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The Beauty Beat: How Young is Too Young to Wear a Weave?

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mother daughter hair

The other day, while dropping off my six-year-old son at school, I noticed some of the girls there were wearing weave. These girls couldn’t have been more than 13 years old. They weren’t wearing cornrows with jumbo braiding hair added or individual braids with weave. No, these girls were rocking what looked like waist-length, virgin Indian hair with a u-part and perfect wand curls. I’m talking about some serious hair here. While walking my son to class, I saw a young girl probably in 7th or 8th grade with a really long weave walking towards me. She flipped her hair incessantly and looked at me like she knew she looked good. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that her real hair and her weave weren’t blending well. I just smiled and told her to have a great day at school.

As I got in my car and drove away I thought about that young girl. First, I thought about how fast she looked with all that hair in her head. Then I begin to wonder if that weave that made her feel cute was doing more harm to her than good. For some, this may not even be an issue worth talking about. You’ll probably think that since her mother bought it for her to wear, then it has to be okay. That seems like a good answer, but I can’t help but to think about myself at that age. I didn’t know myself at all. I was very impressionable. I was slightly insecure, didn’t understand the meaning of real beauty, and didn’t love myself fully, “flaws” and all. At that age, I wanted to look like the women on television. They had long flowing hair (which in retrospect was probably weave) and wore tons of makeup. That, to me, was what beauty was and I wanted to look them one day. One day, I too, would look as beautiful as those women did. Or, at least that’s what I thought.

Before ya’ll get all crunktastical and assume I’m talking down about people who wear weave, let me clearly state that I am not. Weave is harmless. It is only an accessory. However, weave in the hands of the insecure and the broke can become a dangerous weapon. I’m not trying to be deep or make a big deal out of nothing, but I am wondering if the weave she was wearing will one day make her feel less than.

We’ve all been there a time or two. You get a weave and you love how it looks on you. When you take it out you feel slightly insecure because your hair isn’t as full or as long as weave made it look. For some women, this feeling drives them to become weave dependent and they refuse to be seen in public without extensions. Imagine this feeling of insecurity in a 12-year-old girl who is still figuring out her way in the world. As a mother of a young daughter myself, I would argue that some kids—most kids— aren’t ready to handle that. Am I saying that our girls shouldn’t be allowed to wear weave at all? No, I am not. Ultimately, that is up to the parent to decide. What I am saying is that we have to make certain that our young girls are mature enough to know that weave is an accessory and they are just as beautiful without it.

What age do you think parents should allow their kids to wear weave? Is wearing a long weave appropriate for pre-teens? Leave your comments below.

Briana McCarthy is a writer, blogger and editor of The Mane Source. When she's not blogging about hair and beauty, she's enjoying her Chicago hometown with her hubby and two children. Chat her up on Facebook and Instagram.

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