My problem with Afro wigs & Clip-ins

HAPPY PEOPLE!

How do you do?

I have a problem with afro wigs…you know…those real looking fake afros. In fact, they bother me way more than straight weaves. I know what you’re thinking, that I’m a hater, natural hair nazi and that I should let people do whatever it is they want. Now duh, ofcourse I can’t control anybody, but what I have is my opinion and this is a personal blog after all ain’t it. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but damn, I’m passionate about this one. I could leave this alone but no, I have chosen that out of all the fucks I’m going to give this year, this one is worth giving.

The explanation ensues;

I understand protective styling. Totally get it. However, I find that the subliminal message sent across by these wigs is not one for protective styling but more so “Your afro will never get this big, thick and beautiful, so here, buy it!”. Frankly makes my skin crawl after all the work and inspiration I try to give on a daily basis. Besides that, I feel that these wigs are creating short cuts in a black society that is already highly stricken by (dare I say some degree of laziness), short cuts and lack of self-love. You could argue that well, because it’s an afro wig, it’s still promoting self-love and acceptance of our own. But no, think deeper, self-love is loving what IT IS you are provided with, working hard at learning more about it, maintaining it and accepting whatever damn state it ends up in, cos it’s YOUR HAIR and it’s damn beautiful no matter what anyone says.

The times we are in people, especially in South Africa, cannot afford the consequences of these wigs. The natural hair movement has JUST started to pick up, and as soon as it does, as soon as people begin to learn about their hair and show it to the world, NOPE, “here’s a damn wig that’s going to meet all your hair aspirations”. Just braid up your fucked up hair underneath and yeah take care of it every now and then. You don’t have to do everything you’re supposed to do to it cos once again…we HAVE THE PERFECT FIX for your not good stubborn ass hair! By the way, the brands that are popping up are black-owned – nah, not a compliment.

You may say no, but this is just for aesthetic reasons…mmm I mean I get that to a smaaaaall extent, but aesthetics are not nearly worth the damage that will be done long-term. Guys, our perspectives of beauty have been taken away from us by white supremacy, the media and all that jazz for fucking years, and the minute we start to do something right we slip sooo damn fast. I bet they’re laughing, looking at usย  like “HA! thought they actually started to love themselves, but they don’t believe in their genes so much and can’t stand their hair so much, that they even have to wear fake afros, we’re still good mates!”

See, afro wigs to me are for quitters. If you’re a ride or die, then no matter your TWA stage, no matter whether it’s thin right now, bit of a hairline struggle, you will stick it out homie. My afro wasn’t as healthy as you see it now 10 years ago. I used to blow dry it so damn much it was breaking everyday. HI-LARIOUS. I had no clue what I was doing for a good couple of years. It took time, acceptance and some serious freakin self-love to get where I am today. So don’t even go to the well “your genes are different…” BS. Don’t. It was once a hot mess too.

Today, I walk the streets and people ask me where I bought my puff and they literally hunt for the clip-in when I tell them it’s mine. This together with all the promotion of these natural hair wigs I’m seeing on Facebook & Instagram has led me to this post. Oh, and to all the sisters who get that brutal “Is that your real hair?” question. Thank these wigs. Anyway, all this to say, stick it out beautiful, don’t pick up the wig because you will never really strive for yours to be like that if you start wearing that thing. Yours will get there. I promise. It may not be tomorrow, but it will.

P.S. Ofcourse some of you will disagree, and as always, DO YOU BOO!! If you’re offended, it may be because you can’t handle the truthย ๐Ÿ˜ Sorry, not sorryย ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜€

Buuuuut I’m telling ya’ll, for the masses who don’t think ‘further’, this is & will negatively affect the movement. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post publish EDIT: This post received an overwhelming number of agreements and acknowledgement on the interwebs – I did not expect this one bit. My faith in human kind has been restored. It’s amazing to see how so many of us needed to express this. To the pissed people still justifying and making excuses (or maybe simply not understanding) – I hope to write you another post to explain the negative impact of this in detail. May the universe give me the energy to do so lol ๐Ÿ˜€

Peace & Nappy Love

YOUR Girl,

TooAndALee

natural hair wigs and clip-ins
NOT AN AFRO WIG.
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47 Comments

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  1. I hate to love this post but i agree with you 100%. Thanks for the knowledgeable insight ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that you posted this. I share the exact same sentiments with you lady!!!
    I have no problem with protective styles. Weaves also do not bother me, but when the afro became artificial it grated my trits!!!! What upset me even more was that it was the natural hair bloggers that were the ones pushing the movement harder than anyone else. I actually unfollowed one because the entire time I thought that it was her fro that was naturally that way, only to find she had been enhancing it the entire time. sigh.
    We should probably say each to his own, but it is sad that even when we finally have something to own, that too is not enough. Which makes me wonder, when will it ever be enough?

