The bond between women and their hair is one that runs deep. Now, with International Women’s Day taking place on 8 March, we felt it was time to take a look at what we value about our hair – and about ourselves.
Hair and Identity
A massive 72.8% of women feel that their hair is a strong part of their identity, according to research undertaken by All Things Hair. And with so many different styles and available, we have plenty of ways in which we can express that identity.
But, more than that, there are plenty of shared characteristics between what we value about our hair and the skills and attributes that women around the world exhibit. Let me explain…
As International Women’s Day approaches, it’s a good time to reflect on what it means to be a woman in the modern world. What does it take? Strength is pretty high up on that list, particularly during the Covid era.
It can sometimes take a lot to juggle work, family, friendships, hobbies, fitness, travel and all the myriad other things that daily life involves. When times are tough it can take some serious mental and emotional strength to keep everything on track.
And, of course, there’s nothing quite like the mental strength involved in bearing (and raising) children!
Strength is also a cornerstone of healthy hair. Weak, dry, brittle hair is prone to breakage and splitting. This is why so many products focus on delivering both nourishment and strength.
Is your hair as strong as you would like it to be? If not, it’s in your hands to take some action. A decent hair mask to use once or twice a week, a quality pre-shampoo oil treatment and a protective blow-dry spray that helps to ward off heat damage are three absolute essentials. This is particularly important during the winter months, when environmental factors (mainly cold air outdoors and centrally heated air indoors) can contribute to making your hair even more dry.
Modern women are nothing if not versatile. We can flick from businesswoman to wife to mother to friend and a whole host of other personas multiple times in the space of a day. Sometimes in the space of an hour.
Versatility is also something that we value about our hair. It is what allows us to experiment with different colours, to curl, to straighten, to braid and so much more. This versatility is, in fact, another reason why it’s important for hair to be strong – the stronger and healthier it is, the more we can enjoy experimenting with different looks.
The pandemic has highlighted just how adaptable not just women have to be right now but all human beings. Lockdowns, social distancing, working from home, school closures… all of this and more is pushing us to have to adapt to some highly unusual circumstances.
When it comes to hair, as well, there’s plenty of call for adaptability. We often adapt the way we wear our hair to suit the situation at hand. The office might call for sleek, straightened hair or perhaps an elegant ponytail. Occasions such as weddings usually call for some kind of glamorous updo. A night out could involve spending some quality time beforehand with the curling tongs.
These are just a few examples of how we adapt our style to suit the occasion at hand. In some cultures, women also adapt their style to suit the phase of life we’re in. In the UK and the US, for example, little girls commonly wear twin plaits and pigtails. However, as they grow up, these styles become less appropriate as they carry associations of childishness. For the Himba Tribe in Namibia, different styles carry a great deal more significance, with different patterns of braiding signalling key elements of a women’s status.
In so many ways, women also have to be resilient to navigate our demanding modern world. When we get knocked down (metaphorically speaking) we have to get right back up again and carry on. Motherhood often calls on this resilience intensively – and particularly since the unfolding of the Covid pandemic, where so many of us have become responsible for nurturing our children’s mental wellbeing in truly exceptional circumstances.
Likewise, our hair needs to be resilient. After all, it copes with a lot. Chlorinated pool water, sweaty gym sessions, exposure to the sun throughout the summer and then the cold, dry air of winter, harsh chemical treatments as we relax, colour and curl… our hair has to cope with all of this and more. Again, the right products can make a major difference when it comes to helping hair to achieve this resilience.
Last but most definitely not least, we all like to shine at something. It could be your career, your favourite sport, having a beautiful home, doing charitable deeds or one of a million other things. Having something that we do well and that gives us confidence is important.
From a hair perspective, meanwhile, a glossy shine speaks volumes about the health of a woman’s hair. Coconut oil is a real winner here and there are some luscious pre-shampoo treatments on the market, as well as leave-in conditioners to help you achieve the glow you desire.
What Will Your Hair Say About You On International Women’s Day?
Will you be nurturing your hair as International Women’s Day approaches, to achieve the strength and shine that you deserve? And what will your chosen style say about you?
All Things Hair recently asked women how often they wear their hair naturally. 77.6% said that they always wear their locks au naturel. Will you be one of them on 8 March or will you be celebrating your versatility and adaptability by going for a complete restyle? Whichever it is, remember to wear your style with pride. It tells the world a great deal about you, so have fun with it!