All Articles Tagged "locs"

Instagram Users Respond To Legal Dreadlock Ban With Empowering #Professionallocs

September 21st, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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We told you yesterday that a federal appeals court, in a 3-0 decision, ruled that choosing not to employ someone over their choice to wear dreadlocks is not a form of racial discrimination. So an Alabama insurance claims processing company’s decision to rescind a young woman’s job offer due to her refusal to get rid of her locs was legal. However, I think we all know that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right.

So, quite a few people took to social media to speak out against the decision by posting images of themselves, at work, wearing their locs. And trust me, there is nothing “messy” about them. Check out the best responses to the appeals court decision via the hashtag, #professionallocs. And be sure to follow one of my favorite Instagram pages, @LocLivin, as they encouraged people to share their images.

Appeals Court Rules That Employees Don’t Have Right To Wear Dreadlocks And Banning Them Isn’t Racial Discrimination

September 20th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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It seems that if you’re trying to get a job in this day and age, you might really have to be concerned about your hair choices. A federal appeals court recently ruled in a 3-0 decision that refusing to hire someone because they wear locs is not a form of racial discrimination.

It all started when a woman named Chastity Jones was offered a job at an Alabama insurance claims processing company as a customer service representative. She was told that the job was hers under one condition: She would need to get rid of her dreadlocks. They reportedly stated that locs “tend to get messy.” When Jones chose not to alter her hair for the position, the company decided to withdraw their offer. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was made aware of the situation, saw it as racial discrimination, and chose to act on her behalf, starting in 2013.

The EEOC noted that “prohibition of dreadlocks in the workplace constitutes race discrimination because dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.”

However, Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan, who wrote the appellate opinion, made it clear that the court wasn’t ready to change the definition of racial discrimination in terms of employment to be not just about bias due to biological factors, but also bias in terms of the treatment of certain cultural characteristics attributed to races.

“We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that, in the last several decades, there have been some calls for courts to interpret Title VII more expansively by eliminating the biological conception of ‘race’ and encompassing cultural characteristics associated with race,” he wrote. Title VII is of course a law that “prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.”

Jordan continued: “As far as we can tell, every court to have considered the issue has rejected the argument that Title VII protects hairstyles culturally associated with race.”

Jordan would go on to say that a change in the definition of racial discrimination would need to take place “through the democratic process,” not through the courts. As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, the appellate court’s judgment is in line with the ruling from U.S. District Judge Charles R. Butler Jr. in 2014, a decision that also sided against the EEOC.

A spokesman for the EEOC said that they believe both courts ruled wrong and are “reviewing our options.” However, Helgi Walker, one of the lawyers for the insurance claims processing company in question said this second ruling is a reaffirmation of the fact that employers “may establish and enforce race-neutral grooming policies.”

Ava DuVernay Dishes On Her Hair Regimen & It’s Surprisingly Simple

July 16th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Ava DuVernay ELLE Women in Hollywood

AP Images

More than just our shero, for being a shining example that black women can be directors and filmmakers, Ava DuVernay is also a constant contender for #WCW.

But aside from being beautiful, you can’t ignore the gorgeous crown of locs she rocks either. Long and always seemingly in place whether she’s on the red carpet or a movie set, we’ve got a serious hair crush on DuVernay.

ESSENCE recently caught up with the multifaceted director, screenwriter, film marketer and distributor to talk hair. Surprisingly, her key to keeping her strands strong and stunning is simple.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I don’t have a real regimen. I use all natural things, and I don’t over groom them. Everyone’s always twisting and twisting and twisting. When you see me out, yes it’s done but when I’m on set, I let it be free. The more you let it be free the stronger it is when you want to twist it’s ready to lock. You gotta let it do what it’s going to do.”

Don’t Want To Cut Off Your Locs? Comb Them Out: 6 Things To Know Before You Do It

June 30th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you have locs, you’ve probably heard the all-too-familiar question: “So how long do you think you’re going to let them get before cutting them off?” After reaching down near your butt to signal when you will likely part ways with your locs, you probably start to wonder what life without them will be like. What styles are you going to wear again? More importantly, what will you look like with short hair if you’ve never really had a substantial haircut or big chop?

