The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore Black women's perceptions and beliefs about hair and intimate relationships with men. The existing literature on hair in intimate relationships excludes Black aesthetics and phenotypes, and yet there is significant evidence that Black women evaluate self-esteem, career success, and intelligence based on the texture and length of their hair. Using the Guided Hair Autobiography (Mbilishaka, 2014), fourteen Black women constructed narratives and four themes emerged in a content analysis: (a) male partners providing support during stressful hair experiences, (b) male partners criticizing short hairstyles, (c) Black women transforming the appearance of their hair to ritualize the end of romantic relationships with men, and (d) male partners having limited influence on how Black women groom their hair. Hair is more complex than attracting a partner, but illustrates how Black women think about and behave in intimate relationships. Hair stories may be a means of processing intimate relationships for Black women and utilized by hair care professionals and clinicians for psychological interventions.


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pp. 43-61
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