts on this debate? What side are you on and why?
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  1. I've been on both sides of the fence. I've worn braids and weaves to get length and to hide my very coarse hair. Now I'm natural because I finally figured out that's when my hair is at its best. I'm Team Natural because it works for me. We all have our own hair journey and that's what makes us diverse.

  2. What a great article and its nice to see Refinery 29 focused on a topic that's typically associated with black women. While I am natural 80% of the time, I also occasionally straighten my hair, wear braids and even weaves. My hair feels more "me" and is a million times healthier in its natural kinky state but I can't judge others for doing what suits them best. Great article.

  3. The black woman's hair has always been up for discussion because many do not get it. I love Refinery 29 but i do not know how I feel about this certain editorial

    Adia Dightman

  4. Great article! I really like the fact that they asked women with different ethnicities and different hair. My hair is naturally very nappy (or kinky to be PC) so I appreciate seeing some ladies that have found a way to handle their natural African-American hair very stylishly!

    I haven't been natural since I was a young girl; got a relaxer as soon as my mom would let me. After decades of torture, I haven't had a relaxer in about 7 months. My natural hair is way too unmanageable so I wear extensions or wigs. I don't try to hide my identity, but for my personality, I don't want to wear an afro, dreds or braids. So that's another reason I opt to wear extensions and wigs.

  5. oh wow-i just read this today and didn't realize you wrote it! way cool!! congrats!! It was a good article and I do not mind what people do with their hair. I feel it is their right to wear wigs, extentsions or whatever they want whether race or ethinicity. :)

  6. I had to blink twice to make sure I was on Refinery29 when I ran across this article a few days ago. They don't usually touch on these matters!
    I agree with what anonymous said above. I've never really understood why there's a natural vs. relaxed vs. fake hair etc. debate in the first place. One should be able to wear their hair how they want, when they want without anyone else feeling 'some kind of way' about it.

  7. OMG I didn't realize you wrote this! I was on there, writing a ton, only because I honestly feel like it's nobodies business what i do with my hair. Whether i perm it, keep it natural, or anything. I don't see any woman any different because of what they decide to do with their hair. I'm on my 3 time natural, and this time for 2 years, and I'm loving it, but I'm also lazy as heck these days and it works for me.

  8. I don't care how people wear their hair, but the definition of "natural" is unaltered. I don't think that dyeing hair and perming hair is in any way natural as you are chemically altering the state of the hair. Simply manipulating the hair into braids with fake hair, or weaves, or even straightening it using heat, is still natural hair. Natural hair is not just about texture. People are "natural blondes" or "natural redheads" and they should be considered natural too. I don't know why Black Women are trying to claim this term natural. It seems silly to try and make such a generic term exclusive to kinky/curly Black hair. There really shouldn't be a debate about facts. But still, how women wear their hair is their personal choice and is nobody's business but their own.

  9. weaves, perms and hair dye are not at all problematic to me. however, if the underlying reason why black women use them is related to some level of insecurity, than that's a red flag. I have had natural hair throughout my life (sans a brief period in high school and elementary school) and in the past I've used protective styles like box braids for convenience sake. I appreciate the look of natural hair when it's cared for properly, but i'm not a big fan of the time it takes to maintain. styles like kinky twists allow women with more kinky hair to enjoy the look of natural hair without the hassle of daily styling - so i'm all for it. i'm not a big fan of long straight weaves - but that's just a personal preference because i do not think they look good on me. i guess i'm really just repeating what everyone else has said. woo hoo!


  10. I'm not on any side. There is no need to choose one over the other and I find it weird that people think there should be some sort of "War of the Hair".
    I like weaves, dreds, bobs, afros, baldheads, and all kinds of look on women. I tend to like bad really cheap looking weaves but that is about as far as my dislikes go. The rest is all about you wearing your hair like it is the way it should look.
    Right now my hair is natural and I want to play with it a while longer before putting some heat in it or going back to a relaxer. I just want a different look from time to time and I do not have the money for weaves and multiple salon visits so it is all abotu what I can manage on my own. My war is cheap vs expensive hair care. haha

  11. Totally agree with your suggestion... Very nice post and good information here... Thanks for posting that....