Cloud Hair: A Journey Through Meteorology, the Natural Hair Movement, and Gaming Culture

The term ‘cloud hair’ may seem straightforward at first glance, but it carries a multitude of meanings across various fields, from meteorology to the natural hair movement, and even in the gaming world. This article delves into these diverse interpretations, revealing the rich tapestry of connections that the term ‘cloud hair’ weaves.

In the realm of meteorology, ‘cloud hair’ finds its roots in the ethereal formations of ‘cirrus’ clouds. These thin, wispy strands of water droplets or ice crystals hanging high in the sky derive their name from the Latin term for ‘a lock, or curl of hair’. This nomenclature was first scientifically defined by Luke Howard in 1803, drawing a fascinating parallel between the curly shapes of these clouds and locks of hair. The naming of cirrus clouds is not a random allocation; it carries historical, cultural, and scientific significance. These cloud formations serve as a constant reminder of nature’s unending poetry, connecting us to the roots of language and helping predict weather patterns.

Shifting from the skies to the ground, ‘cloud hair’ takes on a different meaning in the context of the natural hair movement among Black women. Here, it signifies a trend that celebrates Afro-textured hair in its most natural, voluminous, and undefined state. The term is used to describe hair that is allowed to puff up and frizz, resembling a cotton candy cloud. This trend is a departure from what might be described as the “traditional” aesthetic preferences, which often involve slicked-down edges, gelled-down bases, and perfect, well-defined curl patterns.

The natural hair movement, which has been growing for over 15 years, has encouraged many Black women to abandon chemical straighteners and embrace their natural kinks and coils. However, societal pressure for Black women’s natural hair to look “done” or “presentable” still persists. The ‘cloud hair’ trend challenges these norms, promoting the rejection of common beauty standards and the embrace of the natural, cloud-like state of Afro-textured hair. It’s a movement towards self-acceptance, freedom from rigid beauty standards, and a celebration of Black beauty in its most natural state.

In the gaming world, ‘cloud hair’ takes on yet another dimension. It refers to the distinctive hairstyle of Cloud Strife, the main character in the popular Final Fantasy 7 game. This Japanese-based anime product has gained global recognition, and Cloud Strife’s hairstyle has become iconic among fans. This hairstyle is characterized by its spiky arrangement, with strands twisted into points and radiating out in all directions from the scalp. Unlike a Mohawk, the hair on the sides of the head is not shaved or short, but rather of a longer length that contributes to the design’s distinctiveness.

To recreate this style, one needs patience, plenty of heavy hold spray or gels, and medium to long length hair. The process involves twisting the tips of the strands into a point, arranging them in front and just behind the ears, and stiffening each section to create the distinctive spiky look. This hairstyle serves as a unique fashion statement, making the wearer stand out in a crowd.

In conclusion, ‘cloud hair’ is a term that transcends disciplines and cultures. Whether it’s the ethereal formations of cirrus clouds, the natural hair movement among Black women, or the iconic hairstyle of a beloved video game character, cloud hair is a testament to the diversity and creativity inherent in our world. It serves as a reminder that even a simple term can carry a multitude of meanings, each with its unique cultural, scientific, and aesthetic significance.


Howard L. Essay on the Modification of Clouds. J. Churchill; 1865. 78 p.
Jeffries RB, Jeffries D. Reclaiming Our Roots: The Influences of Media Curriculum on the Natural Hair Movement. Multicultural Perspectives. 2014 Jul 3;16(3):160–5.