natural-hair-growth

If you began your nat­u­ral hair jour­ney in the age of Youtube and social media, chances are you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn. And sis­ters believe me when I say that Hair Porn can be a big prob­lem in the nat­u­ral hair com­mu­ni­ty.

What is Hair Porn, you ask? Hair Porn, is the com­pi­la­tion of images, videos, etc. that results in the arousal of hair lust, jeal­ousy or sim­ply yearn­ing for Some­one Else’s hair.

Who is Some­one Else? Some­one Else is that wom­an who has a type of hair that you will nev­er have. Usually—but not always—Someone Else has a looser curl pat­tern than your own.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn? Here’s a quick check list.

  1. 1. You begin search­ing for the pro­duct, spe­cial mag­i­cal blend or secret herbs and spices that will make your hair do what Some­one Else’s hair did. Even though you and Some­one Else have com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent hair tex­tures.
  2. 2. You walk away feel­ing as if your own hair is some­how less than. Less beau­ti­ful, less awe­some, less accept­able when com­pared to Some­one Else’s Hair.
  3. 3. You decide to use a so-called “pro­tec­tive style” and imme­di­ate­ly slap on a weave or a wig that mim­ics the hair you saw in Some­one Else’s picture/video/website.
  4. 4. You begin mak­ing a men­tal com­par­ison between your own hair and all of the oth­er nat­u­rals you see walk­ing down the street—and your hair keeps com­ing up the loser.
  5. 5. Your frus­tra­tion with your own hair begins to increase. Not because there’s any­thing wrongwith your hair but because you can’t seem to under­stand why your hair won’t do what Some­one Else’s hair can do.


Here’s the thing. When we wore our hair straight there were cer­tain goals and ide­als that many of us shared.  For exam­ple, no one who per­med their hair want­ed it to look kinky/coily/nappy.  That would have defeat­ed the whole pur­pose of get­ting a perm in the first place. We want­ed it straight—as in bone straight. Pen­cil straight. Stiff piece of wood straight. The straighter the bet­ter.

You get the pic­ture.

But once we made the deci­sion to go nat­u­ral, the idea was gen­er­al­ly that we were reject­ing straight hair as the norm and instead embrac­ing our hair in its nat­u­ral state. But as I’ve said before, many of us made that deci­sion with cer­tain built in caveats.

That caveat says that the goal for nap­pi­ness is to have a Cau­ca­soid ver­sion nap­pi­ness. Nap­pi­ness that isn’t too kinky. Nap­pi­ness that combs “eas­i­ly.” Nap­pi­ness that is not per­med, but is still a soft, curly, mov­ing, flow­ing head of not-so-nap­py hair.

My sis­ters, our hair is sim­ply not a dark­er, nap­pier, kinkier ver­sion of our White sis­ters’ hair.

But if you get sucked into the world of Hair Porn this can be easy to for­get. Some­times Hair Porn can trig­ger cer­tain desires or yearn­ings that lead to unhealthy behav­iors. Just like the oth­er types of porn, you can begin slid­ing down a slip­pery slope that ends in full out hair adul­tery. Soon you may begin regret­ting your deci­sion to go nat­u­ral and start con­tem­plat­ing the glo­ry days of your straight hair past.

Now before you think I’m crit­i­ciz­ing our nat­u­ral hair sis­ters who decide to return to a straight hair life, I’m not. I’m all for lov­ing your­self no mat­ter what your hair looks like. But if you end your nat­u­ral jour­ney pri­mar­i­ly because you were lust­ing after Some­one Else’s hair then that is a prob­lem.

Going nat­u­ral (suc­cess­ful­ly) is a process that requires you to embrace the hair that God gave you. It means that you stop desir­ing what you don’t have and learn to appre­ci­ate and enjoy what you do have—whether it is bone straight or nap­py as a ball of twine. It means you reject the idea that says there is only one type of beau­ty. It means you stop com­par­ing your­self to the Hair Porn stars in your life.  It means you come to a place of peace with who you are and what you look like. All of you. It means you rede­fine what it means to be beau­ti­ful and you use your­self as the base­line def­i­n­i­tion.

Now if you’re already knee deep in a Hair Porn addic­tion, here are some tips to get out before it’s too late.

