Hair As Identity Menu


Coolishness and Fakery: The Joys of Fake-a-licious by Petra E. Lewis

Remember that old mantra: “If you can’t grow it, then you can sew it”? I was always of the other camp: Why sew it when you can grow it? Trust me: Unless there’s a serious medical condition involved, everyone can grow it—with the right care. Yeah, I guess I’ve already outed myself: I have never been a fan of fake hair.

Fake hair for me was always a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency measure. In the decades it took me to actually understand my über-complex hair, let’s just say there were a number of mishaps: some that ended in tears. (Sound of glass breaking.) That’s when I would reach for extensions, or during some particularly tragic episodes, even a wig.

Mind you, my own hair is so thick, when I used to mildly relax my hair, and (wet with water and product, in the process of drying) it hung down past mid-back, I’d get that old shady side eye from folks on the street and the train that I used to translate as: Yeah (suck teeth) you know that mess is a weave. Nah, sweetie, it was actually my hair. I guess that’s part of the reason why I had such an aversion to fake hair—inside I was chanting: I can grow it, I can grow it—SEE!!!

I’ve never had a weave in my life. But I recently submitted to a delightful life of fake-a-licious-ness, not out of any tragedy or emergency, but willingly. Why? Because right now time is the most precious commodity I have—at moments, even more precious than money. I’m a writer, entrepreneur, and knowledge worker—and the more time I have to simply sit down and think (then strategize and/or execute) the better.

Currently I take care of my own hair—having been stylist-free for a number of years. But when I do need to return to salon-level expertise, I return to my old stylist, owner of Y·O·U Hair Wellness & Lifestyle Spa in Jamaica, Queens, Liana Robinson*—with whom I’m still good friends.

Right now the first novel in my trilogy is about to go live in March; I’m expanding the offerings of my ghostwriting business (BookStar Business Ghostwriting + Development); I’d been doing my due diligence, and am about to launch another (long-term) entrepreneurial venture I attended the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac NewVenture training program for—and recently was inducted into their very selective coaching program; I need to finally get my professional website together—and expand my social media footprint, which takes werk; and I’m also actively seeking, and beginning to get, speaking gigs and other opportunities related to my book.

Yeah, I’m laying the foundation for that kind of life. The kind of life where having income from multiple revenue streams—instead of one job—can either make you look unfocused—or it can make you look like Jay-Z.

For 2014, the theme at my church, Christian Cultural Center (CCC) in Brooklyn is: focus. And so I am. Although I tend to wear my hair up most times anyway (which means it’s not that time consuming), I called up Liana and told her that I wanted to put the back portion of my hair into synthetic twists. I’d had that style once before. The hair she gets is so similar to my own hair, it’s kind of scary.

She completed the style on February 11th—and I love it! All I do once a week is use a spray moisturizer called Quench and saturate the twists and my own hair, use cinagrOrganic’s Scalp & Hair Health Vitalizer on my scalp for growth, use a different product on the long “kitchen” hair at the nape of my neck and gather and twirl it into one twist, which I then sweep up with the rest of the twists in a no-snag elastic, then elegantly pin my bun into place. Done! All I focus on is the front of my hair, which I also tend to only do once a week, since I usually sweep it up into a Samurai-style topknot, then only wet and refresh the edges at the front of my hair every three days or so.

My one worry with this style stemmed from my book tour. My curls are as much my signature as my writing, and I wanted new fans to see the whole me—the real me. Instead I compromised on a style that allows me to have no-brainer convenience (synthetic twists in the back) and my own free-range hair in the front that I can either wear in a top-knot, or a punky cascade of curls for book appearances.

I am loving this style—and shamelessly celebrating the Joys of Fake-a-licious! Or at least reveling in it for the next 3 – 4 months.

*If you’d like to learn more about Liana Robinson and her Y·O·U Hair Wellness & Lifestyle Spa, visit:

Petra E. Lewis is a writer, author, entrepreneur, Tastemaker, and Synergist who lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The first novel in her trilogy, The Sons and Daughters of Ham, Book I: A Requiem debuts February 2014, : : @tastemistressp : :

  • Dara A.

    Nice Petra! I always loved your thick locs. 😉

  • Petra

    Too sweet. Thanks, Dara!

  • Tina

    Hi Petra! Once again you’ve outdone yourself! I so love working with you!

  • Petra

    Thanks–and I’m enjoying this guest blogger gig! And, Tina, thank you for the privilege of working with you!

  • Malla Haridat (@MallaHaridat)

    And this is the one of the best parts of being a woman in 2014 – options. It looks fab! Keep rocking it and invest every last additional minute in your business and enjoying life!

  • Petra

    Thanks, Malla! About to do the old weekly moisture down and pin up right now–before heading out. Have a fab weekend! #fakehairdontcare LOL

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