When you think of an afro, what do you think of?
To be honest, I think of the 1970s, shag carpeting, and bell bottoms.
The styles and trends of the past have started making a comeback, and afros are on the list.
The only problem is, how can you grow an afro fast?
There’s on magic involved, just care and patience.
But if you’re interested in growing an afro, here’s how you can do it.
Get A Haircut
If you’re beginning your afro journey, the first thing you’ll want to do is get a haircut.
When you look at someone’s afro, it’s usually the same length all around.
This is what will keep it looking neat and keep the rounded shape that we’re used to associating with afros.
By getting a haircut at the start of the process, you’re making sure that your hair can continue growing at the same length to help it take shape as early as possible.
Another reason you’ll want to get a haircut is to protect you from split ends.
I’m not going to lie.
In my youth, I used to think split ends were something that only happened to white women.
That’s because they were the only ones I ever heard talk about them.
Split ends can happen to anyone.
They occur when the hair shaft splits in half.
And while you might not think it’s a big deal, split ends can affect how your hair looks, feels, and grows.
When the hair shaft splits, one thick hair looks like two thinner hairs.
These hairs usually split at the end, but it can travel up the shaft to the root which can lead to hair loss.
While they won’t affect how your hair actually grows, they can affect how much hair you’re actually keeping.
Drink A Lot Of Water
Most people say water is the key to everything.
Do you want to lose weight?
Cut out all the extra drinks you have (juice, soda, sweetened coffees), and replace with water.
The same goes for hair growth.
You want your hair to grow?
The human body is approximately 57-60% water.
Also, we should be aiming to drink the recommended amount of water daily.
There’s that target number we’ve been hearing our entire lives of 8 glasses a day, but that doesn’t apply to everyone.
You should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces each day.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water daily which is a little over 9 cups of water.
The thing is, water is crucial to supporting the functions of the body, and making sure you drink enough water can affect your hair growth as well.
Think about it this way.
When it comes to nutrients, our hair is one of the last places they go to.
That means that if you’re not drinking enough water, the water you are consuming will go to other, more important places first.
If you’re drinking 2 cups of water daily, don’t immediately jump into drinking your recommended amount, especially if it’s a large difference.
Gradually build you way up to however much you should be drinking.
While you might have to use the bathroom multiple times a day after making the switch, your body will eventually adjust.
Drinking water can make you feel more energetic, help curb your hunger (when you think you’re hungry but not), and help with hair growth.
By drinking your recommended amount of water daily, this can not only lead to your hair being thicker, but it’ll be hydrated internally and softer which can lead to you keeping a lot of your hair as well.
And while you need to keep your hair moisturized from the inside, you also need to keep it moisturized from the outside as well.
Keep Your Hair Moisturized
When compared to water, drinking water helps strengthen your hair before it even leaves the root.
Moisturizer helps after the fact.
Truth be told, hair moisturizers aren’t going to help your hair grow.
They’re going to help you retain your length.
They’re also going to help your hair look better and feel better.
There are a few ingredients you might want to look for in a hair moisturizer to really get the best bang for your buck.
One, look for water.
Water should really be the first ingredient found in your hair moisturizers.
Two, you want to look for glycerin.
Glycerin boosts your hair’s moisture content and strengthens the shaft.
This will help prevent split ends from occurring.
You’d also want to look for products with aloe vera in them.
Commonly used topically for sunburn, aloe vera not only acts as a great conditioner, but it can also help make the hair smoother and shinier.
You’ll also want to look for ingredients like avocado oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter.
Shea butter being the most popular of the three, it is a natural carrier of vitamin A and physically holds in moisture.
Jojoba oil is very similar to the natural sebum that our scalp produces to moisturize the scalp and hair.
Avocado oil helps add moisture and revive an itchy scalp.
These are all incredible ingredients you should be incorporating into your hair routine to promote growing hair.
If you’re on the market for hair moisturizers, take a look at our post on the best hair moisturizers for Black men.
