We’re setting out to eliminate pain from the Black hair styling experience and reduce the rate of thinning and hair loss due to improper styling methods.
Far too many of us have had to take a pain reliever after getting our hair done. It’s not normal and it has to stop.
Pretty Shouldn’t Hurt challenges the hairstyling practices and beliefs in our community that have led to hair loss in over a third of Black women. We’re officially rejecting the idea that beauty is pain, and are taking a hard look at wether the hairstyles we love are doing more damage than good and if so, what can be done about it.
Jump Ahead: The Experts | The Products | The Stories | The Journey | The Problem | The Solution: Braiding Workshops & The New Rules
We’re creating a new standard in protective styling and have brought together a dream team of experts to do it.
Natural Hair Pioneer
CEO, Anu Essentials
Dr. Crystal Aguh
Board Certified Dermatologist
Author of 90 Days to Beautiful Hair
Dr. Kari Williams
Celebrity Stylist & Trichologist
Creator of the Goddess Loc
Dark & Lovely Lead Stylist
Three-Time Emmy Nominee
FROM INSTALL TO TAKEDOWN
When we began developing this film, it was serendipitous that we connected with Dark & Lovely right before the launch of their new Protective Styles Collection. Like us, they recognized the growing popularity of protective styling and the need to properly take care of your crown while it’s in a protective style.
This line of products was designed to help relieve, refresh and recover our hair underneath it all. Dark & Lovely saw that over 80% of women were wearing these styles but didn’t have the products they needed to tame tension, cleanse their hair, quickly refresh and effortlessly detangle.
We brought together four women. Each with different hair types and from different backgrounds to share their hair stories.
Lauren: My Crochets Were Too Tight
Melanie: Accepting My Edges
Ayla: Going Natural With No Support
A few years ago, a conversation I had with a client of our mobile hair styling service Yeluchi by Un-ruly, led me down this journey of exploring how much pain is a part of our hair styling culture, the potential consequences of that pain and what we can do to avoid it.
During that conversation, the client shared that she hadn’t let her stylist know that she was experiencing discomfort because she thought that pain was part of the process, which made me wonder how many other women thought the same thing.
Understanding The Problem
One of the first steps my sister and I took when we started this exploration was putting out a survey to understand how pervasive pain is in Black hair styling and how many women might be experiencing hair loss as a result of it.
40% of women who wear protective styles have taken a pain reliever after getting their hair done.
38% of women who have gotten a protective style and felt discomfort during the process did not intervene.
39% of women who wear protective styles have thinning or hair loss around the hairline. (Note: survey responses do not show causation)
The KAP Gap
At the start of this journey, I initially thought that how our hair was being styled was at the heart of the problem, but as I spoke to more experts, I found out that there was more to this.
There’s a Knowledge Attitudes and Practices (K.A.P.) gap, when it comes to styling and caring for our hair. Braiding is an informal craft and natural hair styling is only just beginning to be included in beauty school curriculums. There’s also inconsistent advice circulating the web on how to take care of your hair when in a protective style, so many of us are left confused or are unsure of what to look for in a good stylist.
One way we’re closing the KAP gap is by joining forces with Dr. Kari Williams to host braiding workshops. Learn more below.
Our goal to eliminate pain from Black hair styling and reduce the rate of thinning and hair loss due to improper styling might seem lofty but it’s actually quite feasible.
A Set of New Rules
Traction alopecia–hair loss resulting from too much tension on the scalp–is a form of hair loss that is avoidable. Understanding what it is and how to avoid it is key to eliminating it. So, in addition to this film, we’ve created a number of resources below to help black women begin to really protect their hair. We’ve also worked with our experts and are enlisting the support of 100 styling professionals, to create a set of new rules for installing, maintaining and taking care of protective styles.
We’ve also joined forces with Dr. Kari Williams to provide braiding workshops for stylists interested in learning proper braiding techniques that will protect their clients and their hands. Learn more here.
You Can Help
You can help us eliminate traction alopecia simply by helping us spread the word about this film. Knowledge really is power and in this case knowing how best to take care of our hair can truly help us protect it.
– Antonia & The Un-ruly Team