Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

African-Ethnic Hair Styles 101 (3)

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       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.
Jheri Curl
       Those black men and women who want a curly hairstyle, but not the tight, kinky coils that are commonly found among those of African descent, sometimes opt for a soft-curl perm. This perming process became known as the Jheri curl, named after its creator, stylist and hair product mogul, Jheri Redding. The style was created in a two-stage process of relaxing the hair and wrapping it on perm rods and creating larger curls. The permed hair is treated daily with an activator. The style lost popularity with most people because of the expense of maintenance, and the staining effect of the activator product that had to be constantly applied.
       Natural hair among those of African descent refers to any hairstyle or styling technique that uses the hair as it grows from the scalp, without any chemical processing to change the hair's texture or wave pattern. There has been a strong refocus among black women especially in recent years to stop using the harsh chemicals on their hair and “go natural”. Their aim seems to be to emphasize the beauty of natural black hair, whether it’s worn in an afro, twist, braid or other non-chemically-treated style.
       In an effort to make the hair smoother and easier to style in different ways, some black women and men choose to “relax” their hair. This process involves the use of chemicals that break the chemical side bonds of the hair (the disulfide bonds) allowing the hair to hang straighter and lay smoother. In most cases, once the hair has been relaxed, it is styled using another styling method (roller set, curling iron, hot rollers, etc.) to create a finished look as desired.
       This is a styling technique that is sometimes used to begin dreadlocks. The finished look for a “twist” style depends on the length of the hair and the amount of hair used in each twist. The finished look also depends on whether the hair is sectioned with a comb, or simply separated using the fingers. Using the fingers to section the hair creates a fuller look. Sectioning with a comb creates cleanly defined sections and can be used to make patterned sections in the scalp. The twists can be wound as tightly as desired, and are generally plied with styling creams or gel to secure the look. In some cases, the section is divided into two equal parts and the two halves are twisted around one another to create a more textured twist.
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