And while this list might be catered to Black men, we all know that most of the products on this list are favored among women.
Invest In The Proper Hair Tools
The only way you’ll achieve the best possible afro is if you’re investing in the proper tools.
One, there are some tools you should aim to give up completely.
While blow drying your hair might be a big part of your routine, try to switch out heat with the cool setting on your tool.
You might still choose to keep your blow dryer on deck, but you should 100% give up your hot styling tools.
I’m talking about your straighteners and curling irons.
No matter how careful you try to be, you always run the risk of doing heat damage to your hair.
If you’re lucky, it might only appear in the form of split ends that you can cut off.
If you’re unlucky, you might be cutting off inches to get your hair to look healthy again.
Lastly, if you’ve ever used the comb side of a rattail comb, you’ll want to stop that immediately.
Using this will definitely lead to hair breakage and loss.
After getting rid of some bad tools, you’ll want to invest in the right ones.
There’s only one tool you’ll really need throughout this process, and it’s a wide tooth comb.
Between this or a pick, you’ll be able to smoothly comb out your afro without getting tons of tangles and breakage that a smaller tooth comb would give you.
Dry Your Hair Naturally
In the previous section we touched on how you should give up drying your hair with hot heat from a blow dryer.
What you should really be focused on is drying your hair naturally.
Using high heat on your hair can lead to making your hair brittle and damaged.
If you want your afro to be full and healthy, brittle hair is the opposite of what you should be aiming for.
What you should try to do is let your hair dry naturally as often as possible to prevent heat damage of any kind.
The only problem is that for some people, their hair takes longer to dry.
If you have low porosity hair, your hair doesn’t absorb water that well, making the process of drying very quickly.
For those with normal porosity, your hair will take an average time to dry for a few hours.
However, for those with high porosity hair, their hair loves water.
This means that their hair absorbs the water and never wants to let go.
This could lead to them spending an entire day or more waiting for their hair to air dry.
Because of this, I can definitely understand the appeal of using a blow dryer.
And if you don’t know what type of hair you have, take our Hair Type Quiz.
If you need to use high heat to dry your hair, use a heat protectant.
You should never apply any type of heat to your hair without a heat protectant, so make sure you check out these 17 best heat protectants you can use the next time you blow dry your hair.
If you can’t tell by now, the way to keep your afro growing at a steady pace is by protecting it from getting damaged.
Anytime you make a chemical change to your hair, you run the risk of damaging it.
This can happen when applying a relaxer or texturizer.
The same holds true for coloring your hair.
When people talk about dyeing hair, they usually mean bleach.
Bleach is one of the quickest hair processes you can go through that will damage your hair.
Unlike heat, there’s nothing that can really protect your hair from getting damaged by bleach.
You just have to hope that your hairstylist knows what they’re doing.
Regardless, it’s important to stay away from coloring your hair as you grow your afro.
It will cause your hair to become brittle which will lead to breakage and hair loss.
Wrap Your Hair Before Bed
To be honest, everyone should wrap their hair before they go to bed.
There’s no better way to protect the hair.
One, you should figure out a style for sleep.
While this might sound weird, it’s necessary.
You shouldn’t be sleeping with your afro just out and about.
That could lead to tangling, and tangling can lead to hair loss when it’s time to comb it out.
Find a loose, twisted or braided style that you can quickly do to keep your hair together when it’s time to go to bed.
Trade In Cotton For Silk Or Satin
To tie in the above point, you’ll want to trade cotton materials for silk or satin.
First, start with whatever you’re wrapping your hair with.
Cotton causes friction and is bound to create said friction when it comes in contact with your hair.
That’s why you’ll want to use a silk or satin head wrap or scarf.
The material will glide along your head which will one, prevent your edges from breaking and two, stop hair loss that might be caused when it rubs against the material.
Another item you’ll want to trade in for silk or satin are your pillows.
