Review: "Growing African American Hair"

The author of Growing African American Hair Longer, Stronger and Healthier, Annie M. Donaldson, is a licensed cosmetologist with her own salon. Many of today’s hair care books are written by laymen, so I was definitely interested in what Ms. Donaldson had to say.

Despite the low-budget looking cover, I found a lot of solid information inside.


What I Liked:

  • She touches on all aspects of hair care

The book is divided into four main sections: cleansing and chemicals, protection, styling options and principles. The author aims to show everything you need to know from choosing a good shampoo to eating for optimum hair health.

  • She begins with a hair basics overview

Many women don’t know the simple composition of hair and how it can affect everything from growth to maintenance. The author starts by breaking down the basics of hair, such as the different textures and the basic makeup of a strand.

  • She debunks the “only wash every 2 weeks” rule

This hair care myth has been floating around since the beginning of time and plenty of black women swear by it. While it’s true that each head is different, it’s absolutely all right to wash more often.

  • She gives a checklist/summary of good hair practices

The book contains a list of healthy hair techniques that can be photocopied and used as a quick reference guide.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Very short “chapters”

It can almost be considered a manual of sorts because the chapters are so short, many less than two full pages. Some of the chapters were inadequate and could have been flushed out more to provide more information.  The moisturizers chapter was barely over a page and the chapter on oils was less than one.

  • Her stance on trims

The stylist in her definitely shows through here.

Ms. Donaldson states that you should let your stylist trim your hair as often as suggested and that “cutting damaged hair is going to make your hair fuller once it grows again.”
I am a member of too many hair boards not to know that a stylist’s intentions when trimming/cutting our hair are not always honorable. And cutting does not affect the fullness/thickness of our hair; it only appears fuller because the strands are now cut blunt and laying on top of each other, producing the look of fullness.

  • The natural hair section is slightly misleading

Besides the chapter being way short (about 1 3/4 pages), the author claims that it’s a good time to permanently color and braid your hair while natural because it’s less fragile in its natural state.

While this is true to some degree, it implies that natural hair is immune to damage and can withstand more than relaxed hair, and this is incorrect.

Natural hair, while sometimes appearing “rough and tough,” is actually more prone to breakage because of its intricate pattern. Many women can attest to the damaging effects of color and braids on natural hair.

  • No pictures

Aside from the testimonial pages, there are only six pages containing pictures, all in black and white, and only two of them actually related to the content; the others are simply generic pictures of women with hair.

Of course, what a book says is more important than it looks. However, it’s always nice to have visual complements as aids and to enhance the book’s overall appeal.

I give Growing African American Hair Longer, Stronger and Healthier
out of 5 nappy fros. Longer, more informative chapters and visual aids would have boosted this rating.

Have you read this book? If so, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Sign up for more reviews.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge