When many people think of the Afro hairstyle, they imagine a tall, rounded, halo-like collection of hair surrounding the tops and sides of a person’s head. However, the hairstyle has changed considerably since the height of its popularity in the 1970s. There are several ways that a person can wear an Afro.
Afros of Various Heights
Individuals often grow Afro hairstyles to varying heights or lengths, according to their preferences and the natural growth rate of their hair. Though the traditional Afro is usually very large (6 inches tall or taller), shorter, tighter Afros are also common. A very short Afro (less than 1 inch) may also be referred to as a “natural.”
A common Afro variation worn by women is the “Afro Puffs” style. For the “Afro Puffs” style, the wearer will use hair bands to tie her Afro off into two separate puffs worn one on each side of the head or pulled back into a single small puff.
The Afro hairstyle is noted for the absence of chemical treatment; however, some Afros can be slightly treated to create a different look. Applying a small amount of hair relaxer to the Afro will produce an Afro that is slightly looser and less curled. This style is sometimes referred to as a “Halfro,” because it is not completely natural and untreated.
Another simple modification to the Afro hairstyle that some people do is to part the hair in one or more places. An individual may part the Afro in the middle and comb it down along the sides of the head or part it on the left and right sides of the head.
Afros and Other Styles
Many people wear Afros in combination with braids or cornrows. For example, a person may have her hair partially braided in the front and sides with the hair styled into an Afro in the back, or she may have one side of her head braided and the other styled into an Afro.
References and Resources"Going-Natural: How to Fall in Love With Nappy Hair"; Mireille Liong-a-kong; 2004
"Textured Tresses: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining and Styling Natural Hair"; Diane Da Costa, et al.; 2004
"Afro Hair: A Salon Handbook"; Phillip Hatton; 1994