'I Was Bald as a Rat': Reality Stars Tamar Braxton and Kandi Burruss Talk Hair and Hollywood Beauty Standards

Tamar Braxton attends the PrettyLittleThing x Karl Kani event at Nightingale Plaza on May 22, 2018, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Tamar Braxton attends the PrettyLittleThing x Karl Kani event at Nightingale Plaza on May 22, 2018, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Photo: David Livingston (Getty Images)

We all know how much Tamar Braxton knows her way around a wig; she even launched her own line of wigs and weaves in 2014. But the singer, reality star and new co-host of VH1’s “To Catch a Beautician” recently revealed a little more about her tumultuous hair history in conversation with Page Six Style, recalling an early and especially hair-raising experience (sorry, we had to) at the hands of older sister Traci.

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“I remember one time [with] my sister Traci … there was a perm kit called New Era. It was three steps: the application, the neutralizer and the conditioning part,” said Braxton. “Well, Traci left out the neutralizing part. She forgot to put the neutralizer in my hair and I was bald as a rat.”

“I was like 13 or 14 at the time and my hair hasn’t been the same ever since, to be honest,” Braxton continued. “I feel like once you go through a chemical process like that, your hair never goes back to the way it was.”

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As Page Six notes, Braxton’s 2018 “big chop”—in her case. voluntarily going bald this time around—drew headlines. And as she revealed, some of the biggest response came from her famous clan and inner circle.

“My family did get on me,” she told the outlet. “It was a natural reaction with my sisters and girlfriends. They were like, ‘Girl, what you are you going through? Are you all right? Do I need to come see you? Do you need some help? When was the last time you ate?’ I got all of that.”

Coco Chanel famously quipped that “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life” (h/t Harper’s Bazaar). Braxton echoes that sentiment, telling Page Six:

“When someone cuts their hair, it is not always [because of] a negative mental issue...Sometimes you’ve got to build yourself up to get ready to fight the world. I used to feel pressured to look a certain way in Hollywood, but I don’t anymore. I think you can rely on your talent and work ethic to speak for yourself; that’s what I do now.”

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Braxton’s not the only reality star rejecting traditional Hollywood standards of black beauty in consideration of a drastically different look; singer-songwriter and Real Housewife of Atlanta Kandi Burruss also dished with Page Six about possibly relinquishing her wig and weave habit after being inspired by eldest daughter Riley’s recent chop.

“My daughter Riley just cut all her hair off,” Burruss told Page Six Style of her 17-year-old, below. “I feel like it’s always cool when a woman can embrace her natural hair and really feel good about it. I want to do the same thing.”

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Burruss also admits that removing her micro links during quarantine was “a mess,” saying: “[S]ome of us don’t know how to take care of our hair and some of our hair is so damaged because we wear weaves so much...I know for me, the back of my hair is long but the top of my hair is short...So I don’t feel like I can just do a regular cute hairdo with no pieces in it because there’s so much breakage at the top.”

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The admission may have some wondering if Burruss’ latest look on social media is a glimpse of her natural hair. Alas, we have no conclusive answer, except to say, it’s a good look.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, an avid eyeshadow enthusiast and always her own muse. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.

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DISCUSSION

I support any woman who chooses to leave the wig/weave life alone, even if it’s temporary. I rain down compliments on hair follicles growing out of a woman’s scalp.