The Internet is giving credit where it isn’t due again and it’s for yet another hairstyle that Black women have been rocking for ages.
The silk press, although newly dubbed “glass hair” for its reflective properties, was recently accredited to reality TV star, Kim Kardashian West in an article published last week by Marie Claire. The method involves passing a titanium flat iron through strands and smoothing on a weightless oil serum to give hair shine and body.
Considering the fact that women of color have been using this technique to make natural hair appear straight and silky for decades, the storied history of the “glass hair” section— which reads, “First came Kim Kardashian’s blunt-cut bob”— has ruffled quite a few feathers.
With plenty of everyday Black women, as well as celebrities like Tika Sumpter, Kelly Rowland and Taraji P. Henson having debuted the polished look long before the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star, it didn’t take long for Black Twitter to sound off.
“It’s called a silk press,” one user commented. “I have seen this everywhere since the 90’s when the girls at HBCU’S rocked the look. Please consider hiring Black Women and Black Men to avoid erasing our contributions to your trends.”
“I’m legit confused,” another user added. “[H]aven’t Black women been wearing oil sheen since the Hebrews tried to build The Towe[r] of Bab[b]le to Heaven. But now yall slapped some [C]aucasian on it and it’s a trend called glass hair now.”
Silk presses first amassed major popularity among Black women in the 90s. It was also a pre-requisite technique for mastering the art of perfectly-wrapped hair. Instead of using a hot comb and heavy hair grease to get sleek hair, Black women began to seek this styling method to alleviate weighty strands and eliminate heat damage.
For most Black hairstyles, hairdressers mist or smooth on a light oil to add shine to natural hair.
The same technique is even used to add luster to hair extensions.
Fast forward to 2016 when everyone was seeking Kelly Rowlands sleek chin-length bob.
Even today, the silk press method is used on both natural hair and bundled hair extensions to make them shiny and bone straight.
While some may still be deciding how they feel about the “glass hair” trend, there’s no question that this is a classic case of cultural appropriation.
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