    Liked by 1 person

    • “What upset me even more was that it was the natural hair bloggers that were the ones pushing the movement harder than anyone else.” – THIS is also one of my biggest problems because they more that anyone are influencers and have people who look up to them and aspire to try what they’re workin with. It scares me that it may not be enough even in the long run – there are so many excuses going around which I feel are basically ways to justify staying comfortable – but I believe for us to really be on a level where we have accepted our hair FOR REAL FOR REAL, we have to get uncomfortable, we have to stick to our own only – braids, our own afros, and the like, and stay away from ‘unreal’ aspects at least for a while.

      Like

  3. I feel the same but never knew how to express what i was feeling !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s tricky isn’t it? It’s also not not easy speaking out – the amount of anger I got from some people on Facebook – the SA Naturals group especially, was incredible. Hoping for a conversation but everything started as me “policing” black women, and the whole “just leave people alone”, “let them do them”, type of perspectives. How are we going to move forward if we leave these topics alone?

      Like

  4. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for being brave enough to do so. There’s a lot of silencing of opinions in the natural hair community of late, which I find disconcerting.
    Peace and Nappy love back at you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Trevi! & yeah absolutely agree – for example when I shared this in Facebook groups on natural hair, most people wanted me to “leave black people alone”, “let women do what they want”, to stop “policing” and such, instead of attacking the real subject – what is the fake afro representing?

      Like

  5. Guuuuuurl……I love our hair, I love your hair, I love my hair…but Lord knows the fro is not always with me, and I honestly don’t think that a little help is bad. For my traditional wedding, the fro was not cooperating, And I knew that I did NOT want braids or anything else, I wanted what I wanted and the clip ins did exactly that. I feel like having a helping hand on certain days is absolutely fine.

    So maybe I get that it can’t be a constant thing, but it can be a boost on those days.

    ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    • heheheh thank you thank you and thank you! you know what, I think for the such moments it can be acceptable – when we start wearing it as an everyday or most of the time look, then that starts a problem. So yeah, I think I’m with you on that point ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  6. chocolatehairsisters June 23, 2017 — 1:04 pm

    You touching people on their studios.

    On the real, I get what you saying and I feel you 100%. I wish people would not pretend their clip ins is their real hair. I started the girls page cause I grew up hating my hair and I didn’t want that for my kids. I have an afro wig, recently got it as a gift. I love that it gives me an off day when things become too much ( like today) I have my twists underneath from last night and I didn’t have time to undo them this morning. I know it’s a silly excuse. I’ve always thought of myself as confident and I love my hair but you’ve made me think of the message I am sending others by wearing this wig! Ok now my comment is long and I hope it makes sense.

    Thanks for writing about this!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eish and I did touch them on their studios!! (hides face) hahaha

      It’s a little tricky because yes, those bad hair days can suck, you know those twist outs that don’t come out as we expected etc. However, what do other races do on a bad hair day? They figure it out for the most part and wear it as is. I know they have clip-ins too and such but they do not nearly use them as much as we run to the wig or the weave. They don’t subconsciously think they’re hair is as ugly as we much as we think ours is on a bad hair day. We can all agree that our problem is more deeply rooted – wehave generations of seeing and hearing “we are not good enough”. Their clip-ins don’t affect their message to the extent that us wearing our clip-ins does. We need to get to this level of confidence where we rock our own as much a hell of a lot more – I hope we do.

      Thanks for having a read!! Love your girls, their beautiful, their hair is dope and I can tell they know it too – seriously, they are the future! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  7. I love that someone actually said this,especially that bun wig it really puts me off in a major way,and its trending so much. My first reaction when I first saw it “arg come the F on y’all done gone and created a bun wig mxm”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heheheh happy you understand Laurinda. It took a lot to say it . My instagram feed was FULL of fake fros for a good two weeks plus, I don’t know what was happening then that made it trend so much – no matter who I unfollowed, it just kept being reposted, I had to stay off instagram for a good amount of time due to the annoyance – so I decided to write. In any case, I hope I’ve started some bit of a conversation, and that we can take a bit more accountability for what we wear on our heads because unfortunately for us, we have a history of “black isn’t as beautiful”, and no matter how much we try to go for the “versatility” excuses, the “stop policing black women” excuses, we are avoiding the core issue. We have to get uncomfortable and stand for a message more than anything.

      Like

  8. I totally agree worse off those wigs are terribly hard I mean is this what people thing of African hair. They look terrible too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am actually only thinking about this now. I totally get your point, especially the part where you say โ€œYour afro will never get this big, thick and beautiful, so here, buy it!โ€

    Liked by 1 person

    • And you know what, the buyer does not buy it for that reason – the buyer hasn’t thought about it that far yet – so this is not to shame them. We just can’t ignore the damage that can be done if this stuff “takes over” our own afros…black perspectives on beauty are still a bit too fragile I believe – just gotta keep on keeping on a little while longer to really instill and completely subconsciously believe without A DOUBT, that we are dope as we are.

