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Timeline: An Evolution of Black Beauty

Timeline: An Evolution of Black Beauty

BLACK GIRLS ROCK. BLACK GIRL MAGIC. In more recent years, we’ve heard these terms come into play, but let’s face it. Black girls have always rocked. Black women have always been magic. Although these terms have been coined within the last eight years, we’re paying an ode to all the beautiful black women who have gotten us here. From the 1960s until now, let’s take a look at the evolution of black beauty.

1960s – 1970s: ROCK THE FRO

The 1960s was a decade where women were rocking their natural hair. Everywhere you would turn, you would see black women with small or large afros standing with confidence. Regardless of the job or purpose, the afro was a beautiful statement of black women in the ‘60s. Activist Angela Davis was seen during many speeches, interviews, and protests with her bold afro. Marsha Hunt was singing and dancing in the musical Hair with her natural hair.

Evolution of Black Beauty

photo via Talking Texture (Angela Davis)

Evolution of Black Beauty

photo via Afropunk (Marsha Hunt)

While many continued to rock their fro into the ‘60s, the ‘70s and ‘80s brought a  new look.

1970s – 1980s: FULL COURT PRESS

Evolution of Black Beauty

photo via Boston Globe (Donna Summer)

While most of the ‘60s and some of the ‘70s featured the bold and beautiful afro, the new decade also brought in a new style of hair for black women. Rather than rocking an afro, women were going for a pressed look. Singer Diana Ross traded in her large afro for a shoulder-length press. Disco queen Donna Summer was known for her look of long, soft curls. While this style lasted for much of the ‘70s and ‘80s, the 1990s would introduce a completely new, fresh style to black beauty.


Evolution of Black Beauty

photo via (Brandy)

Black beauty of the 1990s moved away from the afros and bumped presses. This decade brought in twists and braids. While these protective styles were always common in the black community, the women in the industry brought the styles into the mainstream media. One can’t think about braids in the ’90s without thinking about Brandy. These two styles were prominent in the black beauty trends of the ‘90s, but we would soon watch the 2000s bring the rise of perms and the extension industry.


Evolution of Black Beauty

photo via Twitter (Gabrielle Union)

At the turn of the millennium, we saw black beauty trends fall away from braids and twists and move towards weaves and extensions. Everyone was either perming their hair or rocking a weave. From singers like Beyonce to actresses like Gabrielle Union, everyone was wearing long bundles. With this common thread during the 2000s, the next decade would open the door for a multitude of different hairstyles.


Evolution of Black Beauty

photo via Instagram (Solange)

While the decade isn’t over yet, there are some clear trends within the black beauty community. Although there are multiple, a few have clearly stood out. As Cardi B so aptly said it, many women are choosing to “kill the weave, rock a lace.” While extensions and weaves are still popular, many women are choosing to go the route of wigs. Another major trend in the black beauty community is the natural hair movement! While millions of women were perming their hair in the ‘90s and early 2000s, many women in the black beauty world have decided to return to their natural roots!

Trends in the black beauty community are constantly changing. While many of the decades have their own distinct style, it’s clear that the 2010s have brought the idea that women can do whatever they want with their hair! Whether they’re reverting back to natural, rocking braids, or choosing a wig, black women will continue to rock and be magic!

In the comments below, let us know which of these black beauty trends you were rocking!


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