So what makes this Natural Hair type so different, and why is it an issue for the woman who wears it?

Written by Ghana Fashion & Design Week
Afro Hair & Beauty Tips
27 March 2015

One particular hair type has constantly been in the media for decades, for several reasons directly and indirectly.

Why is that? What is it, and why is it such an issue?

For decades African women have had issues with their God given natural hair coils, in all shapes, types, and forms that has led to, and continue to lead the discussion on Afro hair on a global stage.

The Natural Afro hair, delicate but most versatile of all hair types on planet earth, yet causes the most issues for the Women who are blessed with it!

So why is it such an issue?

There is a great lack of understanding for the most part regarding this particular unique hair type, from product that works well with it, to the technicalities of managing it, and to some extent the acceptance of it within certain societies at large.

The mid -1960s through to1970s boasted the fashionable Afro Hair, the bigger the better. So what changed since then until now?

Today, we are beginning to see the re-emergence of the Afro hair in a new form, more and more women embracing their natural Afro coils these days, uncountable YouTube videos with helpful TIPS and TRICKS on the HOW and WHAT to do with this unique hair type, along with many new specialists hair products particularly targeted at the African woman Afro hair.

It is refreshing to see a new confidence growing in this Millennium with more understanding for this hair type, and new ideas and ways for the African woman to manage her God given delicate but most versatile natural hair coils on planet earth.

The beauty of it is, this hair type knows no boundaries, it can go straight, curly or natural when ever, and however it likes at any given time, to the extent of adding on hair extensions for one reason or the other. It also true to say, the reasons for every African woman to add on extensions to their hair, is definitely not the same for all women as most would think. More than often this idea is misinterpreted with a great lack of understanding of the WHYs and HOWs. Its is almost like, well, a woman choosing High Heels over Flat Shoes, for one reason or the other.

But we do love the fact that this unique, delicate and versatile natural Afro coils have the ability to carry the most creative and interesting hair styles possible, from Afro to straightening, wavy, ponytails, to threading, plaits, cornrow, twists, knots, locks, the list goes on and on…the freedom of doing whatever you like to your hair is something that most women blessed with this hair type definitely enjoy, just like their diverse rich culture imbued with endless creativity.


Across the African continent, hairstyles transcends more that just Beauty, it signifies Spirituality, Identity, and Culture.

We asked GFDW head Hair Stylist and awarding wining Afro Hair Specialist, CHARLOTTE MENSAH to share her expertise knowledge on the technicalities of managing the most delicate but versatile hair on this planet!

Here she shares some valuable lessons that will show you how to pamper and love your beautiful Afro Hair.


1) How does Afro hair differ from Caucasian hair, in terms of its make up and texture?

Afro hair appears and feels denser than Caucasian hair. This hair type has a dry matt appearance, its unique shape makes it prong to breakage when combed or brushed 

2) How does this affect the hair products those with Afro hair should use?

Afro hair is very delicate so avoid harsh chemicals, excessive heat; sun chlorine can cause dryness and breakage. Shampooing conditioning and styling are the building blocks of manageable beautiful Afro hair.


3) What hair care routine would you recommend to those with Afro hair?

Regular conditioning treatments, which simply help, maintain the lustre and moisture on the hair shaft and scalp. Regular trims every 4-6 weeks to maintain your style and keep ends healthy.
Moisturize regularly as most Afro hair soaks up moisture like a sponge, so moisturize with natural oils.  

4) What specific problems can Afro hair suffer from and how can these be treated or avoided?

Afro has a tendency to feel dry and breaks off easily. Increase the use of moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to counteract the dehydration that is caused by the elements.

5) Are there any specific ingredients or products that can make a real difference to Afro hair?

Use hydrating shampoos to add moisture, moisturising conditioner, which adds moisture for flexibility and hydration, protein-based conditioners maintains the strength and elasticity of the hair. Hot oils lubricate and combats dry scalp. Moisturizing or dressing creams imparts shine and protects hair from damage when using heated tools and appliances. Oils soften the hair outer layer and allow moisture to penetrate deeply. 


6) What styling options are available to those with Afro hair that are not an option for those with Caucasian hair? And vice versa – what styling options should they avoid that are commonly used by those with Caucasian hair?

Both Afro and Caucasian hair types are incredibly versatile, and the styling options are endless, but it is down to the skills and level of experience of the stylist to achieve a desired style.   

7) How has the Afro hair market changed in recent years – are there more styling and care options available now?

More and more women are embracing the wondrous textures of their Afro hair, and celebrating its versatility with bodacious fro’s, beautiful braids and tempting twists. Women are becoming more comfortable with their hair. The styles today are freer and manageable. They are gradually growing out of the relaxers and falling in love with their natural Afro hair again.


— Charlotte Mensah specialises in Afro Hair care, and the founder of Hair Lounge London.

Hair Styles by Charlotte Mensah | Photos: courtesy of Charlotte Mensah


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