Written by Sheena
Image by @Tolly_t
It’s well-known in fashion that trends come and go but this also happens in the world of hair. As a hairstylist for over a decade, in these last 18 months, I have witnessed a seismic shift with more and more women requesting natural hairstyles over frontals and I’m so here for it!
Now that’s not to say I have anything against frontals, because I don’t. I absolutely love them and have been able to build much of my brand on laying a good lace! They’ve been a major game-changer in offering women greater versatility in styling than any other hair weaving technique out there. I mean, a frontal wig is literally all that stands between you waking up a warm, chocolate brunette to becoming a burgundy ombre all before lunch without having to touch a single strand of your real hair. How could you resist?!
But times are changing and there’s a notable shift in full-time frontal and wig wearers now looking for natural hair-based installs. So what would be the reason for this change?
Well firstly, many women are tired of waking up 2 hours before work to lay their wig. And then there’s the chemical burns we get as a result of constant reapplication of alcohol and toxic adhesives (which we have somehow convinced ourselves is just a stubborn tan line that just won’t go away 🙃 ). Oh, and not to mention the missed nights out with the girls because our lace isn’t laid, or because the glue is showing. Long term, this simply isn’t sustainable and many of us are ready to explore a more natural beauty.
During the pandemic, many of us were forced to reckon with and embrace our natural hair. As countries around the world enforced national lockdowns to curb the virus spreading, salon doors were closed leaving people to find alternative solutions on how to maintain their hair without the help of their hairdresser. Many of my clients resorted to YouTube tutorials and online classes for step-by-step instructions on how to reinstall their own frontals – but for many others, the downtime gave them an opportunity to really start exploring their natural kinks and coils. As a result, many of them got to develop hair care routines to better understand their hair in the hopes of eventually wearing it out.
Time and age is a big factor in why more and more of us are transitioning from frontals to natural hairstyles. The older we get, the more we look for simpler ways to enjoy the things we like and hair is no exception. Many of us consider the maintenance and upkeep of any lace wig to be a lot of work, favoring easy-to-maintain hairstyles instead. On social media, where we often go to for hair inspo, many of us will have noticed the surge in extension techniques like tape-ins as seen on one of mine and many other’s hair goal crush, Jayda Wayda. Tape extensions are definitely the new IT girl on the block! They’re a lightweight and breathable hair extension method, providing length and thickness to your natural tresses, with greater styling versatility than a natural sew-in, sky-rocketing its demand today.
Now to be able to get this type of install, your natural hair has to be healthy. A common misconception amongst clients who come in for a consultation on tape-ins or micro links is that their own hair needs to be long to start with, which isn’t the case at all. Instead, these styles depend heavily on healthy natural hair and healthy hair isn’t synonymous with long – you can have short but incredibly healthy hair. The desire for these natural instals like tapes is therefore encouraging us more to take better care of our natural hair and this is the part that really excites me as a hairstylist! Because it’s about time we started showing our hair some love.
As black women, we are constantly held under a microscope that judges our attractiveness – and this often includes how our hair looks. In the quest to have our hair constantly “laid” and adhering to particular standards of beauty, many of us have subjected our hair to poor practices which have damaged our tresses. Healthy hair doesn’t come overnight but it does begin with dedicating time to figuring out a hair care routine that works for you. My advice to those who wish to begin this journey is to start first by conducting a porosity test. All you need for this is a few strands of hair and a cup of room temperature water. A porosity test will help you to determine what type of products you should be using on your hair – whether your hair likes oils or creams. And from there you can go on to develop a healthy hair routine. For those of you who don’t have much time on your hands or find it hard to keep up with a routine, you’d be so surprised at the difference a deep condition every 2 weeks after you shampoo can make to the overall health of your hair!
A few of my fav deep conditioners below:
But no matter how damaged you think your hair to be, it’s never too late to start a good hair care routine.