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What Are the Different Types of African American Haircut Styles?

Micro braid hairstyles are popular with both men and women.
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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 July 2014
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There are many different types of African American haircut styles, but for women, most of these designs revolve around styling rather than cutting the hair. Men's haircuts are equally numerous, and may involve cutting the hair in unique designs or styling it in sections when it is longer. Many people whose hair has the spiral characteristics typical of African American hair are moving away from tight braiding, relaxing chemicals, and other potentially harmful styling techniques towards those that do not harm the hair or scalp. Like all other racially specific hair types, nearly any haircut is possible with enough time and energy, even if the hair does not naturally form a given pattern.

Some of the most common types of African American haircut styles involve braids of varying types. Small braids, sometimes called micro-braids, can be used to create long flowing styles. Larger braids may shoot off directly from the scalp or may follow the head either in straight lines or decorative patterns. African American haircut styles involving braiding often need to be redone when the hair grows longer or the braids begin to come undone.

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For men, some of the common African American haircut styles include fades, Caesar cuts, and other short, buzzed styles. Men also commonly wear braids, dreadlocks, and other sectioned styles. Haircuts that involve wearing the hair long and natural are also popular, and these can be combined with braids and other sectioned styles. Natural styles are sometimes called Afros, but they are also sometimes simply talked about as wearing the hair naturally.

African American haircut styles for both men and women may involve dreadlocks, twisting the hair, and braids. When these are combined, they can create any number of different hairstyles and looks. Many hairstyles that consist of long beaded or dreaded strands can be altered using jewelry, cuffs, or beads, sometimes made specifically for this purpose. Sectioned hairstyles are highly adaptable, but rely primarily on the skill of the stylist for their unique appearance. In a sense, styling hair in this way is an art, involving elements of design not seen in many other cultures.

Many African American haircut styles revolve around applying chemicals to the hair to straighten it. This is often seen as problematic, particularly when dealing with children, because these chemicals can be dangerous and may permanently damage the scalp and hair. Even so, chemical alteration is at the heart of many different African American haircut styles. Relaxing the hair often makes it look straight and shiny, and it can then be cut in any haircut appropriate for that texture of hair.

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Discuss this Article

bluedolphin
Post 3

I think that every African American woman needs to have a personal trustworthy hair stylist. There are different degrees of curls in African American hair and everyone's face shape is different. So what works on one woman is not going to work for someone else. Different styles suit different people. Some people look good with natural tight curls, others look better with straightened hair, others look better with loosened wavy curls and so forth.

The same goes for men. Although most African American men keep their hair short, men's hair requires a good degree of care and maintenance as well to look nice and neat.

SteamLouis
Post 2

I think short haircuts look very nice on African American women. I have a short haircut as well, it's like a bob cut with layers and highlights. It's easy to manage this hair style since there isn't a lot of hair. It looks very professional too.

When I was young, I wore braids for many years. Braids are low maintenance until hair grows and you have to have them fixed. I also used to hate the pain the tight braids cause on the scalp when the braids are new.

stoneMason
Post 1

Many of my African American girlfriends relax their hair to make it straight and manageable. It looks nice but it's very damaging because of all the chemicals. A few of my friends have decided to go natural for this reason. Hair treatments and conditioners do help to some extent, but those chemical relaxers are terribly drying and can even burn hair. I think it's best to go natural and use other safer ways to manage hair.

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