Accessory or Identity: What Does Your Hair Mean to You?


By Chinwe of Hair and Health

When I wear my hair loose (which is rarely) it is big, kinky, … and foreign to other people.  I have had the occasional stranger’s hand in my strands.  I have had individuals approach me asking, “How do you do that?”

Many of us have had similar experiences to the above mentioned.  We have had all sorts of people indirectly tell us what our hair means to them.  However, what does our hair mean to us?  What does your hair mean to you?  Here are four of many perspectives:

1. Your hair is your crowning glory.

Your hair is your most beautiful feature.  You treat it like the finest silk.  Health and length are top priorities on your list. Expensive products are not off limits.  Your hair reflects all your hard work and care.  It is your crowning glory.

2. Your hair is just an accessory.

Your hair is like a bag or bracelet – something that adds to your overall look.  You do not mind wearing it long or shaving it short.  You do not mind dyeing your hair or putting in highlights.  You can texturize it tomorrow and then big chop next month.  You are not concerned about length but about style.  Your hair is an accessory.

3. Your hair is a statement.

Your hair sends a message – be it that “you are proud to be natural”, “you are your own person”, or something else.  When you style your hair in the morning, the look you choose is more than just a “look”.  It is like your bumper sticker; it says something loud and clear.  Your hair is a statement.

4. Your hair is an extension of you.

Your hair is an extension of your identity.  To dye it or fry it would be to deny a part of you.  To texturize it or to perm it would be akin to wearing a mask.  Your natural curls, coils, or kinks are here to stay for as long as you are here.  Your hair is an extension of you.

What is your hair to you?  Is hair really just hair?



Empowering women of color to break barriers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.


* indicates required

43 thoughts on “Accessory or Identity: What Does Your Hair Mean to You?

  1. Interesting question…I think the answer that fits me best at this moment in time is #4. Every once in a while I think of wearing added hair or even (gasp) chemically altering it, but the thought is like a dandelion puff on the wind…here it comes and there it goes…

    Answer #3 is probably second. I know my hair makes a statement and I’m GLAD it does because it’s a statement that more people need to hear IMO: “There is nothing wrong with what God gave me.”

    Answer #2 is third in order; having BC’d 5 times over the years I have no problem BC’ing again.

    I’ve long had a problem with the whole “crowning glory” concept so answer 1 isn’t on my plate at all.

    • My hair was a mess when it was relaxed. I never ever think about doing that ever again. I do find it interesting just how often naturals do think about relaxers, I usually figure that those people did not have the bad experiences that I had.

      My hair is a statement, it says that this is how my hair grows out and I like it.

  2. To me it is just hair, but at the same time although I don’t treat it as I should, I would never put a perm in it. I’ve never worn wigs or anything like that, because I love it as it is(though I don’t treat it well). I wouldn’t hesitate to cut it whether i have to cut off 3 inches or down to 3 inches. I think I’m sort of balanced because I really thought that if my hair was damaged that I would hesitate to cut it, and would just clip the ends until the damage was gone. But then the unthinkable happened, my hair was really damaged – and I mean really really bad. Without a 2nd thought, I took the scissors up, and cut that thing so low, it wouldn’t even hold a twist. so although I love it, I do what is necessary, when it is necessary.

  3. My hair is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me. I take care of my hair like I take care of my body, teeth, fingernails, etc. There has not been a more liberating experience in my life than “big chopping” my hair down to a 4 inch fro’ after having long relaxed hair the majority of my life. I was able to detach my identity from my hair and bring out that Godfidence (confidence from w/in from God) that was inside.

    Most days I love my hair, some days it gets on my last nerve, but it will never make me who I am.

  4. I’ am a combination of mostly 1, 3 and 4. HOnestly, I just look at my hair as my hair. It is my crown and glory but in moderation but at the same time I don’t go overboard with my hair and my dedication to it. My hair makes a statement on it’s own and just like I like to put my best face forward I do the same to my hair and my hair is an extension of me just like my eyes, skin, etc. I like to look as natural as possible I just don’t like to mask myself in general. I don’t know I’ m weird…lol it depends on the day and my mood really

  5. My hair is my crown and glory which I used to treat as an accessory but I also realize and appreciate it as an extension of me…

  6. hm. this one’s a little tough. i think description one fits my hair the most closely but i don’t believe in spending lots of money on hair products. i treasure my hair (now- didn’t before) and i do treat it like it’s even more fragile than silk. but i would like to think that i don’t go overboard. i think health and length are very important, though, in hair care, because it’s hard to make decent styles out of hair that is unhealthy, regardless of the length. that’s generally speaking. but length is important to me personally because i’m trying to see how long my hair can grow if taken care of optimally.