  1. 1. Walk away from the Hair Porn source! Just like an alco­holic or drug addict has to avoid the bar or walk­ing to his dealer’s house, you have to stop log­ging on for the sole pur­pose of watch­ing Some­one Else’s hair videos.  If you and Some­one Else have polar oppo­site hair types, start iden­ti­fy­ing and view­ing hair videos or blog sites of wom­en who have hair like yours.
  2. 2. Take time each day to look in the mir­ror and iden­ti­fy three things that are awe­some about your own hair. Tell your hair (and your­self) how much you appre­ci­ate it (and you!). This is sort of like build­ing up the self-esteem of a per­son who has been neglect­ed much of her life. Some­times you just need to hear pos­i­tive words spo­ken into your hair life in order to start believ­ing that it tru­ly is beau­ti­ful—just the way it is!
  3. 3. Stop com­par­ing your hair to Some­one Else’s. This pret­ty much speaks for itself but it bears men­tion­ing.
  4. 4. Iden­ti­fy and con­nect with like heads. If you have type 4C hair (and yes, I’m speak­ing to myself here), then seek out and make con­nec­tions online with oth­ers who have a sim­i­lar type of hair. I’m not say­ing we need to seg­re­gate our­selves by hair type. But I am say­ing that you need to cre­ate a sup­port group of wom­en who can relate to your hair strug­gle. It can be hard to feel sup­port­ed if your only hair con­nec­tions are with wom­en who can wash-n-go on a dai­ly basis while you can only wash-n-no or wash-n-Afro.


At the end of the day, indulging in a Hair Porn addic­tion can be detri­men­tal to your self-esteem and can neg­a­tive­ly impact your nat­u­ral hair jour­ney. Learn to spot the dan­ger signs before you get in too deep. And remember—God had an entire uni­verse of hair tex­tures to choose from when design­ing your curl pat­tern. The one you end­ed up with is the per­fect curl pat­tern for you!

For more of Lurie’s writ­ing, check out her book “Afro State of Mind: Mem­o­ries of a Nap­py Head­ed Black Girl. You can also find her on Twit­ter,Face­book and YouTube.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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72 Comments on "Hair Porn: Naturals Beware!"

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Michelle

Hi my name is Michelle and I used to be a hair porn addict.

DreamGirl

Hey Michelle :)

AnonSince87
I bet­ter stop vis­it­ing BGLH then! Lol. Hon­est­ly, as the above poster said, I vis­it sev­er­al hair sites dai­ly. It’s out of habit now more than any­thing, but I do come away frus­trat­ed; ‘Why can’t my hair look like that when I do this’ I def get hair envy. But at the same time I love look­ing at the images and read­ing arti­cles, so catch 22 real­ly lol. My thing is that I was frus­trat­ed with my hair BEFORE the tran­si­tion because I knew I was get­ting the 4C, no curl pat­tern, ‘hard­er’ to man­age, ‘no move­ment’ hair type and I… Read more »
Lurie

Anon­Since87, I feel your pain! I think the key is to get to a place where we can “admire” w/o the “envy” — does that make sense? It can be tough — that’s why I was seri­ous when I spoke about find­ing sev­er­al things each day that you love about your OWN hair. When the envy hits you can remind your­self of your grow­ing list of “Rea­sons-Why-I-Love-My-Hair” to keep the green-eyed mon­ster at bay! ;-)

AnonSince87

Such a good idea!

DreamGirl

I go to sev­er­al nat­u­ral hair sites a day (true sto­ry) and I must say more often than not,I’m left with hec­tic hair envy and over­whelmed with a new ‘rule’ every oth­er day so I’m going to stop with the hair porn.

Lurie

Hey Dream­Girl! I feel you. I’ve logged a lot of hours gaz­ing at Some­one Else’s hair. Just remem­ber to focus on appre­ci­at­ing the awe­some hair you have and don’t let all of those “rules” ruin your day

Michelle Stepp
Preach it! Although what you wrote made me laugh at times there is so much truth in it and the­se are wise words to live by for those of us (may­be most of us) with this hair porn addic­tion. Isn’t that just human nature though? To nev­er be sat­is­fied with what you have? The grass is greener,etc etc. I couldn’t tell you how many white girls have told me my hair was ‘amazing’or ‘sooo cool’ (I’m dat­ing myself w/that last one hehe)and I was puz­zled as to why. Their hair seemed ‘eas­ier’ to deal with. But then I became a… Read more »
Lurie
Thanks Michelle! Glad you liked the arti­cle. This state­ment real­ly hits home for me: “This arti­cle has real­ly made me think about it though and the fact that there is no ‘sil­ver bul­let’ to some­one else’s hair. There’s mine and I need to give it more tlc, more love and more appre­ci­a­tion.” I’m all for admir­ing Some­one Else’s hair — just not at the expense of my own “hair-esteem.” Like I said in the arti­cle, the Cre­ator had a ton of options to choose from when design­ing our hair tex­ture. The tex­ture each of us end­ed up with real­ly is… Read more »
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