The Afro, also known as a “natural,” was a cultural hairstyle introduced by the African American community in the 1960s and remained trendy throughout the 70s. Prior to the introduction of the “natural,” those that chose not to straighten their hair, wore braids and cornrows. The Afro was not only a healthy alternative to relaxers, hot combs and tight braids, but also a symbol of black pride. Today, afros are increasingly gaining popularity. Women are embracing their natural hair texture, wearing it in full glory.
The blow-out afro is created by first washing and conditioning the hair. The hair is freshly washed to prevent oil and product from weighing it down. The hair is then gently dried with a towel, to remove excess moisture, before being blown out. A blow dryer is used to stretch the hair to its fullest length. A light oil is then applied to the hair to seal-in moisture. A large comb or hair pick is used to lift hair up and out. The hair is then gently patted with the palm of the hands to create a perfect round shape.
The shrunken fro is similar to the blow-out afro minus the heat. It’s similar to what is commonly known today as the teenie weenie afro. The hair is washed, conditioned, moisturized, oiled and allowed to air-dry. As the hair dried, the curls shrink and draw the hair into a tightly “shrunken” afro. Typically the hair is not manipulated. However, some people choose to slightly lift the hair at the root to add volume.
The afro-puff was a popular hairstyle for women who wore afros. The afro-puff is easy to create and adds chic and femininity to the otherwise simple style. The style is created by pulling the hair back and up, similar to creating a ponytail, but instead the hair is loosely secured with a scarf or headband and allowed to expand at the crown. The front of the hair is sometimes braided or twisted and accessorized with beads. Young women and girls often wore two afro-puffs for an even more unique look in the 70s.
Wash and Set
The wash-and-set was popular in the 70s for women with natural hair. It gave them the option to wear their hair semi-straight, without relaxers or hot combs. The hair is washed, conditioned and set on large magnetic rollers. Then dried using an over-the-head hair dryer. It takes more than an hour for long afro textured hair to dry using this method. Drying the hair on rollers stretches and straightens it. Once the hair is dry, the rollers are taken out and the hair can be worn curly or straight. The wash-and-set is gentle on the hair and offers a healthier alternative to chemicals and excessive heat.
References and ResourcesBlack Women Natural Hairstyles: Afro Puffs Ponytails
Super 70's: Afros
Grow Afro Hair Long: Afro Hairstyles