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African American Hair

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Different Type of African American Hair

The African-American community is very diverse. Their concerns must be addressed directly so we can develop a proper hair care system for their needs.

Here are the details of different types of African-American hair

The Afro-Textured Hair

These type of hair are a lot denser compared to other textures. For example straight/wavy/curly hair that we normally see. This formation of hair is entirely natural and can also be found on those form Asian/Oceania/Native African origin. The hair strands grow in a tight curl shape. They resemble DNA helix or spring shape.

Some scientists believe that the afro-textured shape came into existence because of the damage to hair caused by UV lights. And in order to protect the head, nature of hair changed shaped to form a dome-like protection. While we are not sure whether this is the case, the hairstyle has become increasingly popular in the USA. There are many hair salons and stylists who specialize in the styling, grooming, and cutting of afro-textured style hair.

The Afro Style

The afro is a popular hairstyle carried by many African-American men and women all across the US. It gained popularity during the “Black Power” movements in the 19th century. This was also to symbolize their distinct prominence as American citizens who deserved equal rights.

The appearance of this hairstyle is spherical and dome-shaped. There are other categories of this hairstyle like braids, the puff and tight pigtails for women and young girls.

The Caesar Haircut

This is an ongoing popular hairstyle for many African-Americans. This style involves straight cut bangs that are short and horizontal. The hair are cut in layers of about 3-5cm in length.

And of course, as the name goes, the hairstyle was inspired by Julius Caesar, a Roman general who used to have this look. This style was also very popular among the Arabs. But lately, it is still trendy amongst African-American people.

The Hi-Top Fade

This is a very popular hairstyle for young African-American males. This is where the hair on the top are kept longer. And the side hair are either cut short or shaved/trimmed completely.

It is referred to as “punk” style from the Golden age of Hip Hop in the 80s and 90s. There are a lot of variations to this style, but one distinct feature is the deeply trimmed/shaved sides.


There was a time when this trend faded, but it resurfaced. Mostly because it was sported by NBA starts and the first African-American president Barack Obama.

The Wave

This was a popular style for both African-American men and women during the 21st century. The style was simple, those who had curly hair brushed through to flatten the hair. Thus creating a ripple or wave pattern.

But in order to make a proper wave pattern, the hair had to be trimmed and combed properly. This would eventually lead to a change in texture and make the pressed hair look smoother.

To keep the hair in place, there are special mattes and hair creams. To have the effects for a longer time, some people tied their hair down with a cloth while they slept. Frequent repetition of this practice leads to a change in the hair texture.

This hairstyle is popular among men and women alike. Over time there were new discoveries on how to keep hair down and smooth out the rough edges to create a neat and clean look.

The Twist

Hair twists were also very popular in both men and women. There were two types, the mini twist, and flat twist. To make this style, hair were separated into patches and that hair were then twisted upward. To make the curls look bigger, twisted hair were further twisted with other hair to make dual strands.

These twists are easier to make after a person has washed his/her head. The wet hair is a style in an above-mentioned way and left to set. Once the hair dry, the twists become erect (if short) and set in place.

There is no hard and fast rule that twisted hair have to be short. They can be twirled at the bottom and left long on the top.


When we read or hear this word, we recall the iconic musician Bob Marley who always seem to have had kept long dreadlocks. Sometimes he would tie them back in a bun or make a ponytail. The provision depends on how flexible and long the hair are. The long strands are made by either matting or braiding the strands.

What some people don't know is that this style was very popular among Hindu priests about 2000 years ago. The devote worshipers of the Hindu god of destruction Shiva still keep dreadlocks to resemble the hairstyle of their deity. Apart from this, having dreadlocks was also known to be a sign of piety.

Today many different cultures have adopted the dreadlocks hairstyle. This includes Tibetan monks, Australian Aboriginals and Native Africans.

African Americans with straight hair who want dreadlocks can get them by using dread perming. Artificial dreadlocks can also be bought by those who want faux dreads that are easy to remove. For example, a customer can buy dreads. One dread is tied to another with either a string lace or elastic.

Another popular form of faux dreads are the extensions. Where artificial hair is attached to the person’s real hair to make their existing dreadlocks more pleasing. Or to make their hair look longer.

Distinguishing Hair Texture

As an African-American, you are probably wondering what type of hair do you have. To make things easier, we have created a nomenclature that will help you identify your hair type. This will tell you what category you belong to.

1A, 1B, 1C

1A are fine straight hair. These are easy to manage because they are soft, smooth and shiny. But styling them is tricky because of the smoothness and how quickly they go back to being straight.

1B are medium straight hair. They appear fuller and have more volume. And whichever side of the hair you pick, you will get a lot of hair.

1C type are “bone straight”, meaning these hair are straight, coarse and very difficult to curl.

2A, 2B, 2C

2A is hair that are fine and wavy. The hair volume is denser so they just stick to the head in aS shape wave. 2A is versatile and can be styled differently.

2B is medium level wavy hair. The hair are frizzy and resistant to styling and most hair products.

2C is coarse and wavy hair. These make thicker weaves compared to 2B because of their high frizzing and resistance to styling.

3A, 3B, 3C

3A are loosely curled hair. They are slightly frizzy but still manageable enough for styling. These type of hair are thick, full, have more volume and sit in an S pattern.

3B hair has tight curls. They have a wavy-straight texture but taming the tight curls can be challenging.


3C hair has high-density volume and is very curly in nature. The braids are closely packed together and it is nearly impossible to get them to stay in a style. That is if you manage to get them straight enough for it.

4A, 4B, 4C

4A hair type are soft but curly. The hair is tightly coiled and sit in a wavy pattern.

4B is hair that are wiry in nature. Like pattern 4A, hair is tightly coiled with a curly pattern. The hair also appears to be Z shaped.

4C hair is wavy and wiry. What makes this texture unique is that there is no defined pattern of hair. But the hair is tightly coiled and look like Z shaped strands. Styling them is difficult for those who like to keep long hair. But shorter ones can be trimmed, combed and managed more easily.

If you insist on changing the texture, there are bonding treatments. For further details/information on which hairstyle is best, please to a hair professional. Do not attempt anything on your own.


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