When the 2012 edition of the Guinness World Records was announced, one category literally stood above all others.
Aevin Dugas, a native of New Orleans, was crowned the record-setter for the world's largest Afro, the first time the record has been recorded. Her Afro measures out to a 4-foot, 4-inch circumference and is as big as a disco ball.
Since the announcement, Aevin's life has turned from working gal to world-traveling speaker, encouraging other women to go for the gold, or at least to go natural!
We caught up with her and got the scoop on how she keeps her curls so healthy, how long she has been growing out, and much, much more!
Patience, Conditioning and Creativity!
How long have you been natural and how did you wear your hair before you did so?
I've been natural for 12 years. I wore my hair in relaxed various styles before.
What was your transitioning process like? What spurred the change?
I transitioned for a year—getting my hair braided, rodding, etc. Then, after a year, I was comfortable with my length, so I finally cut the ends off. It was easy once I figured out how to style it, and then I was ready for the big chop.
Many women experience a negative reaction from friends and family when they decide to go natural. What has your experience been like?
I did have a negative reaction from one family member, but other than that everyone loved it! Needless to say, that family member's spouse ended up going natural too! Haha!
What is your current regimen and what are you go-to products?
My regimen is pretty simple. I shampoo with Suave Clarifying, then follow with Suave Almond and Shea and Garnier Fruictis Triple Nutrition. Then I condition with Aussie Moist, Garnier Fructis Triple nutrition, Pantene Nature Fusion Moisture Balance, Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Dove Intense Moisture. During the week I work out, so I leave the conditioner in and put my hair up into a donut or a French braid. Then by Thursday, if I have plans for the weekend, I'll rinse the conditioner, shampoo again with the Triple Nutrition and then style.
Believe it or not, I use a lot of over-the-counter products. One of my favorites is Aussie 3 Minute Miracle!!
So many women struggle with the grow-out process: breakage, shrinkage, moisture, and even lack of ideas for hairstyles! How did you handle those issues?
Back then, there weren't any sites that I knew of to help or offer advice, so I had to be creative. For styles, I would just think of a style and try it, and luckily it would always come out cute! Thank goodness!
What are your go-to hairstyles, and how do you get your signature 'fro?
My go-to hairstyle is either a donut, French braids or a two-strand twist. As for my afro, in the winter is the best time to wear it! My own personal earmuffs!
I shampoo, condition then put it into two French braids. Let them air dry, then take them loose, add a little moisturizer, then pick them out one at a time. I spray a little water on it to shape it to my liking.
Has your natural hair empowered you or helped you to find yourself in a way that relaxed hair never did?
Actually, it has to a degree! I've gotten to a point where any black woman I saw, I was trying to convince her to go natural.
How do people react when you wear your Afro?
They love it, want to touch it and take pictures of it!
As far the touching, there is definitely a natural hair fascination in our culture! What are your thoughts on boundaries when it comes to touching without asking?
I didn't mind at one time, but recently I had someone pull it. With that being said, I don't think too many people will be allowed to touch it anytime soon.
On a different note, this is the first year that the Guinness World Records has recorded the world’s largest afro category. Do you think that this is a major marker in the natural hair movement, reinforcing the idea that natural hair is not just a trend, but a lifestyle?
At first I thought it was just a contest. But now that I see how people responded to the record, I think it's wonderful for the natural hair community! All races were excited about the afro and really showed alot of respect for our natural hair.
What advice would you give women who are just beginning their own natural hair journey?
Patience, deep conditioning and creativity!
Check out CurlyNikki's interview with Aevin from last year, before the Guinness World Records found her!