      Like

  10. I totally agree with you , just when the natural hair movement was picking in SA then boom the wigs. I won’t lie girl- I had thought to get it myself because of the struggles of growing my natural hair.However I also think that a little help on those big occasions helps provided you are comfortable in your own skin.the trick is for us to be patient with our hair and teach our young girls from an early age to embrace our hair .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Years ago while in Canada I thought to get one but for some reason never did. Now when in SA, super proud of the natural hair movement here, so much that I started sharing more about my journey – I also started to see the wigs sprouting EVERYWHERE and I started to think, wait a minute, what’s going on!! And yes, I agree, for occasions and such ofcourse we can splurge on a super sized fro you know, get creative, fun and stuff. However, for an everyday and most of the time look…nah, not cool! Thanks for leaving your comment Bathabile. Means a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  11. This is exactly how I feel. I worked hard to get my little fro where it is and still working too damn hard. It doesnt always look the way I want it to but I rock it anyway and with pride & confidence. I do feel that these wigs are a short cut and how do we say we have pride in our natural hair when we even fake something thats so achievable, not easily achievable but achievable at the end of the day. This wig, clipin thing defeats the whole “naatural” purpose

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Never thought of any of this๐Ÿ˜•. I don’t own a fro wig or clip on, I’ve just always felt my puff was enough. Really insightful. Especially the white people still coining part.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Well said thank you for opening our minds. Truly it is a short cut. Next time I would appreciate it if you don’t swear ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

  14. Haai askies I totally disagree, I think the wigs and clip-ins are fun.
    They provide variety and as the saying goes variety is the spice of life.
    Also they are an alternative for you if you’ve got you hair in cornrows (protective reasons) but that day you’re feeling fierce and only an afro will do so you throw on your wig and go and your natural hair is unaffected.
    But that’s my humble opinion.

    Like

    • Finally!! Someone I actually agree with.

      Like

    • I appreciate your perspective Ofentse. But an explanation that hides behind beauty, versatility and the like is merely a choice to ignore the core issue, the effects of the message that is being sent by wearing the wig. We don’t deny that they can be fun, as white people do add some clip-ins here and there to creatively style their hair every once in a while. However, the black community has been affected by “black is not beautiful” and “you’re not enough” because of past events in history (and still today). So we can’t afford to walk around and have fun with FAKE natural hair when the point is to drive the message to our younger girls that our natural hair is enough and, our very own natural hair can be fun and dope. Let’s not being cop-outs and hiding behind comfort – the possible damages have bigger repercussions that “I needed a break that day”.

      Like

  15. What’s worse is that some people are passing them of as their own hair!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I think it bothers me too, cause I always get fixated in their weird afro puffs and just wonder what is going on this girls brain, and the fake hairline is just ridiculous. Yep, I hate the fake afro.
    So does this mean our dread lock brothers and sisters are offended by the faux lock trend as well mmm?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. You have said it better.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. healthymenatural June 23, 2017 — 7:50 pm

    I felt cheated a while back when I attended a natural hair expo and most people there had natural looking afro weaves and wigs…. A Natural Hair Expo! Now as I read this post I know my feelings were justified. I just wonder now if I’m encouraging anyone to go natural…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I felt the same way when I went to an expo not long ago!!! I felt conflicted and confused about the point of it all. Regarding encouraging others, do what you can girl. Wearing your hair and walking the streets confident is enough!

      Like

  19. Wow I was against this post before I read it but now I understand and I’m ashamed lol. The reason I went natural was to learn how to love me for all of me… yet here I am making a damn fool of myself๐Ÿ˜‚ Thank you for the insight!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I think everything has its place and its time. When i started out one of the first things i tried out were clip-in extensions. Because i was encouraged by other natural hair gurus of course and also wanted the feel of longer natural hair. I dare say it encouraged me ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ to keep striving on my journey. The way i looked, all the stares compliments and questions i got. I wanted to prove to myself that my own hair could also grow Healthy and long if i continued to take care of it and it has! Wigs were also a big part of my protective styling in my earlier days because in the fashion world braids and other protective styles are still not considered norm. So wen i was not having my hair broken at fashion shoots.or shows i was recovering asap under that wig
    To be honest i didn’t wear those clipins for more than a few times, they are still sitting in my box as i write. Its too much work!!! Not only do u have to take them out every night to avoid discomfort. They tangle like crazy with ur own hair. Struggle to take them down without breaking ur ends +you have to literally treat the damn thing like ur own natural hair(with real products) for it to keep its life and look good. I’ve not finish caring for my own hair finish iz now fake hair i want to do.
    Now I’m thankful my hair is long enough to go into a simple bun to keep my ends protected. Now I only do wigs when i want to change up my look, that time im buying a different texture from my own and a daring color otherwise what is the point?
    Other times my head wraps works just fine to give myself a break.

