There’s just something about Afro hairstyles… It must be the way coils wrap around each other, or their versatility, perhaps it’s the the fact that there are 1001 ways Afro hair can be manipulated to give you the most artistic and sophisticated looks — or how it almost defies gravity. It goes without saying that Afro hairstyles are pretty elite.
Black women have always found a way to embrace their natural hair texture, however, society hasn’t always made them feel welcomed enough to do so. For that reason, Afro hair has a strong attachment to political statements, or messagings that challenge the status quo.
Black women’s hair textures range from the loosest of curls to the coiliest of coils but much like the severed history western society has with racism, hair discrimination has made conversations around how Black women should style their hair nuanced. However, there is nothing nuanced or political about how hair grows out of a person’s scalp. Afro hair naturally grows upwards and outwards instead of straight down – so what?
So it’s always refreshing seeing Black women rocking their curls in their most natural state. In the public eye, high profile black women are using their platforms to celebrate their natural hair. Lupita Nyong’o made history when she became the second black African woman to win an Oscar – she accepted her award while wearing her pretty Afro embellished with a simple gold band.
Solange Knowles has embraced experimenting too – dying her ‘fro an icy blonde or lacing her hair with flowers for her wedding day. Tracee Ellis Ross regularly rocks her glorious natural texture. She even created her own haircare line, Pattern – a range dedicated to curly and coily hair types. Then there are all the young Black Hollywood icons which at any given chance remind us of the beauty in proudly rocking your fro’ like Amandla Stenberg and Keke Palmer.
When things involve minimal manipulation this also allows hair to grow healthier. Although a heavily divisive topic, many hair experts and trichologists see better results with hair growth when the hair is left alone. In fact, Eleanor Richardson, who is a consultant trichologist at the Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic warns us against the dangers of choosing braiding: “The most common damage that we end up seeing in the clinic is traction. So that’s a pulling force that’s been applied, because of a very tight style. Maybe due to very chunky braids, extensions, or weave-in and styles that have been there for a while as well.”
As much as we are team do-whatever-you-want with your hair because that is your business, be it protective styles, texturisers etc, ultimately your God-given natural hair will never go out of style.
One thing about Black women though, is that we want to switch up our hair at any given moment. Sometimes, all we need is a little inspo. Over on the ‘gram, it’s a ripe hunting ground to discover some stunning inspiration.
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