But the truth is, which I realized quite a few people didn’t know (via Instagram), is that cutting off your locs isn’t the only option available to you. It’s the easiest, of course, but if you’ve grown attached to that hair, there is a way to keep at least a large amount of it. Loc removal has grown in popularity over the years, but the truth is, it’s a tedious process. I realized this after watching my college roommate spend upwards of three weeks with her locs in a tub of deep conditioner, hacking away at them while covering what was loose and what was still matted with the biggest hat she could find to go to class. Still, the fro that was left behind after removing her locs was a pretty good size. Was it healthy? Not likely.

So after seeing people ask a wealth of questions on social media about loc removal, I reached out to gain some insight from Dr. Kari Williams, celebrity hairstylist, the creator of those goddess faux locs everyone from Meagan Good to Eva Marcille have been wearing lately, and the owner of Mahogany Hair Revolution, a natural hair salon in L.A. Here are a few things you need to be clear about before deciding to go the loc removal route.

Be prepared to do it on your own.

“It’s not really a service that is offered, Williams said. “There may be some salons, maybe specialty salons, that offer the service. But ultimately, locs are matted strands of hair that have been matting together, more times than not, for years.” With that being said, Williams noted that it’s an incredibly time-consuming process depending on how long your hair has been locking and how long your locs are.

“The reasons why salons I know of, because I know our salon doesn’t offer the service, just don’t offer it is because it can take up to a week to detangle the locs,” she said. “Again, this is matted hair we’re talking about.”

Don’t assume that your loose hair will be as long as your locked hair.

“Often times, people consider the option of combing out their locs because they’re under the impression that if they comb out the locs, their hair is going to be as long as the locs are,” Williams said. “And you know, unfortunately, in the Black community, we’re obsessed with length. So the reality is, people have to understand that locs are an accumulation–the reason they are able to get so long, is because it’s an accumulation of hair that has shed from the scalp.”

So, to be clear, she pointed out that when you comb out your locs, you will encounter a lot of hair that stayed in the loc shedding and breaking off because it’s no longer attached to the scalp. If you were hoping to drape with loose hair in the same way you had length with locs, think again.

“Combing out the locs, the length of your hair may be longer than you recalled. But, ultimately, to comb out the locs, the hair is not going to be as long as the locs.”

Be prepared for quite a few struggle strands.

Williams has had clients who’ve done loc removal on their own come in to get their hair done, and the results weren’t so pretty. Dry strands, frayed and frizzy, require a lot more work after loc removal.

“When you’re combing out the locs, the amount of friction, just from combing through that matted section, it pretty much wears and tears at the cuticle layer of the hair strand,” Williams said. “So the hair itself, after detangling this matted section, is not going to be in the greatest condition. It’s more than likely going to be extremely damaged. It’s going to require a lot of conditioning and more than likely, another cut. So again, you’re talking about cutting away length.”

She continued, “Yes, doing several conditioning treatments, a number of trims and maybe cuts, you’re able to get hair back together, but it’s really a process. It’s not like a magical, ‘Oh I combed out my locs. My hair is back in this awesome fro.’ It’s definitely a process that requires diligence and patience and like I said, a couple of conditioning treatments. You can’t completely repair that cuticle, but at least you can feel it and help it in a way where styling is easy.”

If retaining length really is that important to you, instead of loc removal, consider growing out your locs before cutting them.

As previously stated, a big reason people opt to comb out their locs is because they want to keep some of the length it took years to accrue. But there are ways to retain a good amount of it while still walking away with healthier strands.

“As you’re preparing to transition out of your locs, just allow the locs to grow out for a couple of months without retightening them,” Williams said. “Keep the hair clean, brush it back until you have a good amount of new growth–whatever you feel comfortable with. And then, just cut the loc at the point where the loc meets the loose hair. Then you’ll have length where you can transition into twists or braids or some other style that will allow you to continue to grow out your hair to a length that you feel comfortable. All that new growth is new hair, healthy hair in great condition, and you’re cutting away the matted locked hair.”

Be prepared to get some criticism for combing out your locs, but always do what works best for you.

Every now and then in forums about loc removal you will find someone criticizing people for going to such great lengths to retain their hair length. And while Williams isn’t crazy about people combing out their locs due to the lack of knowledge about the process and what comes after it, she isn’t here for the judgment.

