Weave Glorious Weave... Or Is It? Weave vs The Natural Hair Movement
In 1951, Christina Jenkins, invented weave.
As a quick recap for some of you who may be a bit uncertain about what exactly weaves are it’s the sewing of hair to your own hair, which is typically braided underneath. You can have a full head of weave which is when only a small portion of your own hair is left out at the front to give a natural effect, or extensions when just a few ‘tracks are sewn into your hair for body or length.
Something that was popularly rocked by women of colour as a way to change up their hair with ease and provide a sense of manageability, hair weaves have become widely used by women from all walks of life but with the natural hair movement gaining momentum how has this changed our attitudes towards weaves and what beauty means to us.
In the Kim Kardashian era (which we still seem to very much be living in), long, sleek hair with Kim’s signature centre partening is pretty much how every girl styled her hair, and to get that extra thickness and length extensions were you best friend. I remember I went through a phase for a year or slightly less so, that I constantly had exntsions in my hair. I would literally take them out and almost countdown to when I would be able to make a trip to the salon to put them back in again.
This wasn’t necessarily because my hair was short or in bad condition, I’ve been lucky enough to have healthy, thick hair for most of my life, I just felt like wearing extensions made me look better, more glamourous than when I simply rocked my own tresses and not only this but my hair felt a lot more manageable. So, it’s funny that now having been weave free for 3 years, after putting in some extensions for my birthday as a one off, a style that I had previously loved so much, I couldn’t wait to take out and get back to my own hair.
So why is this, what has happened to make us change our perception of weave and embrace the natural hair movement?
In the past natural hair (i.e. hair that hasn’t been chemically treated) was never something that was openly embraced as beautiful. Many young women would relax their hair to get it straight or loosened the texture of their curls and then go on to style it, with many girls having their hair relaxed from a young age and so being completely unaware of what their natural hair texture is like.
However in recent years, there has been a big push for women of colour to embrace their hair, curls, kinks and all and no longer see it as negative that doesn’t conform to old beauty standards. On instagram now there are many accounts dedicated to how to care for natural hair and its beauty, with one of my favourites being @healthy_hair_journey.
But have these movement changed our attitudes towards weaves?
I think so, I’m meeting more and more women who feel like they need to ditch the weaves and extensions and take better care of their own hair. As beauty standards are diversifying, we are becoming less afraid of creating our own norm, we no longer feel the need to fit into the Kardashian hair anymore. With singers like Janelle Monet, Solange rocking their fros and models like Adwoa Aboah going for the big chop, we feel more confident in taking hair risks whilst we find our feet again. Of course we’ll still treat ourselves to a couple of extensions or weave now and again but it is nice to know that we no longer rely on them as heavily as we once did.
All images from Google
Whilst I haven’t quite made the transition to being completely natural. I have made the transition from being straight to curly by putting down the straighters and going heat free, instead I have mastered the art of twist outs. I haven’t quite made the transition to being completely natural.
But all these new sites have definitely made me appreciate my own hair in a way that didn’t before and I hope in time every girl can feel proud rocking her own hair, whether its curly, straight, wavy or somewhere in between that you cant even define.