The versatility of naturally textured hair means that whether you’re into ombré box braids or Beyoncé style lace-fronts, there’s an endless supply of looks to choose from. However, when it comes to statement-making silhouettes, nothing beats the simplicity of the afro whose freshly reimagined, petite shape looks set to become one of next season’s biggest hits.
Spotted on the Spring/Summer 2023 runways, everywhere from Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana through to LaQuan Smith and Badgley Mischka, “the baby afro” AKA The TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) has traditionally been the go-to style for Black and mixed race women undergoing the big chop (cutting away relaxed strands) and embracing their natural texture.
However, whilst the style may have once been a gateway to bigger, bouncier options, next season’s take on the iconic afro sees its diminutive dimensions take on a new high-fashion status. Just take in the streamlined styles commanding attention on the red carpet courtesy of Michaela Coel who teamed a platinum baby afro with a Ferragamo gown at the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiere, whilst co-star Letitia Wright wore a freshly shaven crop with Alexander McQueen. Meanwhile, model Maria Borges recently teamed short curls with satin and diamonds at a Chopard event, whilst Jodie Turner-Smith’s blonde finger waves turned heads at The British Fashion Awards.
“We’re so used to long hair symbolising femininity, so when a Black woman trades traditional beauty standards for extremely short hair it makes a bold statement,” explains Neville Hair and Beauty textured hair specialist, Kash Bishop — who tends to the tresses of Emma Weymouth. Inspired? “It’s simply a matter of your stylist combing through your hair, taking down the length with scissors, and then going over it with clippers,” says the stylist.
However, Bishop warns that going extremely close around the hair line can cause the look to drift into fade territory and, for those nervous about going super short, suggests asking your stylist to use scissors and a comb to keep the length a couple of inches.
“It not only means flexibility and styling options such as twist outs, but texture keeps the look soft,” explains Bishop, who says that although shorter styles may seem low maintenance, they require trimming every few weeks and attention to hair and scalp health. Which means a haircare regime of protective silk wraps and pillows and moisture-boosting shampoos, conditioners, and masks for a baby ‘fro are a must.