Published on August 12th 2013 by Leon Shepherd

Recently, as I was thumbing through an old issue of Ebony magazine, I was amazed at the many different hairstyles worn by African Americans over the past 40 years. And what really stood out and caught my attention was the fact that many of the hairstyles worn back in the day, are still very popular today. Hence, The Top Ten Popular Hairstyles.

10. The Sculptered Style

This style was discovered when women took advantage of the fact that their natural hair could stand up on its own when chemicals were not applied. By adding gel, women were then able to form different sculptured shapes and designs with their hair. This 1980’s hairstyle was made popular by Patti Labelle.

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9. High top fade

A hi-top fade is a style of haircut where hair on the sides is cut off or kept very low and hair on the top of the head is very long. The hi-top has been a trend symbolizing the Golden Era of Hip Hop and urban contemporary music during the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The hi-top fade was common among African-American youths from 1986 to 1993, and to a lesser extent in the mid-1990s (1994-1996). The style fell completely out of fashion by 1997.

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8. Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks also called locks or dreads refer to a particular hairstyle that is achieved naturally by allowing the hair to mat together as it grows. If combs, brushes, and scissors aren’t used on the hair, the hair will tangle together as it grows, eventually resulting in the twisted, matted ropes of hair known as dreadlocks. It’s also possible to get artificial dreadlocks, primarily through hair salons, and by having dreadlocks attached to the natural hair near the scalp.

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7. The Process

A process hairstyle is when the hair is straightened by the application of chemicals. The two popular ways of wearing this style was slicked back and straight, or slicked back and wavy. This hairstyle was popular among African American men from the 1920’s to the 1960’s.

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6. Fade

In previous years the fade haircut was worn mostly by military men, and was called the high and tight. Today this hairstyle is extremely popular and has evolved into a much trendier look. It is now very popular amongst men of all ages within the United States and the rest of the world.

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5. Cornrows /Braids

Cornrows and braids are a traditional style of hair grooming where the hair is braided very close to the scalp, using an underhand, upward motion to produce a continuous, raised row. Cornrows are often formed, as the name implies, in simple, straight lines, but they can also be done in complicated geometric or curvilinear designs. Often favored for their easy maintenance, cornrows can be left in for weeks at a time simply by carefully washing the hair and then regularly oiling the scalp and hair. Cornrowed hairstyles are often adorned with beads or shells. This hairstyle is very popular with men and women.

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4. The Jheri Curl

The Jheri curl is a hairstylethat was very popular in the 1970’s. Invented by and named for Jheri Redding, the Jheri curl gave the wearer a glossy, loosely curled look. To maintain the look of the jheri curl, users were required to apply activator and heavy moisturizers daily and to sleep with a plastic cap on their heads to keep the hairstyle from drying out.  Michael Jackson famously sported a Jheri curl hair-do in the 1980′s.

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3. The Natural / Afro

The afro, fro, or natural began in the 1960’s and really became popular in the 1970’s. The afro was originally worn as a symbol  of pride and dignity. The afro, also called “The Natural”, was when an African American would let their hair grow out naturally without the use of chemicals or relaxers. Even though the afro reached the peak of its popularity in 1970’s, it’s still a very popular hairstyle worn by many African Americans today.

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2. Bald

The bald look is very popular among African American men in sports, movies, television, and the entertainment industry. Many people credit former NBA star Michael Jordan for popularizing this style.

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1. Hair weave /Extensions

Hair weaves and extensions are the most popular styles worn by African American women today. The difference between the two? Well, a hair weave is additional hair that’s either sewn or woven into your own hair. Your hair is put into tracks and the extensions are woven with them. While hair extensions are glued or clipped into your regular hair, like underneath the rest of it.


Published on August 12th 2013 by Leon Shepherd



Miscellaneous | Comments (13)


13 Responses to “Top 10 Hairstyles”

  1. shack II Says:

    What no Shag, No College Cut, No Ola Ray Classy Curl

  2. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    I love it! The only two styles that I have done to my hair are the braids and the afro. Patti Labelle’s hair was the talk of the industry.

  3. Leon Says:

    The shag almost made the list, and I couldn’t find a good picture of Ola Ray with her curl.

  4. Grapevine Grady Says:

    You for got the processed / perm look. James Brown, The Early Temptations, and Lenny (Good Times).

  5. Leon Says:

    Sammy Davis is on the list with the processed /perm look.

  6. Joi :-) Says:

    Hey all. :-) Leon, :-) I love this list! Looking at those pictures brought back sooo many memories! Mannnn, I’m “seasoned” lol! Why do I remember all of the styles???? Not to mention, I have “tried” many of them. (the bald thing didn’t work for me. lol. :-) ) I love that your list contained various styles, with different “types” of hair. Then u went on to explain “how” the look was achieved. I like that! u did your research! :-) Great job! :-) While looking at your list, I have to say that I am glad that some of those styles have “left”, while others have “stayed”. I think that the styles that are no longer “fashionable” today, will once again be fashionable. Just as clothes fashions come and go, I believe that “hairstyles” will do the same thing. When I got to be about 25, the styles that I wore as a child started to “come back”. They’ll be back!!!! :-) Recycled if u will. :-) That means, in about 15 years, u’ll have to do your list again, and I’ll be anxious to see what’s still on it. :-) Great Job Leon! I look forward to your next post! :-)

  7. Leon Says:

    Thanks Joi!

  8. Trisha Says:

    WOW….I am envious…my hair is straighter than straight..aka BORING..I would have to stick my finger in a light socket to try and get a perm. I love bald and fade on a man. But I agree they all make there own statement when worn by the right person.

  9. thickalicious85 Says:

    As a hairstylist of 16 years not only have i experienced wearing a few, ive also had the pleasure of using some of my clients as ginnie pigs and experimenting on them many of these styles. Lol Its true in saying everything that change still remains the same. They’ll be back and we will wear em.

  10. Leon Says:

    Thanks for your sharing your knowledge & experience regarding hairstyles.

  11. Desiree Says:

    I’m not so sure that bald should be number 2 – while I agree that a lot of men “rock” this style – i don’t think that it’s original, bold, or all that exciting. Also, unlike the other styles, it’s not unique to African Americans.

  12. Bean Pie Says:

    If we as a people learned to love our natural hair, we could have more $$$ in our pockets. FAKE hair, nails, eye contacts, Tatoos and parents paying for pants for their sons that hang over their butts.Wake up Black people, we’ve turned out to be the Court Jesters of the world.

  13. Shack Says:

    Leon/Anybody,
    Pleae identify the new school hair style that some of the brohters (and sisters for that matter) wear.

    The most prominent I can think of is former NBA Baller Chris Webber. Its like half-combed with twists (and naps).

    Thats the best description…anybody know what its called?