The afro is one of the quintessential hairstyles for black men and women. Taking advantage of the natural curl and features of our hair, we can get a great look that goes outwards and makes an impression. Of course, it is not a style that appeals to everyone. But for those who feel ready to rock the ‘fro, here’s our guide of helpful tips for how to grow an afro fast.
How Long Does It Take to Grow an Afro?
When it comes to determining how long it takes to grow an afro, there is no one answer to this question. If you want to know how to grow an afro fast, you need to consider your current hair length, your hair type, and about how long it takes for your hair to grow.
Afros have a lot of length to them, and the different curl types can impact how long your hair gets over time. To get an afro, you’re going to need at least a few inches. A simple way to determine your minimum necessary extended length is by comparing it to your hair type. For example, if you have type five hair, you’re going to need at least five inches of hair. If you have type three hair, then three inches.
It’s essential to note that these length requirements are for when you’ve extended out your hair. You don’t have to grow the lengths out that long to get the style you’re looking for.
As for how long it takes hair to grow, the average is about half an inch per month. That might vary slightly for you, but it can help you get a good idea of the time it’s going to take you to get the minimum length for your afro.
With that info out of the way, let’s get into some tips to help you grow an afro fast!
Keep Your Hair Moisturized
Keeping our hair moisturized is essential for almost any style, but it’s especially crucial for an afro. When our hair becomes dried out, it’s more brittle and prone to breaking—not desirable when you want to get your length out. On the other hand, moisturizing your hair not only keeps it healthy and flexible but helps it look great as well.
There are two core things that you can do to help your hair on this front. First up, drink lots of water. This is not only going to be good for your hair but for the rest of your body and health, too! If you want even more help on that front, you can also use moisturizing afro butter and other products to keep your hair hydrated. Depending on your hair texture, it can also be helpful to reduce how often you use shampoo.
Figure Out if Conditioner Works for You
When it comes to hair, some of us do better with conditioner, and some of us don’t. If your hair feels soft all on its own, you may not need to worry about using it. However, if your hair feels dry, there’s a strong chance that integrating a conditioner product into your routine is going to do a lot. Just like with keeping things moisturized, conditioner can help prevent breakage to give you the best afro experience.
Swap out Your Hair Tools
As afros grow and have their shapes come together, how you work out your tangles is going to have an impact. Using a tight-toothed comb can disrupt your afro’s form, which we don’t want to see. Instead, you’re going to want to invest in a pick, along with a wide-toothed comb. These can help get rid of tangles without harming your afro in the same way others can.
In addition to these two pieces of equipment, you can also make use of your hands. Your fingers make for an excellent tool in working out tangles and groom your curls. Using your hands along with a hair pick and a wide-tooth comb make it most natural to puff out your hair for the best results.
Wrap Your Hair Before Bed
We’ve talked about a lot of things that can cause damage to your hair so far, and, oddly enough, going to bed is one of them! Lying down on a pillow can cause all sorts of friction, adding fuzz to your hair and also increasing the chance of breakage. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to this: wrapping your hair with a durag or a scarf.
While durags have all sorts of other benefits (including style), their most important aspect for when you’re growing out an afro is the protection while you sleep. With proper wrapping, you can prevent issues with friction against your pillow, plus keep in that essential moisture for your locks.
For this tip, you tend to get better results using a durag while your hair is on the shorter side, and then a scarf works out as you start to get on the longer side. Silk and satin fabrics are best when it comes to scarves.
Start With a Consistent Hair Length
As you start to grow out your afro, it’s still critical to get a haircut beforehand. Yes, you’re going to be aiming for length, but your previous hairstyle can end up impacting the shape of your ‘fro. For guys, starting from a short length tends to serve the final form best, and then you can adjust it once you’ve gotten to your desired size.
An even cut to around one to two inches will serve you well (though feel free to be a bit longer if you already have some length on you). Taking a trim at this stage will help with clearing out any split ends and fragile areas that are way more likely to break and hurt your length.
When it comes to growing, you can choose not to get any additional trims or do the occasional maintenance. For the impatient, just aiming for growing will seem more satisfying, but getting regular trims will help prevent split ends and facilitate growth. I think that the maintenance is the preferable option overall, but taking care of your budding ‘fro with some of the tips above will help prevent split ends and lessen the need for trims during the growth phase.
Only Dry Your Hair Naturally
Speaking of things that can make your hair brittle and cause damage, hairdryers are one of them. Having high heat blasting on your growing afro is asking for brittle locks—which we’ve already established we don’t want. As such, let your hair naturally dry out whenever possible to prevent potential damage.
Now and then, using a hairdryer is necessary. If you need to use a hairdryer, I recommend getting some heat protectant spray. Additionally, it would be best if you only use your hairdryer on its lowest possible setting to prevent potential damage as well. While you can use this method, I wouldn’t recommend using it all the time, just because the effects can build up over time and damage your ‘fro.
Use Silk or Satin Hair Bands
If you’re planning on having a hairstyle that involves tying pieces out of your face, be careful about the types of hair bands that you use. Silk and satin materials are some of the best, just like when considering which kind of scarf to go and use to protect your hair at night. Natural hair and especially, afro hair get along well with silk or satin, you could also apply shea butter or coconut oil for more curly hair.
Again, these materials are strong enough to get the job done, but they’re also gentle enough that they won’t cause any potential damage to your hair over time. As with everything else we’ve mentioned, you’ll have less chance of hair breakage with silk or sating bands, which is great for when you’re growing out your length for an afro.
Don’t Dye Your Hair
Dyed hair can look cool, but I’m going to encourage you not to head towards the hair dye when growing out your ‘fro. Avoid hair dye for at least a year. Aside from adding in some extra work on your hair, dyeing and bleaching regularly can also cause hair damage by making it brittle. It could also cause split ends to occur and that could be detrimental to your hair growth. By now, you should have an idea of how that’s going to impact your afro, so I’ll spare you the explanation. Just stick to your natural hair color if you’re new to growing everything out.
Talk with Your Barber
When in doubt, consult an expert! Hair care should be a priority, especially with your natural hair. There are lots of different factors when it comes to bets growing out your afro, and it can be hard to keep track of them all if you’re new to the game. Thankfully, your barber (or even a hairstylist if you want) should have a wealth of information on helping you figure out what you need for your hair.
They can also naturally help out with trimming away any dead ends and keeping your hair healthy over time. You don’t have to go at growing out your afro alone!
Afros have a very distinct style, so it’s not that surprising to see their appeal. Keep in mind that growing one out can take a little bit of time and some preparation, but it’s very well worth it. I hope that this guide has given you all the info you need, and with proper hair care, setting you well on your path to growing the afro of your dreams.