When conversations get hairy
10 Ways to Handle Backhanded Hair Compliments

Women are constantly subjected to unwanted, unsolicited, and unnecessary opinions concerning their hair. One of the most sensitive areas on a woman's body is her hair. How she chooses to lay it, spray it, dye it, or even fry it for that matter is all HER choice. A woman has the right to freely change her hairstyle as frequently and boldly as she chooses.

When your definition of beauty is aligned with society's standards, your self-image becomes contaminated.  Whether your hair is red or razor short, curly or coarse, fine or frizzy, remember it is yours! Own it and be comfortable wearing your mane choice.


10. "you should wear your hair like this all the time!"

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

Even though this statement praises your new look, it basically expresses that all of your other styles weren't a favorite. Our jobs, friends, and at times, significant others can encourage us to conform to a style that is more comfortable for them. Whether it's your go-to or a drastic change-up, the same style shouldn't be worn "all the time" and it takes a person with confidence to express that.

Answer: "Hair is an accessory and my style is just one of the many ways I choose to express myself. Besides, I get bored easily and like to spice things up. Your hair could use a little excitement."


9. "It's just hair, it'll grow back."

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

A short hairstyle is often by choice but when your new cut is unavoidable to maintain healthy hair or even accidental, the adjustment process can be difficult. Making this statement will not lessen the blow even if the intent is to be supportive and comforting of going shorter. 

Answer: "Yes, the goal is for it to grow back. Thanks for helping me to keep my eye on the prize."

 


8. "at least your hair isn't that ugly RED/brown/blonde."

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

Who are we to deem any color tone as "better" or "prettier" than the next? Wearing a rare hair color doesn't mean it's ugly. If anything, it stands out and that too, is OK. 

Answer: "Glad you noticed."


7. "Your curls are really tight/poofy"

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

 This is another way of saying that a woman's curls are not within the "standard" of coil acceptance.

Answer: "Yep, just like I like them."


6. "what are you doing to your hair?"

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

There is a fine line between being inquisitive and being downright shady. This is usually a go-to question when someone doesn't agree with the direction you're going and wants to avoid being too direct. This is their way of subliminally trying to make you insecure or discourage you from wearing the style. Don't fall for it.

Answer: "What do you mean? Can you be more specific?" 


5. "i can see your gray hairs."

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

Everyone knows gray hair is directly associated with life's inevitable aging process which is unwelcomed by most women. Why call her out? This is a type of ageism comment can be offensive if  not taken lightly. No matter how you say it, she probably already noticed the gray and doesn't need a reminder from you. 

Answer: "One day I'll be able to see yours too."


4. "BUT YOU HAVE 'GOOD' HAIR."

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

The adjective "good" is used when referring to fine, straight, and smooth textured hair which society has deemed as superior. The statement expresses that this type hair texture doesn't require much maintenance and attention, and that you shouldn't change it. How well hair cooperates is relative to an individual's skill level to work with various textures. The biggest misconception is that certain textures are directly associated with a specific race or ethnicity. Untrue. All textures require various skills and techniques to maintain, some more complex than others, but regardless of the uniqueness of your strands, all hair deserves TLC. 

Answer: "Define 'good' because I want great hair."


3. "I actually LIKE YOUR HAIR BETTER CURLY/STRAIGHT."

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

The use of "actually" immediately reduces any statement from compliment to insult.

Answer: "And I like it like this. I win!"


2. "is that all yours?"

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

Unlike the past, wearing hair extensions is no longer a taboo topic. From clip-in hair extensions to wigs, women of all ages wear them for various reasons. Most people assume that a woman wearing extensions has little to no hair which is often far from the truth. The choice to wear extensions could be to enhance their natural locks, wear a shorter look without cutting their hair, or to protect their natural hair from damage caused by heat or color. The goal is to wear hair extensions as naturally as possible, and if someone asks you this question, you are getting the job done!

Answer: "Anything on my body is mine."

 


1. "Can I touch it?"

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

This one is self explanatory.

Answer: "No, thank you!"