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Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our default.

Chocolatelove2010

New Member
I just read this on a blog, and thought it was quite interesting. I've already read from members that they don't use a comb, only on wash days.. because less manipulation is better. I tried that, but for me.. my hair just tangled more, so I've stuck with the comb but I tried to use it less often.

Here's the blog:

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)

---------

Source - http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com/2010/08/natural-hair-top-tip-dangers-of-afros.html

Natural ladies - Are you always in braids? Other styles? Do you wear your hair in it's natural state, I'm extremely curious.

Please share.
 
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EllePixie

New Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

The hair breakage part is definitely true; I don't think she was trying to be controversial b/c she is referring to a picked out/blown out fro.
 

SimJam

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

I wud tend to agree with ellepixie ... though neither of us can speak for the author of the article.

wearing a blown and or picked out fro everyday I think wud lead to breakage through over manupulation.
 

infojunkie

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

For me afros are only for occassions when I wanna show off. Wouldn't do it on the regular.
 

Harina

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Do puffs count as well?
 

Sweet_Ambrosia

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

BGLH is a nice site, although the owner could have rephrased the title of the article a bit differently, it’s kind of over-dramatic. But I get what she’s saying. Anytime you manipulate your hair in some way or fashion it can cause breakage, depending on the health of your hair and how you handle it. When it comes to wearing afros/puffs the chance of breakage is greater, that is if you choose to wear it often and if you choose to pick your hair out from roots to ends using a traditional afro pick, it’s almost the equivalent of dry combing, which for most naturals it usually results in breakage which translates to little or no retention. If a natural has a length goal in mind wearing afros/puffs all the time wouldn’t be too wise.

As for the afro being the ‘default’ natural style, it really depends on the individual. Personally it’s not my default style, because it requires too much manipulation for *me*, even though I use my fingers only to fluff my hair out for the random times I wear a afro/puff, the bigger I want it the more I have to fluff, which means more manipulation. So instead of going through all that, my default style or ’go to’ style is a bun/updo, it’s simple, quick and requires little manipulation, any style that’s protective or requires little manipulation is what I tend to stick with.
 

EllePixie

New Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Do puffs count as well?

I def think puffs count. I styled my hair in a puff once and I could feel the tension - any hairstyle where I can feel my hair pulled I tend to stay away from.
 

ConstantlyDynamic

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

i wear afro puffs everyday but i don't pick my hair from the roots to the ends. i admit that i comb my hair everyday but i get more tangles when i don't. when i "pick" my hair i do it lightly and only to make the puff bigger b/c i have so much shrinkage. i hope that since i don't do it from roots to ends though, that i'm not creating more breakage issues
 

Hairsofab

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

I wear my hair out but I don't use a pick or a comb just finger detangle. I do agree though if long hair is your goal it is probably better to keep the hair braided in some style rather than to wear loose.
 

miss cosmic

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Having lived in southern africa all my life I can tell you that afro-textured haired people do not default to the afro unless the hair is short. This is not to say you'll never see big afros.
Afro-textured hair is difficult to maintan particularly if one does not know of moisturizing methods.
To th best of my knowledge (no research just looking around me) most people with natural hair (here I mean specifically afro-textured hair, what you call type 4), keep it braided, plaited, some sort of twisted, dreadlocked or under a weave/wig. Afros are generally short and big afros are few and far between.
As I said, no research, just my observations.
 

Nonie

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Natural ladies - Are you always in braids? Other styles? Do you wear your hair in it's natural state, I'm extremely curious.

Please share.

Well, when I do wear my hair out, I always comb it out. Don't care for the look of chunky afros (Makes me think I look like they don't make combs where I come from) and I feel more at peace when I know my strands are carefully separated which means no detangling necessary...so I don't think I can stop it. I do take care to make sure my hair is wet and well lubed. S Curl provides this slip for me so I don't really get breakage worth writing home about from it. Now when I used to pick dry hair, yes, breakage was the norm.

To answer your questions, I am usually in braids or twists, but it isn't so much because I don't want breakage. It is more because I am too lazy to be combing and styling my hair daily. The low manipulation does allow my hair to break less, but that's more the bonus than the actual reason I do it. I honestly don't miss wearing my hair out coz I just like to be able to throw a plastic cap on and go to bed and get up as late as I want and not have to do anything to my hair. When I do wear my hair out, it's always in a microphone shaped combed out afro. I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm not even fond of braid-outs or twist-outs on me.

