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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

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Curly hair TikTok trends should uplift Black hair textures

Arts+Editor+Chlo%C3%AB+Alexander+argues+recent+Tiktok+trends+showcasing+curly+hair+products+need+to+acknowledge+the+origin+of+coily+hair+care%3A+the+Black+community.
Midway Staff
Arts Editor Chloë Alexander argues recent Tiktok trends showcasing curly hair products need to acknowledge the origin of coily hair care: the Black community.

As a kid, my mom struggling to comb my hair was a weekend tradition. The knots piled up in my curly hair, making me a crying mess and my mom angry because I let my hair get tangled and matted. I would refuse to let her comb my hair; I was insecure about my curls because a boy in my nursery class said my curly hair was ugly and weird. My hair was always a point of contention. 

The recent TikTok trend of people embracing and celebrating curly hair is a welcome change. It soon became clear that the videos were just non-Black people buying curly hair products from the Black haircare section without saying who the intended buyers were. They bought these products to “test” if they have curly hair and then said that a looser curl pattern looks better than a tighter one. 

Curly hair trends on TikTok shouldn’t use Black, curly hair products to explore how to take care of curly hair and, in turn, put down curly hair textures Black women have.

Most of these TikTok videos use haircare products originating in the Black community. Not only do creators not acknowledge the origin of these products, they don’t credit the Black people who created them. This ultimately discredits the work of Black people and the customer base for curly haircare products. 

Curly hair can range from 2A — a more wavy texture — to 4C — a tighter, ticker curl. In trending videos, only certain looser types of curly hair are determined as “pretty” and “desirable.” The 3C-4C hair range is usually described as unmanageable and a harder texture to deal with. They say it’s unwanted. Having these distinctions of the worth of Black hair texture only adds dislike and disdain for Black women. 

These videos and trends go to show that Black women are not desirable and cannot be pretty with their natural features. For decades, Black women have had to prove their worth and beauty. By saying certain curly hair textures — a characteristic associated with being Black — are less than others, it sends a message that Black women are less than others. 

People and trends need to not appropriate Black culture and then put Black people down. For all people to embrace their natural characteristics, we must uplift each other. Trends must acknowledge the roots of products — like what culture certain hair products are from and who they are intended for. Then, we must also not put certain people down in the process of loving parts of ourselves. Know that all hair textures are pretty and desirable. 

If to love my hair I looked at other Black women’s hair and said to myself, “Thank god my hair isn’t like theirs,” I would’ve never learned to love my own hair.

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About the Contributor
Chloe Alexander
Chloe Alexander, Arts Editor
Chloë Alexander is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as the arts editor. She joined the journalism family in the 2021-22 school year as a ninth grader and previously served as an assistant editor. Chloë enjoys journalism because it allows her to create a space for Lab students to be represented through writing. Her favorite story that she has written is “‘SOS’ showcases a wide range of styles and themes.” Outside of working on the Midway, she is a Maroon Key, plays the piano and enjoys reading. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, feature writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, news editing, headline and current events 2023 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, special coverage: (with Clare O’Connor, Amy Ren and William Tan), superior 2022 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Briefs writing, first place (with Louis Auxenfans, Joaquin Figueroa, Chloe Ma, Amy Ren, Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu), Vol. 98, Issue 8 (March 10, 2022), Page 3

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