Frizz and Fluff. What's all the Fuss? The Beauty Industry and Black hair.
This my first official post. For those of you that follow me on social media you have most likely seen some of this post already. I thought blogging might give me the opportunity to go a little more in depth.
Typically your first blog post is an introduction but not here. We will do intros soon but in the meantime feel free to check out more of the website to get to know me.
Being Black and a woman in the beauty industry is serious stuff. Even though the industry would have you think the exact opposite. Since my intro into hair all I've heard from most others in the industry is that the hair world is colorblind. We all know that's a lie.
As a hairstylist I feel like I would only be doing part of my job if I didn't recognize the differences in how Black hair, textured hair, kinky hair is treated in comparison to those with smoother and sleeker tresses.
(Sidenote) While Black hair is the term I will use for this post I am typically meaning any textured hair from persons of color.
From 10 years ago to today the natural hair community has grown by leaps and bounds and as the online community has grown so has the attention being paid by major hair brands. Unfortunately the stories they are telling to market to women with textured hair is one that is authored by White men and European aesthetic.
Women with textured hair are being fed an expectation that is not the reality of having curly hair. You name any of the large love brands for textured hair and all you will find are overly defined curls that lay smoothly and are never unruly.
The images that we are being fed as women with curly and textured hair are now being internalized. You now go to the salon or do your DIY at home with the expectation that your hair should look like your favorite youtube vlogger or that it should turn out like the picture that was marketed with the product. When the reality of textured hair is really anything but.
For many years most Black women have been told that in order to fit in you need to streamline what is natural for many of us. Frizzy and messy hair is associated with being dirty and ugly. While relaxed and straight hair is seen as clean and professional.
We have to change this narrative and the beauty industry needs to be held accountable as well. Curly and Textured hair is a completely new aesthetic. Edges are not meant to lay and rarely is every single curl in place shiny and smooth in perfect ringlet formation. Some curls look like clouds and cotton candy and they are no less beautiful than the rest.
I want to keep this short but I want to encourage you especially as women of color and for those women who do not fit into that category. This goes so much deeper than even just what I have written here. From the images of natural hair that we choose to re-post and support, to the way we process our own beauty.
And I am working in everything that I do to re-adjust that perspective. Even in how I approach styling and aesthetic with my clients. Because the White version of what beauty should be is far from all encompassing and I don't expect for that dynamic to change.
But the foundations of what we know about textured hair. How to educate about it and even how to market it properly cannot be propelled by European aesthetic or education and training that has been created and sustained by White males. The only way to change that is to change the rhetoric and to begin to hold one another accountable with the images that we digest daily. But I am not interested in engaging with those in the industry who have tried to make curly and textured hair fit into an aesthetic that easier for the masses to deal with.
This will be something that I am always discussing and one that cannot be ignored simply because it makes people uncomfortable. Imagine how uncomfortable it must be to be told for a lifetime that the way you are is wrong? From your hair to you skin. And to think that people are still perpetuating this no matter how subtle or micro aggressive it may be. Let me also be clear white folks aren't the only ones who are pushing the smooth and sleek agenda.
I hope that you will engage with me as I begin my blogging journey. My goal is not just to talk at you but to hear from you. I will always be honest, direct, and authentic.
With that I will leave you all with the original FB post that started this conversation. With the hope of helping with ways that we can begin to change the perspective on Black hair in the industry.
a new client I've been working with in kzoo just attempted her first stretched twist-out. she was disappointed in the results and texted me with her frustration and asking for options.
she has an interview tomorrow.
the end of the message had the words "it kinda looks like a curly afro"
followed by this 😕
here is my response
"Even though you did not receive the results you wanted. I encourage to keep trying. However, having natural hair can be tough and it is key that you keep a positive outlook. You are looking for smooth and sleek results but our hair, natural hair, is soft and curly and textured. The result I created has taken years of practice to perfect. So be gentle with yourself because curly afros are the bomb and practice makes perfect!!!"
We have to retrain our minds eye. Our hair is perfect in all of its frizz, fuzz, and fluff. It's does not need to be smoothed out or calmed down. Be aware of the language you speak to yourself. Speak love. It is hard but we must try. Be aware that the curls you see in the media are typically altered. Defined curls are not the only reason for living and loving your natural hair.
p.s. If you are a hairstylist that does not deal with natural or curly hair. You need to be aware of the language you use concerning curly and textured hair. You cannot apply European ideals to black and brown hair. The styling, the visual and creative eye for what is beauty is not only framed by the white male culture. The industry right now for curly and natural hair is portraying a lie and not actually understanding what it means to have curly/natural/textured hair.