If you were not around during the 80s, chances are there are some things
you need to know about the jheri curl. Most people from that era will either say they love it or hate it. It made such an astounding impact in black hair history, we have to tell you the facts!
Four things I remembered about the jheri curl was:
- The smell after it was first done
- That it took hours to complete
- People walking around in public with plastic bonnets on their heads; back then: shocking!
- The smell of activator on old activator a week old.
The style was mainly done by guys or gals who wanted to look like Michael Jackson. They would parade
about with plastic bags on their heads in the sun. The only word to describe the scent that preceded them was “pungent”. Some women flatly refused to date guys that wore it. Guys were careful when dancing closely with girls in case it got on their tops. In the iconic movie “Coming To America”, the scene where jheri curl stains were left in the sofas was real. I believe this was what caused so many plastic sofa covers to be forever installed in Caribbean living rooms of that time.
Some things you need to know about the jheri curl that changed are:
- The amount of time it took to complete the service. Before, you would go to the salon in the morning and leave at night.. Today, because of improvements in research, that has been reduced to max four hours.
- Smell has also improved significantly. What little smell is left goes away at the first wash.
- It can be worn for up to three months.
- The hair has to be at least five inches to have a good curl. My pet peeve is that tight curl that looks like a cap but hey, not my business.
- In my experience, the jheri curl, if done properly, will grow your hair quite well with little breakage unlike a relaxer. This is because of the conditioning creams that must be applied daily so it does not dry up.
- The dripping oiliness that it was known for is not true today. Various curl systems now give you a drier curl.
- Depending on the system used, the price to do the service also varies.
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Clients who do the jheri curl will do so for many years. However, treatments to keep the hair strong are necessary. When you notice the curls are limp, I recommend not doing the service for a few months to give the hair time to rejuvenate. If this is not done, the hair will lose its elasticity and there will be very little or no curl in the hair.
As I said before, every few years I see an increase in the number of people who want this service. The jheri curl never actually left. It goes underground and resurfaces every few years. People in certain professions or with limited hair care abilities find it a useful style to have since it needs minimal upkeep. Recently, some younger people have been exploring this option. These were some things you need to know about the jheri curl in case you too were curious.
By Paula Barker, Silkie Locks Hair Design