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Hair Porn: Naturals Beware!

• Aug 6, 2013

natural-hair-growth

If you began your natural hair journey in the age of Youtube and social media, chances are you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn. And sisters believe me when I say that Hair Porn can be a big problem in the natural hair community.

What is Hair Porn, you ask? Hair Porn, is the compilation of images, videos, etc. that results in the arousal of hair lust, jealousy or simply yearning for Someone Else’s hair.

Who is Someone Else? Someone Else is that woman who has a type of hair that you will never have. Usually—but not always—Someone Else has a looser curl pattern than your own.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to Hair Porn? Here’s a quick check list.

  1. 1. You begin searching for the product, special magical blend or secret herbs and spices that will make your hair do what Someone Else’s hair did. Even though you and Someone Else have completely different hair textures.
  2. 2. You walk away feeling as if your own hair is somehow less than. Less beautiful, less awesome, less acceptable when compared to Someone Else’s Hair.
  3. 3. You decide to use a so-called “protective style” and immediately slap on a weave or a wig that mimics the hair you saw in Someone Else’s picture/video/website.
  4. 4. You begin making a mental comparison between your own hair and all of the other naturals you see walking down the street—and your hair keeps coming up the loser.
  5. 5. Your frustration with your own hair begins to increase. Not because there’s anything wrongwith your hair but because you can’t seem to understand why your hair won’t do what Someone Else’s hair can do.


Here’s the thing. When we wore our hair straight there were certain goals and ideals that many of us shared.  For example, no one who permed their hair wanted it to look kinky/coily/nappy.  That would have defeated the whole purpose of getting a perm in the first place. We wanted it straight—as in bone straight. Pencil straight. Stiff piece of wood straight. The straighter the better.

You get the picture.

But once we made the decision to go natural, the idea was generally that we were rejecting straight hair as the norm and instead embracing our hair in its natural state. But as I’ve said before, many of us made that decision with certain built in caveats.

That caveat says that the goal for nappiness is to have a Caucasoid version nappiness. Nappiness that isn’t too kinky. Nappiness that combs “easily.” Nappiness that is not permed, but is still a soft, curly, moving, flowing head of not-so-nappy hair.

My sisters, our hair is simply not a darker, nappier, kinkier version of our White sisters’ hair.

But if you get sucked into the world of Hair Porn this can be easy to forget. Sometimes Hair Porn can trigger certain desires or yearnings that lead to unhealthy behaviors. Just like the other types of porn, you can begin sliding down a slippery slope that ends in full out hair adultery. Soon you may begin regretting your decision to go natural and start contemplating the glory days of your straight hair past.

Now before you think I’m criticizing our natural hair sisters who decide to return to a straight hair life, I’m not. I’m all for loving yourself no matter what your hair looks like. But if you end your natural journey primarily because you were lusting after Someone Else’s hair then that is a problem.

Going natural (successfully) is a process that requires you to embrace the hair that God gave you. It means that you stop desiring what you don’t have and learn to appreciate and enjoy what you do have—whether it is bone straight or nappy as a ball of twine. It means you reject the idea that says there is only one type of beauty. It means you stop comparing yourself to the Hair Porn stars in your life.  It means you come to a place of peace with who you are and what you look like. All of you. It means you redefine what it means to be beautiful and you use yourself as the baseline definition.

Now if you’re already knee deep in a Hair Porn addiction, here are some tips to get out before it’s too late.

  1. 1. Walk away from the Hair Porn source! Just like an alcoholic or drug addict has to avoid the bar or walking to his dealer’s house, you have to stop logging on for the sole purpose of watching Someone Else’s hair videos.  If you and Someone Else have polar opposite hair types, start identifying and viewing hair videos or blog sites of women who have hair like yours.
  2. 2. Take time each day to look in the mirror and identify three things that are awesome about your own hair. Tell your hair (and yourself) how much you appreciate it (and you!). This is sort of like building up the self-esteem of a person who has been neglected much of her life. Sometimes you just need to hear positive words spoken into your hair life in order to start believing that it truly is beautiful—just the way it is!
  3. 3. Stop comparing your hair to Someone Else’s. This pretty much speaks for itself but it bears mentioning.
  4. 4. Identify and connect with like heads. If you have type 4C hair (and yes, I’m speaking to myself here), then seek out and make connections online with others who have a similar type of hair. I’m not saying we need to segregate ourselves by hair type. But I am saying that you need to create a support group of women who can relate to your hair struggle. It can be hard to feel supported if your only hair connections are with women who can wash-n-go on a daily basis while you can only wash-n-no or wash-n-Afro.


