Know your history: A quick black history moment on the origin of weaves

5min Read

Know your history: A quick black history moment on the origin of weaves

Now we all know that black history month is alive and well. There are a multitude of things that we have our black ancestors to be thankful for including toothpaste, peanut butter, and even the remote control. While the list of African -American patented items can go on for days, there is a little something that we need to take the time to pay homage to the person who invented something that most of us have used at least once in our lives: hair weave. Ladies, all heroes do not wear capes and the person who created the first weave should be put on a piece of currency. That just leaves one question: who do we give credit to for saving us when we’re having a bad hair day? The answer may actually surprise you.


Hair Weave is Born


Ancient Origins

Although it’s not completely clear as to the exact day, it seems to be the consensus that weaves originated around 5000 B.C. in Egypt. Some say that the wearing of weaves and extensions was synonymous with stature. In other words, the richer you were, the more extravagant your extensions. Men would shave their heads in order to wear wigs, and women would wear braids and extravagant hair pieces to show off their wealth. A few believe that Cleopatra wore weaves made out of human hair and dyed sheep wool which was attached to the head by a series of complex knots.



Hair Weave in Europe and Early America


Mental Floss

In the early 17th century, King Louis XIII of France was losing his hair as a result of having syphilis, and he supposedly did not believe that being bald was very fitting for someone of his stature. As a result, he began to hire wig makers to create white hair pieces for him so that his receding hairline could not be seen. Here lies the birth of the powdered wig which was customary of the nobility in Europe and even our nation’s founding fathers in the Americas.


Hair Weave in the 20th century


Long Nigerian Hair

Fast forward to the 1950s and we come across a woman named Christina Jenkins. Now, it’s Christina who many credit as being the founder of the modern-day sew-in technique that we all know and love. Although a bit fuzzy as to the specifics of her product, she patented the hair weaving technique which involved sewing the hair straight to netting, and then the netted hair piece were attached to cornrows. The alternative method at the time was weaving all of the extensions together then adhering the hair using hairpins.


Hair Weave Today


Hype Hair

Since then, we know that weaves have become much more sophisticated and versatile. While the weaves that Jenkins used were stiff and unnatural, now we have different types of hair that can blend with just about any texture. The weave game has changed for the better, and we have a long list of people that we can thank for the evolution of the hair weave. Happy Black History Month ladies!



Written by Bianca Scott

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