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Evolution of Black Hair

Evolution of Black Hair

Over the years, we have seen a variety of trends. Looking back at fashion for example, there have been some major changes and hairstyles are no exception! New looks are constantly appearing and capturing our attention. Let’s have some fun and take a look back through some of iconic African American hairstyles!

Early 1900’s – During the first half of the 1900’s there were significant changes that took place in the styling of our hair. This era started out with straight, sophisticated styles that were conservative and refined. However, within a 10-year time frame, there was a huge shift to more trendy styles, including waves such as finger waves and deep waves. One of the most popular styles introduced in 1920 was the Marcel Wave. This wave introduced the use of heated curling irons. Although this style became popular in 1920, it was actually invented in 1872 by a French hairdresser, Francois Marcel - thus the name of the Marcel Wave!

Late 1900’s – During the last half of the 1900’s we went from one extreme to the other!  For example, the 1970’s was a time where the shift went to a more natural look, where African American women (and men) took advantage of the natural beauty of our own hair – the full natural curly look, dubbed “the afro” took on a style of its own. During this time, the Civil Rights movement began, and the natural look was more than just a hair style – it represented an entire movement. Then, all of a sudden, the desire for straight hair hit and in order to tame those natural locks, the use of flat irons and hair relaxers were introduced in order to get a more slicked down look.

Enter the 2000’s – During this time, we saw the introduction of hair extensions and more dramatic manipulation of our hair. Braids and weaves came into play that allowed us to use our imagination. Box braids, crochet braids, Fulani braids and micro braids were very popular. Extensions and weaves allowed us to change our look by adding length and fullness to match our mood of the day. 

We truly have seen a full range of styles that have given us flexibility to express our individuality. That individuality is what makes us – us! Who knows what the future will bring with regard to our beautiful black hair!  Whatever it is, I know it will be a continued opportunity for us to be creative and uniquely us!