At the end of the day, indulging in a Hair Porn addiction can be detrimental to your self-esteem and can negatively impact your natural hair journey. Learn to spot the danger signs before you get in too deep. And remember—God had an entire universe of hair textures to choose from when designing your curl pattern. The one you ended up with is the perfect curl pattern for you!

For more of Lurie’s writing, check out her book “Afro State of Mind: Memories of a Nappy Headed Black Girl. You can also find her on Twitter,Facebook and YouTube.

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72 Comments on "Hair Porn: Naturals Beware!"

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Michelle Stepp
Guest
Preach it! Although what you wrote made me laugh at times there is so much truth in it and these are wise words to live by for those of us (maybe most of us) with this hair porn addiction. Isn’t that just human nature though? To never be satisfied with what you have? The grass is greener,etc etc. I couldn’t tell you how many white girls have told me my hair was ‘amazing’or ‘sooo cool’ (I’m dating myself w/that last one hehe)and I was puzzled as to why. Their hair seemed ‘easier’ to deal with. But then I became a… Read more »
Lurie
Guest
Thanks Michelle! Glad you liked the article. This statement really hits home for me: “This article has really made me think about it though and the fact that there is no ‘silver bullet’ to someone else’s hair. There’s mine and I need to give it more tlc, more love and more appreciation.” I’m all for admiring Someone Else’s hair — just not at the expense of my own “hair-esteem.” Like I said in the article, the Creator had a ton of options to choose from when designing our hair texture. The texture each of us ended up with really is… Read more »
DreamGirl
Guest

I go to several natural hair sites a day (true story) and I must say more often than not,I’m left with hectic hair envy and overwhelmed with a new ‘rule’ every other day so I’m going to stop with the hair porn.

Lurie
Guest

Hey DreamGirl! I feel you. I’ve logged a lot of hours gazing at Someone Else’s hair. Just remember to focus on appreciating the awesome hair you have and don’t let all of those “rules” ruin your day

AnonSince87
Guest
I better stop visiting BGLH then! Lol. Honestly, as the above poster said, I visit several hair sites daily. It’s out of habit now more than anything, but I do come away frustrated; ‘Why can’t my hair look like that when I do this’ I def get hair envy. But at the same time I love looking at the images and reading articles, so catch 22 really lol. My thing is that I was frustrated with my hair BEFORE the transition because I knew I was getting the 4C, no curl pattern, ‘harder’ to manage, ‘no movement’ hair type and… Read more »
Lurie
Guest

AnonSince87, I feel your pain! I think the key is to get to a place where we can “admire” w/o the “envy” — does that make sense? It can be tough — that’s why I was serious when I spoke about finding several things each day that you love about your OWN hair. When the envy hits you can remind yourself of your growing list of “Reasons-Why-I-Love-My-Hair” to keep the green-eyed monster at bay! 😉

AnonSince87
Guest

Such a good idea!

Michelle
Guest

Hi my name is Michelle and I used to be a hair porn addict.

DreamGirl
Guest

Hey Michelle 🙂

ShadowQueen
Guest

Too late! I’m in too deep. Lol I’m already subscribed to African Export, LongHairDontCare2011 and Chimes YouTube channels. What I did was seek out people with a hair grade like mine. I don’t envy them- I look to them as inspiration. They help me to remember my hair goals and because they made it- I know I can too. 🙂

Lurie
Guest

I love this! The difference between envy and looking to Someone Else’s hair for inspiration can be a fine line. Glad to see you have a great approach!

nolly A
Guest
lol i think this article is a bit too stressed,i watch youtube videos on natural hair alot and even go on instagram to search “natural hair” or “fro” virtually almost everyday to see beautiful hair but i do not have hair envy.i just look at the hair, appreciate God’s handwork and move onto the next one lol.I have thick 4c hair n ive always known that and i was still very eager to go natural because i know my 4c hair can give me the sickest afro in at least 2 years. N the part that says we all went… Read more »
nisha
Guest

This article probably wasn’t for you then. I’ve experienced hair envy and I know I’m not the only one. Some folks need a bit of encouragement and others, like yourself, don’t find it hard to love their hair right away. I believe this article is geared towards the former.

bspycee
Guest

I thought that we were going to get to see some hair porn when I clicked on this article, aww nuts!

Lurie
Guest

LOL — Sorry Bspycee. I was trying to address the Hair Porn addiction w/o adding to it! 🙂

Layla
Guest

Hmm it’s still gonna take a long time for me to love my natural hair.

