By Mika Njoku, Six Brown Chicks Correspondent
Disclaimer: I’m not fat-shaming, or wig-shaming, you. I’m telling you about what happened to me, currently a fat person, who is trying to lose weight to improve my overall health.
Now, let’s tackle some fake news: You know that extra 20 pounds Americans gained during lockdown? They need to run those numbers again, because I gained 34 pounds, and my bestie has gained 30+ pounds as well, so don’t believe the hype.
Collectively, I’m sure we can point to videogames or Netflix and food behind the nationwide weight gain. But my weight gain culprit was a newfound addiction to lace front wigs.
Before lockdown, my health routine was standard, I’d get up, hit my treadmill for 30 minutes, ate a protein-heavy breakfast and went on about my day. I wore an old-fashioned sew-in weave hairstyle back then; the workout didn’t mess up my hair.
After lockdown, there was no need to commute to work. Thus, there was no need to get my hair done. Not wanting to become a complete monster in front of my husband, I searched YouTube for hair tutorials and that led me down the DIY-lace front wig rabbit hole.
The Lace Front Tutorial Rabbit Hole
I was INSPIRED by so many ladies—even teenagers—slaying wigs. I’d watch their videos for hours. The more tutorials I watched, the more junk food I ate and the more wigs I bought.
And then I decided I was ready to slay my own wig. SPOILER ALERT: I wasn’t ready. I bought and destroyed at least 8 synthetic wigs before I felt comfortable enough to buy an expensive human hair unit.
After much trial and error, the wig was undetectable. I secured the lace front just right, and the baby hair was perfect. That was my Sunday wig, and hubby liked it.
The next morning, I got on the treadmill and the lace puckered and the wig slid to the side. All my hard work was wasted.
I thought to myself—no more treadmill! It would ruin my lace front installation!
An Uncomfortable Truth
A woman’s hairstyle can be a barrier to working out, Dr. Sophia Tolliver notes.
Creating a hairstyle “could take several hours during the day,” Tolliver said, adding that women may fear perspiration can ruin that hairstyle.Reuters, “Hair care issues may keep some black women from exercising,” by Linda Carroll.
I know I felt that way, so I watched more YouTube tutorials, ate more junk food, bought more wigs, and let my treadmill collect dust.
The extra weight piled on so gradually that I didn’t even notice. My husband didn’t mention my weight gain because he was dealing with his own extra poundage.
After a year in lockdown, I tried to put on my favorite outfit to meet my friend Tasha for lunch and I was sorely disappointed. I could no longer fit my cute clothes. Tasha gained 30+ pounds as well. While discussing getting our health back on track, Tasha said, ‘It’s funny, I’ll spend an hour under the hair dryer, but I refuse to exercise for 15 minutes.’
At that moment, it dawned on me that my reluctance to exercise could be traced back to my newfound wig obsession.
I decided that my overall health was more important than a perfect lace front, so, I took off the wig, wearing my natural hair (I LOVE it!) and I’m working hard to take off the extra pounds.
And I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I go through my wig withdrawal.
Love, peace & hair grease,