The hair breakage part is definitely true; I don't think she was trying to be controversial b/c she is referring to a picked out/blown out fro.

I find a blown out afro isn't hard to comb and can be combed easily without breakage. The problem comes if there's humidity in the air and shrinkage occurs so that the strands curl back on themselves. You may then need some slip to be able to comb it later.

Do puffs count as well?

I def think puffs count. I styled my hair in a puff once and I could feel the tension - any hairstyle where I can feel my hair pulled I tend to stay away from.

Combed out puffs are afros IMO so they do count. I don't know about pulling though. When I wear my puff, I don't have any discomfort. I get headaches easily so I do not exert strain. If I push back the elastic and it feels tight, I lift it and use my hand to pull back some of the hair so I am not experiencing any uncomfortable pull.

I do agree with miss cosmic that BAA is not something you see commonly in Africa. Pony puffs like MizzBrit used to have in her siggy (and still might) is the most you will see. I think understanding the structure of your strands and realizing that stretching them out opens up coils so that a comb can glide you can help you learn how to comb/pick it w/o breakage. Also, combing a few strands at a time and not the whole mass can also help reduce the breakage you get from picking.
 
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Iluvsmuhgrass

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

I wear a fro when I'm feeling sassy. I honestly agree with the author to a degree. Picks can cause breakage, especially if your moisture level isn't where it's supposed to be and even moreso if you're rough. I still love a big fro though. :look: :p
 

Iluvsmuhgrass

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

I think understanding the structure of your strands and realizing that stretching them out opens up coils so that a comb can glide you can help you learn how to comb/pick it w/o breakage. Also, combing a few strands at a time and not the whole mass can also help reduce the breakage you get from picking.

I need a Mr.Smithers smilie because that was eeeeeeeeeexcellent. :lol:
 

Chocolatelove2010

New Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Love the answers so far... Thanks for sharing.

Recently I've tried to wear my hair out less. I usually just bun it. But now I'm considering braids. However, I just wanna do this till I reach my goal length, then I just wanna wear it out. Reading this made me think, hmm not a good idea? And does our hair 8/10 need be in twists/braids.. etc.
 
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Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Im of the idea that if your hair is healthy, it wont break when its touched.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. If you prepare your fro the right way, you'll have nothing to worry about.

My 2cents.
 

DDTexlaxed

TRANSITION OVER! 11-22-14
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Is this a joke?
 

EllePixie

New Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Im of the idea that if your hair is healthy, it wont break when its touched.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. If you prepare your fro the right way, you'll have nothing to worry about.

My 2cents.

I definitely agree with this. I can't speak for all, but when I refer to touching or possible breakage from wearing your hair out it's due to stretching it (blow drying, picking it with a comb). I have seen a lot of women pick out their afros with their fingers coated with oil to prevent damage, and I've done it too, but my fro def doesn't get as big as when I blow it out. :(
 

Leeda.the.Paladin

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

She's not really talking about wearing your hair out, I think she means more along the lines of the 70s fro where you picked it out regularly, etc. I know some people still do this, and I know I tried, but it hurt too badly.

I remember reading in one of my hair books that a lot of AA men and women suffered from bald spots and other damage due to picking the hair so much.

Even still, if we were talking about just wearing your hair "out", I don't do it often. It contributes to SSK and dryness. I like twist outs and twists for the most part.
 

Guitarhero

New Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Eye-opener for real! Very good points made.
 

ckisland

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

She makes some valid points but so do posters here. Like some hair can take daily hot curlers and flatirons, every head can't. I think some people can get away with wearing fros on the regular if they keep their hair moist and are gentle, but not everyone. The first natural I met and befriended when I came to college wore beautiful fros daily, but even with her 3 year head start my hair is longer that hers :ohwell:. I convinced her to stop using the pick awhile ago and now she mainly wears twists and extensions. Her hair is definitely doing better now :yep:. The only thing is that I haven't been protective styling much at all since going natural. I didn't do it at all my first year besides to get a braidout or twistout, and during this second year, it's been sporadic enough to not really count for much. My hair doesn't do well in twists or braids (contrary to the blogger's belief that afro-textured prefer such styles), so I wear wash n'goes many more times than not and my hair is retaining fine. I also think cythiarf from youtube is a great example of 4a/4b naturals not always needing protective styles to grow long hair :lick:.
 

