The Afro has played a critical role in our culture, representing both our passions and our politics. “The first natural hair movement, which was in the seventies, was more of a symbol of Black pride and Black beauty,” says renowned hairstylist Anthony Dickey. And yet, while there’s no denying the positive impact that the current natural hair movement has had on our attitudes toward our original textures and the styles we embrace, rocking a fro might still be unfamiliar territory for some. The versatility shown on these pages may make you reconsider. We offer an array of modern-day looks that reimagine the fro as fun and functional.
2 of 8Joshua Pestka
Whether you’re a novice or an expert, let your mood (or even the occasion) be your guiding light when deciding on the shape of your Afro. “For me, inspiration for working on anyone’s hair starts with the individual,” Dickey says. Opt for (on previous page, from top) a sultry look straight from the forties or a Grace Jones–esque iteration—the possibilities are endless. The right products, stretching and heat can transform locks from four inches to eight and give way to a seemingly new texture. “The beautiful thing about textured hair is that it’s moldable,” Dickey adds. And pinning, tucking or even twisting can produce the ultimate hair illusion and update this historic style: “If you are going to rock an Afro, have fun with it; don’t feel like it has to just be this round shape.”
3 of 8Joshua Pestka
Frizz, something we typically fight against, is the secret weapon to preserving the Afro’s form. “It’s the frizz that allows you to go in and create modern shapes,” Dickey explains. Protective styling, such as braids and cornrows, is a great way to accentuate kinky and curly tresses. So is using nonsudsing cream shampoos and leave-in conditioners—both of which help strengthen your mane. Still need a bit more fro-vincing? Consider this: “Embracing your Afro can actually keep your hair healthier, since it’s stretched out. And it can be a more affordable style—you can always pare down the number of products you need,” Dickey adds. Whatever the reason, cherish and love your hair in all its geometric glory.