The natural hair vs weave debate has been going on for a while now and it doesn’t seem like its going away anytime soon. So I asked four ladies who are all so different and special in their own right to let me know how they feel.
Yvonne Onyanta- 20 year old Monash Economics Student
I only have one word to describe the natural hair vs weave debate- stupid. There is a big divide between women who wear weaves and those who choose to have natural hair. This debate/divide is mainly based on the idea that women who wear weaves are either ashamed of their natural hair or want to conform to European standards. Yes, this may be the reason why some black women prefer weaves over natural hair but the key word here is SOME. Not all black women wear weaves to hide their own hair, to conform to European standards and definitely not to impress men. Light skin vs dark skin, natural vs weaves, it’s enough. We need to stop excluding each other and accept each other regardless of what we look like.
We’ve given “society” the power to dictate what we should look like because of the need be accepted. I’ll admit to doing certain things based of if people will like it, what they’ll think of me, how many likes a picture will get (please note that I’m rolling my eyes so hard haha) etc. And this is so wrong. To society, black women are seen as second best. Compared to a white woman, a black woman is not the ideal woman. From the way we speak, to our physical attributes, to the way we dress, and so on. This is one of the reasons why some black women do everything they can to be accepted and to feel wanted. I’m not sure if I’ve answered the question but I just wish to continue to find assurance in our beauty from within and not from society.
I prefer whatever makes me feel good. I love weaves because I can experiment with different hairstyles. I love that I can have a short bob one week and then have long curly hair the next week. I love wigs, it’s so fun changing hairstyles. I also love my natural hair, a lot! I recently transitioned fully to natural hair and I’m enjoying it so much. I can’t choose, it’s really the best of both worlds.
What would you say to your younger self? I would tell my younger self that trying to impress society is a waste of time. You can’t please everyone. I would tell her that she is special and beautiful the way she is. Love yourself and love yourself wholeheartedly.
Yvonne’s hair tip: Hot oil treatment at least once a month. It adds so much moisture to your hair. It’s also important to know that coconut oil is not the only oil out there. It’s not the only oil that’ll help your hair flourish. Experiment with other oils like Jamaican black castor oil, Amla oil, Jojoba oil, Olive oil, Shea butter oil etc.
Tebogo Kopane- 22 year old Wits Psychology Student.
I think every woman has the right to choose whichever hairstyle they want. With me for example, I’ve had dreadlocks for over 6 years of my life and I don’t see myself wearing a weave only because I do not feel comfortable with it. Look our hair is curly and black in nature, I LOVE black hair, there is so much character in black hair, there is a history reminded especially when a woman has her own natural hair. If I had the time I would probably have a fro but maintenance is a problem mainly because I grew up without one so it may be harder than me keeping and maintaining my dreadlocks.
I think people have opinions and that’s fine. The problem comes when people enforce their opinions on others, obviously that wont go down smoothly with the other. Society will always have opinions especially about women. We are always under scrutiny of either men or women who constantly have something negative to say about other women just because they don’t look the same. It goes back to how black women are regarded as the lowest citizen in the world, they are considered to be unable to defend themselves therefore its way easier to pick on the black woman, she’s very easy according to history. I prefer dreadlocks. If I were to change I’d definitely do a fro😍
Tebogo’s hair tip: Condition, condition, condition darlings!
Shamiso – 18 year old Matric Student
I’ve personally never had a weave before, I by no means judge girls who have weaves I’ve just always felt uncomfortable with the idea of someone’s else’s straight, long ass hair just sitting on my shoulders, BUT as time has progressed I really have started finding them quite beautiful and I’m keen to finally try one. I think girls should rock whatever makes them feel good and confident.
I think society feels that it’s okay to dictate how we should look because we’ve always been the group that’s taught to hate ourselves. In the media and in social standards in general, white features and hair have been praised while ours have been shunned, and for a while I felt that black people really did give into that pressure and that’s why people feel that they can dictate how we should look but I think as of late, the spirit and feeling of black pride has really helped us embrace our natural hair and features. I heard that relaxer sales have even dropped due to the number of women rocking their natural hair. It’s awesome!
But when it comes to my hair I’ve always preferred having my natural hair. Problem is I always wore it straight so I pretty much damaged it, that’s why I started braiding and now I’m completely in love with plaiting. I love my Afro but braids/faux dreads are my favourite looks for myself. Super easy to maintain too.
What would you say to your younger self?
I’m not sure if I can swear right now but I would definitely tell myself to FUCK society’s standards. Beauty really is a personal thing, in my opinion. If you go off what society thinks is beautiful, especially as a black woman; you might as well hate yourself. Be/dress/rock what you think is beautiful. I think that’s when you’ll really feel good about yourself. Also, I’d tell my younger self to stay away from relaxer.😹
Shamiso’s nest hair tip: Best hair tip from me would be to know your hair. I can’t stress how important this is. What works for other people will not always work for you. Know what type of hair you have and what steps need to be taken in order to take care of it in the best way possible.
Irene Mpofu- 21 year old Wits Bcom LLB student.
I think there should not be a debate on weaves and natural hair. I feel like there are women who have good natural hair and women who wear weaves well. I think it’s unfair to think the reason we wear weaves is because of western ideas of beauty being imposed on us and therefore we are ashamed of our blackness and then we want to confirm. Sometimes we just wear weaves because it’s easier than our own hair or better than our own hair. As someone who has both natural “virgin ” hair and someone who wears weaves and braids I honestly think it’s what is easier to maintain.
I think because black women are the only group of people who don’t wear their own hair in its natural state and to most it seems like we are ashamed of how we look naturally. When it’s sometimes not that deep hey. The bigger my afro gets and more versatile I find I prefer it because it’s a lot less expensive than the weaves and braids. But it’s cost thing.
Find what looks good for you and go with it. Middle fingers to society because it’s black men who bitch the most but those same men tell you girls like Beyonce and Meghan Goode are hot and stunning but those women are wearing the most expensive Peruvian hair. And experiment! That’s the beauty of being a black girl you can have 15 hairdos in a year and no other race can do that.
Irene’s hair tip: If you have an afro baby hair products and homemade products are the best. They have the least chemicals and it does wonders for your hair.
A big thank you to all the ladies!