What Is Hair Depression?
Every morning, millions of women worldwide wake up and ‘don’t feel like’ doing their hair. Many of these women will throw their hair up into a messy bun. Others will take 5 minutes to make a quick ponytail. Some will just spray dry shampoo and run their fingers through their hair to get out any large tangles.
This has never been the norm for Black women in America.
Black women’s hair been a topic of studies, protests, debates, and outrage for as long as I can remember and, despite centuries of this discourse, it has never been laid to rest. Black men are still making podcasts shaming Black women for not wearing their hair natural. New research shows that employers still view women who wear their hair natural as less professional. Black Women are still getting fired for refusing to cut off their locs, and politicians are still debating on whether or not they should allow that behavior to continue.
This has created a culture where our hair is integral to our professionalism, self-esteem, and even our identity–whether we want it to be or not. Foregoing hair care, even for just a day, can cause you to lose your job, your relationship, your social status, and opportunities for promotions in a way that it doesn’t for women of other races. It’s no surprise that the term ‘hair depression’ has been finding its way to the forefront of Black discourse.
Hair depression is a Black cultural phenomenon defined by Urban Dictionary as ‘the period in which a woman’s hair is not done therefore resulting in mood swings, random episodes of crying, and anxiety’. The phrase ‘hair depression is real’ has been showing up more and more on various social media platforms, and Black women have been speaking up on how the societal pressures related to their hair are resulting in a constant cycle where they’re desperately trying to flat comb, sew in, and straighten away depression.
This process of constant hair styling is costly, time-consuming, and exhausting, but for most Black women the consequences of not getting their hair done are far greater
How Can Hair Depression Be Prevented?
For non-Black families and parents raising Black children, hair depression is probably a foreign concept to you. You may be wondering how you can support and show up for your child if they are experiencing this, and you may be feeling totally clueless on the first place to start to prevent hair depression. Here are some tips to help.
Create a hair time ritual that uplifts and empowers your loved one. Do not treat it as a chore.
Especially for young children and those that are tender-headed, hair time can be associated with a lot of discomfort and tears. Creating a comforting and joyful ritual
Master 3 styles that can be your go-to when time, patience, and emotional bandwidth are limited.
You aren’t always going to have access to hours of time to allocate to styling your child’s hair or the physical or emotional capacity necessary to stand on your feet working on an intricate braiding style. Learn and master some quick and easy styles that can be done in 30 minutes or less. You can use them when needed to keep your loved one’s hair maintained, prevent tangles and breakage, and keep hair depression from creeping in.
Remember that moisture and protein will keep hair healthy.
Black hair typically should be regularly moisturized. Protein is also necessary but isn’t required as often. Make sure to keep your LCO products stocked and ready so you can keep your little one’s hair healthy!
Allow your loved one to try out new styles or adornments to revive the excitement around hair styling.
For Black kids, being able to look in the mirror at something fun and new can lift their spirits easily without causing damage or committing to a new cut or color. Connect with your local braiders and hair stylists so your loved one will have opportunities to try out colorful and exciting new styles.
Teach your loved one to repeat affirmations daily and to show gratitude to the beautiful body and hair they are blessed with.
Black hair will likely always be something that is policed and debated about. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s beautiful and those who are blessed to have it are some of the luckiest in the world. You can’t change how the rest of the world feels about your child’s hair, but you can help make sure they know that they are beautiful. Make it a point to constantly encourage and compliment your child’s hair.
Tutus & Tennis Shoes is a hair care company specializing in supporting non-Black parents and caretakers as they navigate the new journey of caring for Black children’s hair. If you need more advice and guidance on Black hair care, we’re here to help.
You can learn more and schedule a consultation at www.tutustennisshoes.com.