The weave debate

Two of our readers share their views

Natasha Lofters, 34, marketing manager


It would be simplistic to say that a hairstyle defines who you are — but unfortunately natural hair does seem to carry a stigma here in the UK — particularly in the media where you are less likely to see natural styles. ink about it. When you turn on the TV, or take a look at the music industry, you rarely see natural afro hair, and this undoubtedly feeds through into the public mindset where wearing your own hair in its natural state can be seen to be less desirable.
When a weave is worn on women that lighten their skin, this can definitely be seen as watering down your black heritage. It’s not that I have an issue with weaves in general, I just wish more women would be proud to wear their hair in its natural state. I think it looks so much better!
With the exception of magazines like Black Beauty & Hair, media exposure on natural black hair is almost non-existent, which is frustrating for naturalistas like me. Thankfully more women are beginning to opt for natural hairstyles, which hopefully in time, will make it more mainstream. We need more role models to fly the flag for untouched styles like Solagne Knowles, Alison Hinds, Caron Wheeler from Soul II Soul and India Irie.
Yes, I have worn a weave in the past during my transition period to grow out my relaxer, but I mainly wore braids as I felt this was more healthy to the hair and you can be far more creative in styling. Now that I’m a natural girl, there is no turning back as I can honestly say that it is the best thing I have done with my hair. There is a common belief that black hair is hard to maintain, but in its natural state it is beautiful, elegant and at its strongest. Since going natural, I have never seen mine grow so well and look so healthy. My hair is all mine and that’s a great feeling.
I also love the fact that my haircare regime is pretty low key. I wash my hair once a month and clean my scalp every few weeks. I then treat and loc my hair every six weeks, making sure I drink plenty of water to keep it hydrated from within.
Going natural is not necessarily a cheap option. I can spend between £30 to £40 a month on my hair, but finding a good hairdresser who specialises in natural hair is a great way to arm yourself with some hair know- how. I go to Blueisha J Home Care Salon in Streatham. Stocking up on essential oils is also a must to keep my hair clean and well moisturised. One of the many benefits of having natural hair is that styling is so creative! No glue, no tracks or sewing; just 100 per cent all mine. It’s an amazing feeling when you can see your hair growing naturally and you are able to run your hands through it. I am definitely happy being nappy!’

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Cherish Angula, 25, CEO of Cherished Hair


‘There has always been a lot of debate on whether or not black women wearing a weave are simply conforming to the white ideal of beauty, but how can this be? To me these claims are laughable.
After all, where do you draw the line? Does wearing ‘white’ fashion rather than traditional African attire mean that we are rejecting our cultural heritage? I don’t think so. Today, we live in a world full of choices and despite what people may think, I am not my hair.
Of course, there are some things I miss about wearing my hair naturally – namely quick access to my scalp! But for me wearing a weave offers great versatility, not to mention a great protective style for my natural hair.
I don’t feel that my hairstyle is so meaningful and I certainly don’t base my cultural identity and pride on how my hair is looking! I find such comments worrying to say the least and we
definitely have more important issues to concern us than to pick on such trivial issues that may divide us. Variety is a great thing and it is what makes the human race. Not every white person has the same hairstyle and nor does every person in Africa or the Caribbean. Beauty is beauty regardless of its form, so I say enjoy what makes you feel good.
Celebrities like Angela Simmons, Beyoncé and Gabrielle Union are all living proof that weaved hair can look fabulous if applied and cared for correctly. Admittedly it does take some effort. I make it a rule to avoid products with alcohol as these can be drying and I try to prevent dulling product overload by sticking to light serums, rather than heavy pomades and creams for my added hair.
Yes, weaves can be seen as high-maintenance. Weave-wearers often neglect to wash their hair regularly, but this is actually important for your natural hair and is the secret to maintaining the body and lustre of your weave. I wash and condition often — at least once a week — using a conditioning and sulphate-free shampoo. I also sleep with my hair in a silk scarf on a silk pillowcase to avoid tangles. After all, your weave is human hair so deserves to be treated as such.
If you are thinking of wearing a weave I say go for it! Make sure you pick great hair because your weave is only as good as its quality. And be sure to pay attention to texture and pick strands that blend easily with your own hair if some of it will be on show. For happy follicles, it is also important to change your hairstyle occasionally — especially where it is parted. There are a number of women who are experiencing hair loss around their hairline and this is due to tension over a long period of time. Alternate your tension points and avoid putting strain on the delicate parts of your head such as your hairline. With the correct care, wearing a weave can make you feel like a million dollars. And only you can decide whether it is right for you.’

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