Long Hair, Who Cares?!


Recently, I was on vacation and for the latter half of my stay I put my hair in large havana twists. It looked so natural that people–black people, surprisingly, could not tell that it wasn’t my hair. I was stopped many times and asked if this was my real hair, or how long did it take to grow? I was complimented and admired with, your hair is so beautiful, I love your hair. I had never gotten so many compliments on a hairstyle before. Moreover, every single person, with the exception of one, were men! Can you believe that??! Black men, asking me, a black woman, if this is my real hair! I didn’t know how to feel about this.. Happy? Amused? Offended?

After a while, I studied the situation and actually felt some kinda way, which I cannot describe in one word. I was not angry at the men who asked if this was my real hair per se, but I became conscious of the ideation of long hair seeming to be more admirable than short hair. It was as if being natural was no longer the problem of being excluded in worldly beauty, but now having shorter, natural, is what is specifically overlooked.

I began to feel as though we, as black people, did not entire break the chains of mental slavery. And I am not saying it is our fault. I believe that we had a breakthrough but it needs to go a step further. Yes, we’ve come far with the return of natural tresses, but many of us are still seeking length for beauty. We need to evaluate our reasons for desiring long hair. Some of us may feel inadequate or substandard having not attained long hair length goals. We protective style to cover up our “ugly phase” aka short hair and take hair pills to promote growth for long lengths. Now, if you are doing certain things for hair health, carry on, I support that!

However, from studying the encounters from my trip, I’ve concluded that there is still this ideation in society, that long hair is more attractive. This social construction of beauty was lurking in my subconscious for a long time and I hadn’t realized it until I was probed by these men. It had been whispering to me ever since I became natural, and long hair was my desire. Once I did the big chop, all I wanted was length, and then health was close for a second focus. Basically, I made length more important than health which really didn’t work out because heathy hair is actually what causes length (reduced breakage, etc). Point is, I desired long hair, all my life. But don’t get my wrong, I felt beautiful with my short natural hair as well. The problem was I saw it as a phase and I wasn’t content with staying in that phase. It was meant to be a passing and not a permanancy.

Today, I still struggle with my hair at its short/medium length. I struggle with natural protective styling and finding the time to care for my hair. But now being fully aware of the feelings that lurked in my subconscious for a long time, I plan to be more conscientious and loving to my hair. I plan to work on my self-esteem and self-acceptance. Having confidence as a natural is one thing, but one should decipher whether that is true confidence or wall of delusion and denial around societal standards deeply ingrained in your reasons for your hair goals..




My # 1 Hair Problem

For a long time now, I’ve been doing my own hair rather than going to a hair salon to get it done. I’ve known how to do hair since the age of 9; Over the years, I’ve been practicing and perfecting my skills.

Since returning natural over two years ago, I’ve been putting my hair in protective styles and occasionally giving it a break by leaving it out. I realize that I liked switching up my hairstyles because it was fun, cute, and different. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I change my hair often. My hairstyles do not last long at all!–and that’s my own fault.

Without a doubt, I have HIH…[hand in hair syndrome]. Self-diagnosis. It is what it is. My number one hair problem is that I change my hair too often! Because I know that I can do hair, I don’t ever worry about my styles lasting for a certain amount of time at all! This is not good because the point of protective styling is to preserve your natural hair from constant manipulation. My ever-changing hairstyles absolutely defeat the purpose of protective styling.

For the past three weeks I was rocking Havana twists. I’ve had them in since August 24th. I really wanted to take them out at the end of week 2, but instead, I redid the front to extend the longevity of this style for just one more week to make it three. Three weeks was up technically up yesterday (September 14th). I actually took on the twists Friday evening. I couldn’t wait a day more, shame on me.. But I had to walk through the rain on Friday during a random downpour without an umbrella, so it was only right to take my hair down and cleanse it immediately (excuse and justification, lol).

Anyhow, after taking them out finally, I spent the weekend installing some loc extensions, sister loc extensions to be exact. My goal is to keep this style in for at LEAST a month (4 weeks), but I am going to aim even higher for a month and a half (6 weeks). Yeah, now I know that is probably not long at all for some, but for me, it’s like a decade!

P.S: In the next post, I will give the specs on my sister loc extensions. Stay tuned!!!

Havana vs. Marley: Care to know the difference?

Recently, twists have gained popularity among naturals as a great protective style alternative to braids. They are versatile, feminine and cute! So far, there are three types of twists and they are:

Havana Twists
Marley Twists (also known as Kinky Twists)
Senegalese Twists (also known as Rope Twists)

Senegalese twists (Rope twists) are easily recognizable by their long, skinny, and shiny construct. They are the only twists (so far) created with kanekalon fibers/synthetic straight hair which easily sets it apart from Marley and Havana twists.

Now, Marley twists and Havana twists are similar but not the same. Both looks can be created using Marley braid hair/kinky hair. Additionally, “Havana hair by Finger Comber” has come about more recently, specifically for creating Havana twists. I’ve never tried “Havana hair,” but supposedly it is softer than Marley/Kinky hair. I use Marley/Kinky hair to do both Marley twists and Havana twists because it’s easily accessible at my local beauty supply store for $4.99/per pack (as opposed to Havana hair available online priced at $12.99/per pack) and I’ve never had any objections to using this type of synthetic hair for either style.

So whats the real difference between Havana and Marley twists?

Havana twists

Ideally have chunky sections/parts
Appear loosely twisted
Uses a generous amount of strands (typically 3-5) per twist depending on desired look
Has invisible/undetectable roots (where the beginning of the twist meet your hair).

Marley twists (Kinky Twists)

Smaller sections/parts
Tighter twists
Uses fewer strands (typically 1-2) per twist
No invisible roots (braided for about an inch then twist)

Nowadays, a lot of people are using the style names Havana twists and Marley twists interchangeably, deeming them the same. Also to add to the confusion, people have been combining the two styles for a desired look (e.g: smaller Havana twists instead of chunky Havana twists or Marley twists (reminder: tightly twisted) with invisible roots). This would surely cause confusion, especially for those cannot see or tell the difference easily.

It seems as though hairstyles are evolving and remixing off of one another. I see no problem with that. Quite frankly, I think it’s great because then more styles are added to the “Encyclopedia of Protective Styles” for us naturals to pick up on and try out ourselves!” And to each is own–everyone has different variations of styles that suits their needs. For example, I prefer small/medium Havana twists over the “original” chunky twists. So, hopefully, this clarification can help us use the correct terminology in the meantime to address each style as they are currently.  Who knows, something totally new might evolve from these two or three types of twists. Let’s wait and see! 🙂