Four Reasons Why Sew-ins May Be A Thing Of The PastAs the quintessential protective style, sew-ins allow the wearer more volume with a variety of styles and lengths. Everyone from African-Americans to Caucasians use sew-ins to enhance their beauty or express themselves. Sew-ins are no longer bond to straight and wavy styles. But expanded their reach into the natural hair movement with textures resembling hair of those of African descent. Celebrities to your everyday-woman can be found rocking a sew-in. However, with all the benefits and hype of sew-ins, there seems to be a decline in their use across the board. Less and less women are heading to the weave shops, and this trend does not seem dependent on the season. Even on the red carpet, wigs and natural hair reign supreme. Are sew-ins becoming extinct? Below we will explore four reasons why there is a decline in the use of sew-ins.
What Is A Sew-in?For those that are unaware or are only recently learning, it is important to give a brief overview of the nature of a traditional sew-in. A sew-in is a hairstyle requiring the client's natural hair braided into a pattern on the scalp and then other hair, typically attached to tracks, is sewed onto the braids. That is basic knowledge. The braiding patterns can range from straight-back cornrows to more intricate designs. Usually, the hair sewed onto the client is of Asian or Latin origins, which are coveted for their texture, curl pattern and manageability. However, as aforementioned, African hair textures are now included in the hair extensions market as well. I have had four separate experiences with a sew-in. Two of those times was with a professional, which I had a lovely experience, and two of those times was with a friend in a college dorm. Needless to say one of those times with a friend involved fishing line and it was not a pleasant experience. Each time, except for the fishing line style, I enjoyed switching up my look and giving my natural hair a rest. However, I never felt the need to make sew-ins a consistent part of my hair switch-up routine. Perhaps I fell into one of the four categories of why sew-ins seem to becoming extinct. Let’s explore some of the reasons why less and less women are getting a sew-in.
The Naturals Revolution ContinuesAlthough companies have successfully designed and developed extensions resembling natural African hair textures, many women continue to embrace their natural hair’s texture, curl type and length. Since the rise of the natural hair revolution around 2012, women have increasingly grown to love and embrace themselves including their hair. Embracing natural hair is not only exclusive to women of African descent. I have seen countless videos and blogs of women with more Eurocentric features learning to love and show off their naturally curly hair as well. It was this acceptance that birthed methods of styling such as the Deva Curl. With almost six years plus, the natural hair movement has moved from YouTube videos to popular hair salons and beauty stores. There are many older women, who were religious about their sew-ins and wigs, deciding to give their natural hair a try with the available resources. Additionally, sew-ins can cause a lot of damage to natural hair. Traction alopecia, the loss of hair due to tension, is becoming more an more common among women, particularly of African descent. Hair loss from back-to-back sew-ins, neglect of hair care and extremely tight styles has many consumers thinking that long, wavy tracks are not worth the irreversible damage. As a college student, I tried to cut corners in order to get a beautiful weave by getting my homegirl to hook me up. Although the sew-in cost me almost half of what I would have spent at a salon, I paid for it with the integrity of my hair. Thankfully, with some TLC and new knowledge I gained from a hair care job, I was able to restore and regrow the hair I lost. Many women are not as lucky and are ditching the weaves altogether.
Not Your Grandmother’s WigAnother reason why many women are saying goodbye to sew-ins is that they are saying hello to wigs. “Lace front” seems to be the golden words nowadays for wigs. Wigs offer the same volume and versatility as sew-ins but without the two to three-month commitment. They can be worn during the day and taken off at night to allow the wearer’s natural hair a chance to breathe. Wigs today are not like what your grandmother slipped on before a special occasion. Today, wigs come in a variety of colors, lengths, styles, and designs to fit your lifestyle. There are wigs with braids, baby hairs, rainbow colors, and ponytails. The styles seem endless. A major bonus for wearing wigs would be taking the time to care for your hair and scalp with regular shampooing, conditioning, and moisturizing. A perk that does not accompany sew-ins. Although a few years ago, it was taboo to have a wig, let alone let everyone know that your hair was a wig. With everyone from beauty influencers to celebrities rocking wigs and showing off their extensive collection, wearing a wig is becoming as standard as sew-ins or any other hairstyle. Misuse and overuse of wigs can leave the same dangerous results as sew-ins with issues such as traction alopecia and loss of edges. Even with wigs, you want to ensure you give your hair proper rest by going a few days without a wig or covering. Although having a secure wig is best, having your unit too tight can cause just as much damage. It is a delicate balance, but wigs are growing as the next best thing in protective styling.
