The song's original version with only India.Arie singing featured acoustic guitar and prominent bass over a midtempo drum track. This version was released digitally on November 15, 2005 through channels such as iTunes, Rhapsody, and Amazon.com. "I Am Not My Hair" was the most successful release from Testimony: Vol. 1. It was the only single to break the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at #97 and the UK Singles Chart at #65.
In December 2005, a remix by and featuring singer/producer Akon was released to radio and retail. The song's music video, directed by Barnaby Roper, used this remix. Upon the release of Testimony, only Akon's remix was included in the track listing. The original version was relegated to only the single release. India.Arie wrote the song along with Andrew Ramsey and Shannon Sanders. Akon's writing credit was later added with the release of the remix.
On The Oprah Winfrey Show, Arie stated that her record label insisted that Akon be added to the single to make the song more mainstream. The original did not peak anywhere. She said that she didn't want Akon to be featured in the song, not mentioning his name.
Arie states that the original version of "I Am Not My Hair" was a duet with rocker P!nk. This version was later released via iTunes in conjunction with the Lifetime original movie Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy. This version is also featured on Arie's original MySpace profile. The song is also available as an MP3 on Amazon.com (this listing does not include P!nk's name).