From close to the scalp to a huge cloud of curls or coils, the Afro is to be celebrated. The Afro, ‘fro or natural, worn by both men and women of color, emerges throughout history: in the discovery of 5,000+-year-old Afro picks from pre-dynastic Egypt, the controversial styles by 19th century European “Circassian beauties” and of course, as an affirmation of Black pride in the 60s and 70s.
The Afro, a central part of the new natural hair movement started around 2009, seems to be here to stay. More African Americans are researching and exercising healthier and more natural options, including utilizing the best hair care products for their needs.
What are some of the things we need to keep in mind when caring for your Afros?
Keep your ‘fro healthy by sticking to a hair regimen, including cleansing, deep conditioning and moisturizing. Do you want your hair to grow? This is the way to do it.
Be gentle with styling and detangling whether wet or dry. Your fingers are your best tool to lift and create volume, but if you use a comb or pick, make sure it’s one with wide teeth, starting at the ends and then moving towards the roots, as you detangle. Plastic picks tend to be gentler then those with metal.
Cleanse your hair regularly. Use shampoo about once a week. Bear in mind, all shampoos are not equal. Avoid those with parabens (preservatives) and sulfates (detergents). You want to revitalize your scalp and hair as well as cleanse from the build up from those products you use all week. When drying your hair, squeeze and blot rather than rubbing, which can damage your delicate hair.
Pre-poo before you shampoo. These treatments before shampooing and conditioning have several benefits: they dial up your conditioner’s activation, help with detangling, add additional moisture and improve your hair’s manageability. Pre-poo treatments can be selected from organic, prepared products or as close at hand as olive oil, coconut oil, honey or yogurt from your pantry.
Nourish your scalp and hair using a serum. Serums encourage growth, add moisture and nourish your scalp and hair. Natural serums range from coconut oil – a light serum rich in Vitamin E, K and iron, which penetrates hair shaft and protects it against environmental toxins and excess heat – to those combined with rich essential oils.
Moisturize with the L.O.C. method (or L.C.O) in 3 steps – Add leave-in with liquid (water in a spray bottle or water-based moisturizer), lock in water molecules with a natural oil like coconut, extra virgin olive oil or Jamaican black castor and close in the hair cuticle and seal in moisture with a cream, like a butter-based moisturizer such as Shea butter. At this point, a curling pudding can also be applied to define coils or curls.
There is lots of information and product choice for moisturizing but read the labels and experiment to see what works best for you based on your hair type. One point that seems to be common across the board; L.O.C. works best on clean hair.
Have it trimmed regularly, especially if you want your ‘fro’s shape maintained and uniform.
Wrap your hair before bed. Moisturize and wear a silk or satin scarf or bonnet to prevent tangling and help to lock in moisture. Cotton pillowcases tend to suck up moisture and result in dryness. You could also use a silk pillowcase to care for your tresses.
Don’t limit your style. We are fortunate to have so many options for our ‘fros!
Wear it coily, round and close, large and glorious, in soft curls after a twist out, combined with twists and cornrows, pulled back or up with a scarf, bandeau in a sassy puff…we could go on!
For men, there are also endless choices of chic ‘fro shapes today, including ‘frohawks, box fades and twist outs.
Care for and wear your Afro crown of Afrocentric pride this February and always.
As always …
Dedicated To Your Beauty
Juliette Samuel – CEO/Founder