I look at the pictures taken in the ’60s and ’70s and can’t help but admire the afros that those folks had. Ever wondered what it would take to have an afro that looks like those the Jackson 5 wore back in the day? After some thorough research and talking to two buddies who have such great afros, I can confidently share on exactly how to grow an afro fast (male).
The first thing we need to understand is that this is not an overnight thing.
There are no magic pills or concoctions that will miraculously grow the hair out.
The process takes time and patience. Be ready for a long term investment in your hair for it to grow.
Can anyone grow an afro?
Men who have an afro look so cool especially when it’s well maintained.
This can make someone start thinking about growing out their hair and wear a great afro of their own.
An afro is a hairstyle won by men with curly hair so its best suited for their hair texture.
Those with straight hair or other softer textures may not be able to achieve this style.
Not all men with curly hair can grow a perfect afro though.
Only those with hair that has tighter curls/coils can attain this style.
How long does it take to grow an afro from scratch?
I’d always wondered how long it took for Colin Kaepernick to grow his afro to that length.
What does it take to grow it from scratch?
First, you have to decide to give yourself time to achieve this goal.
Hair takes time to grow and this calls for tons of patience.
Growing out hair requires dedication and correct hair care.
This requires setting your mind right for the task at hand.
So, assuming you are starting out with a bald head, how long would it take to grow an afro from scratch?
Well, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair grows about 1/2 inch per month.
There are various factors that determine the rate at which hair grows.
These include factors such as gender (male hair tends to grow faster than female hair), genetics, age, nutrition, pregnancy, and overall health.
There are several other factors that affect the rate of hair growth.
If you are a black male starting out this journey with a bald head, it’s important to remember that coily hair is the most difficult to grow (for lack of better words).
This type of hair is also the easiest to get tangled, making it the easiest to get damaged, mostly mechanical damage.
Coily hair, therefore, needs a proper regimen for it to flourish.
Having said that, if you are aiming for a five-inch afro, it would take you about three years to get it to that length.
How long does it take to grow a mini afro?
As mentioned above, curly/coily hair is the hardest to grow and it takes time to attain even a mini afro.
It may take up to 6 months to grow about 1.5 inches in length.
Remember there are various factors that determine the rate at which individuals’ hair grows, so these figures are just general estimates.
One of my buddies, Andrew, had about 2 inches of a stretched-out hair strand after seven months.
On the other hand, Greg (my other buddy) had 3 inches after only eleven months!
They both started out with bald heads.
As a woman, I’m quite envious of the speed at which these guys’ hair grows, especially when I remember the struggle that women in the natural community go through while length chasing.
How to grow an afro fast for a male
One requires patience and a good hair maintenance routine to attain the perfect afro.
The routine should involve constant care of both the hair and the scalp.
The following are tips on how to grow an afro fast for males.
Greg and Andrew have contributed these tips – seeing that they’ve managed to grow their afros in a relatively short period of time.
Black men have naturally dry hair. This is because unlike straight hair, their curly hair doesn’t get an even distribution of natural oils.
Curls don’t assist in the process of distributing these oils. The longer their hair grows, the curlier and drier it becomes.
It is therefore very important for men who want to grow an afro to constantly moisturize their hair.
This should be part of their daily hair care routine. Hydration leaves hair healthy and not prone to damage due to dryness.
Stay away from heat
I’ve shared about how I suffered from heat damage just a few months after I went natural.
It wasn’t pretty and I now avoid frequent use of heat styling appliances.
Heat destroys hair leading to great damage and worst-case scenarios, it can lead to hair loss.
Heat makes hair dry and can even make split ends worse.
If you must use heat, do it occasionally (maybe for a length check?) and always use a heat protectant.
If you simply want to dry your hair after cleansing, set the drier at low heat settings.
Stay away from color
It’s best to avoid coloring your hair for it to grow as desired.
Dyes tend to dry out hair and this can lead to it being very brittle causing breakage.
This is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve – a healthy afro.
Hair dyes contain harsh chemicals like peroxide which bleaches hair to attain the color.
This is what causes the hair to dry up.
Additionally, the ammonia in hair dye lifts the hair cuticle up to let the molecules of the dye in.
Lifting of the cuticle affects the structure of the hair strands.
Trim split ends
This may sound like the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve, but trust me, it’s a very important step.
Get a barber who specializes in afros. Growing an afro doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye to the barber.
Every once in a while you may need to have your barber sort out split ends that require regular trimming.
Split ends need to be trimmed constantly or they can lead to stunted hair growth.
Split ends can prevent hair from growing which works against your goal.
Once the hair has started to split at the ends, it can lead to constant breaking which undermines all your efforts to grow a healthy afro.
Hair with split ends also appears unkempt and even frizzy.
This is not ideal since the ends of the hair strands are the most noticeable and appearances are important.
These ends, therefore, need constant trimming to pave way for better hair growth.
There are people who know how to trim their split ends perfectly.
