African American hairstyles give life and volume to your hair. When you have curly hair, you need not worry about the dull look of flat hair and you can try different hairstyles to complement any look you want. African American women have the advantage of working with and enjoying styling their mane to create all kinds of trendy, modern-looking hairstyles. Since curly hair is versatile, it takes the form you want it to take if you have the right techniques, the right products, and an abundance of great ideas!
The Evolution of African American Hairstyles
The history of ancient Egypt marks the rise of African American hairstyles. Egyptian kings (or Pharaohs), sported a braid headdress, and the royal mummies archaeologists have unearthed also have the same hairstyle. Thanks to sculptures left in tombs of kings, today we have the certainty of knowing men and women of ancient Egypt wore their hair in braids. Known for their coquetry, Egyptian women used gold threads to enhance the beauty of their braided hair.
Archaeological discoveries also include many Afro Egyptian combs people used to style frizzy hair. This discovery provides more information about the texture of Egyptian people’s hair, as do scenes of hair-braiding that anyone can see on the walls of Egyptian temples. Braided hairstyles then spread from their beginning in the Nile Valley.
The Nubians, Egyptians, and the ancient Hebrews adopted the dreadlocks hairstyle, while part of the black population preferred to shave their heads, including Egyptian priests and women of Masai origin. Many adopted other “Afro” hairstyles, and some preferred “faded” haircuts reminiscent of Ramses’s helmet.
Expansion Throughout Africa
Many of these hairstyles have endured through the ages, spreading throughout Western and Central Africa. Worn by a considerable number of Africans, it is only during the second half of the 20th century that people in other geographical areas discovered and adopted traditional and ancestral African hairstyles, even people whose natural hair does not require the same care and styling.
The 70s: Embracing Natural Hair
The 1950s and 1960s marked the end of widespread “hair straightening” in the African American community. Like a banner of Black Power, and the rise of black pride, natural hair became part of the “Black is beautiful” movement. In the 1950s, the Civil Rights Movement took off in the United States under the influence of a young pastor named Martin Luther King, Jr. The movement was pacifist and intended to protest mistreatment of blacks, mainly in the southern states of the United States.The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965 marked the end of pacifism and the beginning of a radicalization of the movement. It is in this context that the Afro hairstyle stood out as a symbol of the fight for the affirmation of black identity and black beauty. The journey of one of the movement’s most charismatic and best-known leaders, Malcolm X, also represents this change.
African Hairdressing in Today’s World
It is not uncommon today to meet a braided man, or a woman proudly wearing dreadlocks, regardless of hair type. In developed countries, it was at the end of the 1960s that a phenomenon of fashion related to African American hairstyles arose. Proud of their African roots, African American activists launched the slogan “Black is beautiful” during a time when more African Americans straightened their hair.It was mostly through black American militant celebrities that things transformed. Two highly publicized people at the time spearheaded “Afro” hairstyles: black activist Angela Davis, with her “Afro” hairstyle, and singer Bob Marley, an emblematic figure of the Rasta Movement, with his famous dreadlocks.Further development of traditional African American hairstyles in the United States has led to it becoming more common to see African Americans embracing the beauty of their natural hair.
African Americans, today, have a multitude of products at their disposal to provide care and nourishment for their curls. We love products that have multi-functions, and those that are easy to use, products you can apply to dry or wet hair, before or after shampooing. Ultra-concentrated in active ingredients, hair serums are ideal and you can apply them throughout the day to restore shine to long hair, and also at night, as a mask, to repair troubled hair.To be sure to find the perfect product to soften and loosen your curls, look at formulas and ingredients. Want repair and shine? Bet on masks and balms enriched with vegetable oils and butters (coconut, argan, shea butter, papaya, banana, olive, mango, etc.). To boost the intensity of your care, apply them before shampooing on dry hair.
Having the right tools to style your hair is essential. The right tools enable you to take care of and to keep your hair in the best condition, with a lot more ease and pleasure. Some of my favorite accessories are:
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The Silk Cap
This tool helps to keep hair smooth, free of curly knots, and it preserves hair moisture at night. It prevents the pillow from absorbing moisturizing products.
I use a wide-tooth comb daily (depending on my hairstyle), as needed, and also to untangle my hair during shampoo or after shampooing.
Tangle Teezer Brush
This brush is a marvel. It untangles my hair gently, without harming or breaking it. It has several fine, flexible pins of different sizes to help de-tangle knots and tight curls.
10 Popular African American Hairstyles
1. The Afro
A frizzy hairstyle, very dense and rounded, the “Afro” is best styled using an Afro comb. The “Fro,” is historically and sociologically related to African Americans of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Wearing this hairdo, during these years, had a political and cultural symbolism related to the struggle for civil rights, the cultural affirmation of descendants of Africans, and the ‘Black is Beautiful’ movement.
2. Afro puff
Another style women wore in the 1960s and 1970s, you can achieve this ultra simple hairstyle in a few minutes. Just part hair in the middle, pull together and secure each of two sections. Finally, “puff” up your natural hair.
3. Feed-in High Ponytail
This hairstyle might seem difficult when creating it for the first time, but well mastered, this technique allows you to make real works of art. You simply tie-up your braided locks to make a ponytail, high on the head.
Easier to create, you make using two sections of hair, not three, like the classic braid. Twisting two sections over and over creates the “twist” hairstyle.
5. The Twist Out
This is the easiest way to create curls. Just braid or twists hair, let it stay for several hours to set, and then undo to enjoy natural curls.
6. The Wash and Go/ No Fuss Hair Coils
With this technique you leave your hair in the wind just after a shampoo. A little cream to moisturize and you’re good to go!
7. Boxing Braids
Ideal for taming frizzy hair, thick, long, “boxy” braids are both feminine and practical. They are perfect if you want your hair to appear longer.
8. Locks, Dreadlocks, Rastas or Dreads
Inspired by the Rasta community, dreadlocks are today worn by women regardless of their origin.
9. The Bantous Knots/ Swirls and braids
This is a hairdressing technique that comprises twisting and wrapping the hair and then pinning it against the scalp to make small coiled buns. This is a cute hairstyle used by African women of a certain decent, but it is looks good on women with all hair types.
10. The Turban / Scarf
A useful accessory, the scarf can be a style when you need a simple and fast hairstyles. It provides a traditional or tribal look, and you can wear this look with modern chic clothes or traditional African clothing.
African American hairstyles are a lesson in American style and black history. These hairstyles provided affirmation of black identity in the 60s and 70s and became popular when worn by African American celebrities and fashion models. More than just a fad, the return of African American hairstyles and, more broadly, natural hair, symbolizes the rebirth of black pride.The history of African American hairstyles sheds light on the place of the black man in American society, on African culture torn down by slavery, and on the difficult assertion of self in America, where hairstyles worn by whites are predominant. African American hairstyles have existed centuries and made their way through the world. These hairstyles, adopted by many civilizations from ancient Egyptians to African tribes, were reborn in America in the 1970s. The rebirth gave young African Americans around the nation the opportunity to embrace their natural hair.From braided hair and dreadlocks to afro style, there are many African American hairstyles to choose from when styling your hair. Whether it is to go to work or for a chic evening in or out, you can choose one of our ten African American hairstyles, or wear a colorful scarf, for a tribal, modern, trendy look.