Uh oh, here is another controversial one...........Afros are not the default style of your hair. Let me make it clear afros are cute, I love my own, I am just saying in my opinion, it should not be a default style. Let me qualify that statement
1.Picking the hair is not ideal.
Afros require you to pick the hair (i.e separate each hair). Curly hair gains strength in numbers which is why it prefers to twist with or around other hair strands.
Picking hair can lead to breakage
2. Historically Africans rarely if ever wore afros as a hairstyle
A long time ago Leila of BGLH had an African Style Week featuring a mix of precolonial hair styles and modern takes on traditional hair styles. The afro only features as a short hair cut.
Medium length and long hair was styled in a way that generally hid the ends of the hair be it a tucked in bun or wrapped in thread or braided (Talking about free hair here, locs are also an option). Afros with long hair are usually seen when the woman is in the process of styling her hair.
In my opinion medium and long hair afros are actually an invention of the 70's. It is a cute style, I just think many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our default style. Traditional hair care shows otherwise.
3. So why are afros dangerous?
Afros are dangerous
1. If you are trying to grow your hair
2. If you wear the hair in an afro very often
Where is the danger?
The danger is breakage from
1. Hair tangling
2. Physical breakage from tugging the hair into shape
3. Physical breakage from picking.
4. What is the alternative?
Reader Renee asked me to propose an alternative to the afro. My answer is
1. Don't default to the afro, wear it as a temporary style for a day or two not as your regular style
2. Avoid picking the hair and try a chunky or curly afro instead (like a twist out or braid out styled into a fro without too much separation)
3. Pin up the afro