“Everybody has a different face and head shape as well as dips, humps and bumps in their scalp. Short hair does not fit everyone,” she said. “It’s a matter of preference. I think we all have a right to how we prefer to wear our hair. Our hair is how we present ourselves in the world. If they don’t want to present themselves to the world with short hair, I don’t have a problem with that. But let’s talk about a plan on how you can retain some length and transition into a style you do feel comfortable with. At the end of the day, they have to feel comfortable and confident when they step out of the door. So for those passing judgment, they should hold the judgment. It’s our decision how we want to wear our hair. And it’s no one else’s business how I choose to wear my hair, or how someone else chooses to wear their hair. It’s just a matter of a process. What’s the healthiest way to transition out of locs back into loose hair if that’s what someone wants to do?”

At the end of the day, be realistic if you’re thinking about loc removal — and have good products on hand.

If you have already made up your mind that loc removal is the way you want to go instead of cutting your hair, Williams said it’s important to be prepared for the work, have the right products (for instance, the Ann Carol cleansing conditioner by Williams which “softens and helps to break down dirt and debris”) to help you do it and restore your hair, and to be realistic about what the outcome will be.

“I just want them to have the facts about the condition of the hair,” Williams said. “There are other ways they can transition out of the locs without the time-consuming, tedious process of spending up to a full week combing out their locs. And ultimately, I want them to see that they’re only able to retain half of the length of their locs and they then have to go through a month or two months of deep conditioning treatments to make sure the hair is healthy enough and just looks good.”

If you are ready for such a commitment, get to work…


The Things You Find Beautiful Reveal Something About Yourself

May 31st, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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The Things You Find Beautiful Reveal Something About Yourself


I love going to the Brooklyn Art Museum’s annual Dance Africa festival. Not only are there tons of artists and Black entrepreneurs selling their wares, there are Black people dancing, eating, laughing, talking and socializing in peace. It’s an incredible scene.

So incredible that I often find myself looking at hair styles and fashion choices for inspiration. My sister, who was with me, does the same thing. As we were walking out of the festival, heading back to the Subway, she noticed a woman who had insanely long locs. But they weren’t hanging down her back. Instead, they were braided into large plaits and then pinned into a massive updo. Some would call it a bun. But it was so big, I’m not surely exactly how to classify it. She had a scarf wrapped around the perimeter, holding it up.

The style was so impressive that my sister complimented the woman.

“Your hair is so beautiful!”

Instead of the traditional thank you, the woman said, “Ooo sista, I’m only reflecting your beauty.”

I immediately laughed.

That’s another thing about these street festivals, they had a tendency to attract the super deep, nuts and berries, crystals-used-as-deodorant type of Black folks. And, just so you know, with locs of my own, I’ve been called the nuts and berries type before. With my locs also in a wrap, there might have been a few people who lumped me in that category this past weekend. You know how stereotypes go.

But as we were walking away, laughing. I thought about the statement for a second. And when I actually considered it, it did make sense.

Follow me.

We all know that it’s our own perceptions, experiences and attitudes that influence the world we see. When you’re in a funk, the world seems to be dark and gloomy. When we’re up, the sun seems to shine brighter, music is sweeter etc. The world is always what it is. It is we who frame it with our different lenses.

Surely, the same can be said with beauty.

We all know that beauty standards vary from culture to culture, from person to person. That very same day my sister, one of the vendors and I disagreed about whether or not it would be fly to put these two different prints together. They couldn’t see how it worked. I could. For whatever reason, there was something about those prints, together, that spoke to me and not them.

And the same could be said for that woman and my sister’s response to her. You’ve heard this concept before, articulated in a variety of ways. “Like attracts like.” “You are what you attract.” “Test the spirit by the spirit.” And my personal favorite, “Game recognize game.”

Earlier this year, Brande wrote about the thrill of being complimented by Black women, knowing that when a sista goes out of her way to compliment you, you’ve done something right. And that’s certainly true. But to take it a step further, the compliment is more than one directional, it’s a circle, simultaneously celebrating the one giving and receiving.

That loc-ed lady taught me a couple of things yesterday. One, a thing about beauty, both outside and within. And she also taught me to weigh the words before I laugh them off.

Things People With Locs Are Tired Of Hearing

February 15th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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Understand Black Hair


Locs have been around for centuries, but faux locs were a serious hair trend in 2015, continuing to make waves in 2016.  Even people like Zendaya Coleman, who famously rocked them on a temporary basis, can attest to the stereotypes, misconceptions and straight up racist remarks that loc-wearers sometimes hear.

In response to Fashion Police co-host Giuliana Rancic’s comments that Coleman’s faux locs made her look like “she smells like patchouli oil or weed,” here’s what the wise-beyond-her-years starlet had to say:

“There is already harsh criticism of African-American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”

If you’re rocking locs on a more permanent basis, chances are you’re that much more subject to the politics of Black hair.  Read on for a list of scenarios and comments that people with locs are tired of hearing.

How A Natural Hair Mompreneur Adana Collins Turned Feeling Ugly Into A Beautiful Business

February 10th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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By Abiola Abrams

Visually striking with her waist length locs and cocoa skin, Adana Collins has a powerful testimony to share in creating her self-love business. Coming from Guyana in the 1980s, she felt insecure about her gorgeous skin color, accent and hair. Fast forward to today, where the mogul-in-the-making is proudly shining as the mother of two sons with her own empowerment business. Now, she makes other women feel beautiful with her company Lovable Treasures that focuses on empowering women, particularly those with natural hair.

Let’s see what lessons this natural beauty expert, artist, and artisan has to share about motherhood, self-love, beauty, and business.

Mommynoire: Many moms want to start their own businesses but lack the information, motivation, or inspiration. You are a mother and an entrepreneur focused on self-love and empowerment. What is your business?

Adana: I am the owner of Lovable Treasures which caters to the needs of women with locs, braids and twists by providing handmade jewelry from head to toe; hair oils and treatments; and crocheted hats, wraps and kangols. We also have a healing yoga and jewelry making circle that helps women to slow down, get back in touch with themselves and heal physically and mentally.

Beautiful. Why did you start Lovable Treasures?

Adana: A few years ago, I realized that I was in love with myself and my hair and wanted to celebrate it! I couldn’t find hair beads for adults in the beauty supply store so I started creating adornments for my long locs. People would come up to me in public and ask where I bought my hair adornments and I would proudly say I made them. I then opened my Etsy store and transitioned into a business where I sold my hand-made hair beads online, at cultural events and hair shows.

As a mother of two boys, I’ve always felt uncomfortable working outside the home. I wanted to be there for my sons and not have to call out because they were sick, had a parent teacher conference or a performance. I saw Lovable Treasures as a way for me to do what I love and be home when my family needs me.

Please tell us about your own personal beauty journey, self-love journey, and natural hair journey. And are they the same journey?

Adana: My personal beauty, self-love and natural hair journey have always been one in the same. I recognized my beauty through my natural hair which enabled me to love myself. I hail from Georgetown, Guyana in South America and I came to New York when I was eight years old.

Going to a new country, state or town is always interesting but for a shy, naive, brown skinned Guyanese girl with an “accent” it was shocking! The clothing was different (it was the eighties), the dialect was different and the people treated me different and in turn I felt ugly. But I fought through it, into my teenage years where boys, friends, music, dance and hair dominated my world. I still felt out of place and ugly but it was always temporarily remedied when “I got my hair did” or when I got new clothing. My adornments helped me to start embracing my natural beauty.

In college I had an afro because my cousin had it and I thought it looked beautiful on her and I hoped it would make me beautiful too, but then I realized it wasn’t for me. I tried twists and loved them and made the natural progression to locs and I never looked back. I felt more comfortable in my skin than ever before. I felt beautiful.

That is powerful! Many of us have had similar journeys. How did this set the foundation for your business as a mompreneur?

Adana: I want to help women to embrace their natural beauty. I want us the recognize our beauty and start to love ourselves and share that love with others. I believe self-image is very important and through my adornments, yoga and jewelry making I help women feel confident and beautiful about themselves.

I love it! You are a successful mommypreneur. How do you balance the demands of entrepreneurship with your family?

Adana: I am blessed to be the mother of two boys, Tehuti, 10, and Ptah, 7. They are amazing children that everyday challenge me to grow and learn but most of all love. I have always had to balance motherhood with something or another. Whether it is work, a relationship, being an entrepreneur or with myself. At first it was overwhelming, but over time I’ve learned to schedule everyone in, including myself. During the week, when my children are at school and sleeping, I work on my business and when they are home they are my focus.

It’s meaningful that you are teaching your children the entrepreneurial spirit as well. And your sons also both used to have locs.

