How I Style My Afro

Let me start off by saying that I HATE styling my hair. Seriously, I do. I didn't go natural until I was 16. I'm super tender-headed, I don't know how to braid my own hair, and pretty much every time I try to attempt a new style it ends up with me crying and frustrated. Even trying to manage a ponytail puff on dry hair is a cause of stress for me.

 

So I thought I'd write this article for people with hair like mine who want to switch it up with super minimal effort (and relatively few tears). 

 

Disclaimer: Every style here, except for the scarf, I had to start off with damp or soaking wet, conditioned hair. So do with that information what you will. Also these pictures are definitely not professional quality, so sorry!

  1. 1. Afro

    As I mentioned earlier, I usually despise doing my hair. Most of the time after I'm done in the shower, I just let it air dry and I let it be. It's starting to get longer now so I do have to pick it out more frequently as it dries so it's not droopy and it doesn't get into my eyes too much, but this requires no other styling! Because curly hair is really fragile and gravity-defying, I only shampoo it once every few weeks. It takes longer for the natural oils to get to the tips of my hair, so shampooing it more often would make it dry, dead, and incredibly frizzy. To ensure better moisture, I condition every other wash, only detangle with my fingers or a wide-tooth comb, and I rinse with cold water to help close the pores so I don't lose water when the shower is over. After that, I add a little bit of black castor oil (usually only once or twice a week) and set with a curl cream. Once my hair is almost dry - a few hours later - I go back and spritz with a leave-in conditioner. 

    Maintaining my afro takes A LOT of work, but it is the least intensive style-wise.

  2. 2. Afro with a part

    Since my hair does get in my eyes sometimes now, I often try to part my hair. Aside from parting it, there is no difference in this style than in my normal afro. I have only recently been trying the part, and I'm not sure I like it yet, but hey, it's an option!

  3. 3. Scarf

    Most of the time I just wear my scarf to bed because I'm not totally confident yet to wear it in public. But it does a great job at keeping my hair together on top of my head all night so I don't wake up with a flat afro. As you can see, I also sleep with satin pillow cases to cut down on frizz.

    To get this scarf look, I honestly just used this Buzzfeed article that has "cheat sheets" with visual guides for each step. I haven't mastered any of the other styles yet, because my scarf is a little bit too small, but once I get a new one, I want to try some of the other styles!

  4. 4. Ponytail

    The only reason this is different from the single puff is because of where all the hair is located. I consider it a ponytail and not a puff if the hair is in the back of my head, not on top. With ponytails, I can usually get smoother roots because I comb all of my hair back when it is soaking wet in the shower and I pull my hairtie tight. Then I let it airdry from there. I also like to frame my face with those little braids.

    Also, yay Google for making GIFs out of my little photoshoot!

  5. 5. Single Puff

    So I realized I don't have very many good pictures of this hairstyle, but it's very similar to the ponytail. The only difference is most of my hair is gathered at the top of my head instead of towards the back of it or on the nape of my neck. This style is usually best achieved with damp hair, so I most often use a spray bottle to stretch my curls before putting it in a puff. Otherside, if I do it on dry hair, there will be a bump in the front (kinda like those bump-it things) and it's not very cute.

  6. 6. Double Puff

    This style I usually do with wet hair just out of the shower. I'll use a rattail comb to split my hair down the middle and then I'll make two pigtails on the top of my head. I usually have to pick them out while they're drying, otherwise they'll be droopy. I also like to form my hair with braids in this hairstyle as well.

  7. 7. Faux-hawk

    I very rarely put my hair in a fauxhawk unless I want to feel glamorous! It takes the most amount of time to achieve and I usually don't feel like putting in the time or effort to do it more often than I do. 

    With this style, I prefer to work on damp hair, though I've done it with wet and dry hair before. I section it into 3 or 4 parts starting at the front of my head and working back. Simply put each part into a ponytail and pull it tight. Pick out the hair and pull at it to connect the ponytails so it looks like one strip of hair rather than multiple sections. 

Though I've done many other things with my hair like cornrows, box braids, bangs, etc., I prefer to stick with a plain old afro. I hope this helps anyone who wants to switch it up but wants to keep it low effort. Stay rad!

HCXO, Samantha