Lurie
Guest
Layla, just remember — it is a PROCESS. One that doesn’t necessarily happen over night. One thing I found helpful was to take each stage of my natural hair growth as it came. Instead of always looking towards what was COMING — I tried to focus on being in the present moment and learning how to love what IS. Easier said than done but you have a great community here of similarly situated women that can be a great support network. If nothing else, just know that it is normal to feel that way. Especially when you live in a… Read more »
Jewell
Guest

Wow — this was so true and so deep…and reinforced by the compliments I receive when rock my protective styles vs the “crickets” I receive when I rock my own thick, 4C natural hair. This is so hard…and I am very public (I MC, am on air, ect.)…my persona matters.

Lurie
Guest

Thank you Jewell. I have the same experience. People will rush to compliment my two strand twists and twist outs, etc. They use words like “pretty hair”, etc. But when I rock my nappy 4C Afro IF I get comments it’s usually with words like “strong” “Black and proud”, LOL. I think as more of us come out of the natural hair closet this will begin to change. But even if it doesn’t, I love rocking my Afro!

ericak
Guest

I thought hair porn was just admiring hair of other naturals wether that was your own texture or a different texture. I had no idea it meant to be enviable or jealous of another hair type. LOL

Kim
Guest

Funny thing is, I get SOO jelly of other people’s hair, styles and the whole shabang…but then when I put my hair away, (weaves, braids, whatever) I miss my own hair SOOOO much. I can’t lie…I love my lil twa!

Candice
Guest
This is why I am pro-hair typing. It’s helpful to know what hair styles are possible for MY hair type. When I decided to go natural, I first did dreadlocks because I was still afraid of accepting what my natural curls would look like. I had never seen my hair not severely heat damaged due to pressing or not permed. My reason for finally deciding to cut my locs was when I saw a picture of Esperanza Spaulding with a blown out afro that looked like a glowing halo of hair. I wanted hair like THAT! Luckily, we’re both 4A,… Read more »
Britt Britt
Guest

I agree. Hair typing is just an initial step to get you to headed in the right direction. Once there however, you then have to learn strictly the characteristics of YOUR hair! Even within a hair type there are different characteristics such as density, thickness (or lack thereof), porosity, etc. that will cause your hair to act differently than the hair of your same hair type sister standing next to you!

Bottom line…embrace YOUR beautiful uniqueness. Great article BGLH

Lurie
Guest

I have a love hate relationship w/ hair typing. On the one hand I think it can be a really useful tool for the reasons you both mentioned. I get worried though when people use hair typing as another means of hair envy (i.e. Damn, I’m a 4C and I reeeeeeaaaaaaaaly wish I was a 3A!). Every tool (like the typing system) can be used for positive or negative — I guess it just depends on whose using the tool.

LaManouchka
Guest

All this is true only if you start from the point that hair porn leads to jealousy.
What if hair porn was supposed to lead to admiration of an art piece ?
Admiration of the variety of hair : textures, styles, colors. Hair beauty is rich, this should make us want to use our unique potential to its fullest, don’t you think ?

Inspiration, whatever the field, should help us to go further, not bitter.

(sorry for my english, I’m still learning this beautiful language)

Lo
Guest
Hair typing isn’t bad it just depends on how you use it. If I’m searching the web (blogs, forums, youtube, ect.) trying to find new style or regimen ideas and I generically search “natural hair” I might end up taking advice or trying to achieve the same results a women who can wet their hair throw on some hair milk shake and go, OR women who wet their hair add a leave-in, creame, oil and slather on handfuls of shea butter when my hair won’t look like either of theirs. We also have to take things in to account like… Read more »
Kelcie
Guest

Well, I guess I’m an addict, but I will say I look at hair of my type (4c) instead of others. All natural hair is beautiful and amazing; full of versatility! I have learned a long time ago that my hair is my hair and I love it the way it is. I don’t find myself being jealous of the next natural, but hopeful that mine will one day be as long and remain healthy.

JENNID
Guest
There comes a point when you have to stop looking at other peoples hair care and practices and do your own. Acceptance begins when you just get in there and try some things out. I know its rough dealing with short — shrunken hair that seems thirsty all (the time. But it can only get better if you screes what is bothering you the most. Simply just looking for 4cs or 3bs hair twins isn’t good enough. They are enjoying their hair cause they have accepted their hair in its. natural state and foundvways to make. it work. You have… Read more »
Brandi
Guest

This is so me!!!

