black hair faqs (10 things non-blacks want to know)



Black hair continues to be a fascinating topic of discussion among non-blacks; so much so that individuals are often bombarded with questions about their hair. In an effort to mitigate some of the awkward questions black women (and men) often get asked, we’ve created this list of top ten frequently asked black hair questions.

We know that we can in no way speak for the entire race with our responses, but hope to at the very least, provide a starting perspective. These questions have come from personal experience and various sources across the Web, like this discussion on Reddit.com.


1. How often do you wash your hair?

Generally, black hair doesn’t have to be washed as frequently as other textures of hair because it doesn’t retain moisture as much. As a result, most people tend to wash their hair once a week or once every two weeks.


2. How do you wash your hair when it’s in braids or a weave?

The same way you’d wash your hair when it’s not in braids or a weave. Natural hair, however, requires more care as it has a tendency to tangle and form knots. We’ve created a natural hair 101 for those with natural hair or those with a deeper interest in natural hair care.


3. How do you put in a weave?

In a nutshell, you braid your hair into cornrows then sew the tracks of the weave into the cornrows. YouTube has lots of demonstrations of this.


4. Why do you change your hair so often?

Because we can and you can too!  Hair, like clothing, is a means of self-expression.


5. What does hair oil do?

Hair oil or moisturizers keep our hair moist.  The structure of black hair doesn’t allow us to retain moisture very easily so we add moisture to our hair.  There’s more about this here.


6. How do you take care of dreads?

In another nutshell, dreads are like any other hair texture: you wash it when it’s dirty and moisturize when dry.  You, do however, have to roll them on a regular basis to keep them locked.  For a more in-depth look at dreads, check out our overview.


7. What happens to black hair when it gets wet (like in the rain), that makes you ladies avoid the rain so much?

If it’s straightened with a flat iron vs. with a relaxer, getting it wet will make it curly again.  And usually a lot of time at the salon or at home goes into straightening our hair.  So we don’t want that time to go to waste.


8. Is it true that you can’t grow your hair?

No.  This is a myth that some black women believe as well.  With the right care, our hair can absolutely grow and to considerable lengths.  There’s a whole site dedicated this: blackgirllonghair.com.  Our hair is more prone to breaking, which is why avoiding relaxers and styles that can damage our hair is key to maintaining long healthy hair.


9. Are you envious of white hair?

Here’s where we really can’t speak for the entire race, but we’ll say this: NO.  Black women throughout history have always experimented with their hair.  It’s fun to be able to reinvent yourself in that way.  We rock braids one day, a blonde wig the next day or a kinky afro the following day.


10. Can I touch it?

This varies from person to person and we explore this topic in depth in a piece for the Huffington Post.  But a general rule of thumb: if the hair in question is a stranger’s hair, don’t touch it.  But if you happen to be in NYC on 6/6/13 or 6/8/13, you can check out our interactive public art exhibit, You Can Touch My Hair.

And also check out this GREAT video on the subject….

  • barbZ

    I think what you guys are doing is so important and good for society….
    Am not sure why some people are pissed….but i think there are people out there who actually discriminate us because they DON’T KNOW US….the best we can do is educate them about US.

  • princes

    I cant tell how many times someone from a different ethnicity has asked to touch my hair. Whether my hair was styled as a kinky fro, natural braids or a sleek updo, it always was an attraction to my non-afro friends! Ive never had anyone ask to touch my hair who meant it in a derogatory way– man or woman. My hair is natural. Its a choice Ive made in praise of who & how God made me. I would stand proudly and let them “touch my hair”— Thankful that Ive got something that many wish they could have!

  • michelle

    People want to touch your hair because it is beautiful! I don’t understand the backlash to this. I grew up in a racially mixed family so it was never a big deal to me…..what I mean is that I never looked at black hair as any different from my own (I am white) in any negative sense. I have always been envious of it though, and I absolutely love the big afro styles that some women have come back to wearing. When I see that, it just looks so free, and lovely and represents happiness for me.