If you’re one of them, then you don’t need to book an appointment with your barber.
Cut down on frequent shampooing, condition more
Daily/frequent shampooing of your hair is not the best route to take when you’re trying to grow an afro.
The best thing to do for an afro is to shampoo it fewer times in a week and condition it more.
Conditioning is very important for infusing moisture into your hair strands and can be done daily.
Leave-in conditioners are perfect for daily use since they aren’t rinsed out (well, at least not until the next wash day).
Shampooing, on the other hand, should be done once or twice a week.
I wrote a detailed post looking at how often black men should wash their hair. Have a look at it.
Constant washing with shampoo can dry out your hair.
Remember dry, brittle hair breaks easily.
Most shampoos contain sulfates that strip out the hair’s natural moisture, thus causing dryness.
It’s best to buy natural, sulfate-free shampoos that are ideal for curly hair.
If you suffer from a dry scalp that’s itchy and gets flaky, you should look for the best men’s shampoo for a dry scalp to help you get rid of the itchiness and inflammation.
Your scalp environment needs to be healthy if you want to stand any chance of growing out a big and healthy afro.
Use the right products
The best products for growing an afro are the ones that use natural ingredients and are free from harmful harsh chemicals such as parabens and sulfates.
Harsh chemicals not only affect the hair but the scalp as well.
As mentioned above, some of these chemicals strip out the hair of its natural moisture, leading to excessive dryness that leaves the hair susceptible to mechanical damage and breakage.
Growing hair means nourishing it and this highly depends on the products used.
Moisturizing products that have water as the first ingredient should be at the top of the list of hair products you should purchase.
Products containing natural ingredients like oils, shea butter, beeswax, among others are also good.
Use the right comb
The best comb for an afro is a wide-tooth comb. Smaller combs lead to breakage of hair because of pulling.
Curly hair easily gets tangled and taking out those tangles with a thin toothed comb will lead to damage and breakage of hair.
The general advice in the natural hair community is that you should not even be using a comb on your hair unless it has conditioner in it.
If you planning to use a comb, there is a wide range of afro combs available in the market to choose from.
Purchase a satin pillowcase
The beloved cotton pillowcase has got to go.
This is because cotton tends to absorb most of the moisture and oils in the hair leading to dryness which should be avoided at all costs.
Purchase a satin pillowcase which will help reduce the loss of oils and moisture from the hair.
There’s no need to spend the whole day moisturizing for all of it to be soaked up at night by the pillowcase.
I’ve been using satin pillowcases since I went natural and they’ve been great.
Wrap the hair at night
Bro, if you don’t have a silk or satin pillowcase, you’ll need to start wrapping your hair before you go to bed.
To grow out hair and have the healthiest afro requires taking certain measures.
Including wrapping your hair.
Get a scarf made of silk or satin to wrap the hair with at night before going to sleep.
Well-wrapped hair will not dry out and won’t easily tangle.
Tangled afros can be a nightmare to maintain and trying to comb them out every morning is next to impossible.
This is the perfect recipe for hair breakage.
To avoid all these, simply get the scarf! Or you can go for a satin bonnet.
Drink more water
I wasn’t planning on listing this tip (since it sounds obvious) but I figured it has to be said.
As stated above, hydration is very important to maintaining healthy hair and a healthy scalp.
Drinking more water is one way of helping hair remain moisturized and prevent it from drying out.
Living in hot areas requires taking in more water than people in cooler areas.
Hot areas cause more damage to hair and lead to dryness.
Dry hair is a no-no for afros.
Aside from drinking water, proper nutrition contributes heavily to healthy hair growth.
I’m speaking from experience.
When I changed my diet and started eating healthy in a bid to shed some pounds, I noticed that my hair was flourishing.
This was a pleasant surprise considering I hadn’t changed a thing in my hair care regimen.
And last but not least, patience. I honestly think this is the main tip here.
Growing out an afro takes time.
Let no one lie that there are quick methods of growing out hair.
There are no pills for this.
(The vitamins people take basically supplement the food nutrition I’ve talked about above)
Growing hair is a waiting game.
Be ready to wait for as long as it takes.
A good afro takes years to grow out and needs constant nourishing.
One way to nourish it is patience.
How to maintain an afro for a male
The tips on how to maintain an afro for a male are exactly the same as those listed above.
The same tips you’ll have followed to grow your afro to the desired length are the same tips that you’ll stick to if you want to maintain a healthy afro.
Avoiding heat and color is top on the list.
Constant moisturizing and generally using the right products (free from harmful chemicals) is a must.
Finally, try as much as you can to eat healthy and drink more water.
Greg swears that this has really worked for him.
Some men want their afros long while some just want a mini afro.
Growing hair requires constant routine.
Getting a daily or weekly routine is important.
For people want to know how to grow an afro fast (male), the best way is to take good care of it and protect it from damage, as discussed above.
Give your hair the tender, loving care that it needs.