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Trending ethnic hairstyles for the new year
By Vee L. Harrison

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Chicago barber Andrew Martinez goes by "Dreux" behind the chair.

He works at Urbane Blades, a barber shop at 948 N. Orleans St. He's an open book and has no more problem telling you like it is. His bisexuality isn't what defines him, his hard work and dedication. Being knowledgeable about male grooming, he recently spilled the tea about the latest hair trends for the upcoming year.

"I have a very diverse clientele," said Martinez. "Gays, straights, Black, white. We are in a very universal community."

Martinez said that when it comes men hairstyle trends in the upcoming year, the "Killmonger" style is taking over. The style in inspired by the character, "Killmonger" played by Michael B. Jordan in last year's hit cinema, Black Panther. In the movie, Killmonger exhibited strength and that's exactly what defines this hairstyle.

The style dubbed by the character has the sides of the hair neatly tapered with long locs coming out of the top of the head, draping in any direction.

"My male clients are rocking this look and growing the locs to achieve this style and I'm noticing them enjoy the versatility in this look," said Martinez. "A man wearing this style is a renaissance man, He's a man of culture who understands trending fashion.

The high-top fade, according to Martinez, has also made a strong comeback and is heading into 2019. In the '90s, heartthrobs like Will Smith and Omar Epps drove us crazy with their towering manes. Now, the new school guys are on the scene, rocking the same look in a different way.

"The high-top fade is a look that isn't going anywhere, said Martinez. "It's so many variations—and it's a look that will forever be a staple in the urban hair look book."

Third, but not least is the hairstyle involving no hair at all, bald. Many men are going into 2019 with a bald head, and it's a popular look.

"Bald heads are becoming a style of their own. Several men who bald prematurely decide to go bald, and in most cases, this is accompanied with growing a beard."

Seems like more bald men are joining the bearded gang and creating a look that is clean, sexy and mature.

"Men are broadening the box with their style and grooming techniques," said Martinez. "Men's fashion and grooming is elevating. For a long time, men were very clean cut, military style, traditional fade types.

Sharika Walton, an independent hairstylist in Chicago, has her own take on hair trends for women in the upcoming year. Walton has done hair for over fifteen years, worked in four salons in the Chicago area, and currently takes interest in installing her own wigs for herself and friends.

"Wigs are a woman's saving grace in 2019," said Walton. "There was a time when so many women were ashamed to wear wigs, a time when wigs weren't as popular across mainstream fashion. It isn't like that at all anymore."

Walton said she does hair part-time during the week and makes over $1,000 a week personalizing and installing lace front wigs.

"A wig can transform a woman in just a quick minute," Walton says. It's the new sew-in, with less commitment."

Walton also said the beauty of wearing a wig allows someone to wear a wig and grow out their natural hair. And natural hair is also a popular look going into the new year—but the natural hair market has evolved, and so has styles.

"Natural hair once implied lots of length—but not anymore. So many women are going natural and going short—many in fades."

Walton said women are not afraid to go as short as men—and make it look sexy, too.

Feeder braids are going into the new year and the variations are endless.

"The difference between a regular French braids and feeder braids is the neatness. A feeder braid literally feeds the extension into the hair from underneath. It doesn't have the braid rising on top of the natural hair and I notice several clients like that."

Going into the new year is an opportunity for a new look. Dare to change it up, and some of these looks may be a great way to experiment with a new hairstyle. Hairstyles show confidence, artistic expression, and most of all, individuality.

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