African American Hair Braiding Styles

Fashions come and fashions go.  This ebb and flow of all things stylish applies to hair styles, too.  One really popular trend in hair today is the African American hair braiding styles that are worn by men and women alike.

African American hair braiding styles vary from simple, plain braids that serve more function than fashion to elaborate designs that resemble art more than fashion.  Braided hair looks good on children, their parents, and even their grandparents, making this versatile style highly popular.

One reason for the proliferation of the many African American hair braiding styles is the ease in maintaining the style.  There are many products and processes that African Americans use to work with their hair but these usually employ harsh chemicals that damage the hair with over processing, breaking, and thinning out of the hair volume.  There is a great deal of time and effort required to maintain these processed hair styles.

In contrast, African American hair braiding styles look good for extended periods of time without all the harsh chemicals or time-consuming maintenance that other styles require.  It can take many hours to execute an intricately braided cornrow hair style but it can last as long as a month with minimal care in between salon visits.

In fact, the cornrow is the most popular and most natural of African American hair braiding styles.  For centuries in Africa, people have worn cornrows across the continent.  When the slave trade brought African captives to the United States, slaves in America commonly wore the cornrow.

After slavery was abolished, the freed slaves shunned African styles for a while in order to establish a solid foothold in American culture.  Hair care products became available that would help the coarse, tightly coiled African hair relax and shine so it would resemble more closely the hair of the white people.

The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s brought about a resurgence of the African American hair braiding styles.  One offshoot of the Civil Rights Movement was the Black Pride Movement with its “black is beautiful” slogan.  This pride in African heritage brought more natural styles back into fashion for the African American population.

Today, there is more freedom of expression allowed by black Americans than ever before.  Hair styles can be as natural or as contrived as the wearer chooses with the many beautiful African American hair braiding styles being a very popular choice.

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