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Hairstyles for African Male Hair

Q: I am a 16 year old black male who has typical African hair. I was wondering if there are any other styles aside from the classic barber shop fade, taper etc. because for the first time in my life, my mother is giving me permission to do whatever I want with it. Are there any concerns that I should be aware of if I say, relax my hair or anything of that nature?
 
A: Well, congratulations on the permission to “do as you will”. I know from my own experience that the first time you are allowed to make your own hair decisions is a pretty big deal in a young man’s life.
 
      As for what options you have as a black male, my recommendation is to look through magazines and websites to help you find the hairstyles you like. Collect these images and take them to your local salon and discuss with them what will be necessary to create those looks for you. A picture really is worth a thousand words when it comes to hairstyles.
 
      As for special warnings, etc., in caring for your hair with different processes, I can offer the following: Choose a hairstylist that is experienced and who makes you feel comfortable in their abilities. If you look into braided styles, be sure the technician doesn’t braid your hair too tightly, or you risk hair loss and breakage due to tension. And if you opt for a relaxer service, remember that the chemicals will leave your hair more porous than before and will need extra (daily) conditioning and protection when styling it.
 
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