Afro hair

Why Black Women Obsess Over their Hair ?

Published By: Editor

Fact Checked By: Kennedy

Last Updated: January 25, 2022

When you think about hair, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many people, this may be a hairstyle. But for black women, it may be something different. Black women are known for obsessing over their hair more than any other group of people on Earth. So why do they care so much?

The answer to this question is not an easy one and it all depends on who you ask. Some believe that black women have typical issues with their hair such as being dry or curly while others believe that there is something deeper going on in society that has led to these obsessions.

Why Black Women Obsess Over Their Hair?

Every black woman pays keen interest and is captivated by their hair. There’s just something about black women and their obsession with, and manipulation of, their hair. Black women are told that their hair is unprofessional and unattractive, leading them to subconsciously view it as a personal flaw. 

Historically black female beauty standards have been dictated by people of European descent who see lighter skin tones (and the light-colored features associated with them) as more attractive than darker ones. This has led many African Americans in search of chemical relaxers or other methods to straighten their natural curls out of shame stemming from these stereotypes about what constitutes femininity within our society. 

The History Factor

For one reason, black women have had a long history of putting up with other people’s hair preferences, and also having their own preferences violated. This means that they often experience being treated with disrespect or differently just because of their hair. This has given them a strong sense of identity and the need to make sure that their hair is perfect.

Historically,  black women’s hair has played major impacts in affecting their self-esteem, especially during slavery times. During these times enslaved African Americans were often stripped of everything they had as human beings.

However, many clung to one simple item, their hair. As a result, they often styled it in a unique and special way to remind themselves of their African ancestry and to resist the pressures of slavery. Consequently, when African American women are stripped of their hair for no reason they feel as though they have lost everything that makes them human.

Also read: Why Black People Have Curly, Kinky Hair?

Typical Black Hair Issues

Since the 1800s, African American hair has been a topic of discussion. The hairstyles that were popular in America at the time were typically straightened and styled to imitate European features.

After slavery was abolished, black people started to create their own style trends which included braids, locs, and other styles with more natural textures like afros. This was met with resistance from white people and other minorities that felt black hair looked unprofessional. They believed it caused the wearer to be lazy, uncivilized, or even a threat in some cases.

The reaction was conforming to societal expectations. So, you will find that most black women wear wigs/weaves.

Generational Influence

Most black women spend their lives obsessing over the way they look. They often start to worry about this in childhood, when all of these old rituals from generation to generation have an impact on them. 

As a child, she’d be upset if something greasy got onto her hair or some boy pulled too hard on it; but nowadays for most people that would sound like an exaggeration! Those who still struggle with insecurity know how important the scalp is and want to make sure it stays perfectly clean at all times – which leads many children into obsessive habits and everything becomes much worse when puberty sets in.

Growing up this obsession with hair still grows becoming deep-rooted in adult life.

Nature of Black Hair

Black women have a unique relationship with their hair, and they’re not shy about it! From African American curly to straightened waves in different shades, black girls know how to rock both natural and new looks.

But why do they obsess over them so much? There’s no denying that dealing with thick strands can be difficult at times: finding time for regular trims while adjusting your diet is often enough to work on its own, but there are other issues like shedding or even breakage which every woman has experienced before (and probably still does). For this reason, black women often go to deeper lengths to know what products best suit their hair and ensure they use the right relaxers and shampoos to treat their hair.

Also read: Black Hair Types

Policing of Black Hair

The policing of black hair dates back to slavery in the US. Black women have always adapted their natural looks, yet when Africans first arrived on American soil, they were often shorn and told to conform with European beauty standards which favored straightened or styled locks.

The invention of products like chemical treatment for Afro-textured tresses has helped many African Americans achieve a look closer to that desired by whites. Most black women obsess over their hair to maintain and conform to these societal expectations.

Modern Trends

When it comes to African American people’s hair, there seem to be two trends that run throughout society. The first trend is the bias against natural black hairstyles. This was seen in the 1960s and 1970s when African Americans were encouraged to get more “professional” haircuts if they wanted a job. 

The second trend is the popularization of these same natural hairstyles. This was shown in the 1990s when people such as Queen Latifah, Spike Lee, and Snoop Dogg began to wear their hair in long braids or cornrows that were once considered a sign of social rebellion. 

This trend is also associated with the cultural awareness of African Americans during this time because more African Americans now choose to wear their hair in styles that have been used by people from other cultures.

Read: Why do Black Women Wear Wigs and Weaves?

Controversy Surrounding Black Hair 

The controversy surrounding natural black hairstyles has existed for a long time and comes from both white and black people in American society. As early as the 1800s, African Americans were restricted from wearing their natural hairstyles such as cornrows or braids. These styles along with afros and dreadlocks were seen as disgusting and unprofessional by mainstream American culture.

However, other cultures throughout the world have had long histories of wearing their hair in these same styles. As a result, this caused many people in America to believe that African Americans were copying the hairstyles of other cultures.

 This was seen as a sign of disrespect for American culture and history because these styles are associated with people who have been oppressed. 

For example, the style known as a “dreadlock” is popular today but used to be worn by African Americans who lived in slavery. They wore their hair like this in order to symbolize mourning their lost family members and to resist being separated from slaves. 

So when African Americans wore their natural hairstyles, it was seen as an offense to others. This in turn forces most African American women to change to wearing wigs/weaves to blend in.

Final Thoughts

One of the most important aspects of black hair in America is that it has been a part of this society’s history, and there are many reasons why African American women obsess over their locks. For some, they want to proudly show off where they come from; others might be trying to blend with other communities who have different standards for beauty than what we’re used to. Either way though, I think it’s fair game because if you say something long enough people will believe it.


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