Mar 2, 2009
By Dr. Linda Amerson

This article is a continuation of some of the abundance of information, regarding the history of black hair and scalp care. Below lists some comparisons to reveal how far haircare and scalp has come from before the 1700's to present day professionals of Cosmotologists, Barbers, and Doctors of Trichology.

1) Past - Warm bacon grease was used on tightly braided hair to lubricatethe scalp, especially around the hairline areas, where the tension was the most severe, to soften hair.

Present - Scalp conditioners are used to lubricate the scalp. Traction Alopecia is a common result when excessive tension is used in the hairline areas. A Doctor of Trichology can address these scalp maladies.

2) Past - Dishwater was used to rinse the hair. It was believed that the nutrients in the dishwater would be good for the hair.

Present - Thank God that we now have Water from a filtered system is used to rinse all dust, and foreign matter from the hair and scalp.

3) Past - The sunday morning haircutting was done on the porch, with the customer sitting on a box or stump. This constituted the first Barber Shop.

Present - There are licensed Barbers and Cosmetologists who own businesses to service their clients. Also, sanitation and sterilization laws are practiced.

4) Past - To relax the hair, straightening solutions often burned the scalp and caused tears of anguish. Proper rinsing of the chemical was limited, therefore, this chemical was left in the hair and continued to process. Often resulting in broken hair, falling hair (hair loss), and in some cases baldness. In addition, scalp burns occured and were slow to heal.

Present - Technological advancements have been made with chemical relaxers. They are available in mild, regular, and super strengths. A licensed Cosmetologist or Barber is professionally trained for chemical applications. For hair breakage, hair loss, scalp and baldness concerns, seek the professional expertise of a Doctor of Trichology.

5) Past - In 1905, Madam C.J. Walker revolutionized haircare for African Americans, with her development of hair straightening methods. She also developed a complete line of hair care preparations.

Present - There are many African American Companies who carry a complete line of hair care products for natural textures, color treated hair, and other combination textures.

6) Past - Mr. H.M. Morgan is best known as having established the first Barber School in Tyler, TX in 1936. His first school had only four chairs, which he later expanded to as many as 13 Barber Schools in various cities. His largest shool had 27 chairs. Mr. Morgan died in 1964 at 70 years of age.

Present - Numerous African American Barber Schools are available throughout the U.S.A., and well as other countries.

7) Past - In the 1940's, Barbershops and Beauty Salons for African American clients were worldwide. They offered press and curls, straightening and marcel waves. Popular hairstyles for women were exemplified by entertainers such as jazz and blues singer Billie Holiday.

Present - Today's Barbershops and Beauty Salons for African American clients are even more widespread. There are also specialty Salons available for natural haircare, Full Service Salons, Childrens Salons, Relaxation Centers, Salon Suites, and Hair and Scalp Clinics for hair loss and scalp disorders.

8) Past - The International Trichology Institute opened in 1902 in London, England to train aspiring Trichologists. This Intitute is still open today.
Cosmetologist and Barbers may take their business to the next level and obtain their Doctor of Trichology certification.

Present - In the 1990's, Dr. Hattie Thompson and Dr. Tariq Madyun opened the International Institute of Trichology in Madison, Alabama. Furthermore, in 1999, Dr. Linda Amerson opens the International Trichology Training Center in Arlington, TX. In 2008, Dr. Sandra Gilman opens The Elan Center for Trichology in Madison, Alabama, to certify
aspiring Cosmetologists and Barbers to obtain their Doctor of Trichology

All questions and inquiries should be forwarded to Dr. Linda Amerson at 817-265-8854, or at

History information was obtained from the following books: "Curly Hair" and "400 Years Without A Comb" both by Willie L. Morrow, and "Milady's Black Cosmetology".