Because silk and satin are so smooth, sometimes when I use a satin head scarf, it slides right off my head.
By making sure my pillowcase is also satin, I don’t have to worry about my scarf coming off in my sleep.
And if you need an added reason as to why you should trade in cotton pillowcases for silk or satin, they’re better for the skin.
But moving forward to keep your afro healthy and growing, make sure you use satin or silk products to keep your hair protected.
Get Regular Haircuts
The reason you’ll want to get regular trims is because of something we touched on earlier – split ends.
While they seem like something small, split ends can actually be detrimental to whether our hair stays thick and healthy.
Can you believe there are six types of split ends?
One, there’s the basic split which is most common.
This is where the end of the hair shaft looks to be split in two, almost resembling the letter y.
When your hair splits this way, it usually means that the hair needs more nourishment.
The second most common way is the mini split which is just a small piece of the hair shaft splitting away.
This is another example of hair that probably needs more moisture.
The third type of split end one could get is the “fork in the road.”
These typically look like a hair shaft has been broken into three.
If these are common among your hair, you’ll need to be a bit more thorough in your treatment process which might require a deep conditioning mask.
There are three other types of split ends your hair might be dealing with, but as a Black individual, you’ll probably get the basic split end or the last one we’ll list – the knot.
It comes with the territory of having curly, kinky, coily hair.
Self-explanatory, the knot is simply a knot at the end of the hair shaft and can commonly occur if we’re not careful with brushing and detangling the hair.
All these types of split ends can stop you from retaining your hair which will make the process of getting to your coveted afro take longer.
Because of this, you’ll want to continue with regular haircuts to prevent your split ends from getting out of control.
Make Sure Your Vitamin Intake Is Balanced
Similar to water, you’ll want to make sure you have the necessary amount of vitamins going into your body.
As discussed previously, the hair is usually one of the last things to receive water and nutrients.
The first step to intaking your necessary vitamins is through a balanced diet.
And while this is often easier said than done, you can also compensate with a hair vitamin.
Some vitamins and nutrients that are good for hair are B-vitamins, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and iron.
B-vitamins can often be found in dark leafy greens, whole grains, seafood, and meat.
As for vitamin D, the best source of this is the sun, but make sure you’re putting on your SPF.
Omega-3 fatty acids also promote hair growth and you’ll find these in fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines.
And one of the most common vitamins you’ll hear in terms of hair growth is biotin.
Also known as vitamin B7, you’ll see this in most hair, skin, and nails products.
To get a full list of some products to try, check out our list of hair vitamins.
How Long Does It Take To Grow An Afro?
Depending on how big you’d like your afro to be, the answer will vary.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), scalp hair grows about six inches a year.
That means, if you’re looking for those huge, fluffy afros, you’re looking at at least a year if you’re starting from a short cut.
You can’t forget that if your hair is naturally curly or coily that while it will still grow approximately six inches a year, it might not look like six inches.
We all know the issue with shrinkage!
Depending on where you start, your journey to an afro might take longer or shorter than others, but eventually you’ll get there!
Is Growing Black Hair Fast Possible?
I’ve waited to the end to break your heart.
Is it even possible to grow hair fast?
The answer is no.
No one has control over how fast their hair grows.
While there are things that might cause your hair growth to slow down, we can’t physically force our hair to grow faster.
The things on this list like drinking water, taking vitamins, and keeping your hair moisturized will allow your hair to be stronger and healthier.
Stronger and healthier hair will allow you to keep and maintain the hair growing on your head, but unfortunately, it won’t actually make the strands leave your scalp any quicker.
How to Grow An Afro Conclusion
If you’re looking to grow an afro, the first rule of thumb is to be patient.
Using the tips on this list won’t cause your hair to grow faster, but it will help you maintain the integrity of your hair.
Dry, brittle hair will lead to hair loss which will only hinder the process, so make sure you’re doing all you can to keep your body healthy which in turn affects your hair.