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Bella Glossary: The Afro Hairstyle

Definition: The Afro

You've probably seen, or maybe even worn, an afro. But do you know about the history of this hairstyle? This natural look became widely popular in the late 1960s to 1970s, during which the Black Power and Black Is Beautiful cultural movements were in play. The style became a personal-is-political statement from African-Americans who wanted the world to see that their natural beauty (both hair texture and skin color) should be considered equally as beautiful as that of Caucasians.

Afros are maintained by using a hair pick, and compared to the stress and pain of relaxing hair, many people find it's easier to go natural. Even though afros are less common today than they once were, curly-haired people continue to wear them proudly — including Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, who sports a version of the afro in the new Tom Ford ad campaign.


Join The Conversation
SuerteCurls SuerteCurls 8 years
Naturally curly Afro hair has never gone away in my eyes. A lot of curly girls of all ethnicities are ditching the relaxers, straighteners, useless synthetics products, flat irons and opting to wear their hair in it's natural form. As such there are loads of forums and products available to suit those who wear their hair in it's natural form. You only have to do a search for curly hair or natural black hair care and you'll find loads like, Lorraine Massey who wrote the Curly Girl book or then there are all natural (paraben free & synthetic free products)like, and I have ditched my relaxer and gone all natural, Afro, curly and use only natural hair products. I started to relax my hair because I thought it made my hair manageable - but my hair started to break off with split ends and I didn't realize the damage until I saw a woman wearing her long curly Afro hair. I feel that my hair is more manageable with it in an Afro and it doesn't cost an arm, leg and kidney stone to keep my Afro curly hair bouncy. It took me over 2 years to grow out the relaxer but it was WORTH IT! I'm so glad I transitioned from straight to curly Afro and proud to wear my hair in it's natural form.
Bella-Donna Bella-Donna 9 years
I totally dig Funk & its use in 70's music, so naturally I love the Afro. It has this very friendly yet polished vibe, which dreadlocks and braids lack. Once wore an Afro wig and couldn't help having a silly, happy, Cheshire-cat smile plastered on me for rest of the day :D
kerish kerish 9 years
.. I am not sure am into afros..they are so hard to maintain..keeping it trim and I do sport natural hair but it is in a fade...and every now and then i do an edgier cut.... do they even make hair picks anymoe????????????
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i love a good afro... i think it's a gorgeous style. leanneluvsu, i think you're right--my japanese hair stylist told me that they're huge there (and sported one a couple of years back).
MlleMLT MlleMLT 9 years
I think you have to have a certain swag to pull one off. Lauryn and Erykah can for sure. I don't know about certain people though. And I gotta say on guys I like a nice fade over an afro anyday - or even longer hair just braided up. I do like natural hair don't get me wrong, just shorter. An afro is definitely a statement hairstyle!
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
I think they are fun!
leanneluvsu leanneluvsu 9 years
The Afro and natural hair is actually making a HUGE comeback. Many black women today are cutting off their natural hair as a BLACKlash against the mainstream culture that says only mixed black or non-black women are attractive. Some have experience serious hair loss from not taking care of their relaxed hair and some just want a change. I've been dying to go natural for so long now. I heard in Japan they are very popular, too.
KimBurnett KimBurnett 9 years
Or is her name Korto, as on Buzzsugar, either way she's beautiful.
KimBurnett KimBurnett 9 years
Kyoto, on Project Runway, is looking so gorgeous in hers!
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
I love Afros! So natural and beautiful and fun!
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