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The word “weave” elicits eye rolls and furrowed brows from most people of color. But the reality is weave wearers enjoy a plethora of benefits that make it hard to walk away from hair extensions.

For one, there’s the versatility weave provides. Studies have proved that women love switching up their hair and weave offers a viable way to try a haircut, a color, and even a new texture without committing long term.

There’s also the convenience of doing minimal upkeep, when compared to the time and effort it takes to maintain actual hair. And for the record, I am well aware that not all weaves are created equal and many women have yet to perfect the art of blending. But for those that do, weave is a favorable alternative to hours spent styling hair in the bathroom or sitting in a salon.

Furthermore, when my hair’s not at its healthiest, I can slap in a weave and in less than two hours, my “hair” is more shiny, luscious, and full than it’s ever been. In fact, the more damaged my hair becomes, the more I rely on weave. Extensions are an easy way out of a hair emergency. Instead of struggling to tame strands compromised by heat or chemicals, I can braid my hair up and sew in a beautiful weave. Crisis averted.

For 11 years, I relished all the benefits of wearing weave. And then I got tired of it. I wanted to be able to feel the wind blow through my own hair. I wanted to massage my scalp with my fingertips and not feel tracks. I wanted to say proudly, “it’s all mine” when someone inquired if my gorgeous head of hair actually grew from my scalp. And most importantly, I wanted to keep in my (dwindling) bank account the $400 it costs for a sew-in every three months.

Thus, I swore off fake hair. A year and six months have passed and I’m itching to give up and sew in some tracks. I’ve struggled over why I feel this way. Yes, weave is easier to maintain. And yes, it has a way of appearing perfect. (Anyone who does their hair daily knows, there’s always a strand or a curl that just doesn’t want to behave while weave pretty much bends, curls, and twists at your command.)

But is it deeper than that? Do I not feel beautiful without 16 to 18 inches of Brazilian wavy or kinky curly flowing from my head?

The truth is, like any addiction, the battle is mostly psychological. Weaves and wigs have become a security blanket for many women, some of whom haven’t seen their real hair in years. We become addicted to the fantasy and convenience of it all, which our real hair will never live up to.

As I reach my personal two-year mark, I am renewing my commitment to deal with my real hair, on its good and bad days, no matter how strenuous the upkeep or how unpolished it looks. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin, and that includes the hair that grows out of my head. And I will make it past the beauty supply store without running into buy a relaxer, two packs of human hair, a needle, and thread … I hope.

Clutchettes, what has your experience been with weave or wigs? Have you ever been addicted? Why do you think so many women choose weaves instead of learning to style their real hair? Discuss.

 

–Jaclyn Marshall

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  • fred handy

    .”Who taught you to hate yourself” – Malcolm X.

    I don’t care how you spin it. There is a lot of self hate going on with Black women and their hair. Black women are the only women on the planet that wear hair of women from OTHER races. What does that say about how you feel about your own hair? Is this straight hair you cherish so much from India really “better” than you own? Did you know that the Indian hair you wear so proudly probably came from a poor, terrified, Indian girl that was made to get her head shaved by her parents in a temple as a religious sacrifice. Sometimes this hair is packaged and sent to beauty supply full of lice and nits. You are basically buying hair from impoverished women from 3rd world Asian countries. They may not have daily access to soap, shampoo or clean running water. Now you want to get this hair sewn into your hair?
    What if Black men started getting Indian men’s hair stitched their heads, how would that look? The eurocentric brainwashing is alive and well in America. Another thing that many fail to mention about women with weaves is that they don’t WASH THEIR HAIR ENOUGH. On hot days watch out! You will smell grease and sweat coming from under that weave. You know what I’m talking about. If a woman spends $500-$1200 on a weave. She’s not gonna wash it anytime soon and mess it up. I understand this, but it’s still kinda nasty. I had a woman sleep over and her unwashed weave was on my pillows all night. In the morning after she left my pillows smelled so bad I had throw everything in the washing machine, sheets, pillow cases, comforters, everything. I haven’t invited her back. I know some sistas go WEEKS without washing their hair. Bacteria can grow and fester under the weave. Cornrow wearing girls are guilty of this too. Ladies you must wash your hair on a regular basis. It’s just proper hygiene.
    White people have asked me why do black women straighten their hair? Why do so many young black women wear weaves? It’s a very complex answer, too long to cover here, but I’ll say this:

    1. Pressure from trying to conform to the beauty standards of white society.
    2. Pressure from job market place.
    3. Looking for a low maintenance styling alternative. Black hair is very high maintenance, especially if it is long.
    4. Lastly, a healthy dose of self hate.

    Black women have been fed an continuous diet of eurocentric hair propaganda since day one. They’ve been seduced by long flowing hair of blonds, brunettes and redheads shaking out their tresses in shampoo commercials and they want to do the same, but strong African genetics say otherwise. Black women need a hair revolution! Self hating weaves are not the answer. Scalp burning relaxers are not the answer either. Constant weaves over a long period of time can cause scalp alopecia (baldness). Learn to love what momma Africa gave you! Go back to natural hair. That may be the only sensible option.What if Black men started getting Indian men’s hair stitched their heads, how would that look? The eurocentric brainwashing is alive and well in America. Another thing that many fail to mention about women with weaves is that they don’t WASH THEIR HAIR ENOUGH. On hot days watch out! You will smell grease and sweat coming from under that weave. You know what I’m talking about. If a woman spends $500-$1200 on a weave. She’s not gonna wash it anytime soon and mess it up. I understand this, but it’s still kinda nasty. I had a woman sleep over and her unwashed weave was on my pillows all night. In the morning after she left my pillows smelled so bad I had throw everything in the washing machine, sheets, pillow cases, comforters, everything. I haven’t invited her back. I know some sistas go WEEKS without washing their hair. Bacteria can grow and fester under the weave. Cornrow wearing girls are guilty of this too. Ladies you must wash your hair on a regular basis. It’s just proper hygiene.
    White people have asked me why do black women straighten their hair? Why do so many young black women wear weaves? It’s a very complex answer, too long to cover here, but I’ll say this:

    1. Pressure from trying to conform to the beauty standards of white society.
    2. Pressure from job market place.
    3. Looking for a low maintenance styling alternative. Black hair is very high maintenance, especially if it is long.
    4. Lastly, a healthy dose of self hate.

    Black women have been fed an continuous diet of eurocentric hair propaganda since day one. They’ve been seduced by long flowing hair of blonds, brunettes and redheads shaking out their tresses in shampoo commercials and they want to do the same, but strong African genetics say otherwise. Black women need a hair revolution! Self hating weaves are not the answer. Scalp burning relaxers are not the answer either. Constant weaves over a long period of time can cause scalp alopecia (baldness). Learn to love what momma Africa gave you! Go back to natural hair. That may be the only sensible option.