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6 min read

Heritage can lead women to the best haircare and their best selves

Heritage can lead women to the best haircare and their best selves

What does your heritage have to do with your hair? For some women, their heritage is very blended, and there isn’t a strong connection between their physical characteristics and any particular ancestor.

For others, their heritage plays a huge role in their hair, whether they embrace authentic and cultural hair traditions, or they work very hard for association with their ancestors, or to fit in with their surroundings. 

The hair you inherited plays a big role in how you look, and it can play a large part in how you feel about yourself. Embracing your hair heritage can go a long way toward helping you accept yourself and feel good inside and out.

African hair and beauty culture in the USA

In Africa, there’s a wonderful history of hair culture that is used to signify one’s family background, social status, spirituality, tribe, and marital status. As explained in an article entitled “A History of African Women’s Hairstyles,” it went even further to discuss the ways hair was seen as a symbol of fertility. Long, thick, and neat hair was seen as a symbol of a woman’s ability to bear healthy children. 

In the United States and Europe, the cultural significance of hairstyles was lost when slaves were stripped of their identity. Traditional hairstyles were not possible for many African Americans, and so fitting-in became a priority. 

An entire industry of haircare products designed for women of African heritage cropped up with Madam C.J. Walker leading the charge. This self-made millionaire was a noted entrepreneur, philanthropist, and social activist who helped African American women manage their hair in a way that conformed with those around them.

In the past, the focus on hair and the health of hair as a defining characteristic shifted, and the health of hair no longer mattered as much as its ability to “look less black.” This change in attitude forced African American women into a position of pushing aside their heritage, which hindered there ability to be authentic to themselves.

Luckily the tides have slowly been shifting, and today natural African hair and hairstyles are more accepted. Of course, there is much work to do in regards to racism. Thankfully, the focus has also moved back to one of embracing healthy hair and revering it as a reflection of the health of the individual.

The cultural transition of Asian hair 

East Asian hair also carried deeper significance historically. Again long, thick, and healthy hair was highly regarded, so young women never cut their hair, and they would wear it in a way that showed off its natural beauty. Hairstyles were also used to signify a woman’s marital status. 

At times, elaborate styles were worked into place and featured flowers, ribbons, hair sticks, and other accessories that emphasized their elegance and seemingly impossible construction. These hairstyles were saved for special occasions or performances.

While long hair was especially revered and considered a gift from the parents, cutting your hair was looked down upon and only done in special circumstances, like entering a religious order. 

In the United States, Asian women have faced a different sort of racism where their long, silky hair plays into a certain stereotype. This has prompted many Asian Americans to seek refuge from that stereotype by cutting their hair and dyeing it blonde

While the trend toward healthy and natural hair is growing, people with this heritage may find that their natural hair still works against them. It’s a struggle to fight unhealthy stereotypes and still express your authentic self.

Sticking to cultural roots

If you’ve decided to let your hair’s heritage reign supreme, then embracing a natural approach to hair is the best path to take. The following tips give you a roadmap for adopting a natural hair maintenance routine that will lead you closer to your authentic self.

Learn about your heritage. You might know quite a lot about where your ancestors came from, or there could be some surprises that show up in your hair. Learn what you can so you come at this fully informed.

Study your hair. Now that you know what your heritage is, you should be able to categorize your hair. Don’t be surprised if you find it has characteristics of more than one ethnic group.

Learn how your hair type should be treated. African hair, Asian hair, Native American hair, Caucasian hair–they all need to be treated differently to make the most of their natural beauty. Discover what works best for you.

Establish a routine using natural products. Skip the harsh chemicals and embrace natural products designed for your hair type.

Give it time. Getting your hair to grow takes time. Accepting how your hair looks naturally might take even more time. Let’s face it, this could be a big change in your appearance and will take some getting used to.

Final thoughts

Who you are can be closely tied to who your ancestors were. Becoming your authentic self and developing an appreciation for your cultural past can take time and a little work. One big step in that process is your hair. 

While hair may seem like a trivial matter to some, to others, it has deep cultural meaning. It’s one of the few ways a person can instantly transform their looks, and it’s often something that’s people use to base their first impressions on.

With that much importance being placed on your crowning glory, embracing its history will give you the best outcome and help you define your uniquely authentic self.

At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

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    At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

    Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

    Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

    JOIN THE GROUP