  7. oh, and i dont think it’s my most beautiful feature but it tends to be the feature people notice first about me. i get questions quite frequently about “is that your hair?” so lol while i would say my best feature is my smile, physically speaking, others notice my hair especially if i’m not smiling

  8. I’m #2 all the way.
    While yes, I may want to take care of it and show some others how gorgeous and fierce “black/natural/kinky” hair can be, it is just an accessory. I cut it, shave it, dye it, trim it, braid it, twist it: I do whatever I wish to go with my mood, my outfit, or the event. If black hair wasn’t such a historically and politically charged issue, I really would reduce mine to being like my nails. I care for them yet I am not afraid to play around with them.

  9. My hair is all of the above and but not too much of #2. I’m very proud my hair. I know sometimes I might want to heat train it or texturize it, ( relaxing it is out of the question lol). But I don’t because I don’t want to change the texture, the feel of it, the look of it (despite me dying it). I just love how it makes me different and stand apart from most people. I love how we are the only race who’s hair grows up and out. Becoming a natural is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has really helped me come out of my shell ( because of the all the attention it gets) and boosted my confidence. I’m still a still a quiet shy though lol.

  10. I subscribe to #1 and #3- about 50% each. I’m a black, female post graduate student at a Uni that is most kindly described as “hipster central”, and my hair is definitely a statement. It’s a statement that says “I’m a black woman, I’m bold, I’m different from you physically, I’m wild, I’m free and I’m myself. I’m not a stereotype.”

    But it’s also my “crowning glory”. I admire it! I love the way it feels, the way it looks, the way it gets attention, and after 16 years of relaxers, I want it to look different. I crave the uniqueness of it, and I fear doing anything that might be permanent to it because I’m currently struggling through a two year transition (just 8 months to go!) and I will NEVER do anything permanent to my hair again – except colour. Maybe.

    NO more relaxer. No chemical perm. No, no, no. Nothing I have to grow out before my hair feels like mine again. That said, I don’t feel like I’d be denying myself if I did something chemical, I’d just be giving myself a massive amount of work and stress again because I’d want to go back to my natural hair by the next month.

  11. My hair is mostly a one, two punch. I definitely think of it as my crowning glory and would rather have it be healthy and functional than pretty. And changing up the style is fun! Especially now that I’m starting to care for it better and actually have length to play with. But over time it’s become part of my identity too. I was only texlaxed for about a year, and I’ve only had weave once. So now when I see relaxed hairstyles I still think they’re pretty, but they don’t appeal to me the way they used to. I don’t want them anymore. I happy with my coils. :)

  12. I see so many people hold on to their hair as if it is what wakes them up each and every day, and will cry when something happens to it! If you feel your hair is what makes you beautiful, then you got this whole life thing all wrong. My hair is my hair and that’s it. I have grown my hair down my back and will go totally bald in a second because I do it all the time,.. just because. I am not going to work all of my life to become a slave to my hair because I have a family and my hair is not going to take care of my two girls when I’m dead. Don’t get me wrong, I admire ALL of the beautiful styles, but I know I am much deeper than what my hair could ever say about me.

  13. i feel like my hair is an extension of me. i “try” to live a healthy lifestyle which i hope is reflected in my skin, hair, nails, attitude, etc. i hope my skin looks healthy like i hope my hair looks healthy. i also kind of feel like my hair is a statement. hopefully says about me that i dont like much adornment, dont like much embellishment, simply prefer keeping it real inside and out.

  14. My hair has always been an important part of my altogether-ness, you know, not an accessory like earrings, boots or a purse. Always been fragile, needed TLC and would let the whole world know if it didn’t get it. Now almost two years into my natural hair journey, my hair has schooled me. Watching my hair blossom into a beautiful, thick, shiny mass of curls, waves and kinks has been wonderful! To me, my hair is a treasure!

  15. I wore locs for 12 years. I just spent the last eight months combing them out – yes you can! Before my locs I had worn relaxers since the first grade. With my locs combed out my hair comes to my collarbone pressed out. When pressed it is very soft, thick, but fine, like cat fur, lol!

    I wanted versatility and the weight of my locs was causing problems with my neck – they were past my waist – but I really miss my locs! I like my hair straightened but I don’t love it. I’ve been on this site for 2 hours and I love these styles. My hair used to be my crown and glory but not so much now.

    I have an appointment tomorrow to get twist for a twist-out. I have no clue how to handle or style it in its natural state but I want it natural, long, big, and beautiful like the ladies I’ve seen on here!

  16. Pingback: Art Every Day Month ~ Day 13 ~”Human, Naturally” | Art For Arachnoiditis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *