By Anu Prestonia, Natural Hair Care Expert
Someone recently asked if I think many people want Locs just so they can have long hair. I don’t know the answer to that; I think it’s a case-by-case observation. I do know that long hair has been a standard of beauty in western culture. It has been mentioned since the beginning of western writings in every form imaginable, including prose, poetry, songs, fiction, nonfiction and even in sacred writings.
The allure of long tresses persists. It haunts those who will never be able to grow their own long hair unless they have Locs. But what’s considered long is also relative. I believe that for those with naturally kinky hair, unless your hair is locked (and therefore not being combed) it will only grow as long as your DNA allows. I’ve never seen anyone with loose, kinky hair down to the waist, because tightly coiled hair doesn’t grow as fast as straight hair, or hair with a loose curl.
Advertising of hair products by major companies proliferates on TV and in print ads and on billboards of women with long, flowing hair. These images are absorbed by the subconscious, especially when we are children. We see them over and over again, in magazines, on covers of books, hair-dye bottles and hair products of every kind. Not to mention the long and ‘Hot’ haired models used to sell everything from cars to clothing. There’s a subtle message being sent that you’re not attractive unless you look like this. Imagine for just a second how it would have been if the reverse were true; if all your life you saw only images of beautiful short, kinky, healthy, hair everywhere? You can’t even imagine it, can you? Probably not, because long is the standard for beauty in America and of course long, straight and blond hair is considered the ultimate description of beauty in the western world; an idea that’s spreading globally, which is not a good thing if that’s not your heritage.
Many clients who come to me for consultations mention on their questionnaire that they want their hair to be long, or at least longer. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you hair has the DNA to grow longer and if it’s not short because it’s damaged, fried, broken off or just not cared for properly.
As a child I dreamed of having long hair. Literally, I used to have dreams that I had long hair. Then one day in 1977, after sitting for eight hours to have my hair braided with extensions, I had long hair! (It was very well crafted by gifted braider Shay Wafer, a good friend to this day, who taught me to add extensions to hair.)
Finally, I had long hair (kind of). I must tell you, this was way before most people knew of any type of extensions; men certainly knew nothing about braided extensions or extensions of any kind. What amazed me was the attention I received, especially from men, because they believed this was my real hair. It was unbelievable! But what really surprised me was my reaction to these men. Instead of being flattered, I felt offended. I realized it wasn’t me that they were responding to, but it was the long hair. And the dream, my dream about what long hair would mean to me, fell apart. I realized I was still who I had always been. Long hair didn’t make me a better person, a more beautiful person. I was still me, but with long extensions and now I was seen as so desirable because of this false hair. That was a real eye-opener and helped me to put a lot of things in perspective around image, self-esteem and self-knowledge. Hair does not make the woman!
Now, 30 years later, a lot has changed regarding our feelings about our hair. There has been so much awareness, awakening, discovery and acceptance and acknowledgement! I feel so blessed to have witnessed most of this firsthand through the many beautiful sisters who have sat in my chair or who have come to Khamit Kinks over the years to transform not only her hair, but also their minds.
What’s wrong with long hair? Absolutely nothing, if that’s what you want. It’s not how long your hair is or how you wear it. Your thoughts are what’s important. Do you love your hair? Do you accept and appreciate it? Do demonstrate respect by taking good care of the health of your hair?
How long your hair is, matters not. What matter is how long your memory is of your ancient ancestors who knew best how to love and treat our hair. They have images of this on the pyramids and ancient sculptures, of our regal kinky crown. It can be seen in museums around the world.
So I ask the question again, ‘Is your hair long enough’? If you would want some advise regarding this matter please visit us at Khamit Kinks.com or give us a call at 718-422-2600.
Anu Prestonia is owner of Khamit Kinks in Brooklyn, NY. She has run this renowned natural hair care mecca for three decades, which boasts celebrity clients such as Solange and Terry McMillan. Check back soon for Anu’s weekly natural hair care Q&A on Madame Noire. In the mean time, please like the Khamit Kinks Facebook page and follow Anu on Twitter. This content was republished from Anu’s blog with permission.