Get You Someone Who Can Do BothSpeaking of versatility, switching up hairstyles is trending not only on the internet but also on the red carpet. Perhaps gone are the days of a classic or signature hairstyle. The name of the game is the number of styles one can pull off in a single setting. In eras such as the nineties or eighties, celebrities had signature looks that changed very little. I am reminded of 90’s songbird Aaliyah’s signature long black hair with a swoope over her eye or Chaka Khan’s big voluminous curls. Nowadays, it is rare to see a celebrity to rock the same style twice for an event let alone a show, and the rest of the world is following suit. Known for their hair switch-up game, stars such as Zendaya, can rock a blunt red bob to the Met Gala and look stunning in faux locs. This trend is evident with recent Instagram trends like #GetYouSomeoneWhoCanDoBoth where one girl has a variety of hairstyles to show off how well she can pull off each one. Although sew-ins can provide some versatility, the wearer is limited to the ability to change the hair every few months. Wigs, braids, natural styles and more offer one to continually change a style within a week’s time. Perhaps people want to have more options when it comes to their hair and personal style. With this new found desire, will sew-ins become a thing of the past?
Global LearningThe last reason why some may be returning their sewing needles may result from the understanding of the extension industry as a whole. Before the internet, many people have had little to no knowledge of the hair extension industry and the truth behind the purchased hair. Much of the distributed hair today comes from Asian and Latin countries from women of low-income households. Those who are being forced to sell their beloved strands to have some money to feed their families. These women are paid pennies for their hair that will eventually sell for a significantly more substantial amount here in the West. Some suppliers even get their hair from temples and religious entities where women sacrifice their hair as a part of religious rituals. The temples and establishments collect and save the hair to sell to extension suppliers in order to pay for necessities for the building, much to the ignorance of the women. Access to the Internet, documentaries, and blogs show the potentially dangerous and borderline inhumane ways of accessing human hair for the weave and extensions industry. With the new plethora of knowledge comes those willing to make a change. A few hair extension companies are rising to take on a more responsible and sustainable approach to hair extensions. These companies are personal and caring by disclosing the use of the hair honestly and by paying the proper amount to women and their families for their hair. Realizing the impact of our hairstyle choices may or may not contribute to the possible decline in sew-ins. But the wealth of information is challenging us to make wiser decisions in regards to our beauty routines.
Is Extinction Possible For Sew-ins?The natural hair movement, wigs, and hair versatility may be the cause as to why there is a decline in the number of people wearing sew-ins. Some believe that the damage caused by sew-ins will eventually result in their banishment much like the rise and fall in popularity of cigarettes. Regardless of the reason, I do not think that sew-ins will become utterly extinct from our hair repertoire or salons. Sew-ins continue to be very popular as a means to feel beautiful, maintain a particular appearance and serve as an avenue of versatility. Even if the method of sewing hair declines in widespread use, many will continue to wear extensions in the different forms. This includes clip-ins, tape-ins and more, which can be less damaging to the hair and scalp. Perhaps the decreased desire for sew-ins will challenge stylists to prioritize the client’s natural hair health over a nice sew-in and will convince suppliers to consider the humanitarian impact made by the hair extensions industry. With proper care and a professional partner, sew-ins remain as a beautiful protective style and means to switch up your overall look. I still love a wonderfully done sew-in every now and again. Only time will be able to tell the longevity of this hair extensions method. What do you think of sew-ins after reading this article? Do you think that this method of styling will become obsolete? Leave a comment below and let’s continue the conversation!
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