Recently I attended a ritzy awards show for a women’s organization. I was speaking to a friend about something or another when she suddenly grabbed my arm, cutting the conversation short.
“Look around!” she instructed. “What do you see?”
I looked. There was nothing out of the ordinary. I looked back at her like she was crazy.
“There are no lace fronts!” she exclaimed, “That’s how you know it’s a classy event.”
If you wear a lace front wig–full wigs with mesh lace attached in front and beyond the “hair line” of the wig–which is temporarily glued to ones skin around the hair line, you probably don’t care that I, and many other people (there are Facebook page dedicated to hating on them) can’t stand them. It’s a disdain unreserved for weaves, even the worst ones. And the reason is that on the vast majority of people, like 99.9%, they look awful.
I blame Beyoncé and her mother for their popularity among the masses. (RuPaul wore them for years, even as the face of beauty for MAC and it never caught on.) Somehow women believe they can channel Bey’s flowing, track free locs on a budget, and the sad fact of the matter is, no, no, no you can’t. Bey pays great money for her wig crypt (and even she’s had some glue errors). With lace fronts that cost less and are applied by anyone other than her top-notch hair team, you can immediately tell the difference, even with other celebs who seemingly can afford the good stuff.
Take for instance Jennifer Hudson, who was vilified by viewers when she showed up at the Academy Awards last year. Instead of focusing on the Versace dress that highlighted her newly svelte curves and amazing complexion, all anyone could talk about was her hair, particularly that the glue on her lace front wig didn’t match her skin tone and her hair line was an unnatural, Steve Harvey sharp. Ciara, Lil’ Kim and Trina are also repeat offenders of this phenomenon.
As bad as most lace front wearers look in their wigs, I’m petrified for what the future holds. Models Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks have also been longtime lace front aficionados, and I fear that is what has caused the damage to their hairlines, even with the best beauty teams good money can buy –outside of Beyoncé’s– managing their hair.
Several pictures of a now-weaved Naomi Campbell have popped up online in the last year, and they show severe alopecia. I mean our girl has just patches of hair and is mostly bald around the edges. Recent pictures of Tyra Banks revealed a thinning hairline where she’d gelled her remaining hair down in attempt to camouflage it. Gossip site Media Takeout evilly referred to it as a “comb over.”
I also shudder to think about what some women who wear lace fronts look like right now. Vibe Vixen once ran a story “Lace Wigs 101” which featured helpful tips to make your lace front look believable from Tiffany Chanel Luxury Hair. She described how she was “floored” when her customers asked, “how much of my edges do I need to shave off to wear a lace wig?” Turns out, people were allowing people their stylists to cut off their own natural hairlines so that they wouldn’t extend beyond the wig.
“If your hairdresser asks to shave your hair, immediately find a new hairdresser,” Tiffany bluntly advised.
I say this with love for my Sisters: for whatever reason you’ve decided on a lace front wig— fashion, convenience, to hide your hair or to avoid the trouble of doing your own actual locs daily— I implore you to find another method to have the look, texture or style you desire. Don’t do it for me! Do it for your hairline, and oh, so people can actually focus on you, not that horrid hair.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk