Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

Total Pageviews

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Most African Americans do not have African hair!

As far as the former Confederates States of America's territory goes, I do not know how many "mixed babies" were born to the slave women on the plantations, but clearly, since arriving on the slave ships from Africa, African Americans are more American than they are African when it comes to their hair texture.

Pictured is Kenya Moore, former pageant winner, current cast member of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  Yes, I believe that this is all of Kenya Moore's hair without any hair extensions.  She has historically had long, luscious hair.  But . . .  her natural pattern is probably around a type 3 versus a type 4.  I consider a Type 4 curl pattern more of an African curl pattern.  If anyone of true African descent want to comment on my categorizing of African hair, then please feel free to comment.  I have never taken a trip to Africa; so I do not know any more than what I know through media coverage over the decades.

However, I have been providing hair care services to the public for about ten years.  I have seen all types of hair textures and hair curl patterns.  I am willing to say that 75% of Black women have hair that is mixed with some other race besides Africa.  Most Black women do NOT have what I consider true African hair.  Most Black women want a relaxer to enhance style; however,  most Black women do NOT need a relaxer.

 Now for the 25% of the Black women who do have more African textured, coily hair, who do need some form of healthy management of their hair are not being catered to by the ethnic haircare lines.   Most of the "Black haircare" caters to the 75% of the Black women who have mixed hair up to about a Type 4a curl pattern.

Just as I was concluding how many ethnic haircare lines do NOT cater to tightly coiled curl patterns, I was graciously given a 2013 calendar from a ethnic haircare line which only  showcases one Black model with hair that looks like it is more African textured.  One model out of twelve . . . Do you see her on the top row in the center?  So that is not even a 10 percentile.  Wow!

So ladies with extremely tight curl patterns, the relaxer application process as it is now is not catered to you. I am just being honest.  I have been trying to design a tool to better apply the relaxer to hair whose new growth compounds at the scalp, but it is not finished yet.

Anyway, for those who are willing to try Sisterlocks, or other locking procedures, it is the best option for those that do not fit into that 75% of Blacks that have mixed hair textures.  I know - locks are hard to digest when working in a corporate, political world, but this message is worth consideration.


  1. I love your blog, so I'm chiming in here.

    I know continental Africans (non-east) who have "type 3" hair. I consider "type 3" to be African, genetic variation occurs across all groups.

    The first part is my experience and opinion, the last bit is science.

    I think most black people, especially in this day and age are just not aware of what their hair looks like period (like people who've been relaxed since early childhood) or know how to care for it, therefore now with more info and better practices more are seeing the range of hair types actually exist within the community (just like there's a range of hair types amongst other groups).
    It seems new and different, but probably isn't.

    Not to get on a high-horse, but I don't think any type of hair "needs" a relaxer.

    1. Thanks bis! This is good to know. So some African slaves came to America with type 3 hair. So African descent has more to do with skin color than hair texture. This would make sense. I actually wonder if the blood type could make a difference in the curl pattern. Maybe I could secure a grant for this study.

      On a separate note regarding relaxers, there are some resistant type 4c hair that can only be controlled by either high heat hard press or a relaxer or locks. The relaxer or the locking process are less "elbow grease" (i.e. less work) and you know that the humidity or a swim is not going to undo your work.

  2. I just saw "Django Unchained" movie. It is a hard truth to swallow but hair texture could make a difference in a woman being a field slave or a house slave. Food for thought.

  3. I know I'm 4 years late on this comment, but since you're a hairstylist I was wondering, do you think many African women even have Category 4 hair? I'm West African by descent, born, and raised. I've seen the hair that women claim to be 4C and my hair isn't even that texture. My hair probably would be a 5C, if 5 were a category.

    None of the commercial hair care products or blogs that reference products or YouTube tutorials referencing products has ever worked on my hair. I only have about 50% shrinkage because my hair has no curl pattern. Each strand is like an individual scribble and when those scribbles entwine with one another... I'm sure you get the picture.

    Additionally, my hair is VERY porous. from everything I've read online, this kind of porous is the result of chemically damaged hair. Well, my hair has been natural for 3 years. I don't put ANY chemicals in it. No color, no shampoo (only African Black Soap), and only botanical conditioner (rarely at that). So, this kind of porous is my natural state, and people saying it can only be like that if I've somehow damaged it kind of makes me sad.

    I find it extremely frustrating that no one, not even me, knows how to care for my hair. My cousins and aunts with similar hair have similar problems, which have (more frequently than not) led to bald or very low shorn heads.

    If you read this and you have any advice for me, I'd be super grateful.

    1. Addendum: I use henna about every four weeks. So, some color--but not chemical.

    2. Hello JSM: I went through similar frustrations with my hair. Locking my hair has been my best solution. Coiling my hair instead of interlocking benefits areas of my hair that feel like a type 5c. Luckily, most of my curl patterns respond well to interlocking, but coiling would be the safest and most natural way to gain control of your hair based on your description. In addition, slavery occurred all over the world; so hair is mixed all over the world because of mixed offsprings. I hope this helps you with your hair decision.