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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is a Natural Looking Weave Natural?

I was reading Essence magazine about a month ago and discovered several articles about Natural Hair. In almost every article, the hairstyles were texturizers, wigs or weaves. Which left me pondering, if a woman has natural hair and wears a weave on top of it, is she natural? And if a permie has a natural looking weave or an afro wig, is she natural?

I was walking with my sister around Thanksgiving, and I saw a mannequin with a fierce wig the way my natural loose hair used to be like a curly half-fro. And I thought, I should buy that wig. I told my sister about being conflicted on whether or not I should buy it. And she simply said that if it's for adornment, then do as you please. Would rocking an afro wig make me any less natural? I decided to leave it. But she had a point. Added adornment doesn't make me less natural. But on the other hand, how can I be natural and synthetic at the same time.

In the media, there are countless Black womyn who rock texturized naturals, curly weave, and extension locks. Do you think of these womyn as natural? I would normally say no. But because I have been reevaluating the essence of natural, I would like to hear your thoughts? Especially you Renea, thanks for your comments on the last post! Your paradigms are so poignant.


n'Drea said...

I'm loving the new look. You did good with this one.

For me, being natural means being free of anything artificial and chemical. It goes beyond how one wears one's hair to span one's way of life. I think it's something that springs from within. However, if someone chooses to wear a natural looking weave, I don't think that means she is less natural. It's just a matter of respecting her choice.

Renea said...

Are you natural if you wear a wig or a weave? Hmm. I am naked under my clothes. TMI?

I think we are starting to get distracted from the best reason to be natural--to be healthy and accepting of who we are as we are. People choose weaves and wigs for any number of reasons...If a woman has a healthy head of natural hair and wants to experiment with a wig or a weave, I say go for it.

One of the reasons I got Sisterlocks is because no matter how much I enjoyed being 'natural.' I did not have the time or the energy to 1) style my hair or 2) worry how it would come out. I have no patience for a bad hair day. And I got a weave...once. I wanted to jump out of my skin it was so uncomfortable and after having braids and no relaxer, it was downright weird to see fake hair next to my skin. But that's just me...

Adornment and enhancement are part of the fun of being a woman. We have carte blanche to paint our faces and try on wigs and wear fabulous costumes!

What I have a problem with, compassionately so, is HIDING one's hair. Riding the bus or walking 125th St. I want to cry because I see so many women trying to hide their hair in shame. Women doing things that are damaging their hair--weave tracks literally hanging on by a thread; hot, cheap wigs askew... That is no celebration, that's sad.

Afrodite said...

I haven't given much though to this honestly.

But off the top of my head, I think natural has more to do with the hair growing out of your head. So if you relax your hair but have an afro wig on. You are not natural.

ebony said...

I have always thought of natural as chemical-free. One could always get technical, then anyone who even put dye in their hair wouldn't be considered natural, right? I think natural is generally thought of as perm-free. And as long as I want to keep covering my gray's that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

blackrussian said...

I have a post sitting in draft titled In Defense of Wigs, but I haven't been able to round it out the way I want to, so it has been there for MONTHS.

I used to wear wigs and hairpieces ON THE REGULAR before I started locking.

To me they were just another accessory. It was like changing my shoes or my purse or my clothes.

It was also theatrical - like an actress in character. Some hairstlyes GO with certain clothes.

Sometimes I wanted a bigger freer 'fro than I had at the time. Sometimes I wanted ringlets that wouldn't hold up at the party I was about to hit. Fully HALF of my wigs were SHORTER than my own hair.

I love short hair, and wearing short wigs helped me get over the impulse to chop my own hair off while I was trying to grow it out.

I had a cute flipped wig with FIERCE highlights that would have been damaging to my own hair and another jet black pixie cut. Those were two of my favorites.

All of my friends knew it wasn't my hair because they saw me all the time, but a lot of times strangers didn't know(or didn't care). I always got compliments and I think it was because I was making a style statement - not trying to fake long hair or cover up my own because I was ashamed of the length or texture.

It was a fun no-commitment way to change my look in an instant.

The ONLY reason I don't still wear them is because the pieces don't blend with my locked texture and most of my wigs were half-wigs and 3/4 wigs, so that I could have my own hair out at the hairline for realism and I meet with the same problem. I can't blend them anymore.

(I have a high forehead and a small head which makes for a difficult time buying a realistic lookong wig at the corner beauty supply store.)

I only have about three full wigs and I HAVE been loving my locks SO much, I haven't had the desire to wear those, but I haven't parted with them yet, either, because I think someday I might want to wear them again...but then, considering how thick my locks might get, I'll probably have to give them away within the next year.

Funny... I feel differently about weaves, though. Somehow weaves seem to be more about faking it and pretending it's your own hair than wigs. Perhaps I am guilty of having a double standard. I don't know.

I think how I feel has to do with whether or not it's temporary. I feel like Renea; I have gotten a few weaves in the past (I think I had 3 in my life, maybe only two - I didn't like it either! I got loads of compliments and it totally looked like it COULD have been my hair, but it just felt TOO weird!)just to try a different length or style or texture I knew my hair wouldn't hold - and I couldn't find a wig in that style.

But I didn't wear it all the time - just long enough to get my money's worth - usually about 2 weeks.

I have to wonder why people wear weaves/wigs 24/7/365 - with the exception of those who DO have issues like alopecia, etc.

I agree with afrodite. I think you can try to REPRESENT natural with a wig or weave over relaxed hair, but you cannot say or pretend that you ARE natural.

But again...I can't be judgmental about it for several reasons...not the least of which being that a lot af sisters use natural-looking and afro-textured wigs and weaves as a stepping stone to ease or transition into actually wearing their own hair natural.

How many of us wore kinky-twisted extensions and afro textured weaves and braids before we did the BC or started locking?

Sometimes you need to see what you'll look like and how you'll be received. Sometimes the realization that it's fake and you don't like it is what leads you to find something else like Sisterlocks.

I loved the look of my kinky twists, but I hated the feel and the knowledge that it was OPH.

Now I have my SLs with a texture that is more uniquely my own, just as full and thick as extensions ever were and the pride and confidence that comes with knowing and being able to say that it is mine because I GREW it and not because I BOUGHT it!

The [In]Urbane Goddess said...

Great question...
My first thought is if we are to be technical any chemical process, including dying (as one poster already mentione) contradicts being "natural". So the sister with the processed hair and kinky wig/weave would not truly be natural.
I guess what saddens me is I have read far too many conversations on blogs and message boards where sisters debate what constitutes "natural", debating whether someone really is "natural" or is she wearing a light texturizer, and so on...
It seems some have lost (or never had) the spiritual connection to being natural. For me, it's a journey of self acceptance and self love. It seems some sisters are missing the point and allowing natural/not-natural to be another category to divide us. That's very sad.
Again, great question. I am really enjoying your spot.

aulelia said...

this is a really great question to ask and a hard one to answer too!

i agree with afrodite's definition of natural.

Koffee Dyme said...

I agree with you. Like i've read so many times, natural is hair you were born with.

Miss Jackson said...

I have worn relaxers, wigs, weaves, and braids. I'm currently wearing kinky twists while growing my hair out natural. I'm growing natural not to make a statement of any kind, but just because it's what's best for MY hair at this time. I still haven't decided if I will lock it, wear it loose or relax and take better care of it. The bottom line is that it's nobody's business what another person does with his or her hair or why they do it. I applaud sisters who go natural, but I don't look down on those who don't. It's really a matter of choice. I'm also struggling with gray hairs coming in so who knows what I'll do. Lol.

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