lablooplah
Guest
honestly i never had “hair envy” ( i mean i admired other people’s hair but i was in love with mine) till i started hair typing, something i truly regret. It all started with a friend of mine who has a hair texture and length similiar to mine that i must be 4a. And that ruined it all for me because i started examining my hair and you know how confusing that can get. I just thought i had type 4 hair i didn’t care about the letters. Honestly the hair typing thing confuses the heck out of me. I… Read more »
Yetta
Guest
I love Hair Porn.. I had no idea or even of what my hair could be before… I’m 44 and got my first relaxer at 19.. always pressed my hair my hair stayed about 10 inches… thought that was normal.. I have been natural for 5 years got over 12 inches in 2 years but had to cut it all off.split ends(used to snatch the knots)…made tons of mistakes did lots of starting over.. but I now know my hair grows well over 6 inches a year and that I can have the longer hair that I always wanted but… Read more »
Yetta
Guest

[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/losingweightfast.jpg[/img]

Jumoké
Guest
Well isn’t that something. I think I have the reverse of hair porn addiction lol when I first went natural I LOVED my hair and still do. My natural hair was so much thicker, vibrant, and HEALTHIER than it has ever been in my life! The first few months I wasn’t really concerned with “someone else’s” hair; I was more interested in the overall health and maintainace of my hair. Now that my hair is in that “in between” phase I’ve been able to try many different style as my length allows me to. Here’s the thing though- I’ve been… Read more »
Mana
Guest

Hahaha I can totally relate to that. I’m still looking for videos for people who have thin and non voluminous hair like mine but it’s hard to come by.

Kay
Guest

I know exactly what u mean my hair is fine as well and I wonder y I seem to be the only one that describes my hair as thin while everybody elses is nice and thick

Nature Girl
Guest

I don’t suffer from hair envy. I just adore healthy afro textured hair and confident people who rock what they have.

More Hair Porn Please!!!

Anonty
Guest
I think we are encouraged to be hair envious through this curl movement that began with Miss Jessie’s alongside the Internet community of blogs, hair forums, tumblr, instagram and YT. We’re bombarded with images of the ‘ideal’ natural hair which can make us feel that our hair is less than ideal. It’s because we deal with our own hair everyday and from the Internet, we are always getting the good side of people’s hair stories. How many girls on YT show their style failures or struggles. It saddens me that people make 4cs the poster girls of hair envy. Do… Read more »
ladyluo
Guest
I know. As a 4c natural, I get really annoyed with all these articles that seem to imply that all or most 4c hair types are full of envy of other types. Or that hair envy is only an issue for 4Cs. Granted, there may be 4c naturals who wish they had other types but that is not me. And that is not many other 4Cs. There are things my 4C hair can do that other hair types cannot do which I love so I have no inclination to envy other types of hair. And I do love all hair… Read more »
Lurie
Guest
You both raise some really interesting points. I’m reminded of Tracee Ellis Ross’ video in which she confessed that she too used to hate her hair. Many of us heard that and were shocked b/c she seems to have that “loose” curl that so many of us are trained to want. One of the things I mentioned in the article is that often the object of our hair lust is someone who has a looser curl than we do. But that means that ANYONE can objectify Someone Else’s hair — regardless of what type of hair they have. This is… Read more »
tristan
Guest

I am not liking this whole hair “type” thing going on. I don’t look at that. I love a person who wears their hair how they want it when they want it and do it with confidence, if it looks good and feels good who cares what curl pattern it may or may not have. Let’s not let this become another way to box ourselves in and segregate. Isn’t light skin dark skin enough?

Deb
Guest

I get what you are saying but it’s a bit too idealistic. Curl envy is real and affects some people’s self perception negatively. You might not experience it but many other women do.

J
Guest

My idea of hair porn is healthy vibrant hair regardless of hair texture/type. Infusing the idea that kinkier textured naturals long for looser curls to make what was otherwise a valid point of loving the hair on your head completely disengaged me.

You may be projecting your own feelings about hair type in this article. Congrats on doing your part to keep the divisive spirit alive.

Lurie
Guest
Hmm…I didn’t see it that way but I can see how someone might. There’s nothing wrong with admiring all types of hair. The issues tend to arise when many are not able to separate admiration from negative self comparisons. I went natural in the 90s way before there was anyone else to compare myself too. One of the things that concerns me (and part of the motivation for writing this piece) is the fact that I encounter many women (old and newbie naturals) who aren’t able to find a sense of peace with the hair that they have. Upon further… Read more »
Umarie
Guest

No big explaination…its just, isnt this site itself some form of hair porn…or at least are lorn?

Dawn
Guest

I’m the opposite, I want a tighter curl pattern so I can wear a fro. I’m a 3c/4a/4b confused thing. I actually bought an afro half wig lol

kisha
Guest

I luv hair porn!!!

