Wearing a Wig Doesn't Mean I Don't Love My Natural Hair

Covering my natural hair doesn’t make me less natural.

 As someone who has been natural for 5 years, I love my hair, but I have been through many ups and downs with my kinks and coils. There was a time I took Beyoncé’s photo with me to the salon to inspire my haircut even though her hair was straight and mine is curly (yeah, that didn’t work), a hot comb experience that left me with serious heat damage and a burnt hand.

My first time wearing a wig, I was nervous. Did my hair look fake? Would everyone know this wasn’t my real hair? Would it fall off in public? But after several compliments on my new style, I was hooked. The kicker: When Sundays roll around, instead of the six hours I generally spend on my hair, I have time to meal-prep for the next week, go to the gym, and fold laundry. A wig frees up my time and allows me to live the lifestyle I want without being a slave to my hair routine. All I have to do is wash my hair every two weeks and braid it back down.

A wig is also a great protective style to help my natural hair thrive, maintain length, and be healthier in general. It gives my hair a breather from the constant styling my natural hair requires. That includes twisting it every week and slicking it back in the mornings before work. While I’m wearing my wigs, my hair is safely braided away and I’ve actually found that my hair requires less trimming during the months I have it covered because I’m not constantly combing, tugging, and fiddling with my coils.

Now I have a number of wigs, kinky clip-ins, and pony tails that I can throw into my hair routine at any time. Most of the time I still wear my natural hair, but inevitably I get tired of styling it and the wig comes back out.

Since I’ve started my adventure in hairpieces, I’ve been asked, “Are you still natural if you wear a wig?” My answer: “Hell, yes!”

But there are some purists in the natural hair community who believe that wearing anything other than your natural coils is not natural enough. Those women would have you believe that covering or straightening your God-given kinks is somehow proof that you don’t embrace the beauty of black hair.

If you ask me, really that’s just making it too deep. It’s a hairstyle. Wearing my hair natural is not my way of making a statement about my blackness and, in turn, wearing a wig doesn’t negate my love for my natural hair in any way.

I get where they’re coming from, though. As black women, there is a lot of emotion and negativity that has come with our hair. My Aunt gave me a perm at 16 years old because my Afro hair was “too hard to manage.” At the time Afro hair was mired in bad connotations. It was too coarse, unruly, and unkempt. Growing up in Africa, in the 1990’s, I didn’t see many women wearing their natural hair unless they were under the age of 17. Otherwise, it was a lot of relaxed straight hair and perms. Long, straight hair was the ideal at the time, in part because that aligned with the women we saw in magazines and in media (who happened to be predominately white).

Going natural years ago made me feel free in a lot of ways. I no longer have to spend hours in a salon getting my hair permed and set. It also made me care less about what other people thought of my looks (curls are so unpredictable, and it’s impossible to look flawless EVERY day).

But wearing a wig gives me a type of freedom, too. Freedom from the same old hairstyle I wear every day. Freedom from my weekly, six-hour hair routine. Freedom from having to hold the weight of my culture on my curls and always present myself as the soul sister/dope black girl ideal. No matter how I wear my hair, or whether you can see my hair at all, I know that I am a proud black woman. My wigs don’t cover up who I am—they help me love who I am even more.

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