Category Archives: women’s wigs

Why do so many American women’s wigs or dyed hair?

The thing wrong with your question is that you use weave as if all weave is straight women’s wigs, when the vast majority of weaves black women buy is not straight but wavy or has some type of curl pattern to them that is often straightened out to look naturally straight. Not including the Afro-textured hair black women buy such as those for kinky twist or box braids. Or natural hair in general such as crotchet braids.


There are many professional situations (such as in the US Army under the newly-passed regulations.


on appropriate female women’s wigs hairstyles) where the hair that naturally grows out of black women’s heads is viewed as innately unprofessional and unacceptable.
Taking that hair and making it straight and “appropriate” is time-consuming, expensive, and involves harsh chemicals. Some women prefer to get the same look by using weaves (long falls of hair sewn down to their own tightly-braided hair) or women’s wigs.


I think your question represents a bit of a misunderstanding about black women and women’s wigs. I think the majority of black women don’t change their hair styles because they want to “look white,” even black women who use perms. Black women do these things because their hair can be, as Sarah Riehl said, very time consuming otherwise. (Though I disagree with her time estimates. The amount of time spent on natural hair can vary based on the person, hair type, and hair style.) Braids are simply convenient, as are perms. And why do black women dye their hair?3

This question kind of assumes that black women dye their hair “white” colors. Many black women might dye their women’s wigs hair red, brown, black, or even blue! Why do black women have to legitimize everything we do to our hair? We have to explain why we wear our hair natural. We have to explain why we wear our hair permed. We have to explain why we dye our hair or wear weave, whereas our white counterparts can do these things without an assumption that they are self-hating. (Of course, white people in the United States don’t have the same history that black women do, but that doesn’t invalidate my comparison.)1


Why do black women do these things to our women’s wigs hair? A few of us wear wigs and perms because of the European standard of beauty. Some of us just like the way they look. And others wear weave and natural hair because we like the way that looks. Black women are a largely diverse group of people, and it’s hard to answer a question like this without glossing over many people’s varied experiences.