Black hair is very diverse, and there are no limits to the type of texture it can be. Many people wonder about the different forms it can take, which is fine! There’s still so much to uncover about the diversity of Afro-hair, and it is helpful to explore what makes it so special.
Can Black People Have Naturally Straight Hair?
Black people can have all different hair types because they are very diverse. Usually, black people who have more African origins usually have curly hair due to their genetic makeup.
However, for black people that also have roots in other ethnicities, we start to see hair textures become looser. Those with Asian, Caucasian, or Native American backgrounds are usually the ones we see with Type 1 – or straight – hair, so yes it is possible for a black person to have straight hair!
What is Type 1 Hair?
Type 1 hair is straight hair. It has no natural curl to it and can grow easier and faster than other hair types.
There are different sections within type 1 hair that are labeled A, B, and C. Type 1C hair is not absolutely bone straight. It tends to be a little coarser and has a very slight wave to it. Type 1A hair is usually found in people of Asian descent.
Some straight hair is very fine and cannot hold a curl very well. Other kinds of straight hair are thicker and denser and are able to hold curls.
Why is African/African-American hair usually curly?
Hair texture is determined by the shape of the hair follicle, which is the hole on the scalp that the hair strand grows out of. The bigger the hair follicle is, the coarser the hair. The smaller the hair follicle is, the thinner the hair.
Also, the more round the hair follicle is, the straighter the hair. If the follicle takes a more oval shape, the hair is curlier. Many Africans have oval-shaped hair follicles, just like many Africans have a darker skin tone. The reason why the follicles are usually shaped the way they are is not figured out by geneticists yet.
However, there are always exceptions to the general rule – there are people in some pockets of South Africa who have Type 1 hair. People who are biracial also tend to have hair textures that are less curly, especially if they have Caucasian, Asian, and Native American backgrounds. Usually, if a black person has naturally straight hair, it is type 1C.
Why do curly girls often straighten their hair?
Most curly girls straighten their hair because they like to switch up their style. Curly hair offers a wide range of versatility, and many people like to take advantage of that. Another reason why curly girls straighten their hair is because it is a very low maintenance style.
When you wear your hair naturally curly, there is a process to getting those curls to look their best – including moisturizing, diffusing, and twisting. However, when hair is straightened, then there is minimal maintenance you need to do everyday, and de-tangling is also easier.
What is the Best Way to Straighten Afro hair?
Most Afro hair is not only curly but also does not receive as much of the natural oils from the scalp as straight hair does. The curl pattern of Afro hair prevents the natural oils from going straight down the shaft, which makes the hair drier than other hair types.
When straightening Afro-hair, you need to consider how you can retain as much moisture in the hair as possible, so as to prevent damaging it. There are 4 ways you can best straighten Afro hair, with minimal use of added heat.
1. Hooded Dryer
A hooded dryer is similar to a blow dryer, but completely wraps around your head. This dryer has various heat settings, so you adjust the heat to a very low setting. In order to stretch the hair while you are sitting under the dryer, a great product to use is flexi-rods. Wrapping your hair around flexi-rods will keep the hair stretched while it dries, so after you are done drying, your hair will be straighter when it is combed through.
It usually takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour to dry your hair using a hooded dryer on low heat. However, hooded dryers are a great alternative to using a blow dryer, because the heat does not come into close contact with the hair shaft.
2. Hair Wrapping
The method of hair wrapping works best for those who have finer hair and looser curls (3a-3c). This is a heatless method that can straighten your hair with no damage.
In order to get the most out of this process, you want to absorb as much water as you can out of your hair after washing, using a microfiber towel. Microfiber towels are much softer on the hair than cotton towels, and quickly absorb moisture without the use of rubbing.
After the hair is dry, it needs to be brushed around the head. Bobby pins can be used to keep the hair in place. You could also brush the hair out all at once and then grab sections and wrap them around your head. It is best to do this method before going to bed, in which case you will need to also wrap the hair with a scarf or silk bonnet. When you unwrap the hair it should be straight and silky.
3. Cold-Air Blow Drying
Usually, people blow-dry their hair using the heat setting. However, you can also blow-dry your hair using a cool setting. Using cold air to blow dry your hair prevents heat damage and is a healthier option. In order to achieve the most benefits of this method, you should apply oil to your hair first before blow-drying, which will prevent frizz and help the hair to lie flat.
Using cool air can achieve very similar results as using heat, but it does take a little longer to fully dry. It is also important to pr-dry your hair using a microfiber towel, so you aren’t spending a lot of time using the blow dryer. You should also use a quality blow dryer, which creates better results.
4. Braid/ Twist Outs
For those with coarser and curlier hair that don’t necessarily want it to be super straight, a braid or twist out is an effective way to add length. Braiding or twisting the hair into smaller sections will add more length. This can also be a method used to add moisture into the hair while it stretches at the same time.
Adding a moisturizer or oil before braiding will not only hydrate the hair but add sheen. After the hair dries and the braids or twists are removed, the hair will stay stretched and long. This is also a great natural method to make the hair easier to comb through.
The Final Word
There are many similarities in the makeup of black hair, but no two textures are the same. Though straight hair is limited to a small group of people with African lineage, it certainly exists!