By Andrea Dawn

Sometimes I like to browse the Internet for photos of natural hairstyles. I do it for hair inspiration, and to simply admire the beauty, diversity and awesomeness of natural hair.

Occasionally I come across photos that feature synthetic wigs and/or extensions that could easily pass for real natural hair. Although I have nothing against these photos, I think they can encourage some people to develop unrealistic hair expectations.

It’s often difficult to determine if the hair in a photo is real or synthetic. Some viewers may recognize the difference, but others may not. For example, I recently came across a website with a photo of a model with beautifully styled, waist length “natural hair.” The hair looked gorgeous, but in my opinion it didn’t look real. Source checking verified that the model was wearing a wig. Many of the viewers who commented on the photo apparently hadn’t discerned this. The feedback included comments like: “Her hair is so pretty!” “I wish my hair looked like that!” “Her hair is amazing!” One commenter wondered how long it took the model to grow her hair that long, because she wanted to achieve that particular hair length, too.

I’m not knocking “natural hair” wigs or extensions. I’ve worn them on occasion; they serve a purpose and they can look really great. At the same time, I think it’s important for people to have realistic expectations of what they can and cannot achieve with their real natural hair in terms of curl pattern, length, texture, thickness, etc. If we find ourselves crushing on photos that feature wigs and extensions, wishing we could achieve the same look with our real natural hair, then we’re probably setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Do you think photos of “natural hair” wigs and extensions can encourage
unrealistic hair expectations? Do you prefer photos of real natural hair over photos
of synthetic hair, or does it not matter to you?