African Hairstyles: Styles of Yesterday and Today

Author: Karen Marie Shelton
Book Reviewer

African Hairstyles: Styles of Yesterday and Today

African Hairstyles: Styles of Yesterday and Today

by Esi Sagay

This book is focused on African hairstyles from the past and the present up to 1983 when the book was published.  This book is still in print and available from  I must say, the photographs that are included are spectacular.  The cover of the book describes the book as being "dramatically illustrated with a wide range of elegant, exotic and straightforware hairstyles."  This description is absolutely true. Although all the photos are limited to black and white, they are stunning.  Esi Sagay mentions that this book took over 7 years to complete.  One look at all the elaborate hair designs and photos and I can understand why it would take that long to produce this book.

This book has a fascinating section on cornrowing.  There are over 50 different photos of cornrowed styles including styles for men.  The decisions are beautiful works of art.  There are step by step instructions on how to recreate all of the cornrow styles.  The beautiful hair in the cornrow chapter demonstrates the highly specialized hair design talents of Esi Sagay who resides in Lagos, Nigeria.   Ms. Sagay studied at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Science and Technology.  She has a degree in fine arts and is also a graphic designer.   Her artist talents are applied with true genuis to her hair designs.

Her book explains how to do different scalp designs including the Star, Crown, Pineapply and the Kudeti. She also explains hair threading and the design on threaded strands including the Onigi, Okoto or Puff, Dada, Sungas, Bubbled Sungas, Ejo, Twist, Sulpher and the Koso.

I really enjoyed this book.  I will probably never be able to duplicate any of the extremely sophisticated and artistic designs that Ms. Sagay demonstrates in her book, but I learned a lot of new information and was very impressed with the overall artistic quality and content of the book.  I recommend this book to anyone interested in creating advanced Black or African hairstyles.

Buy The Book

Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: Heinemann (May 1, 1984)
ISBN: 0435898302

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