Can Black People Have Straight Hair?

Can Black People Have Straight Hair

There is a general assumption that black people have kinky hair texture, mainly falling into the Type 4 Hair categories (4a, 4b, and 4c). However, this is an overgeneralization that is wrong on the society’s part.

That can be because of the uniqueness and strong impression African Americans and Africans leave with their hair. Since that notion is wrong, a question that needs to be answered is, can black people have naturally straight hair?

Let's find out in this article.

So, Can Black People Have Straight Hair?

black women with straight hair

Yes. While the most common hair texture among people of African descent is fine, curly hair, some blacks have straight hair. For instance, East Africans from Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eretria are known to have straight hair.

But Why Do Most Africans Have Naturally Curly Hair?

Why Do Most Africans Have Naturally Curly Hair

Environmental factors are the first reason why most Africans have curly hair. As we all know, Africa is known to be hot, and the body needs to be cooled. The hair coils up to keep the sweat from dripping all over, helping the sweat evaporate, and cooling your body.

On the other hand, straight hair cannot keep sweat from staying, which makes the heat trapped in the scalp. The hot climate forces the body to adapt to the environment, leading to the nature of the hair texture.

Genetics also plays a vital role in determining the hair texture of a race, but it wouldn't be surprising if Africans centuries ago had straight hair.

It's safe to conclude that the curly hair texture is due to the hot temperature, the body's reactions to keep you cool, and genetics.

Can Black People Straighten Their Hair?

Of course. It can be straightened and styled in numerous ways, and heat is one of the most common and fastest methods.

Why Do Blacks Straighten Their Hair?

Why Do Blacks Straighten Their Hair

There are several reasons why African Americans and Africans might decide to straighten their hair.

- Change Hairstyle

Curly hair is dynamic and unique. You can style it in multiple ways, and one of those ways is to straighten it. Most African women might decide to straighten their children's hair for this reason.

- Cultural and Past Influence

Straight hairs have continuously been regarded as the “normal” hair texture for Blacks in the US society.

Since tightly coils were not viewed in a good light, women stretched their hair using hot tools to fit into society. This view was also promoted on TV, making it hard for anyone to wear their hair proudly. But it doesn't end there. The rise of pop culture in the early 1900s also contributed significantly to this development.

- More Manageable and Easy to Maintain

Straight hair is more manageable, and many black women perceive this notion to be true. They consider straightening their hair the solution to easy-to-maintain and manageable hair.

- Preference

Some people prefer to straighten their hair because of how it feels or for other personal reasons.

- Racial Discrimination and Societal Expectations

Another reason could be racial discrimination in society. Due to discrimination and how society perceives curly hair, many straighten it so it is not deemed unprofessional.

How to Straighten “Black” Hair?

In this time and age, straightening curly hair has become much easier, and there is more than one way to go about it. See below for some ways to straighten African hair.

1. Hot Tools

straight natural hair with hot tools

Hot tools are the most popular ways to stretch curly hair. Tools like the hot comb, flat iron, and hair dryer help to smoothen out the curls, resulting in much longer tresses. However, they offer a temporary stretch-out.

While you can opt for any hot tools, they are not our first choice for straightening curly hair. That's because consistent use of them can cause damage to your hair. Nonetheless, use a heat protectant to avoid damaging your tresses before using any hot tool.

If you'd like to stretch your hair using a hot tool, follow these steps:

  • Wash and condition your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. It's nothing special. Simply go through your routine steps.
  • Leave your hair to air dry, or pat it slightly with a neat towel.
  • Once it's dry, comb and divide your hair into parts to make it easy to straighten when the time comes.
  • Now, apply a heat protectant to protect your against the heat and prevent it from heat damage.
  • Plug your hot tool and let it heat for some time to become hot before you start using it. (The temperature makes it easy to pass through your hair and straighten it well).
  • Pick up your brush, run through a section of your hair with it, and use your hot tool after brushing it. Be careful so it doesn't burn you as you do this.
  • Repeat this for all the parts of your hair and finish it with oil.

2. Weaving

This method is well known to be effective in protecting and stretching the afro hair. It's a natural method that requires no chemicals and is considered one of the safest methods of stretching the hair.

There are many weaving styles African Americans and Africans wear to straighten their hair. The twisting style, braids, and cornrows are some.

3. Products

Using natural oils can also help stretch your hair. Coconut oil, argan oil, shea butter, and castor oil are a few effective oils. Plus, these oils help moisturize the hair and tame frizziness.

4. Hair Relaxer

A chemical relaxer is applied to the hair to make the strands straight. No matter how coiled up or curly the hair, these chemicals are formulated to straighten out afro hair, lasting up to a few months.

How does the relaxer work? The relaxer enters the hair's cuticle and straightens it. This routine can take up to a few hours to complete.

Here's how to relax your hair:

If this is the first time, it's always better to have a hairstylist to relax your hair. This ensures that it's done properly and well.

Step1: Gather your relaxing supplies.

You'll need your relaxer (do adequate research on products so that you use the best), gloves, towels, protective base cream, clips, a bowl, and a brush.

Step2: Prepare your hair for the straightening chemical.

Start by dividing your hair into four parts. Clip each part separately. Then, use a protective base cream around your hair edges to keep the relaxer from irritating your skin. You can also use some on your ears.

Step3: Mix your relaxer in a bowl.

Put on your gloves and mix your relaxer chemicals in a bowl properly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions strictly.

Step4: Apply the relaxer to your hair.

Remember, your hair is sectioned from the back. Pick a section and start applying the relaxer to your strands carefully. If you've relaxed your hair before, only apply the chemical to the new growth. But if you've never relaxed your hair, apply it to all your strands.

You can use the brush to apply the product to the strands. The last areas you'll apply to are your hairline and the nape of your neck. These areas tend to relax quickly, so take note.

And avoid putting the product on your scalp. Once you've applied it to all parts of your hair, use the back part of your comb to smoothen out everything. Now, leave it for about 15 minutes and wash it off with hot water until the product comes off completely.

Step5: Conditioner and shampoo

Unlike your usual hair care routine, apply your conditioner first and shampoo your hair afterward. Since your cuticles are open after relaxing, it's always good to lock in moisture with a conditioner. Rinse afterward and dry properly.

5. African Rubber Thread

African Rubber Thread method to straighten hair

There's also the use of African black rubber to stretch curly hair. It's popular amongst the African people and known to be very effective in stretching out the hair. Most African mothers opt for this method for their little kids since it keeps their hair stretched, manageable, and safe from the dangers of using hair relaxers at a tender age.

Some of these products and tools won't be necessary for Africans with naturally straight hair. This means a few are specific to people with naturally curly hair.

Challenges Faced by Black People with Straight Hair

Challenges Faced by Black People with Straight Hair

Black people with straight hair may face some challenges. These challenges are not necessarily limited to styling and caring for their hair.

A social challenge may be the predominant beliefs and assumptions about black hair. It's widely believed that black hair is not usually straight. This stereotype may lead to different speculations from people.

Blacks with straight hair might also be forced to wear certain hairstyles in the name of embracing their culture and identity. If they can't, many may lose their identity due to how other blacks perceive them.

Final Words

The good news is that more and more black women would love to embrace their natural hair whether it's straight or curly, and they also enjoy restyling hair or wearing wigs or weaves to try new hairstyles or hair colors! You could be anyone you want, girls, just be confident and embrace your beauty!

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