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Celebrating National Hair Day

On October 1st, National Hair Day honors all the trends, items, services, and people who help us maintain beautiful, healthy hair. Established in 2017 by the hair products manufacturer NuMe, National Hair Day allows us to celebrate the diverse and beautiful world of hairstyles. Hair has always been integral to personal identity and cultural expression, and African-American hairstyles have significantly impacted fashion and culture worldwide. 

Let’s explore some iconic African-American hairstyles that have left an indelible mark on beauty and fashion.


The Afro, short for “African,” symbolizes pride, identity, and resistance. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Afro became a symbol of the Black Power movement and a way for African Americans to embrace their natural hair texture. Notable figures like Angela Davis and Jimi Hendrix proudly rocked their Afros, inspiring a generation to embrace their heritage and reject Eurocentric beauty standards. The Afro remains an enduring symbol of Black pride and self-acceptance.

African American woman with an afro.
Photo by PeopleImages.


Cornrows are a traditional African hairstyle that involves braiding the hair close to the scalp. This intricate and artistic style has been a part of African-American culture for generations. It’s a beautiful way to express creativity and a practical choice for managing and protecting natural hair. Cornrows have evolved into various styles, from simple straight rows to elaborate and intricate patterns. They continue to be popular today, worn by people of all backgrounds who appreciate their beauty and versatility.

Bantu Knots

Bantu knots, also known as Zulu knots or Nubian knots, are tiny, coiled buns created by twisting the hair and securing it close to the scalp. This traditional African hairstyle has been adapted and embraced by many African Americans, both as a cultural expression and a trendy fashion statement. Bantu knots are known for their unique appearance and versatility, as they can be unraveled to create beautiful curls and waves.


Dreadlocks, often simply called “locs,” are a natural hairstyle formed by allowing hair to mat and lock together over time. This hairstyle has deep cultural and spiritual significance within the African diaspora. It symbolizes unity, strength, and rebellion against societal norms. Many iconic figures, such as Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill, and Whoopi Goldberg, have proudly worn dreadlocks, contributing to their cultural significance and acceptance.

Box Braids

Box braids are a protective hairstyle that consists of creating small, box-shaped sections and braiding extensions into the natural hair. These braids offer a stunning look while promoting hair growth and protecting the hair from damage. Box braids became a sensation in the 1990s and are a popular choice today, thanks to celebrities like Janet Jackson and Beyoncé, who have embraced this style.

African American woman with box braids
Photo by AaronAmat

The Big Chop

The “Big Chop” is a bold and empowering statement by many African American women who cut off their chemically straightened hair to embrace their natural curls, coils, and kinks. It symbolizes freedom from societal pressures and a return to one’s authentic self. The Big Chop is not just a hairstyle; it’s a powerful declaration of self-acceptance and self-love.

African-American hairstyles are not just about fashion; they celebrate heritage, identity, and the enduring spirit of a resilient community. These iconic hairstyles have significantly shaped the beauty and fashion industries, challenged Eurocentric beauty standards, and promoted self-acceptance and self-expression. As we celebrate National Hair Day, let us also celebrate the diversity and beauty of African-American hairstyles and their profound cultural impact on the world.

Article Written by: Obsession | is a romance and erotica author, blogger, photographer, and artist from Chicago, IL.

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