It is spring, the time for new growth. And what better way to grow natural Afro hair than protective style giant: single strand twists (SST? I know from past experience that my own hair would grow immensely if kept in SST for a prolonged period at a time of 3 days at least to 2 weeks, pushing it. But I rarely SST my hair in any given year, and never wear SST in public.
Why not? As I reject the Americanized standard of beauty that does not include the natural Black woman, I realize that my reluctance to wear SST is due to my unconscious socialization of American beauty norms. I have been taught that because SST is a Black hairstyle, it is ugly, embarrassing and not fit to be seen in public.
We have tauted the Afro as a powerful symbol of Black Power and Afros are beautiful, potent statements. But what about twists? A twist is a unique hairstyle that can only be upheld without aid by kinky hair. It is inherently Black. But even the natural hair movement is focused on growing hair and wearing it in styles consistent with the beauty standards that had Black women sewing and glueing wigs in. Yes, we will occasionally see twists and braids but these are touted as protective styles, a temporary style to “fix or maintain” or give Afro hair a break. How many naturalistas wear twists or braids as the normal, de facto state of their hair all year round and create styles within that state of hair? Not many. I know I don’t.
But SSTs may be the state of hair best suited for African hair because as we know, keeping our hair “out” all the time is disastrous and drying. I have been so brainwashed that I wonder, even as a challenge, if I can keep my hair in SSTs as a state of hair for a week? A month? Three months? While untwisting my hair becomes the occasional hair state.
This is just a theory, but what do you think? @_ebonninicole_ on Instagram had illustrated above that various, beautiful styles are achievable in twisted form. Basically, the same styles we rock on untwisted hair. I do love my voluminous, untwisted hair. I do. I do. I do. Perhaps it’s time to learn to love my Black hair in a form that is not included in Western beauty ideals.
I’m going to rock SSTs for 3 days and see how I feel, how the people I interact with feel and treat me, and if I can (ever) abandon my Afro, my wash n go and my messy high bun on the regular.