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The Jheri curl is a hairstyle developed in the 1970’s by white chemist and stylist Robert William Redding. Redding was also responsible for the creation of hair conditioner and PH balanced shampoo.

The hairstyle was advertised as a low maintenance wash and wear, and easier to take care of than a chemical relaxer for blacks.  However, the activator had bad side effects such as the oil that would stain clothing, furniture and anything that came into contact with it.

The most famous Jheri curls were worn by Michael Jackson, Deion Sanders, Walter Peyton, Eazy E, Samuel L. Jackson, Rick James, Ice Cube and Eric LaSalle in the film “Coming to America.”

Redding, also know as Jheri Redding, was a Chicago high school student strongly interested in chemistry, who started experimenting with items in his kitchen like mayonnaise and vinegars to build haircare products. By 1956, Redding started the Jheri Redding Product line in Los Angeles. He followed suit with three additional companies, Redken in 1960, Jhirmack in 1968, and Nexxus in 1979.

Redding put his haircare discoveries into the 1964 publication “The Scientific Approach to Hairdressing” then again in “The Anatomy of a Permanent Wave” in 1967.

In 1990, Jheri Redding was inducted into the National Cosmetology Foundation’s Hall of Fame. Then in 1997 he was also inducted into the North American Hairstyling Award’s Hall of Leaders. In addition, he founded the Hollywood Design Council.

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5 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: The Jheri Curl

  1. Derrick on said:

    You’re incorrect. The name Jheri curl was named for stylist Jheri Redding who invented it. It was the guys name and not a racist word.

  2. Endow june on said:

    Jheri curl means to be outcasted or eight balled. In world war 2 the Americans soldiers called the Germans soldiers (jheri) to let them know the enemy is close. Just like they discribe us in the 80s we we’re outcasted and talked about and even eight balled if you tried to fit in amongs people with natural hair.

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