When describing a person’s hair in news stories, ask what style the hair is, don’t assume. Black hair comes in a variety of styles and textures. A few include:
- afro – Characterized by or being a style of tight curls in a full evenly rounded shape.
- bald, shaved – Not synonymous. A bald person has naturally lost some or all of his or hair. A person with a shaved head chose to have his or her hair close to the scalp or completely off, replicating the bald look.
- braids – Traditional style worn by many African-American girls in which hair is sectioned into parts and then, in each part, three or more strands of hair are intertwined. Also known as plaits.
- cornrows – Braiding technique close to the head and also known as French braids.
- dreadlocks, dreds or locks [sometimes spelled locs or loks] – Long, uncombed, twisted or matted locks of hair, a style worn originally by Rastafarians.
- extensions – Human or synthetic hair used to make a person’s existing hair longer. Often used with braiding.
- Jheri curl – Chemically treated curly hair resembling Shirley Temple-like tresses. Other names were California curl, S-curl, carefree curl and luster curl. Jheri Redding, a Chicago-based entrepreneur and stylist, created the style in the late 1970s, then produced his own line of hair-care products.
- twists – Style in which hair is sectioned into parts and then, in each part, strands of hair are twirled.
- weave – Synthetic or human hair added to existing hair or scalp to give one the appearance of a fuller head of hair.
For more information see the video “Five Questions About Black Hair.”]
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REFERENCE: NABJ Style Guide