Adana: Yes! My beautiful sons both had free-form locs from since they were babies and it was amazing. Of course it was a constant battle to wash and maintain it but I loved it. Until they started to ask me to cut them off. At first it was because the children at school made fun of them. That reason wasn’t enough for me so I used the situation to strengthen them mentally and teach them to weed out the people who are not your true friends and it worked.

But as the years continued they consistently continued to ask to cut their hair and for my older son’s tenth birthday I cut his locs and then cut my youngest son’s locs the same year for his birthday. I cried! It was an emotional event for me and it was a drastic change. For the first few months I didn’t recognize my own children in a crowd. I cut their locs off not only because they wanted it, but because I know self image is important for boys and girls and I want my boys to feel comfortable with themselves from the beginning.

Teaching a positive self-image with external forces is a challenge for most moms. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurial moms?

Adana: Schedule family time and make it count. They can watch TV and play video games when you are busy with your business, make time to spend with them doing something you all enjoy. And don’t forget to schedule time for you away from them and the business. A balanced woman is a better mother and a productive entrepreneur.

Very inspiring, Adana. How can our Mommy Noire readers be empowered by your self-love business?

Adana: Find me at to get beautiful loc jewelry, hair healing oils, advice, and handmade accessories for maintaining your locs. You can also attend or book a Yoga and Jewelry-Making Circle for your area to heal begin to heal yourself.

Abiola Abrams is the author of the award-winning guide The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love and founder of, where she offers empowerment coaching.

She Tried It! I Did An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse And My Locs Were Dirtier Than I Thought…

February 8th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I had heard about apple cider vinegar rinses here and there, and while I wanted to try it, I always thought the ingredients needed were very complex. You know, like, when you want to try a new recipe and folks want you to get everything from cayenne pepper to cassava, to the single hair of a rare mountaintop billy goat. But in my sudden obsession to really cleanse my hair this past weekend after sweating profusely at the gym, I thought, if I’m going to wash it, I might as well really wash it.

acv rinse

To my surprise, the only thing I really needed to have was apple cider vinegar, baking soda and hot water. Lemon and sea salt are the other components people reach for to get an extra kick (but I only had lime and table salt…so yeah). After watching some YouTube videos and going to numerous Pinterest and blog pages for assistance, I did a 3/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar (the raw, unfiltered, organic kind from Bragg), and 1/4 cup of pure baking soda from Arm & Hammer. I was told that these particular measurements would balance out the PH levels when using both products. I poured both into a sink full of hot water (because I didn’t have time to measure nobody’s gallons of nothin’). After they had a quick reaction together–an instantaneous bubbling that would make Bill Nye proud–I put my head in the water for about 15 minutes. The front of my head, the sides of my head, and the back. In no time flat, I could see the water change colors and the chemicals interacting with my locs. Every little piece of lint started to dangle from the ends, and the gook I used to see deep and hidden in a few locs was washed away. After pulling my hair out, this is what was looking back at me.

apple cider vinegar rinse

Yuck! A muddy, murky sea of water. I decided that I wanted to try it again, with a fresh batch of water, vinegar, and baking soda. If the sink picked up that much mess the first time around, I wanted to make sure I got all of it out. The second time around, I played about four songs, and when each ended, I would change the position of my head to let a different part of my hair be cleansed in my concoction, doing footwork to keep my back and neck from hurting. And just like that, the water was brown again. Not as dark brown, but still, dirty.

But as for my hair, after rinsing it over and over with water to get the ACV rinse out, I was amazed by what I saw. Even during my best attempts at shampooing and scrubbing my hair, I could never seem to get my scalp to appear as clear as it did that afternoon. No flakes, no residue from my products–nothing. It was like Christmas.

Reading that my hair could dry out from the rinse, I immediately hopped in the shower and conditioned my locs. Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque was my conditioner of choice. After waiting a while and letting that product sink in, I rinsed it out, did a hot oil treatment and retwisted the front before getting under my hair dryer. And after two hours, and getting my hair dried about 70 percent (*deep sigh*), I moisturized the hell out of my strands. Lush’s R&B Hair Moisturizer and Cantu Beauty’s Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel actually penetrate my thick locs, so I applied them generously.

acv rinse results

After my rinse! I moisturized and braided my hair to get some light waves going. Days later, and I still have no sign of anything on my scalp. Glory!

