Can’t stand strangers touching your hair? We have a feeling you’ll relate to these five fro frustrations, as told by the brilliant Freddie Harrel.
It’s hard not to notice Parisian-born Freddie Harrel. With style to die for and a smile that stretches from ear to ear, she is larger than life in the best, most vivacious sense. Oh, and then of course, there’s that fro.
A powerful voice in the natural hair movement, Harrel has spoken many times about the need for more inclusivity in the industry, calling on retailers to stock a larger variety of black hair products and teaming up with Stylist in 2017 to expose how many hairdressers in London shockingly refuse to cater for Afro hair.
But not one to just talk the talk, Harrel has also made it clear how important it is that black women take control of the market and founded her own hair extension brand Big Hair No Care. In an interview last year she told Stylist, “Black women spend, on average, six times more than white women on beauty. 99% of the brands making black hair extensions are Asian, they’re not black-owned.
“For years, black women would relax their hair and wear it straight so it was easy for Asian brands to create styles that women were going to wear. But since the natural hair movement, these brands are finding it hard to catch up because they just don’t know what our hair looks like.”
Harrel’s brand is currently going through a relaunch and we can’t wait to see what she does with it next, having already wowed women with her realistic, voloumous Afro hair extensions and passion for supporting other black hair care brands that are owned and founded by black women. “We want to make sure more black people make money from the black hair industry,” Harrel reiterates.
So, then, as Stylist continues to support the black hair movement we couldn’t think of anyone better to shout out to other proud fro owners and relay the frustrations that sometimes come with rocking her natural hair.
Whether you have Afro hair yourself or not, read on to either nod along or be educated on what only women with a fro will know.
1. People will try and touch your hair
“People will try to touch your hair all the time. Some will ask, some won’t ask – but the answer is always no. It’s simple.
Why? Because we’re not cute dogs that you can pet. It’s massively patronising. Your hair is as different as mine, yet I don’t put my fingers in it because it’s your personal space and you don’t know where my hands have been.”
2. It’s often seen as unprofessional
“Afro hair is big and bold, it can definitely stand out in a crowd and it’s beautiful. But it’s definitely not unprofessional.
Yet, you have a lot of workplaces that still ask employees to straighten their hair, put it back in a ponytail or in a bun, and you even have some schools that think that Afro hair is a violation of their dress code.”
3. No, we don’t wash it often
“We don’t need to wash our hair very often and people don’t get it. Some of us wash it once a week, some of us wash it once a month. Our hair doesn’t really get greasy and it’s fine!”
4. And then…the wash day struggle
“Wash day is a proper operation, you need to wash, condition, have a mask, leave in conditioner, the oil, the twist out, then let it dry. Oh my god, wash day is a struggle. I know you can relate.”
5. People constantly ask if it’s real
“You will constantly be asked if your hair is real or not real, but not all of us wear extensions. I do, it’s less maintenance.
But many, many women have just as much hair naturally, because black hair grows too.So, if it looks fab, that’s all you need to know.”