It’s teeny. It’s weeny. It’s an Afro!
Although I love my teeny weeny Afro, it’s taken me a while to fully embrace this curly, coily crown. After years of chopping my curls off and rocking a shaved head, I finally decided to see where my hair wanted me to go. I was in for quite a journey, one that required me to learn about curly hair, its varying textures, and all of its other characteristics that were foreign to me.
In the beginning, I had no idea how to take care of an Afro and I didn’t really have many people to ask. Since this type of hair care wasn’t intrinsic to me, I went online to understand this new life growing on my head. But let’s face it… whether it's online or off, ladies with long, bouncy curls get considerable amounts of hair care tips and praises for length. Ladies with TWAs are cast to the shadows, left cowering in a dark corner, waiting for the day their roots magically sprout an envy-inducing mane.
I kept thinking that my curls, however brand new and tiny they were, may be lesser than those of my counterparts. How could I ever get my hair to look like a waterfall of coils and curls in two weeks?
Yeah… I was guilty of curl envy.
Don't be a victim of "curl envy."
All dramatics aside, having a TWA can feel isolating when information for short coils and curls is limited or simply unavailable. It’s taken me little over a year to hone in on a care routine that truly works for my baby Afro. One of the most important processes of my care routine involves something my mom used to do when I was a wee babe with straightened hair: sectioning.
That’s right. You’ve got to get down to the root to reap those healthy Afro benefits. If you’re thinking, this lady’s crazy because there’s no way you can section what’s barely there, I would challenge you to try. You’re going to see and feel a difference in your Afro - one that you may have never dreamed possible.
I would like to show you how to section and love love love your teeny weeny Afro!
A few of my Holy Grail items!
Step 1: Take a Deep Breath and Part that ‘Fro!
In preparation for this step, I like to cleanse my hair with shampoo that doesn’t strip my scalp of its natural oils. My favorite is Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Sulfate-Free Shampoo by Carol's Daughter.
After cleansing, I condition my curls with moisture-rich conditioning products: Omni Potent's Dusty Double Whipped Repairing Treatment and Jessicurl's Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner. These are my Holy Grail 4C coily hair go-to's (both pictured above) because they help my curls maintain their shape while locking in moisture.
After getting my curls nice and happy with the condition they need, I take a deep breath and part, or section, my hair.
Admittedly, I don’t like to handle my hair that often so I use my fingers to create sections. When I want to even apply it oils that need to saturate my curls, I use a wide-toothed comb to section them into manageable chunks or squares.
Don’t worry if your hair length doesn’t part into four or five perfect sections. Move forward in your process by creating smaller sections that are manageable for you. Once you’ve got your teeny weeny Afro sectioned out, you can move on to the next step.
Section hair as neatly, or not-so neatly, as you want.
Step 2: Moisturize Like You’ve Never Moisturized Before
I’m a moisture fanatic. I can’t help myself. I simply love well-moisturized curls! You will, too.
To moisturize curls and coils efficiently, I choose a section of hair to start with and gently unravel the elastic band from it. Taking a small amount of my favorite leave-in, I massage my coils with it and make sure I get close to my scalp. I recommend that you start at the ends first then work your way to the scalp for added moisturizing value. You also don’t want to overload your scalp with product.
To seal the moisture into my coils, I use a lightweight gel. Even though it's designed for bi-racial curlies, my go-to is Miss Jessie's Multicultural Curls because it has a light hold and helps hair maintain moisture. I’ve also discovered that gels are a great styling tool for wash and gos.
When I want a fluffy yet powerful-looking Afro, I very gently separate curls in each sectioned part of my hair using a wide-toothed comb. Once every section has separated curls, I shape my hair using an Afro pick and pat it into my desired shape. Since there is such a thing as over-picking your Afro, I only wear this style for special occasions and events.
Step 3: Be Amazed at the Magnificence of Your Super Sexy Afro
Your only goal with this step is to quite literally be amazed by how beautiful your Afro is. Marvel at it. Bask in it. Yes, Queen. It’s time for you to get out of the house and slay, slay, slay!
Even after you’ve wowed the outside world with your phenomenal Afro, the most challenging part of this step is to not touch your curls. After they’re styled and looking just right, it’s important that curls aren’t disturbed or manipulated any further. If you want to make sure they are well moisturized throughout the day, spritz your Afro with your favorite product or homemade moisturizing concoction.
Voila: a TWA
Everything about the TWA is fantastic! It’s versatile, requires the least amount of daily maintenance, and can easily be turned into a year-round en vogue style with the right care routine.
If you’ve followed these steps, or have your own TWA sectioning routine, please share your experiences and TWA journeys with me in the comments section below. I’m looking forward to learning about how you’ve rocked, rolled, turned heads, and stole hearts with that teeny, weeny afro!