Mdmommy99

Active Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Love the answers so far... Thanks for sharing.

Recently I've tried to wear my hair out less. I usually just bun it. But now I'm considering braids. However, I just wanna do this till I reach my goal length, then I just wanna wear it out. Reading this made me think, hmm not a good idea? And does our hair 8/10 need be in twists/braids.. etc.

I don't think she is talking about out as in a washngo which is what I'm assuming you mean by out. I think she means 1970s picked out afro. Wash-n-gos, afros. really any style that lets my hair curl up on itself causes me tangles and SSKs, but I don't think that's what the blogger was referring to here.
 

Shay72

Natural, 4A
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

When I read the title I thought of some of the naturals here mentioning that they don't wear their hair in a shrunken state because it leads to SSKs and detangling nightmares. So I don't even think it needs to be a picked out or blown out fro to cause issues. But as someone else mentioned it is not the same for everyone.
 

Janet'

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

...Interestingly, I don't know anyone natural who wears their hair in a fro on a regular basis...
 

Katherina

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

I never wear my hair in a picked out afro.
 

softblackcotton

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

My hair suffers so so so so much shrinkage I don't even bother picking out a fro ever. I haven't seen my hair in a full blown out fro since last November. I remember suffering lots of breakage to get to a full huge blown out fro 7 inches off my head, however, I never used to condition/moisturize enough back then. Now my main style is a completely shrunken, super moisturized, curly fro and it's only about 3-4 inches off my head. My hair stretched is almost 11 inches.
 
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yamilee21

Well-Known Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

What kind of afros are you all referring to? :perplexed I know many people who wear afros every day, for years at a time, yet don't have breakage, bald spots or other damage. I especially don't understand the issue with "picking out" an afro - I use a wide-toothed afro pick on my son's hair almost every day, and there isn't ever any hair in the comb at all.
 

EllePixie

New Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

What kind of afros are you all referring to? :perplexed I know many people who wear afros every day, for years at a time, yet don't have breakage, bald spots or other damage. I especially don't understand the issue with "picking out" an afro - I use a wide-toothed afro pick on my son's hair almost every day, and there isn't ever any hair in the comb at all.

Is your son's hair short? We are referring to huge afros, or when you have to blow your hair out or comb through your shrinkage to make it an afro.
 

e.lauren

Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

Afros and puffs used to be my default and my hair didn't suffer. I think what made my hair suffer was blowdrying to stretch the hair out. [ this is not a step I HAD to do as my afro was already big, it was just how I did it. & I attribute that damage to the heat as there wasnt much hair left in the comb, my hair was just dry ] But once I started doing them without blowdrying ( braiding them to stretch/dry ) the breakage stopped.

As so picking, I found that as long as my hair was adequately moisturized my picking didn't break my hair. Often I found very little, to no hair in the pic when I was done.

I think people just have to be careful with how they do things. Any hairstyle can be dangerous, you just have to know how to care for your hair.

ETA: I only stopped doing afros/puffs as my reg. hair style because I wanted to do something different. I went on a twists kick. now I do afros, twists, wash n gos ( EVERYTHING ).
 
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Tiye

New Member
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

When I read the title I thought of some of the naturals here mentioning that they don't wear their hair in a shrunken state because it leads to SSKs and detangling nightmares. So I don't even think it needs to be a picked out or blown out fro to cause issues. But as someone else mentioned it is not the same for everyone.

I absolutely can't wear my hair shrunken down (and I don't like the look 4 me anyway :) ).

What kind of afros are you all referring to? :perplexed I know many people who wear afros every day, for years at a time, yet don't have breakage, bald spots or other damage. I especially don't understand the issue with "picking out" an afro - I use a wide-toothed afro pick on my son's hair almost every day, and there isn't ever any hair in the comb at all.

People in Fiji and other melanesian islands wear them everyday. I think it's a question of knowing how to manage an afro if that's what you want to do.
 

B_Phlyy

Pineapple Eating Unicorn
Re: Afros are Dangerous, Many of us are playing with fire by thinking it is our defau

As much as I love my hair, me and the afro style (shrunken or picked out) just do not get along. I always end up with tangles or SSK and I actually suffered a setback last year behind an afro.

The afro in my avi, while awesome, was VERY temporary. As soon as the picture was snapped, I did a DC to prevent anything from happening.
 
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