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African-Ethnic Hair Styles 101 - Continued

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Cornrows
cornrows braiding        This is a braided style that gained popularity among more than just the Black community in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The style is named for the appearance it creates on head, which reminds you of rows of corn growing in a field. Traditionally, cornrow styles were created so that the braids were positioned parallel to one another, and often, the ends were festooned with beads to add weight and make the portions of the braids that hang from the scalp swing freely.
       These days, however, cornrow styles are created in elaborate patterns – curving lines, spirals, whorls, zigzag, and other geometric designs. The elaboration of the design depends on the skill of the person creating the braids. The safety of the style is determined by whether the hair is pulled too tightly as described above.
 
Dreadlocks
       Dreadlocks are a style created in the hair by encouraging sections of the hair to twist, coil and knit together into ropy lengths. There are literally countless methods of creating dreadlocks – building off of twists, combed coils, and even braids. Dreadlock styles can be formed to make any size “lock” you want. The process of growing dreadlocks can take a relatively long time (2-3 years for fully-formed or “mature” locks) and the various maintenance techniques include everything from palm-rolling to yarn-wrapping.
 
Extensions
       When a person wants to shorten his or her hair she goes to the salon and has it cut. But longer hair takes time to grow, which is why some women opt for hair extensions. Extensions are lengths of natural or artificial hair that are attached to the hair on the head through various means. Some braiding styles involved weaving extra hair into the braids to create longer braids than are possible with the natural hair.
       Some extensions are attached to the hair in wefts using an adhesive binding agent, or metallic rings (that are crimped to secure the extensions) to the existing hair. Still, other methods involve braiding the hair into horizontal “tracks” along the scalp, to which wefts are sewn using a needle and thread. (This is called weaving and in some cases can actually be done without creating a track, sewing the extension weft directly to the natural hair.) This “track and sew” method has been vilified as causing damage and breakage to the hair. However, as described in the “Braids” segment above, as long as the tracks are not braided too tightly, they should present no breakage hazard to the hair.
       Finally, there are extensions that are attached to the hair in small clusters (usually two to three at a time attached to one or two growing hairs) using an adhesive and special tool to create what is known as fusion extensions. This latter technique is the most expensive, but allows for the creation of the most natural-looking results.
 
Finger waves
       In some cases, women and men with shorter hair styles want to create looks with sleek, controlled wave and texture. In these cases, finger wave styles are just the ticket. A finger wave is created using a styling gel or lotion to hold the hair, and a comb and the fingers to shape the hair into the desired pattern of curves and ridges. Once styled into the desired look, the hair is allowed to dry and set, leaving you a long-lasting style.
 
Fade
       A fade refers to a clipper-cut hairstyle that tapers to the skin. In the mid-80’s the “Hi-Top Fade” was popularized by such artists as Kid’n’Play, Will Smith and Bobby Brown. The fade most closely resembles a flat top haircut in which the sides are so closely cropped as to be nearly shaved. The hi-top fade took this style and incorporated longer hair at the top of the head. The length of what qualified as a “hi-top fade” as opposed to simply a “fade” cut was very objective.    Next Page
 
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