Why Are Black Women Afraid of Haircuts?

Have you ever seen the look of terror on a Black woman’s face at the sight of a pair of shears? Since childhood, hair cuts have seemed like a cardinal sin. We’d rather sport frazzled ends than forgo the almighty length. So what’s the deal? As a teen, I’d grown my hair far past my shoulders, but on one random night in tenth grade, I decided to cut it myself into an asymmetric bob. Friends reacted like a death occurred. Simply because I was sans the long crown, was I also stripped of my glory? Readers of EBONY shared their thoughts on the emotions behind the fear of a little snip. 

“I think that Black girls are instilled with the notion that long hair means you are beautiful,” says Raven from Atlanta. “So much damage happens to our hair at a young age, we start to feel like it doesn’t grow as fast as the manes of other ethnicities. Thus, a fear of cuts.” 

Natasha from Cleveland also believes that length, be it thick or scraggly, is a major factor. “I personally believe Black women are obsessed with length. It’s kind of like, ‘the longer the hair the prettier the woman.’ 

However, a few overzealous stylists may also be to blame. “I used to hate getting my ends trimmed because my stylist was so scissor-happy! She would cut off too much and I was always wondering whether or not it would actually grow back,” says Shay from Indianapolis. “That’s the real reason why many Black women have an issue with getting their hair cut.” 

Camila from Decatur, GA thinks it’s less about individual fears and more about what others might say.  Particularly, men. “I believe some, not all, Black women are worried about what Black men will think about short hair. It’s a mental thing. ‘Will I not be sexy with short hair?’ 

If you’re struggling with a serious hair cut phobia, here are three tips to help you let go of your locks. 

1. The cure for split ends is a good cut. If not tended to, your ends will continue to split. Get a trim every 6 – 8 weeks, if heat-styling. 

2. For naturals with annoying knotty ends, know that your curls won’t fall perfectly until you clip them. Yes, naturals need to get a good cut once every 3 to 4 months.  You’re not exempt. 

3.  A good trim makes detangling easier. If you spend twenty minutes pulling and tugging at your tangled tresses, a little snip is due.  Your hair deserves it.