10 Ways to Respond to Negative Hair Comments
Image Source: @slimreshae

Although the natural hair movement is receiving widespread attention, it is not accepted by all. Some have averse feelings and claim it to be unprofessional and unaesthetic. Descriptions like “nappy” are still being referenced. While some are reclaiming it, others still associate the word with its original negative connotation, which tends to be further reinforced by the nuance of the speakers.

It meant our hair wasn’t up to par with beauty standards and, therefore, unacceptable. It meant we needed to alter our hair texture to assimilate to the Eurocentric standard and be like everyone else. Well, everyone else is taken, so it’s time to be like ourselves and not apologize for the honor.

We are in a culture where everyone feels they have a right to say whatever they want to whomever they please, and sometimes (oftentimes) it’s tactless and malevolent.

We will break down common hair comments we’ve all heard at once and how to respond to them.

1. “Why do you want to know?”

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Image Source: @starterlocqueen

When someone asks, “Why do you wear your hair like ‘that’?” Just smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?” Most people don’t realize they’re being rude, and when you challenge the question, they tend to become aware and retreat.

2. “Why do you wear your hair like that?”

Another response is, “First, tell me why you wear your hair like that?” Retort the question and see if they like being questioned about a personal choice that everyone is entitled to. They will probably say they chose their style because it was flattering and befitting, and you can offer the same response. Believe me, it works.

3. “That’s your opinion, and I have mine.”

If you ask me, this is the perfect answer. It’s short, to the point, and causes most to fall back. It may seem not polite, but that’s the truth. We would not be in this predicament if they did not initiate being rude.

4. Ignore

I don’t think irresponsibility is the best decision because the person may not get the hint. Sometimes no response is perceived as consent to continue, but in some situations or circles it’s appropriate to ignore it…if you can.

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Like please keep it to yourself, not everything needs to be said #naturalhair #foryou

♬ original sound – R E A N N E
Image Source: @reannemechele

5. The stare

A long, non-blinking stare is enough to unnerve a strong-willed person. Most will get the hint that you are not acknowledging their remark and realize they have crossed a line. Even though nothing is being said, there is a sense of beautiful communication.

6. “I wear my hair as I like and not to be accepted by others.”

That’s the truth, and if your significant other loves your hair, you should also mention that. We are entitled to do what we want with our bodies and not care what others think!  

10 Ways to Respond to Negative Hair Comments
Image Source: @melaninmichie

7. “I like celebrating a unique part of my heritage.”

If you want to ward off many, this will be the one! Most don’t want to discuss heritage, ancestry, or culture, and as a result, they will immediately feel bad about not being socially conscious. It’s also a way to enlighten others on what you value, which could then lead to more understanding and acceptance. 

8. “My natural hair makes me beautiful.”

Loving yourself is never the wrong answer. 

9. “Sorry you feel that way, but I like it!”

There are many situations that call for this politically correct answer. It lets them know how you feel while also acknowledging their feelings. Hey, it’s the best of both worlds.

10 Ways to Respond to Negative Hair Comments
Image Source: @leniza_evy

10. “Screw you!”

This would not be a real list if this was not on here. Some people can be aggressively nasty and rude and no one has a right to make you feel bad about your body. This may not be the most kind response but I guarantee you will feel so much better after you say it.

Sabrina, founder of seriouslynatural.org and contributor to several online publications, is a freelance writer who engages her audiences on the relevance of natural hair, beauty, and style.

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