On Monday, the “Pretty Little Liars” star uploaded a photo from a recent shoot on Twitter, adding,"My baby hairs came to good use."
"The time my baby hairs came to good use at a shoot," Hale wrote, posting an image that showed the actress wearing her hair with a middle part and her bangs gelled down on each side of her face.
Her followers quickly found issue with the (now-deleted) photo and caption.
"Baby hairs" are fine, wispy hairs that frame the face; Hale's hairstyle, on the other hand, simply featured slicked down bangs.
Her followers pointed out that Hale calling her bangs "baby hairs" is a problem for cultural reasons.
For many Black and Latina women, "baby hairs" are often shorter and a different texture than the rest of the hair, so they require special styling. Often women will comb down their baby hairs and hold the smoothed pieces in place with pomade.
There are numerous practical reasons for slicking back these short hairs (which a person with textured hair can't control). But rather than hide them, Black and Latina women started elaborately styling their baby hairs and incorporating them into specific designs.
Angry fans urged Hale to check herself.
Several of Hale's followers didn't understand the backlash against her.
But Hale acknowledged the fact that she made a mistake and swiftly apologized.
"Sorry, guys," she wrote on Twitter. "I would never mean to offend anyone. Honestly, my bad. I wasn't thinking."
Fans were generally receptive toward Hale's apology.
However, her followers still found it disheartening to see celebrities continue to push cultural boundaries.
Does cultural appropriation have a complex definition? Yes. But is it difficult to avoid? With a little education, not at all.