A conk hairstyle dates back to the 1920s and early 1960s. It was the famous hairstyle of African-American men. The Conk’s popularity remained from the 1920s till the 1960s, mainly when civil rights activism was rising.
The name conk comes from the Congolese, a lye-based gel used to straighten or “relax” hair chemically. This procedure made the hair look smoother and more similar in texture to straight hair.
When people got straight hair through “conking,” they used to style it into pompadours or wore it slicked back. African-American men liked Conk’s hairstyle to achieve Eurocentric beauty standards and approval in a society that favored straight hair.
Black musicians, including Chuck Berry, James Brown, and Little Richard, were celebrities with the conk hairstyle. They used to wear their hair swept up into a swirl of waves on top of their heads.
Besides being trendy, the Conk symbolized aristocracy and status since having one showed you could pay for your hair procedure.
However, getting a conk at the salons was costly; many people started conking their hair. They used a mixture of lye (a strong chemical used to make soap), eggs, and potatoes to their hair to get a straight structure.
It’s significant to mention that the conk hairstyle has historical and cultural importance, as it replicated the involvedness of race, individuality, and societal norms when it was popularized.
In the 1960s, conks’ hype faded when the Black Pride and Black Power movements encouraged Black people to hold their natural hair, refusing white values of beauty.
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