*Cover art: @_thickums__ (on twitter)
I shared in my first article post that I would not be discussing politics. This will be my one exception to the rule. With so many of my supporters commenting on how bomb my hair has looked during the tournaments, a lightbulb went off when I was thinking about which article of mine I would publish this week.
Then I was like "Wow! There's some information I can tack on to this article!" So here goes, there is a piece of legislation that I'm going to briefly discuss. It means a lot to a Black Woman, like myself, who is interested in helping to create a more inclusive and equitable beauty experience for women who look like me or share similar struggles.
July 3rd, 2019, through the work of The CROWN Coalition, The CROWN Act was signed into law and expanded the definition of race in the Fair Employment and Housing Act and State Education Code, to ensure that race-based hair discrimination be eliminated from the workplace and in schools (K-12 and charter).
The CROWN Coalition is an alliance of organizations, including founding members Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty, that is dedicated to the advancement of anti-discrimination legislation across the United States. With the help of a diverse array of organizations in the social justice, business, legal, and education sectors, the CROWN Coalition has had tremendous success elevating the public narrative around this important issue and inspiring a movement to end hair bias and discrimination.- https://www.thecrownact.com/about
The CROWN act is in law in 13 of the 50 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Denver, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington.
The states where it was filed, but didn’t pass: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.
Because I'd already planned to dedicate this week's article to my favorite protective styles (I'm getting my hair done for next weeks tournament), I thought I'd be doing, both myself and my community, a disservice by not taking a moment to acknowledge the significance of showing up to work, as a Black woman, with natural hair or hairstyles that are not deemed "appropriate".
Without minimizing what a monumental feat passing The CROWN Act was/is; it’s completely crazy that something like that even has to be put on paper and signed into law for people, specifically Black people, to work and learn in peace without their hair being used as a meter of their ability to thrive and exist in a space.
There is still discrimination faced by everyday Black children and adults around how their hair naturally grows from their heads or how, culturally, they choose to care for and style their hair. This is happening while we all witness those same styles being replicated and used in high fashion and entertainment.
Because, in this country, we need these kinds of things written and recognized at the highest level, I'm happy that they're being created and pushed. So, immense gratitude from my community to The CROWN Coalition.
Now let's talk about MY CROWN! I'm a 4c girl who is extremely indebted to the creators of the protective style. My hair requires extra care. Curly/Kinky hair is prone to breakage and has a tendency to dry out; so the proper protective style is a great way to guard your hair from the elements and retain length, thickness, and moisture.
Being an athlete, who sweats a lot, it's also a great way for me to stay picture-ready when I'm working out, practicing, and playing. By putting my hair in a protective style, I have one less thing to worry about in my daily routine.
This style is so easy to easy for me to maintain and allows for a lot of versatility. It can take hours to do, but I can easily knock off some time, by changing the part/braid size. I can wear them down, throw them in a ponytail or bun, and even wear them half-up or half-down. If you want to do absolutely nothing regarding your hair in the morning, but wake-up and go, braids are the answer. You just want to make sure they're not too tight, because that could cause more harm, than help.
Cornrows are my go-to style when I'm not willing to sit for hours for box braids, passion twists, or faux locs. They're quick, clean, and sleek. Although you don't have the option of throwing them in a high up-do; you're still able to rock a low ponytail or bun. You also have easy access to your scalp, so you're able to moisturize throughout the lifetime of the style.
I love a wig! This is probably the style that calls for the least amount of hair manipulation and tension. It allows me to still do my hair-care routine and get right back to looking like I just stepped out of the beauty salon. I can take it off and put it right back on; which isn't the case with many other protective styles. You can buy different lengths, colors, and styles and decide who you wish to be every day. Those of you who are afraid of commitment, this is the one.
Weaves are extensions. They're a viable option for people who prefer to wear their hair out, over braids/locs. If installed and taken care of properly, it's a good way to grow out your natural hair. Like the aforementioned options, it too, guards against the elements and styling. Similarly to wigs, extensions can also be cut and colored. The only difference is you can't place it on the nightstand before bed and then pop it back on in the morning. It's a great alternative, with emphasis on, IF INSTALLED AND TAKEN CARE OF PROPERLY. A weave that's installed the wrong way and not maintained, can cause a lot of damage. Don't let just anyone throw a weave in your head.
I always wondered what I would look like with locs, but because I knew, once you loc your hair up there's no turning back, I never found out. That's why I was so excited when I learned about faux locs. I get to sport this beautiful look and have the option of removing it without having to cut my hair off! They even have options, honey. Butterfly, Goddess, Bohemian, Crochet, and Distressed.
The styles are endless, but let me also highlight some of the not so favorable items to consider or be aware of when choosing to put your hair in a protective style:
Traction Alopecia. It's the most common cause of hair loss for Black women. So just remember, pay attention to how your strands are being stressed while in each style.
Upkeep. Your hair is always growing. Your new growth will need to be addressed, because you don't want too much tension placed on your strands. Whether braids or a weave, restyling your hair after 6-8 weeks will keep you looking fresh and allow you to retain the growth.
Hair care. DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR SCALP. Always take care of your scalp, even when your hair is put away. There are different ways to rinse, wash, and moisturize your scalp during protective styling. When performing your hair care routine, don't forget to make sure to dry your hair so that fungus doesn't form. That should help decrease shedding when it's takedown time.
Wrap it up! Don't forget your satin bonnets or scarfs when it's time for bed.
Cost. If you're not the type of person who is interested in learning how to braid, make wigs or install your own weave, you're going to have to pay someone else to do the job. The price of protective styling has gone up, up, up. Prepare yourself to come out of pocket for both styling and upkeep.
What protective style do you like best? Do you have any other low manipulation styles you would recommend? I'd love to see pictures of you all in your braids, wigs, or weaves!
Hey Team Sloane,
Because I'm just entering this space, my weekly articles are currently available to any reader who visits the site. However, in the coming weeks, I’ll be launching a paid subscription opportunity with access to articles every week with other subscriber perks: giveaways, live Q&A, and subscriber submissions. I hope you will all take this journey with me. I can't wait to find out, from you all, if I'm actually good at this content stuff!