We at Cute & Kinky get to do a lot of traveling and we meet a lot of individuals from different walks of life. They all have specific hair concerns and needs. They inquire and we try, as best we can, to answer their questions. The most prevalent question we get pertains to hair growth. They ask questions about when and how long it will take them to grow hair down their back. They ask why their hair is short or why their hair “won’t grow.” They ask if the product will make their hair grow. They ask how they can make their curls look more curly and less coiled. They ask how they can make their hair “lay down” around the edges. They await my response with wide eyes and baited breath that soon fade when I tell them the truth about hair growth or the fact that the moisturizer won’t make their coils look like Shirley Temple. Then, some say that they are “afraid” to go natural (although it’s more like a return to natural) or let their real hair be seen and proceed to use all kinds of negative adjectives for their hair to explain why. This happens across age groups and even genders.
Besides the interactions that I have with customers, I came across a post this week on my personal Facebook feed that made me upset first, but sad soon after. The plot was that a father wanted his 1 year-old daughter to get a relaxer.
You’ve probably guessed by the title that this blog will be a little different from the last two and you’d be right. If you’ve read the “About Us” section of the site, you’ll see that we are a company that is based on the belief that self-acceptance is the best thing that anyone can do for themselves. This message follows in our choice of imaging online and in person. The reasoning for this is that how you feel about yourself plays out in how you treat yourself. What you love, you nurture. What you love, you give time and effort.
Oftentimes, we find that many individuals have damaged hair as a result of their desire to try to disavow, hide, or transform their hair in unhealthy and hasty ways. Most of the time, the issues they face are easily remedied with a consistent regimen of safe hair care practices. However, what concerns me more are the negative images they’ve embraced as standards that brought them to the place of wanting to escape who they are.
While I completely stand by any individual’s choice to wear their hair the way they want, I want it to be a choice that they made because it makes them happy; not because it is an effort to dismiss themselves or be someone or something they are not. I don’t want it to be a choice that was born out of the need to shroud who they are or what they look like to be more socially acceptable.
Don’t get me wrong, at some point, most, if not all, of us put a towel, blanket or shirt over our heads and pretended to have long hair . At one point, we innocently pranced around the house flipping that blanket or towel or blouse from side to side in a quest to fulfill the desire to be like the images we were exposed to like Barbies, Disney princesses, models and television game show eye candy. We wanted to have some semblance of what many of us were told, either explicitly or implicitly, was not an attainable goal for us (either in length or texture). As we grew older, it was apparent that those images were emblazoned on our minds and we did everything we could to attain our desired looks with real adult tools and methods. Most of us can attest to the fact that grace is likely the only reason we have any hair at all after the teenage experimentation we conducted on our heads. However, many individuals get caught in an enduring cycle and several years past adolescence, they continue to grapple with their own image and the images in their mind that tell them they are not enough as they are.
So what does this have to do with hair health?
I’m not into hair typing (I’ll explain why in a later blog) but I don’t care if you have type 2, 3, or 4 hair. In order to have healthy type 2, 3, or 4 hair, you have to take care of your hair as it is. Treating your 4 like a 3, 3 like a 2, or 2 like a 4 will cause your hair more stress than it is built for and always leave you unhappy about who you are and how you look. Trying to turn your hair into something it wasn’t built for will be equally unsuccessful. Show your hair that you love it as it is by spending more time truly nurturing it and less time trying to make it do something that it’s not designed to do. Leave the quick fixes alone because your hair is a part of a living, breathing, functional entity: YOU!
Unfortunately, the images that tell us what we should be in order to be more acceptable will never end. We will never be able to dictate what Madison Ave. wants to bombard mass media with. We cannot control what even some Black hair companies present to us in terms of imaging. However, what we can do is make sure that we keep a grasp on who we are and treat ourselves accordingly.
You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.