Here at COCO, we’re all for open dialogue and the eradication of ignorance—but sometimes we’ve just had enough. To Whom It May Concern: Stop coming at us (and our hair) like we’re some anomaly. “Hair is like religion and we each have our own rituals,” cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis once said. Respect our rituals. We aren’t obliged to justify them. Here are ten things we’ve had to explain about our hair (to our men, White peers/co-workers, even other Black women) . . . and ten reasons why we’re over it!

1. “No, you can’t touch it.” What gives other people the right to come and stroke our manes like we’re Chia Pets? And the request is usually rhetorical because before we can even respond we’ve got someone patting or running their hands through our kinks and curls. It’s just plain rude.

2. “No, it didn’t grow 10 inches, wavy and light brown overnight.” Seriously. Why is the concept of a weave still so foreign to so many people? Everyone from Britney to Beyoncé wears extensions. So if we decide to change up our look over the weekend, please don’t ask us how did our hair grow so fast.

3. “No, it’s not a weave.” Believe it folks, Black women can have long hair! Gasp. No extensions needed. And you don’t have to be “mixed” to have a lengthy mane. I’ve seen women with the tightest kinks and chocolatiest skin to the loosest curl and lightest hue all with bra-strap-grazing strands.

4. “I don’t need to wash it every day.” Caucasian and Asian hair get visibly oily after a few days, but Black hair receives little oil from the scalp and gets dry and brittle if it’s washed every day. There’s nothing unclean about us not washing our strands everyday. It’s just unnecessary.

5. “My locs aren’t dirty.” When starting locs, you may have to skip the shampoo and conditioner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rigorously cleanse your scalp. Yes, locs are subject to buildup more so than loose strands, but there are ways to clarify them and rid of buildup like ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinses.

6. Yes, I need to wear a headscarf at night.” Women of all ethnicities would actually benefit from wearing one. Beyond keeping a “wrap” or “doobie” in place, a headscarf reduces follicle damage. And if your man is giving you a hard time about wearing one to bed, tell him the sofa has his name on it.

7. “But my locs aren’t permanent.” Locs aren’t any more permanent than a “perm” (hello?) is. If you get bored, change your mind, want to change up your look, you can grow them out first or instantly take the plunge and do a “Big Chop.”

8. “My fro is NOT a political statement.” Some women just love their natural texture or think it’s more convenient to wear. Not every one with an afro or natural hair is trying to make a proclamation of their Blackness or even wants to be labeled “Afrocentric.”

9. “My locs are versatile.” Just about anything you can do to loose strands, you can do to locs. You can make them curly, straight, cut them into cute bobs or color them.

10. “I don’t relax my hair because of self-hate.” Not every Black woman with a perm or a weave hates her natural texture. At the end of the day, it’s not about what’s on our heads but what’s in it. You want bowl bangs with blond streaks because you know you’ll rock the hell out of it? Then go for it. If you don’t think you “need” a perm or weave to feel attractive then it’s just hair.

What are you tired of explaining about your hair?

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  • OMG!!! I so agree with them all but especially #8! Can someone send me a t-shirt with those exact words scribbled across it!!!!!

  • fr

    I don’t explain my hair. I shouldn’t have to. End of story…

  • Rootz

    Interesting stuff. Do other races have such issues with their hair? It’s something that can lead to such self hate or self worth. Other cultures are proud of their culture and appearance. Yeah touch my hair, yeah some black people wear weaves etc, yeah I don’t wash my hair everyday, I’m proud of how beautiful, diverse and versitile black and mixed hair is.
    My mum never did a thing to her hair and wore a headscarf to hide that it was natural and uncared for (I’m not saying natural means uncared for its just hers was both) She was told by her friends she had ‘good hair’ and should do something about it. When she did relax her hair she’d leave the relaxer on for ages till her hair was burnt, dried out and frizzy.
    So I had no knowledge of haircare having no sisters or close family to teach me. I’m now trying to educate myself and have found that’s what it all about. Not having ‘good hair’ or ‘bad hair’ (my mum has ‘good hair’ but not a clue what to do with or can’t be bothered) some people have ‘bad hair’ but know how to work it, natural or not.
    It’s important to know what product works for, how often your hair needs to be washed, how much heat your hair can or can’t take etc to make your hair beautiful no matter what it’s type, style etc.
    Also not to take your or someone’s hair as the only thing that makes them beautiful, or someone else more beautiful or better than you.
    Hey – hair is dead matter on our heads, if we spent some of the money or time we spend on hair in a month and some women spend LOADS, and donated a fraction of that to charities to help those in need, people with more to worry about than hair on their head, the world could be a better place.
    Pride in your rootz n culture xxx