I have never been good at doing my own hair. You know how some women are flawless at all times and never have a hair out of place? Yeah, that is not me. I just never had the time, patience or skill for it not even when I was relaxing my hair. I would spend so much time in the mirror with the curling iron, usually burning myself in the process, and for all that my hair would still be raggedy by the next morning. Oh and do not even get me started on the breakage that was caused by all that heat styling.
Now that I have been natural for almost two years, I have gotten a little better about managing my hair because caring for my hair without chemicals requires even more time and skill, so I had to buckle down and learn what to do. I have my hair done professionally most of the time, but I still need to understand how best to manage it own my own particularly in between visits. This is where Youtube Beauty school comes in handy.
I have been on Youtube for years watching funny videos of cute pets and kids, but it wasn’t until maybe a year ago that I started watching videos of women explaining their hair care regimens. If you search on “Black Hair” you will find more than 1.4 million videos. Most of these women are not professionals, but they have taken the time to document their process and explain what works for them. Some of the routines are simple while others are quite involved and a lot more work than you would expect. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of hair care expertise, you can probably find videos that will teach you something new. This is especially important when you think about how much some of us spend on our hair. The Small Business Development Clearinghouse (www.sbdcnet.org) estimates that the U.S. Hair care industry is a $20 billion business, and of that, some have estimated that Black women account for somewhere around $9 billion of that spending. That is a lot of money.
In his 2009 documentary “Good Hair,” Chris Rock explores our obsession with having straight hair even if that means using dangerous chemicals or spending hundreds on a weave. This was way before the natural hair movement took hold, and I would love to know how those numbers have changed in the last couple of years. I did not watch the movie when it first came out because I thought that he was making fun of us for our hair issues, and goodness knows we have been the butt of too many jokes. Having finally watched it, I feel like it was just his attempt to understand what we do to our hair and why we do it. He interviewed women who were spending up to $1,000 on weave, and these were regular folks like school teachers and child care providers. The conventional wisdom is that many of will spend our last dime on our hair even if that means going without the necessities, so more of us learning to take care of our hair on our own without having to pay so much to have it done is a good thing for those who are interested in going that route.
Not only are there videos on how to take care of your own hair, but lately I have been watching videos about how to make and style wigs. My sister has been doing this for a while now, and her daughter is the first person I heard use the term “Youtube Beauty School.” We may joke about it, but my sister has learned some techniques to create wigs that look very realistic. I told her that she could probably make a business out of selling them if she wanted to take it to the next level.
The beauty of the wig, or protective styling as some folks call it, is that you can give your hair a break from daily styling while still looking cute. It gives you options. But you still need to care of your own hair even while wearing a wig – that is if you want to keep hair on your head.
There are some that a critical of these Youtube Beauty gurus, but like anything else, you need to just take what works for you and leave the rest behind. I have definitely benefited from some of these folks, and I am glad about it.