Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good Hair: 5 Tips for Weave Wearers and Those Who Love Them

I spend roughly $300 every 6-8 weeks on my hair, and I used to think I was paying too much. That is, until I saw Good Hair at the movies this weekend and learned that many normal, everyday women--not celebrities or people making tons of money--are paying $1,000 just to get one weave installed.


But the thing is, I really wasn't all that impressed with how that $1,000 weave looked in the movie. It just looked fake to me, like not even halfway believable. Why would I ever pay $1,000 for that?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against weaves. Since I was a teenager, I've worn my hair all sorts of ways--in microbraids, lacing (invisible braids), box braids, tree braids, and weaves. In fact, I've tried most things except for wigs. My natural hair is soft, barely holds a curl, and breaks off easily, so wearing these styles protects it and keeps it healthy. And I really just have one requirement: Whatever style I choose has to look as natural as possible. I want people to wonder if it's my hair, not automatically assume it's a weave.

I'm no hair stylist, but I've learned quite a few things from regularly wearing my hair in braids and weaves over the years. Here are 5 pieces of advice for weave wearers and their friends and loved ones:

1. Leave weave maintenance to the professionals. Whether you're getting your hair relaxed using the so-called "creamy crack" or getting it straightened with a pressing comb, the key is to make sure your real hair--even if just a little bit of it is left out--blends well with the weave hair. So schedule follow-up appointments with your hair stylist--and do not get a weave if you do not have time or money to go back to the salon because your hair will start looking a hot mess after a few weeks. Most of us simply don't have the tools (or the necessary skills) at home to get the weave hair to look as good as the stylist can. (A tip: In my opinion, buying a Bed Head TIGI Stick helps out a lot with blending the natural/weave hair at home in between salon appointments.)

2. If you like my hair, thanks, but please keep it classy. It's rude to start a conversation by asking, "Is that your hair?"--as a pharmacist at my local pharmacy did recently, right before telling me how cute she thought my hair was. Instead, try saying, "I like your hair. Where did you get it done?" That's complimentary, simple and to the point.

3. If you see a style you love but know other people who already have it, try to put your own spin on it. If you're like me and like to look different from the crowd, there are plenty of ways to make yourself stand out. So visit the beauty supply store and take a spin through the hair aisle to see what you can do to create a style that fits what you want but also gives you some individuality. 

4. Co-workers and friends, please don't ask how our hair grew so fast. As someone so appropriately noted in Good Hair, our hair does not grow 10 inches overnight. If it appears that way, yes, it's probably a weave or braids with extensions, and no, we don't want to talk about it with you.

5. Brothas, please follow Chris Rock's advice and do NOT touch our hair. We understand you're hip to the game and know that the hair hanging down our backs is probably not ours--and perhaps you even paid to get it done--but that doesn't mean we want you to touch it. And a final word of advice: Never, ever, ever ask your lady if she is wearing a weave. Just be happy that it looks good and keep it moving.

TALK BACK: Do you think Good Hair did a good job of portraying the issues black women face in styling their hair? Was anything missing that you'd like to see covered in a future documentary?


  1. I wish the movie would have had more natural ladies speaking about their hair. Also, I didn't like the part about a man having to pay for a woman's hair and the expense being part of dating a black woman. I've never had a man pay for me to get my hair done (or anything else for that matter) and I didn't like the way it was portrayed as being a "given" part of the dating process.

    Other than that, I enjoyed the movie.

  2. Yes, I agree that he should've included more info about natural hair. He filmed in a braiding salon but never really discussed braids or natural styles.

    And yes, the documentary did make it appear as though it's expected that black men pay for black women's hair salon appointments, when that's not always the case!