I am Not My Hair; Afro-Textured Hair Pride

I am not your expectations, no.

In a world where appearances matter, it can be difficult not to judge others by that. As looks contribute to how others perceive you.

From the time you step into an interview room or approach a stranger on the streets. Judgments about who you could be or represent, form.

Hair also contributes to one’s overall appearance. Is it neatly styled or unkempt?

On Matters Hair

All hair has the same chemical composition. However, differences exist in morphology. That is the strand diameter, its feel, density to pattern size.

Textures vary from straight, wavy, curly to Afro-textured hair. With the latter falling into the type 4 category, according to the Andre Walker Hair Typing System. That is hair in the “kinky-curly/ kinky-coils” group.

As we make significant strides in embracing other hair textures besides straight: there’s still a considerable bias against those with type 4 hair. Even though curly hair is celebrated nowadays.

Peeling Back the Layers

The natural hair movement has done well in encouraging not only African Americans to embrace who they are but also Africans at large, including those in the diaspora.

For the first time, we are learning to love ourselves for how God made us. That, we do not have to look like the images the media sells us to consider ourselves beautiful.

Type 4 hair is often referred to as “kinky,” “nappy,” or “frizzy.” That is, hair with very tight curls or twists, appears to be dense and sometimes looks dry (when it may not be).

In this period of positive affirmations, it’s essential to understand the descriptions we use for our hair.


It still boggles my mind when a guy with tightly coiled hair asks a type 4 girl why her hair isn’t like that of a type 3 girl.


What is the meaning of a kink?

It is a sharp twist or curve in something that is otherwise straight (The Oxford definition). Loosely translated “kinky hair”; Afro-textured hair tends to twist or curve when hair should rather be straight.

Let’s Go Back to the Beginning

From the theory of Evolution, modern human beings came from Africa “before migrating to other parts of the world.” Indicating that we all originated from the same area. A recent study disputes the claim that we came from a single population, as published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

Taking Creation into account, we all descend from Adam and Eve. That is, as human beings, we have the same ancestor/ origin. Emphasis is placed in the verse:

So, God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them… Genesis 1:27(NIV)

In turn, it’s safe to deduce that all hair types pre-existed as is present.

Which begs the question, what makes straight hair the standard for every kind of hair?

Good hair means curls and waves (no),
Bad hair means you look like a slave (no),
In the turn of the century,
It’s time for us to redefine who we be…..I am not my hair by India Arie.

Afro Hair in all its Glory

Black woman with arms around two black men
Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

More people are embracing the curly hair and joining in the natural hair movement. Even so, the journey isn’t much of a smooth ride for those with type 4 hair, especially 4b and 4c categories.

There are moments when you look at another hair type and think, “I wish my hair could do that.” When you don’t find beauty in your tightly coiled hair.

In these moments, try to remember that your hair is:

Versatile
You can wear it straight, defined curls, or leave it be. You don’t need heat to straighten it – try a stretched style. Bantu knots, twists, banding/threading, or braiding will do.

Too many products (water is your go-to companion) to form your desired or more defined curly style.

Moisture retention is an essential step in your hair care routine. Adding a deep conditioning treatment to your washing process is one way to start.

                                  How to Use Regular Conditioner as a Powerful Deep Conditioner

Heat is okay, as long as you don’t over-do it.

You can also put your hair away in a protective style. If you don’t want to worry about what to do with your hair every day.

Afro on a man
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

 

♥ Gravity-defying
While everything that goes up must come down, your hair can stay up as long as you allow it.

Leave it to form an Afro (try to avoid knots), or style it into an Afro puff (an old styled hair gives you immense volume).

 

Voluminous (Volume to die for)
Afro-textured hair appears denser even though it has fewer hairs per square centimetre (av. 192). Each strand grows in a small helix-like shape. Just like tiny corkscrews, positioned next to each other.

Torsion twists that may occur along a strand may keep the hair from clumping against each other. That is when a strand twists around itself. In turn, one has separated strands that result in an undefined and fluffier look.

Prone to the phenomenon “Shrinkage.”

Shrinkage = wearing styles of different hair lengths.

Due to the varying degrees of the curls of the strands, the hair may not reach its actual length when or after getting wet. As the strands naturally coil.

It gives you the option to wear your hair short or long, whenever. The tighter your coils, the higher your shrinkage.

 

Afro-textured is the least common type of hair. Each strand of hair is beautiful, just as it grows from the scalp. Wear it with pride.

Embrace your coils and listen to your crown. For our hair is part of who we are.  Keep in mind that it’s beautiful, acceptable, and presentable in its natural state. Just the way it is.

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh!
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity,…..I am not my hair by India Arie.

Afro-textured hair is not kinky, neither is it nappy or woolly. If the “curly hair group” won’t accept our tight curls/coils; then, it’s enough to just be afro-textured hair.

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