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What did slaves use when they didn’t have hair supplies?


We all know slaves were denied many things. So what would they use if they

didn’t have things we use today? Dr. Amerson took the time to state what slaves used

to replace what they did not have. She says slaves used a table fork to comb their

hair. We know that today we use a variety of combs to comb our hair like detangling,

picks, wood,rattail,etc. Hairbrushes are used to style a person’s hair. The

first kitchen utensil used by slaves to curl their hair was a table knife heated on

the stove. This was all they had.

Technology advanced us to the point where we could use hair rollers, pin

curls, curling irons of various types. Slaves used cornmeal, grits, and powdered

charcoal to clean their hair back then. Now, hair companies offer shampoos to color treated hair, dry hair, oily hair, volumizing

hair, chemically treated hair, hair restoration, hair thinning, etc. They cater to your needs.

Head and body lice was a major problem for slaves.SLAVES slept in barns on the hay where animals slept and this transmitted lice to their hair and body. Today, head lice are almost unheard of in the African American communities.

Slaves used warm bacon grease on their scalp as an oil in the past.  Now hair care manufacturers have multiple types of soothing scalp oils to lubricate and moisturize the scalp. Slaves used dishwater to wash their hair. It was believed

that the nutrients in the dishwater would make their hair healthier. Currently, we have a filtered water system. A few

consumers want rainwater. Most people can get clean hair and scalp from a filtered water system.

The braid patterns in hair was symbolic to female slaves. It was symbolic if she was mourning, getting married, or

a high priestess. Yet, today wearing a sculptured braid design is not symbolic. It ‘s known as a creative way of wearing braids.

On the other hand, many tribes  in Africa still keep their culture going by wearing  symbolic braid patterns, specific hair color,

feathers, hand crafted hair accessories,and others.

The male slaves received hair cuts on the front porch in the past. Today we have barber shops and hair salons who offer

haircuts by licensed professionals Sanitation and Sterilization Laws are enforced to protect the public.

Now you have been educated on a lesson in what slaves used. They had to substitute when they did not have the real thing.  It

had to be tough doing all this substituting.I wonder how the substituted version makes their hair? THank God for today’s

version so we humans don’t have to suffer or to lack .



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