From hot combs to hair grease: The journey behind afro-textured hair in America

So, how did we get to where we are now?

A confident woman.
A confident woman. (Pexels photo/stock image)

The story of afro-textured hair in America is a long one.

Ancient African traditions of braiding, styling and care were once prevalent, but then began to fade with time and oppression.

After years of slavery and dehumanization from 1600 to mid-1800, many known languages, customs and methods of hair care were forgotten, abandoned, suppressed and looked down upon.

So, how did we get to where we are now? Let’s take a look.


Straight hair: The new ideal

From mid-1870 to 1880, Black people began to style their hair to look more like white people, as it helped them to be more accepted, one writer said -- adding that with this straight hair, Black people were considered better suited to white American culture.

Also, straighter hair helped Black women to defy their past lives, sometimes as slaves who had to work in the fields.