By Abiola Abrams – author of “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love,” a Love-Body-Spirit (TM) Self-Esteem Coach and relationship advice columnist known on media from MTV to the BBC.

Over the past few years, the natural hair movement among black women has exploded in a way not seen since the 70s. Women of African descent are embracing their unique hair texture in all forms from curly and “coily,” to kinky and wavy; from Afrocentric braids to bold locs with no dread. Black women are proudly flaunting their natural hair in the name of self-love. This movement is not without controversy as new afros enter living rooms and boardrooms around the world. Black women’s hair has always been big business and some women are opting to continue to wear hair straightening relaxers, experiment with hair colour, and flaunt weaves and extensions.

It is a woman’s right to choose to do whatever she wishes with her beloved tresses. Lately, however, the topic of hair care has entered the conversation around relationships. In my travels as a love columnist and self-esteem coach, I hear a common refrain. Women with natural hair are complaining that men are not attracted to their afro-textured coifs, and women with synthetic weaves and chemically straightened hair are complaining that men are repelled by the artifice.

It has become a recurring story, “Dear Abiola, I feel like my hair is keeping me single, but I love the way I look. Should I change my hair?”

So, let’s investigate, can your hair texture keep you single? Incidentally, I hear similar issues around skin colour with darker women saying that the men prefer lighter women and vice versa.

These are taboo topics, but let’s be brave enough to talk about them. As Sufi poet Rumi said, our task is not merely to seek love, but to remove all of the barriers we have to love.

Do men care about hair?

Sure, and so do we. In matters of attraction, human beings do have preferences about everything from height to hair. Good hair is hair that is clean and healthy. We cannot reduce anyone’s character, male or female, down to their hair. For every man who loves long hair, there’s a man smitten by with short hair. For every woman who adores hairy men, there’s a woman who goes weak in the knees for a dignified bald gentleman.

Should you change your hair for dating?

You are a majestic woman, worthy and deserving of loving and being loved. Anyone who disagrees does not deserve to be in your life. If you have all of the qualities that someone is seeking in a life partner and they would reject you simply because of your hair choices, then this is not someone who would be able to love you wholly and completely for the long run anyway. You also do not wait to “bait and switch” anyone, attracting them with a popular or more accepted look and then revealing your preference for something different.

What if a date rejects me because of my hair?

If a date hates your hair, your job is not to convince them about why your hair choices are positive or why you deserve to be loved. If they are not interested in you because of your hair, move on. Thankfully, there are thousands of other prospective loves right here on who can’t wait to meet you. Someone is waiting who will embrace you and your hair in all of its loveliness.

So what should I do now?

Become clear with yourself about the love you deserve. The mind-set we have when we approach dating becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that no one likes you because of the way you look, you will create situations that prove that you’re right!

Instead of doubting your looks, wear your hair the way that makes you feel most like your most beautiful self. Follow your heart not the trends. Hold your head high and step toward the love that is surely waiting for you. I see you joy-filled and in love.

Happy Dating!