A Black Woman’s Journey “Back to her Roots”

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She walks down the street with grace and beauty. Heads turn. Some people stop and stare. Others marvel at the beautiful, versatile hairstyles worn by today’s African American woman.

Arriving at this stage in the evolution of her natural beauty didn’t happen overnight. It was a journey that began over two centuries ago, when beautiful African women arrived on America’s shores.

She began her journey by trying to make her hair as straight as women with naturally straight hair. She straightened it with a “straightening comb” then rolled it with strips of paper from a brown paper bag. Then she avoided water at all costs because that would send her hair back to its original kinky stage.

By the 1920’s, she had discovered the Marseille, a hairstyle resembling fingerwaves, achieved at first by laying a tremendous amount of hairdress on her hot-combed hair. Later, it was discovered that lye would get it even straighter. That led to the discovery of relaxers.

By the 1960’s she began wearing the “Afro” hairstyle. This style was unique to the Black woman because no other hair texture defied gravity allowing hair to grow up instead of down.

As women continued on this journey, hair care companies began to make relaxers, shampoos and conditioners especially for the Black woman’s unique hair. They made special combs with which women could “tease” their hair so it stood up and looked thicker. Then she’d comb her very straight, hot combed hair over the teased hair to achieve the bouffant style.

Then came the cold curl, more popularly known as the Jheri Curl, which was convenient. No pressing, no relaxer—all she had to do was spray it with curl activator. With the Jheri Curl water was no longer the enemy; the more moisture the better. Daily moisturizing with “curl activator” was a must and also a mess! Greasy stains were left on the backs of sofas, on pillows, and on her dance partner’s shoulders.

The 90’s were the years of extension braids, weaves, wigs, braids and cornrows as the Black woman discovered the versatility of her hair.

Then came the best part of the journey. Black women began to embrace their own natural hair and discover all the ways they could wear it.

She also discovered that her hair needs moisture, moisture and more moisture! In searching the shelves of the Beauty and Barber Supply Stores, looking for the product that promised the moisture she needed, she discovered Jamaican Mango & Lime®, with products designed especially for her.

Jamaican Mango & Lime® Pure Naturals with SmoothMoisture® is blended with pure and natural butters, oils, vitamins and honey to penetrate and surround every dry, thirsty, overworked strand, while locking in 360 degrees of intense, long-lasting moisture. MY DNA is formulated with unique ingredients, especially for naturalistas who love their kinky, coily, curly hair because they were born that way. Jamaican Mango & Lime® Jamaican Black Castor Oil is formulated with natural ingredients to help promote growth, and help to stop breakage—especially when used as a hot oil treatment.

Let your natural-style-loving customers know that you wish them “Bon Voyage” on their journey, by keeping your shelves filled with all the great products that keep their natural hair soft, beautiful and moisturized.

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Emma L. Young is a freelance writer who has written for various publications including ShopTalk Magazine, the Saints Magazine, South Shore Current and the Spiritual Perspective Newspaper.