A young, black woman, Violet has a seemingly perfect life: she is successful in her job as an advertising executive, has been with her boyfriend Clint a doctor, for two years, and has perfect long straight hair, despite the effort it takes to maintain.
Violet shares a close relationship with her mother, Pauletta who has always attempted to keep Violet the vision of perfection. She and Violet’s father recently became estranged after he quit his job to pursue modeling.
Violet expects Clint to propose on her birthday, and after getting sprayed by the neighbor’s hose, visits a salon to attempt to get her hair fixed. The salon girl makes a mistake, however, and gives her relaxer instead of conditioner, causing her hair to begin to fall out. Violet causes a scene, insulting the salon owner’s daughter’s afro since she was partly responsible for the incident, and then gets a weave to cover her head.
Violet is sorrowfully disappointed when Clint doesn’t propose and instead gifts her a dog. She confronts him, only leading to a break up, with him telling her that he feels as if he doesn’t know her since she is always trying to be perfect. Violet tries out blonde hair, has a disastrous night out with her friends, and goes to visit Clint, only to find him with a new woman. She is devastated and shaves her head.
Initially horrified with what she has done, Violet cries in the bathroom at work. A woman in the bathroom suggests she come to her support group. Violet attends the group only to discover it is a cancer support group. Violet apologizes, but the group leader gives her words of support. She grows confidence in her new look. She begins dating the owner of the hair salon Will, and be friends with her young daughter, Zoe. The two quickly grow close, and he attends her mother’s Fourth of July party, only to be disrespected by Pauletta, who makes condescending comments about Will and his career choice. Will breaks up with her following this and tells Violet to “get herself sorted.” After Violet loses a pitch for an ad campaign using real women to a male colleague’s standard idea using blonde models, she quits her job.
When returning to get some of his stuff from the house, Clint apologizes for ever making Violet feel like there was something wrong with her and proudly claims he wishes he had fought for her, and the two reconcile. He proposes the next morning, and the pair plan to marry in three months. During this time, Violet maintains a close relationship with Zoe and invites her to the engagement party, which she is particularly nervous about because she will be meeting Clint’s parents.
Before the party, Clint asks Violet if she can change her hair for the evening as “he needs everything to be perfect,” something that clearly upsets her, but she agrees. At the engagement party, Clint’s parents are cold, and Pauletta is disturbed that Will’s daughter is present. Violet goes inside to escape and is found by Clint and her parents where she reflects on how she wishes that she had the courage to not care about what other people thought of her. She confronts her mother for not defending her or encouraging her to be herself when she was a child. Reflecting on childhood memories of being prohibited to swim because of her mother’s fear it would expose the true nature of her hair, she jumps in the pool in an act of self-acceptance. She is joined by Zoe, other party guests, and her parents, who reconcile their relationship. Violet looks back to Clint who does not join her in the pool; she then turns and swims away.
Violet and Will are in a meeting with a company; Violet is pitching a campaign for Will’s hair care products that seek to encourage women to see their natural hair as beautiful. Afterwards, Will says he is still salty at Violet so it feels like he is using her. She replies she is using him too. Together they will change the world ‘one head at a time’.
The movie ends with Violet walking confidently alone in the garden.
Source : Wikipedia