In the end, I was so happy with the results of my rinse, I can’t say enough about it. I often hate washing my hair because I always feel like it ends up dry, and I can’t truly get my scalp as spotless as I want. But the rinse really got in there, without me scrubbing, and pulled out the gunk, leaving my scalp clean and clear. We’re talking almost four years worth of grime I couldn’t reach during my regular washes. As someone with bad dandruff, that meant a lot to me. And I would be remiss if I forgot to add that my locs felt the softest they have since I first started locking my hair, back in the two-strand twist early days. My hair feels absolutely amazing, and I definitely plan to integrate an apple cider vinegar rinse into my regimen at least twice a year (the products are a bit too strong for me to do it for every wash). You should too, because an ACV rinse seems to work wonders on all hair types.

12 Girls Who Look Gorgeous With Gray Faux Locs

February 4th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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Faux locs were a big trend this summer but you can bring the protective hairstyle into the winter too with a cool hue like gray. We know, it sounds a little out there at first, but we promise once you see these 10 gorgeous girls with gray faux locs you’ll be making appointments with your hairstylists in no time.

Did You Braid Your Hair Over The Weekend? How My Coworkers Reacted When They Saw My Locs For The First Time

November 24th, 2015 - By Christine Mwaturura
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In my last article, I left off at the point where I had decided to no longer cover-up my locs with a wig at work. What I didn’t tell you about were the comments that I received from my coworkers (all of whom are not Black)  when they saw my dreadlocks for the very first time. Here’s how it went down.

Monday Morning

I felt confident in my decision to forgo wearing a wig to work. I walked to the office with a renewed pep in my step, feeling the glow of the sun on my skin and the breeze in my hair. As the building elevator ascended to my department’s floor, I wondered what my coworkers would think of my hair. I was quickly about to find out. “Good morning,” I greeted my coworker.

Coworker 1: Ah! Oh my god!

Me: What? What happened?

Coworker 1: Your hair! It’s different!

Me: Oh… yeah, I changed it.

Coworker 1: Um… it’s cute. It’s cute.

Me: OK… thanks?

A few minutes later…

Coworker 2: Christine! You changed your hair?

Me: Yup.

Coworker 2: Did you braid your hair over the weekend to make it look like that?

Me: Mm… something like that.

A few hours later…

Coworker 3: Hey… (puzzled expression)

Me: Hey.

Coworker 3: What’s that?

Me: What?

Coworker 3: That thing in your hair.

Me: Oh that. Yeah, it’s called a hair-cuff.

Coworker 3: Hmm… I like it.

Me: Thanks.

A few minutes later…

Coworker 4: So how do you do it?

Me: Do what?

Coworker 4: Change your hair.

Me: Well, there are many ways to do it. Some people chemically straighten their hair, some clip in extensions…

Coworker 4: So was what you had last time sewn on?

Me (in my head): OMG, how does she remember all the stuff I told her last month about lace-front wigs and weaves. OMG, she’s about to expose me! Deflect – say anything!

Me: No… no.

Awkward silence.

Coworker 4: That’s really interesting. So how often do you change your hair?

Me: Whenever I get bored. You know, it’s nice to have options.

A few days later…

Coworker 5: Hey Christine, so about the… Wow! Your hair!

Me: Dude, my hair has been like this the whole week.

Coworker 5: No it hasn’t.

Me: Um, yes it has… I talked to you yesterday. Are you only noticing now that my hair is different?

Coworker 5: Really? I guess I didn’t notice. So, I see you changed it up to be more like your “homies”?

Me: Haha, what “homies” are you talking about? You’re silly.

The rest of my coworkers generally seemed to ignore the change even though I could plainly see the confusion on their faces. Thankfully, my worst fear wasn’t realized – no one tried to touch my hair.

One thing from this experience that caught me by surprise was my own reluctance to meaningfully answer my coworkers’ questions about my hair. I displayed cowardice by deflecting instead of taking the opportunity to educate my coworkers on Black hair. Although, on the other hand, I also feel that it’s unfair that the burden of educating should rest on my shoulders. Sometimes I wish that I could just pass out a copy of Chris Rock’s Good Hair documentary film whenever a non-Black person asks me about my hair.  

In any case, the discomfort that I felt about not handling the questions better was soon outweighed by the comfort I gained by wearing my hair out. I’m no longer distracted by annoying wig combs and can focus better on doing my job. I feel like myself again. So overall, my big reveal went OK, although I still don’t know what to make of Coworker 1’s shriek of surprise – shade or no shade?