I Wore A Wig Named "Lola" For A Year & You Need To Know What It Did To My Hair

By
Ad failed to load

Everyone has a hair journey and a unique story to tell. While some of these personal anecdotes might be more straightforward than others, mine just so happens to tip the scale on complicated. My kinky-curly natural hair and I have been through a lot over the past 23 years. Between horrific dye jobs and countless styles done on impulse (here's looking at you, buzzcut), it’s only now that I wish I had complete photo evidence to reminisce on how far we’ve come. The look of my hair has really shaped my identity throughout every stage and phase of my life. No big deal, seeing that hair trends evolve all the time, right? Wrong. Hidden away from view, my insecurity about thick, natural hair has unfortunately had a crippling effect on my self-esteem.

Unlike today’s generation of strong, empowered girls who have “natural hair heroes” to admire, the younger me lacked such role models. I absolutely hated the tightly-coiled puff ball that grew out of my scalp.

First off, the pain associated with detangling it almost took. me. out. every two weeks when wash day rolled around. Sitting for hours in my mom’s lap as she tried her hardest to make my hair look “neat” again hurt just as bad. And at the end of it all, when the hair products and tools were stashed away, I didn’t feel pretty.

Ad failed to load

To top it off, my natural hair wasn’t even close to what society said was "beautiful." In the early 2000s, envied styles — whether they were natural or not — included long, straight hair and silky waves. This was especially true in the black community, where having “good,” easy-to-manage hair was seen a status symbol.

As soon as I got older and received permission (kind of) from my mom, I began experimenting heavily with hairstyles. At 13, I dabbled in braided extensions, which were my absolute favorite. Although we shelled out hundreds of dollars for them, bra-strap-length box braids were hassle-free for me and considered an investment for my mom. Not only did they drape longer than my natural hair, each set of braids could easily last up to three months with proper care. Totally a win-win situation.

Ad failed to load
Tossing "Lola" aside, I began the tedious process of nursing my 4C-type curls back to health.

The real “trouble,” however, began when I was either 17 or 18. At that time, my mom finally caved and agreed to pay for my first sewn-in weave. Practically everyone I knew had upgraded to these types of extensions; getting my own felt like the right thing to do. The wefted hair, which alone cost $150, was a sandy brown color and bone straight, without a kink or curl in sight. At my request, my hair stylist cut it into layers with a long side bang that I feverishly (annoyingly, too) flipped what seemed like 10,000 times a day. Going into my senior year of high school, the weaves boosted my confidence in ways I could've never imagined. The compliments from guys and girls alike were endless when I wore them, allowing me to forget my natural hair woes and become the person I always wanted to be. At least, that’s what I thought.

Ad failed to load

I hit what some call “rock bottom” in 2012 once I discovered that wigs were — in my case — a faster and cheaper alternative to sew-ins. Although I only owned one straight-haired wig that put me back $50, I wore it off and on throughout college and became obsessed. After I moved to New York in 2016, attempting to find someone who could both tame and help maintain my natural hair gave me extreme anxiety. Yep, you guessed it; wigs became the obvious solution.

For the first time ever, I’m publicly acknowledging that fake hair serves as my crutch.

In 2017, I ironically moved on to a faux afro I named “Lola,” which was gifted to me by a hair extensions company.

Ad failed to load

It’s a showstopper with loose, defined curls — curls that I’ve passed off as my own for nearly a year straight whenever people ask. Ashamed of my dishonesty, plus the matted mess that laid untouched and underneath “Lola” for weeks, I recently decided to start over. Tossing "Lola" aside, I began the tedious process of nursing my 4C-type curls back to health.

Like I expected, though, my natural hair is far from in good shape. Several shorter, broken off pieces stick out among the rest; I was devastated while combing them apart and assessing the damage. Yet, I also felt a strange sense of relief. For the first time ever, I’m publicly acknowledging that fake hair serves as my crutch.

Ad failed to load

Over the past five years, weaves and wigs had me in a voodoo-esque hold, where it was impossible to see the unparalleled beauty in what’s naturally mine. The opinions of others and my eagerness to be "desirable" put me on the fast-track towards developing serious identity issues. But what they say is correct: True and lasting validation comes from within. Taking care of the kinky crown that adorns my head is a part of taking care of and loving myself; one cannot be done without the presence of the other.

I can’t lie, letting go of my attachment with “Lola the Wig” and all other wigs, weaves, and protective styles will be hard. “Lola,” again, has barely left my head since receiving her in the mail about 365 days ago. Sheesh. Still, coming out of hiding seems way more important. And, honestly, I’m proud to say that it has been my best hair decision to date.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

6 Commitment-Free Ways To Change Up Your Look After A Breakup, If You Feel Like It

I'm married and not breaking up (I just had to clarify before I get a call from my husband wondering what's going on). However, if for some reason we ever did separate (again, not happening!), I've imagined I'd have this Eat, Pray, Love moment where …
By Stephanie Montes

Here's Everything That's Leaving Netflix In June

Summer is here, and with it comes plenty of opportunity to binge watch more movies and TV shows that we never knew we needed in our lives. May has passed by in a blink of an eye, so I definitely need to catch up on what Netflix is getting rid of afte…
By Kristen Perrone

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano
)}