THE BEAUTY OF THE AFRICAN HAIR
In ancient African civilizations, hair played a significant role in the culture because it symbolized one’s family background, social status, spirituality, tribe, and marital status.
In the 15th century, different tribes used hair to show one’s social hierarchy. It was also a symbol of healthiness and fertility. If a person’s hair was thick, long, and neat, it symbolizes that one was able to bear healthy children.
Black hair is different from all other hair. Most black people have varying degrees of tightly curled strands. This sets it apart from other races with straight, wavy or curly strands. It can come in spirals, coils, loops, zig zags, or other curves. So it tends to grow up rather than down.
The natural black hair refers to that which has not had its texture altered by chemicals. The Black Americans have been tutored to see the European as their picture of beauty and acceptability so straightening the hair with chemicals or a hot comb was the only way to accomplish this.
Black hair is actually very difficult to maintain because of its texture. For those with hair that are very curly, or kinky, it’s harder for oil to travel through the loops, unlike straight or wavy hair, where natural oils produced by the body travels down the shaft easily. It’s easier for non-Blacks to wash their hair a lot to avoid excess oil but if the black woman tries to do the same, it would be dry, look unkempt, and unhealthy.
TIPS TO KEEP BLACK HAIR HEALTHY
To keep black hair healthy, dermatologists recommend the following:
- Wash your hair once a week or every other week to prevent build-up of hair care products.
- Use conditioner every time to wash your hair.
- Use a hot oil treatment twice a month to add additional moisture and elasticity to the hair.
- Use a head protecting product before styling to minimize heat damage.
- Use caution with relaxers. Always go to a professional hair stylist to ensure that the relaxer is applied safely.
- Use ceramic combs or irons to press hair and only do so once a week.
- Make sure braids, cornrows or weaves are not too tight. If it’s painful, your hair is being damaged.
Aside styling the hair, Africans have another major way to make the head beautiful and elegant in occasions, with little or no stress. That is the use of head wraps, which come in variety of materials, colors, and shapes to blend with outfits.