Hairstyles for Black Women

February 2, 2011  |  

Black women have a tremendous number of options when it comes to hairstyles. Whether you wear your tresses natural, straighten them with chemicals or heat or add length via a hair weave, the possibilities are endless.

Chemical Relaxers
Relaxers (often referred to as ‘perms’) are often the choice for African American women who prefer to wear their hair straight all or most of the time. While they provide a certain amount of convenience, they must be touched up every 4 to 6 weeks and they still require the wearer to heat straighten their hair in between washings. Relaxers can also be extremely hard on Black women’s naturally fragile curl patterns and years of use can cause thinning hair. If you choose to perm your hair, select a brand that is free of lye and other harsh chemicals.

Heat Straightening
African American women who enjoy the look of straight hair, yet still want the freedom to wear their natural texture when they please, may consider using hot combs, blowdryers and/or flat irons to press their tresses. While daily heat straightening can be damaging to the hair, it is significantly less harsh than chemical relaxers, while still providing wearer the option of creating many straight styles.

Braids and Dreadlocks
Braids (with or without the addition of synthetic or human hair extentions) are a great option for African American women who need a style that is low maintenance. There are many braided styles to choose, from cornrows to microbraids (slender, long braids that can be used to create a number of hairstyles). Women who wish to grow their hair out may wear braids in order to give their natural hair time to ‘breathe’ without the trouble of daily styling. Dreadlocks require a more long-term commitment and also can provide the wearer the opportunity to change styles frequently once they have grown long.

Weaves and Wigs
‘Fake’ hair can allow African American women to change their hairstyles drastically the shortest amount of time possible. Weaves and wigs can also give one the chance to grow out their own hair or to give it a break from heat and chemicals. Maintenance is very important, as both human and synthetic weaves and wigs can get tangled and matted quite easily. If done properly, they can allow Black women to achieve hairstyles that might otherwise take years to achieve.

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