From time to time we come across a brilliant video that absolutely must be shared and in this post we wanted to highlight one that we think everyone of African decent, with afro textured hair or kinky* curly, should watch.
Naturally High dedicates her channel to helping women with 4C hair to retain more length through education and giving awesome tutorials showing just how she retains length to her own natural hair.
In this video, she breaks down why afro hair acts the way it does which is based on our biological make up as well as some of the scientific and social identifiers that are still being applied to people of African decent even today.
Here are 5 out of 9 of the main points she discusses and the notes she made on the video itself:
1. The way our hair looks is determined solely by the shape of the hair follicle despite the biochemical differences among races.
‘Although there are no biochemical differences among black, Caucasian, and Asian hair types, there are differences in the hair morphology (8). Black hair appears elliptical or flattened in cross-section, whereas Caucasian hair is oval, and Asian hair round. The follicle of black hair is curved, in contrast to a straight follicle in Caucasians and Asians.’ –
Source: Callender, V. D., McMichael, A. J. and Cohen, G. F. (2004), Medical and surgical therapies for alopecias in black women. Dermatologic Therapy, 17: 164–176. doi:10.1111/j.1396-0296.2004.04017.x
2. What is normal black African hair? – Our hair frequently tangles and has knots and we often suffer a ton of cuticle loss however the inner areas of our hair tend to remain intact.
‘African hair is curly and frequently exhibits knots . However, increased evidence of wearing with some loss of the cuticular pattern was observed towards the tip of the hair in all 3 racial groups. The most extreme wearing, with complete loss of cuticular structure, was seen toward the tip of the hairs of the Caucasian subject with the longest hair.
However, the hair shafts of the African volunteers did exhibit structural damage with evidence of longitudinal fissures, resulting in splitting of the hair shafts. The splitting was also associated with knot formation. Longitudinal fissures were not observed in the Caucasian or Asian hairs. It was also observed that many of the black African hairs (approximately 40%) were fractured with no attached root.
‘The African hair shafts were enclosed by a well-preserved cuticle similar to that observed for the other racial groups.’
‘The most significant feature was that the majority of the tips of the African hair had fractured ends …Similarly, the basal end also exhibited evidence of breakage in contrast to the Caucasian and Asian samples in which the majority of hairs had attached roots.’
Source: Khumalo NP, Doe PT,Dawber PR, Ferguson DJP.study. J Am Acad Dermatol 2000: 43:814–820.