Box braids. Cornrows. Bantu knots. Senegalese twists. Lace-front wigs. These are just some of the protective hairstyles Black women wear to take a “break” from daily maintenance or to simply switch up their look. But excessive pulling at the scalp and the repetitive nature of braiding and twisting strands without proper technique and care can lead to breakage, or even worse, hair loss.
The age-old belief that “pain is beauty” is deeply rooted in American culture, and it’s part of the reason why so many Black women are willing to sacrifice hours of suffering for the sake of looking good. But what about the damage it inflicts on their mental health?