The Great Debate: Do Men Like Natural Hair?

When it comes to beauty standards and personal expression within the Black community, few topics spark as much discussion and controversy as the natural hair movement. For decades, Black women have been subjected to oppressive societal expectations. However, one question persists within the community and beyond: Do men like natural hair? 

The question alone has ignited countless debates, with opinions ranging from eager support to outright dismissal. In this video-blog series Naza Shelley, founder of CarpeDM, and Dawn Myers, founder of Richualist and THE MOST, explore the multifaceted perspectives and underlying factors that shape men's views on dating women with natural hair. Join us as we dive into this great debate, uncover truths, and foster understanding in the ever-evolving landscape of beauty within the Black community.

Dating with Natural Hair: Pain Points Black Women Face

There are many pain points Black women associate with their natural curls, coils, and kinks. Truthfully, we don’t talk enough about how this relationship with our hair affects our other relationships; in the workplace, our social interactions, and of course, our love lives.

As an expert matchmaker, Naza has spent time doing the research, getting to the root of the issues many women dating with natural hair experience. When Naza and the CarpeDM team asked women if they think having natural hair impacts their ability to date and dating prospects, the majority of the women said yes. Nevertheless, Naza dug deeper and found that physicality has a bigger impact on their dating prospects than hair.

“A lot of things impact your dating experience, from your experience to your interests and how much money you make. And it’s just not one-sided, sometimes we focus only on women, getting them hyped up and feeling confident, but the men you’re dating also have to come to the table and be confident with these aesthetics,” explained Dawn. “Black women dating with natural hair need to have done the work. They have to come to terms with their natural aesthetic and get past what society says is beautiful,” she continued.

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Do Men Really Like Natural Hair?

During her research, Naza took to social media to ask if men like natural hair. 80% of poll participants answered with a resounding yes. “I asked why, and they said natural just seems better.”

The natural hair movement, in its most recent iteration, has been steadily resurging for the last decade. Before the movement caught traction, it was more common for professional Black women to go on dates sporting permed or straightened hair instead their natural curls. While Black women in their private spaces felt comfortable enough to wear their natural hair, it was unlikely to see them in a professional or first-date setting porting their natural hair. 

Nowadays, there is an increase in support for the natural hair movement, and many of the men we interviewed said they only date women with natural hair. While it’s not without friction, the dating scene for women with natural hair has changed tremendously. In fact, Dawn shared that in her experience, white men adore natural hair. “For me, it has been very interesting to see how dating outside of the Black community is. Men are so incredibly supportive of natural hair beyond the coily curls, even the afro look. Now I’m confident and fully embracing my natural hair look and I carry myself differently.” 

Another interesting discovery that came to the surface in this conversation is that sometimes we focus only on women. We try to get them hyped up and boost their confidence about their aesthetic of choice. However, this can’t be one-sided. The men dating women with natural hair also have to come to the table and be confident with these aesthetics.

While many Black women in this space feel like their natural hair isn’t as accepted, loved, or appreciated, the evidence suggests that men seem to love that aesthetic. So, why are men’s preferences mismatched with women’s experiences? In that regard, Dawn asks, “How much of this is actually supported and how much of this is just women’s insecurities unwinding from mainstream beauty standards?”

Naza harks back to conversations she had with CarpeDM members. “A lot of the perceptions Black women have about their hair not being appreciated don’t come from a lack of desirability from men wanting to date amazing Black women, it comes from a lack of a community and space where men know they can go to meet the most amazing Black women.”

Join CarpeDM and become a member of an exclusive dating community for professional Black women.

What About Women Who Prefer to Change Their Hairstyle Often?

Because our community still struggles with featurism, colorism, and texturism, the conundrum of natural hair versus any other hairstyle will remain. Especially if the men we’re dating don’t understand why they have the preferences they do while we continually absorb their external biases into our own self-perceptions.

On this note, Naza explains this issue further, “Even if I wear a weave, it doesn’t mean my hair is not in its natural state. You can support natural hair without being divisive and understanding that women have the need to be versatile and employ new styles that make their lives easier, and their day better. Professional women are doing so much, we need to pick a hairstyle that makes sense for our individual routines, and that shouldn’t have an impact on dateability.”

This conversation can be a little divisive. In fact, many men often feel that in order to support women's natural hair, they must dismiss women who make alternative choices. But that’s not necessary, there's space for all of our aesthetic choices in the dating scene. As Black women, we have our natural hair, but we also have wigs and weaves and so many different looks that intersect with our dating life. Having these conversations is crucial to promoting racial and gender equality, community empowerment, and finding solutions to the issues Black women struggle with while dating.

Join the Conversation and Watch Episode Two - The Great Debate: Do Men Like Natural Hair?

How Does CarpeDM Ensure Their Members Understand Black Women?

With the many nuanced issues that come with dating as a Black woman, many women are understandably concerned about how CarpeDM vets the men joining this community. Especially non-Black men. 

“We know that in dating outside of our ethnicity a lot of the cultural norms and routines are not necessarily known to men outside of our community,” Naza explains. “To make these amazing matches, we need to understand the cultural differences between the people that we’re pairing together so we ask men who are joining our community why do they want to join this space if they know this space is for professional Black women.”

When reviewing applicants, we intentionally inquire about their past experiences with dating Black women, as well as their expectations when entering a relationship with a Black woman for the first time. By asking these questions, we strive to establish an environment that celebrates and uplifts Black women.

Want to learn more about how Black women are finding love on CarpeDM? Sign up for a free 15-minute consultation with our professional matchmakers to get a feel for the CarpeDM difference. 

About CarpeDM and Richualist:

Dawn and Naza met as students at Howard University School of Law. Although they went to live their separate lives after school, they shared an entrepreneurial spirit that brought them back together to spearhead a revolution for Black women and self-empowerment in DC’s tech scene. These two empowered Black women are striving to promote community empowerment rooted in the niche dating movement and natural hair movement and creating a safe space for Black women, single, dating, engaged, or married.

Both of these women are committed to the support of women of color and feminism, and while they are well aware of the struggle Black women with curly hair face ––whether they’re dating or building their careers or both –– they’re also confident in the solutions Black entrepreneurs like themselves can provide for the Black community. That’s how CarpeDM, the most exclusive dating app for Black professionals, and Richualist a Shark Tank featured company dedicated to supporting and guiding young Black women throughout their curly hair journey were born. These two companies have joined the small number of companies led by Black women to receive institutional funding. Only 2.3% of all-women founding teams have raised institutional capital (it’s a very, very big deal y’all). 

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