In our society, as it stands now, there are still stereotypes and molds that people are meant to fit in. Yes, even in 2020. Yes, even with the strides we’ve made. Hair, in particular, holds a lot of meaning for most people. It’s length, color, shape, texture: all up for a stranger’s opinion, or the way you are perceived out in the world.
About a month into the pandemic, I shaved my head. It was Easter, on my front porch, an old towel draped on my shoulders, and my mom clipping away. Hair is something that we have (aside from health reasons) complete control over. It so easily becomes part of our identity. But what about when your hair doesn’t fit the standard of what society thinks it should be? Gender norms, race, economic status: all of these things tie into our appearance, and hair makes up a big part of that. Even in making strides with gender identity and inclusivity; many of us grew up learning and being taught that we needed to fit into certain gender or race-defined stereotypes, often meaning we needed to cut and/or style our hair a particular way. I know that hair and identity can be tied together for many different people in many different ways and deeply rooted in misogyny, racism and gender identity.
"We all have a different story to tell; mine is only a small fraction, but I feel that it’s important to love the hair you have, for everything that it is."
I shaved my head for two reasons: to deliberately defy the notion, as a female-identifying human, that “girls should have long hair” and because I wanted to. And you know what? It was liberating, just like we’ve all heard at some point. For me, it felt like taking control. My head felt like a little tennis ball afterwards.
"I felt so in control of my own representation to the world; so like myself in a way I had never felt before. "
The first thing I did after shaving my head was wash it with an exfoliating shampoo. I wanted to take care of my hair and scalp at this fresh stage. It was a way of starting over.
"I learned that scalp care was important, and I wanted to do the best for my hair starting at the root."
There are some great products out there that cater to scalp care, but you can also make your own scrubs and serums! I’ve learned that natural ingredients (easily found already in your home or at the grocery store) can go a long way. Oils, salt, sugar, and natural fats can be combined in a multitude of ways to support your scalp and hair growth. For scrubs, you can use raw sugar or sea salt as an exfoliant, and add in oil to moisturize, such as: avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil. Ingredients like honey, or essential oils also benefit the health of your scalp and can be mixed together to create a nourishing serum for your scalp and hair. So get creative with it!
No matter what type of hair you have, it’s never too late to start taking care of it. Regardless of type, length, texture or color, you can use these tips to take care of your scalp and the hair you have. All hair is beautiful and uniquely you, and you are worth taking care of.