    I think it all really depends on how u feel and your relationship with yourself and hair on your journey. It doesn’t matter that there are options out there. What is your goal for yourself and your journey?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sup Ese! Sorry took me a minute to get back to you! Firstly, I don’t deny their protective nature and I understand your struggle as a model and your stylists not picking apart your hair everyday. I get that. Now you say the wigs encouraged YOU when you were wearing them – here the point I’d like to make is that the impact is bigger than you, unless you have a labelled t-shirt while wearing the wig saying – “it’s not mine” lol, that way the message it sends is not misconstrued.
      Overall, I can compromise my views somewhat and say that yeah, there can be exceptions – the modelling situation, but for others who don’t have this reasoning – they can afford to go for other protective styles to spare the negative impact of the afro wig. One of the many messages about this post is that – it’s not just about YOU. Now if you don’t care so much how you influence others, that I cannot change and cannot fight – I can only start with myself. So I guess that answers your last question – my goal is to influence others to have healthy beautiful natural hair, similar to mine.

      Remember, there are hundreds and hundreds of other protective styles out there. So key is to ask yourself WHY you picked the wig.

      Like

  21. I’m with you, 100% I think & say the same thing. You need to grow through the awkward transistioning stages & make that ish work or you’ll never figure your hair out. A lot of the times wigs, braids, clip ons result in neglect… plus the texture is soooo damn misleading. I hate that other races are experiencing & learning about our natural hair through these fake plastic textures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sup Vimbayi! Dude, exactly! You just won’t figure it out because you’ll always have that clip in or wig to make up for it. I mean eventually you may figure it out but it’s going to take way longer – equaling more frustration. It’s actually funny to think of how confused we seem to other races. I personally get contacted by wig and extension companies (a pitch from a white person) saying “we’d like to work with you, your brand is so in line with our brand” – Imagine the look on my face! Appalled. Anyway we gotta focus on us and forget about them for now, let’s get this right people! I have faith.

      Like

  22. I thought I was the only one who thought this! And I didn’t want to mention it to anyone for fear that I would too come across as a “natural hair nazi”. Who am I to say how someone wears their hair? I guess I just get offended watching others fake a natural hairstyle without having truly earned that badge of honor. The struggle of the TWA, endless product trials and youtube video tutorials, the increase in confidence it comes with when you’ve finally “figured out” what works, etc. So many times I tried to emulate someone else’s twistout, to find out it was a wig. It’s so misleading and adds more confidence issues to tackle, along with what already comes with the stigma and maintenance of rocking natural hair. Thanks for putting this perspective out there! I’m sure we’re not the only few.

    http://www.themelanatedmaven.com

    Like

    • Yikes THIS “So many times I tried to emulate someone elseโ€™s twistout, to find out it was a wig” HELLA BUGS ME. Sowi boo.

      We are not the only ones chika, not only that, many who didn’t realize this have told me they now do. One thing I’m certain of is that, not everyone is going to like you, you don’t have to please everyone, and no revolution/change was started with silence. So speak up homies. If you are confident enough in your story then the backlash will never matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Okay, great post Thuli. As one of the bloggers who owns and has promoted my afro wig, I’m not offended by your post. It’s actually something that we should all be conscious about, so let’s talk about it.

    Everyone knows I love my hair, but I’m also a huge fan of protective styling. Being natural now for more than 6 years has taught me a lot and the confidence I have in my hair has grown incredibly. If my wig came at that crucial start of my journey it would have definitely affected my confidence, made me lazier with my own hair health and length. However, I began wearing it last year when I was pregnant and when I was at a point where my own hair was flourishing, and I more than embraced a bad hair day and all.

    I love wigs. They’re my protective style of choice, especially at this point in my life where I’m extremely time poor (I still can’t sit my butt down for 8 hours getting braids!) The longer I was natural, the more I wanted to wear hair that at least resembled mine. Not because I was striving for that volume or length but because I find afro kinky hair so much more beautiful than those silky straight pieces – hands down. Having said that, I do think I need to now give a disclaimer to my followers that these afro wigs and clip ins aren’t a shortcut. Just like with me, I think you need to get your own hair to a point where you truly love it and know that the wig is an occasional style, not your way of ‘faking your natural’. It is very dangerous to wear them when you’re starting out or if you’re at a point where you think you’re only beautiful with it on.

    I make sure to always be transparent about my hair. If it’s mine, I own it (and get those comments about how it looks good because I’m East African ha!). If it’s a wig, I say so. I never want to give women false hope or make them feel like shit that their hair doesn’t look as good as my fake afro. We have a long way to go and you make a good point. We need to be careful about how we wear these things.

    Much love x

    Like

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