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The Evolution and Popularity of Natural Hair

natural hair, natural hairstyles, hair

The Life of Natural Hair

Natural Hair is a big deal. That phrase alone can be a topic of great debate. Despite its opposition by some, natural hair is a source of pride, acceptance, self-love and boundless creativity. The natural hair movement, although not necessarily a new concept, has gained a lot of traction and even debate in the hair care industry over the last ten years. As we have begun to embrace and love every inch of who we are, including our hair, the number of products, companies and forums that are dedicated to natural hair has increased.
Our creativity and flair is innate, especially when it comes to caring for and styling our hair. Just take a look at the many social media outlets on platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube where natural hair influencers show us the latest in styles and products. There are also countless coffee table books as well as magazines that celebrate the culture of natural hair styles in all of it’s glory.
Continue reading to explore three categories of natural black hair styles that encompass many variations that have become mainstream in the hair and beauty industry.

Afros

An Afro isn’t just an Afro anymore. Back in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, this natural hairstyle became a look was a political statement that flew in the face of what it meant to be beautiful and acceptable. Closely resembling a halo, it was worn in various sizes and redefine beauty for ourselves. Some of our favorite stars like Thelma from “Good Times” wore it and seeing it on our TVs made us feel good. Today, Afros are highly stylized in cut and color. Many people, both men and women, opt for fades, close cropped ceasars, and the high top is making a resurgence from the ’90s. Texturized Afros give layers and definition to the hair.  Twist outs and braid outs help to create a more defined curl pattern. Many natural hair products on the market help create a more modernized Afro.

Braids

Another way to show off natural hair creativity is with braids. Braids date back to early African civilizations. It was one of the many intricate styles worn to signify things such as tribe, one’s availability for a mate, age group, religion and community. Throughout the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, cornrows were seen on women (and men) like Cicely Tyson, Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo and Allen Iverson. Who could forget those Saturdays sitting on your mother’s lap on the front porch getting your hair cornrowed with beads, like Serena and Venus Williams?  Today, braids have become even more elaborate and intricate. Box braids/single braids and cornrows are still very popular as are Marley twists, Ghana braids, crochet braids, yarn braids and Senegalese twists. If you don’t have long hair or want to experiment with longer braided styles, one can always get extensions.

Locs

Dating back to the rich Rastafarian culture and even further back to Indian culture/tradition, the spiritual thought behind dreadlocks was that locked or knotted hair kept energy from escaping from the top of one’s head. Today, while locs may be a spiritual concept for many, they have also become a fashion statement. Stars like Bob Marley, Whoopie Goldberg, Lenny Kravitz, The Weeknd, and Ava Duvernay have made locks more visible and mainstream.

Locs look beautiful worn straight down. Both women and men can be seen wearing their hair in intricate patterned styles/updos to express their individuality, personal style and creativity. There are many types of locs to choose from depending on lifestyle, length and texture of hair. But locs require  dedication to growing and maintaining locs. Traditional locs take time and patience to grow. It’s formed by palm rolling.  If you want a jump-start on longer locks, there are sister locs/faux locs that are created with a special tool by a certified technician.  There are also free form locs which are just that—allowed to form and grow as they are with minimal to no manipulation.
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