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Black Women and their Hair

By Phemi Segoe 


Source: Bustle

Hair has always been more than just strands of protein growing from our scalps. For many black women, hair is deeply intertwined with identity, culture, and a sense of self. Throughout history, societal standards and perceptions of beauty have heavily influenced how black women wear and style their hair. However, in recent years, the natural hair movement has sparked a powerful shift, empowering black women to reduce straightening and embrace their natural hair.

To understand the significance of hair in black women's identity, we must delve into the historical context. During the era of slavery, Eurocentric beauty standards dominated society, portraying straight hair as the epitome of beauty and sophistication. As a result, many black women felt pressured to conform to these standards by straightening their hair using harsh chemical treatments like relaxers or heat styling methods.


Source: The Guardian

This continued into the post-slavery era, where straightening one's hair was seen as a way to assimilate into a white-dominated society and gain acceptance. The popularity of relaxers and straightening combs skyrocketed, perpetuating the notion that straight hair was the only acceptable form of beauty.

In the face of these oppressive beauty standards, the natural hair movement emerged as a powerful force of resistance and self-love. The movement encouraged black women to give up chemical straighteners and embrace their God-given curls, coils, and kinks as a way to reclaim their cultural identity and natural beauty. One of the most significant aspects of the natural hair movement is the celebration of 4C hair—the tightest and most densely packed curl pattern.

Previously marginalised and stigmatised, 4C hair has now become a symbol of pride and empowerment. Black women are embracing their 4C hair textures with confidence, rejecting the notion that only certain hair types are beautiful or worthy of acceptance.


Source: Naturally Curly

Central to the natural hair movement is the emphasis on effective hair care practices that promote the growth and health of natural hair. Black women are learning to nurture their hair and turning to brands like MPL, which stand for the promotion and protection of natural black beauty. Black women are embracing natural oils, such as castor oil, coconut oil, and shea butter, which nourish, moisturise, and strengthen hair, helping it thrive.

But let’s not forget the role that education plays in empowering black women to care for their hair properly. Online communities, content creators on YouTube and TikTok as well as natural hair brands, provide a wealth of information and support, allowing women to learn from each other's experiences and share tips for achieving healthy, flourishing hair.

By prioritising effective hair care and celebrating our unique textures, black women are rewriting the standards of beauty and inspiring future generations to love themselves unapologetically.

How has your hair challenged your beauty standards? And more importantly, how do you remind yourself that you are your standard of beauty? MPL Hair doctor 🧡

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