Monday, March 14, 2011

Le Coil & the African Hair Industry

Le Coil is a Tumblr blog that has photos of people having fun with natural textured 'African' hair. It's not the type of hair that you see in the media very often and the people featured do SUCH a great job of making funky styles and original hair-dos out of something that is often seen as uninspiring or in need of 'taming'!

You may not be able to fully appreciate the re-branding that this website is helping to do so I'll try to explain without referring you to a viewing of Chris Rock's "Good Hair" documentary - even though you should watch it!

Just as hair dyes, perms and even some shampoos and conditioners become water pollutants when manufactured carelessly, so are the straighteners that people of African descent use on their hair. These chemicals are not only dangerous to the heads they go on, but also harmful to the water systems that wash them out. Furthermore, it is not necessary - it is a matter of vanity, as with all fashion. Vain is used in the least judgemental way here - 'vain', here, only means that it is mainly for the sake of looking good. Everyone wants to feel beautiful and when your hair is tangled and difficult to work through, you may have a harder time achieving your look each morning than if you had straight hair. So, many go for the easy instead of the creative. Sound familiar?

It is therefore vain and unnecessary, and though something does not have to be necessary for us to indulge in it as all culture is essentially 'unnecessary' if we think about it, these chemicals are still painful, dangerous, and shouldn't be anywhere near your head or your workplace without the proper protection (like a gas mask in my opinion).

Aside from that, there is also the mess of extensions and weaves. These products are being mass-produced to cover up hair that people already have. It is a wasteful practice that though functional in a cultural sense, is completely dysfunctional for our planet. Just because it is a small part of the problem of fashion alone, much less the environment, does not make it any less of a problem. This is a huge industry worth $9 billion according the aforementioned documentary. So we can be grateful when a great website comes along and shows us beautiful alternatives like a certain other website tries to do (wink, wink; nudge, nudge).

All photos from Le Coil Tumblr blog Check it out! It's awesome.

Know of other sites like this who are helping to fix the damages of the media and fashion? Also, we want to interview you! Send it in to:

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