Random Trini Chick
Guest

I am actually starting to crave locs now.…the longer the better.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/image-6.jpg[/img]

ms A
Guest

I fell into that trap. Now I just search for girls with my textured hair (4c) which is much harder to find than other textures. They are out there though!

SantanaNyla
Guest

Actually, 4c girls are the ones who usually have that thick ‚full healthy look. My version of 4a is fine waist length locs that if they grew outward instead of straight down I would probably cheer them on because then I would have ‘fro locs.

LV
Guest

I love hair porn. I love my 4 a-c type hair sticking curly up in a boss fro. Who would have thunk I would be relaxer free?? Not me!! Yippee!

TWA4now
Guest

It do what it does…just love your own hair first and admire others secondly! Have a HHJ daily! #simplybeautifulhair

Dee
Guest

I clicked on this article hoping to see pictures of beautiful natural haired women. 🙁

August Major
Guest

This is funny to me. My dad Keith Major is the photographer behind this photo and it’s been all over the internet under natural hair forums. Funniest thing is, that isn’t even that models hair.

Skyler
Guest
I don’t believe it’s so much the textures and size ringlets we “crave”, but the idea that someone else may have a complete understanding of how to maintain their locks,( something we all have struggled with at one point or another) and as a result of that we see that they are retaining amazing hair lengths. Now I do not mean to de-glamorize the beautiful and sexy stages of a TWA b/c I loved that stage and rocked mine LIKE A QUEEN but ultimately at every stage of growth most naturals are on YT and other social networks to get… Read more »
Summergirl
Guest

I hate to say it, but this site perpetuates hair porn by only having naturals with thick hair as the style icons.

MyDarkerHalf
Guest
So they should have a natural with thin hair? Yeah because that’s what every natural chick aspires too- naturally thin hair. Are you freaking goofy or something? Theses sites are a source of encouragement. Only weak chicks whom have self esteem issues ALREADY are the ones steady comparing themselves and growing green with envy and jealousy as-they swear every naturalchick they meet on the strret wears a weave- “because THAT cant be all her hair”- right? The exact types of simple broads who make friendships into some type of one ups womanship type of competition. I can’t stand a weak… Read more »
Summergirl
Guest

I never said that I was jealous. You’re putting words in my mouth.

Dabney
Guest
I have a pinterest page full of beautiful pictures of hairstyles I like. It is one of my most followed pages on the site. And now I know why. But here’s my deal, and I got this from Cipriana. I only pin the pictures of people who are in similar stages. Especially if they are regular round the way girls with out the full beat face! Meaning, I am at medium length so I pin medium length. On occasion I pin pictures associated with articles I want to read later. They might have amazing 3c spirals! Now, when I follow… Read more »
TWA4now
Guest

Congrats to you ring featured on NaturallyCurly’s Facebook page.…good job. True all these super star Vloggers and bloggers are doing what works for them. If it works for you too great if not, you will have to find what does. #trail&errorwithloadsofpatience!

it it is important to show all phases of a hair journey some TWAs, ear length, neck length, etc…BSL is cool too but not even is there yet. Let us just focus on healthy hair and sooner or later the length will follow. #thankyou

folamix
Guest

When I first started following the Ytube and the other natural hair forums and websites, I looked at all hair types (mainly 4), trying to figure out what type hair I had. I am still not sure what type it is but I think it is a combination a, b, and c. I now follow them mainly for techniques, not so much styling.

tressie
Guest

I thought hair porn was looking at someone else’s hair and wanting it. I don’t care what ‘texture’ their hair is as long as it’s full and lustable. I WANT!. BTW-I’m addicted to hair porn and I like it, especially the featured ladies. Oh Yes! keep it coming.

Tabatha
Guest

LOL, Hair Porn! Well when I do look at youtube I look for videos with my hair texture, so I don’t have unrealistic goals, but it also shows me different styles that I can wear my hair in since I’m just at the end of my Transitioning journey. I just want a successful twist or braid out.

Angela
Guest

Great article!

Angela
Guest
I also think one of the things is that when you look at hair sites or even blogs, people are done up, wearing make up and have special lighting. Just like looking at fashion magazines, it can be a challenge to remember that when we look in the mirror, we do not have the special lighting or professional make up artists to make us look like that. lol! It would be funny if we walked around a lighting person with one of those foil things, reflecting the light on our natural hair awesomely in every varied setting. It is fun… Read more »
Kiara
Guest

This is how I was when I first went natural. I found some great 4C people on youth though:

EyesOnMyPrize
WestAfricanBaby

Just to name a few.

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