Abstract Women and men with naturally curly, wavy or kinky hair have used hot combs for more than a century to create straight and versatile hairstyles. Over the years, the hot comb has served as an alternative for straightening hair without the use of perms and other chemical processes. It been a very positive useful invention throughout the African American community. A hot comb also to many known as a straightening comb. The hot comb is a widened tooth metal comb. This comb is normally used to help straighten ultra curly or kinky hair. With the use of a hot comb many are able to achieve a variety of hiar styles.
Hot combs are either electric or heated by using a heating source on either a range top or burner to a temperature between 300 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot comb was first initally invented and developed in france. It was to help enhance European super straight look hairstyles traditionally found on Egyptian Women in 1845. Annie Malone was the first to patent the tool in the United States. Madame CJ Walker was the first to improve the teeth on the invention. Many debate whether the european invented the hot comb, or Madame CJ Walker because she was the first to improve the product for the United States to use up to current day.
The hot comb became very controversial after slavery in the African American community. Many African American believed that the hot comb was very damaging to the “natural state” of African American women’s hair. Many debated whether the hot comb was beneficial or another temporary downfall to a bigger problem. There were some African Americans who believed that the hot comb damaged the African-American community because it made the community submissive to the “white ideal image” of beauty and disregarded African American culture.
Many African Americans of lighter color were very happy, it boosted their ego’s and made them feel like just maybe they could blend in with the “ideal white image” and treated equally. The lighter color women believed that they were also better than the darker color women in the African American community. Hot combs are still used today throughout the salons in the African American community. The African American women use the hot comb as an alternative oppose to chemical straightners.
The Black Inventor Online Museum, http://www.blackinventor.com/pages/history.html
“What is a Hot Comb?”. WiseGeekHYPERLINK “http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-hot-comb.htm//”. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
LTC Leonard C. Sperling, MC; COL Purnima Sau, MC, “The Follicular Degeneration Syndrome in Black Patients: ‘Hot Comb Alopecia’ Revisited and Revised” Archives of Dermatology. 1992;128(1):68-74.