Colourful Hair Is the Ultimate Form of Self-Expression for This Astrologer

Photography courtesy of Maryaam Lewis-Herbert

“Spiritually speaking, colours have their own energies and vibrations,” says 25-year-old astrologer Maryaam Lewis-Herbert, a.k.a. Shawtyherbs. “For example, my hair was pink last summer — a time when I needed to embrace more self-love.”

This is Texture Talk, our long-running column that deep dives into the dynamic world of curly hair, from crowns of curls that are free flowing to strands that are tucked away in a protective style.

I’ve always had a fixation on and a love for hair. I can even remember being four years old and drawing stick figures with super-long hair. My parents were always very into beauty and fashion, so I think they were a big influence when it came to me being expressive with my looks. My sister was also a huge contributing factor, especially when it came to my colourful aesthetic. She used to have locs, and I would watch her colour them all sorts of hues. I always thought that that was cool, and as I got older, I wanted to be able to do something similar but in my own unique way.

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My colour choices are very reflective of where I am in my life. Spiritually speaking, colours have their own energies and vibrations. For example, my hair was pink last summer — a time when I needed to embrace more self-love. (Pink is associated with love, inner peace, balance and harmony.) I’ve also rocked brown to be more grounded and blue for more calming and healing energy. As I go through transition periods and phases in life, my hair colours mirror them.

When it comes to my curls, I’m a volume girl; I like to add extensions to my natural hair to accentuate it but mostly to achieve my colours — I’m terrified to dye my own hair, especially any bright shade. Extensions are fun, versatile and safer for the health and longevity of my hair. I love wigs for these same reasons. I’ve learned to make braided wigs — plaiting my own hair isn’t always the most convenient thing for me because I like to switch up my style a lot — and I’m in the process of learning to make lace-front wigs.

With my hair-care routine, I try to be mindful of not over-consuming products; I try to stick to a plan — like deep conditioning once a month and investing in good hydrating oils — and not go overboard with formulas. And I’ll reuse wigs and certain types of extensions until I basically can’t anymore. I think that it’s important to buy quality products that will last, as opposed to constantly purchasing new ones.

A hair-care routine can be such a spiritual thing, too. Like, at night, I wear a really big bonnet — I often laugh at myself when I have it on because it kind of looks like the mushroom hat from Mario — to preserve my curls, but I’ve also noticed that when my hair is covered, I feel protected in a way. I think that comes from my experiences: Rocking really big curls out in public, I’ve had random people touch my hair without asking and ask me questions like “How do you sleep?” or “Is your hair heavy?” For the most part, I understand that those types of encounters are coming from an innocent place, but sometimes, unfortunately, there are situations that feel like microaggressions.

When I was younger, I was very insecure about my looks — I literally thought I was ugly. But once I entered my 20s and did a lot of self-reflecting, healing and growth work, I felt a shift — a transformative perception of myself. It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned to really appreciate my style and my beauty, even if I do have days where I’m like, “Am I too much for people? Too expressive, too flamboyant?” I have to remind myself sometimes that the right people will appreciate me for who I am. I’ve learned to accept myself, and I know that I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

Love to experiment with wigs or extensions? Check out 5 brands bettering the hair-extension game:

The wig and hair-extension market is a multi-billion-dollar global industry. But many are made with landfill-bound strands of plastic (which often have an alkaline coating that can cause skin irritation), while various human-hair versions raise ethical issues surrounding sourcing. Here, discover brands bettering the game with their transparency and practices, like using premium Remy hair (strands cut or shaved straight from willing donors who are compensated in return, plus all the protective hair cuticles are preserved for sleekness and shine) and recyclable alternatives.

This article first appeared in FASHION’s April 2023 issue. Find out more here.

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