Why There’s Absolutely No Such Thing as “Good” Hair

Best hair salon in san jose

What is “good hair? And why is achieving whatever “good” hair means or looks like so important, not only to African Americans but among the entire African diaspora? Is unprocessed hair good enough for American standards?

Unfortunately — or fortunately depending on who you ask — there is absolutely no such thing as “good” hair. No. Such. Thing. In fact, many within the American black community and the entire African diaspora find the term highly offense if not downright ignorant. Why? After all it’s just hair, right?


The reason why the term “good” hair is and can be considered offensive is because the term describes a hair texture that is straighter and less textured than Afro hair, which is typically tightly coiled, texture, and coarse. Long story short; the closer Afro hair resembles white or Caucasian textured hair, the better it is.

The term “good” hair is just one of many stale remnants left over from colonialism and slavery, which crushed Afro-centric beauty standards while placing Eurocentric beauty ideals such as straight hair, light skin, and small features on a pedestal.

The ripple — more like tsunami — effects of European colonialism and the horrific Trans-Atlantic slave trade left lasting impressions on only black slaves, but on whites as well. As such, it’s no wonder that issues such colorism still plague America and many other colonized countries.

This is precisely where cultural appropriation — which is an iceberg tip in itself — cultural assimilation come into play. Ethnic women, particularly black women, are often accused of using hair extension services, in order to look “white”. While this may be the case within a select minority of ethnic women, this sentiment is rooted in nothing but falsehood for several reasons.

First, straight, wavy, and loosely curled hair textures are not exclusive to only those of European descent. Several Sub-Saharan African tribes have similar hair textures to that of European hair. Secondly, naturally Afro-textured hair was and not-so-surprisingly still is considered unkempt and unprofessional looking in many Western countries. Therefore if anything, ethnic women wearing European textured long and short hair styles and sew in hair extensions are merely assimilating to a culture and a beauty ideal imposed on them.

Hair extension services such as weaves and natural hair braiding using another human or animal’s hair, fabric, or plant fibers have been around since ancient times.
Several great ancient African civilizations including the Nubian empire and the Egypitians — yes they were black — considered one’s hair to be sacred, as it is the highest point on the body.

Once western African tribes were sold into slavery, they were no longer able to perform the elaborate styling regimens and hair extension services that served as an integral part of their culture. Slave owners even went as far as to outlaw traditional tribal African hairstyles in a sadistic effort to further dehumanize and demoralize their slaves.

Fast forward to today, and hair extension services are used by a variety of women of different ethnic backgrounds. Yet it is typically women of color who receive the most criticism both for wearing their natural hair and weaves made from human hair. Though the black hair salon industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, the story and cultural significance black and ethnic hair still remains somewhat of a mystery to most of the Western world.

Author Image

Leave a Reply

Follow by Email