The Afro hairstyle was popular in the 70s.
The 70s was all about freedom and being natural. Thanks to the hippies of the late 1960s, there was plenty of talk about free love, freedom of expression, and freedom to be whoever you wanted to be.
This idea of freedom extended to all aspects of life, in many cases.
Many of these 70s fads involved hairstyles that shunned curlers, gels, hairspray, and other potions that made it look “unnatural”. In fact, one of the most memorable and long-lasting hairstyles of the 70s was the Afro.
Also known as the “natural” or the “fro”, this hairstyle left its mark on the fabric of America and on African-American culture in particular.
Though the natural style of the Afro began to appear in the hippie era of the late 60s, it was most popular in the 1970s and was definitely at its most natural during that decade.
The tight-coiffed, not-so-long Afro of the late 60s got longer and longer in the 70s and certainly became the most notable African-American fad of the decade.
The Afro was a simple hairstyle. The wearer simple allowed the hair to stick straight out from the head, often 6 inches long or more. The longer the hair, the bigger the ‘fro! As a matter of fact, it was the goal of many Afro wearers to see just how big their ‘fro could get!
Before long, Black Americans weren’t the only ones wearing the Afro. It became popular with anyone who had hair of similar texture, and those with straight hair were getting perms so they could emulate the Afro.
And the nice thing about it was that it required little care and preparation. All it took to maintain the ‘fro was a wide toothed comb known as an Afro Pick, which you could usually find in the pocket of any Afro wearer.
The pick was used to separate the hairs and puff out the Afro so that a great, fluffy cloud of hair remained sticking straight out from the scalp at all times.
The Afro was sported not only by “regular” Americans of all colors but was helped along in popularity by celebrities that favored the style.
Among the stars – both men and women – that wore Afros were popular Motown musicians/groups including the Jackson 5, The Temptations, Jimi Hendrix, and The Supremes. And then there was Art Garfunkel of Simon and Garfunkel fame, Juan Epstein from “Welcome Back, Kotter”, and a host of other TV and movie folks.
The Afro remained in style until the middle of the decade and reappeared in the 1990s, though often with a slightly different twist.
The original, however, remains one of the most unforgettable trends of a decade full of innovations.