Her mother was her role model and ‘hair crush’. After seeing a picture of her with an Afro in the sixties, Aevin Dugas decided to go back to wearing her natural hair.
Today, the social worker from New Orleans, U.S., is the proud owner of the largest female natural afro in the world.
Dugas, who is in her 40s, entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2011 with her hair at an incredible 4 ft. 4 in (1.32 m). According to Guinness World Records, the hair is larger than a disco ball, adding that her hairstyle is so large she could fit the world’s shortest man inside.
Currently, her hair is inspiring scores of women to abandon chemical straighteners and ‘go natural’, and her fans from Brazil to Italy continue to grow, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
But, about 20 years ago when Dugas decided to make that ‘big chop’, in other words, when she decided to make her first cut, she received a lot of backlash from people who were not enthused about her decision.
“It went so far as to where they bullied my little sister about me cutting my hair. Keep in mind we’re 11 years apart in age, so I was truly confused by it all. I even had a cousin who made some statement about me wearing my hair like that wasn’t Godly or something like that…” she told Curly Nikki.
Dugas is, however, elated that her decision had paid off. Apart from holding the largest Afro Guinness World Records, the dedicated social worker said wearing her hair natural has boosted her self-esteem as she has “found herself.”
“Plus the Largest Afro Guinness World Records title gave me a platform to be able to reach people about natural hair and why going back to wearing your natural hair is healthy for you,” she said.
“You want to know the best thing about my hair?” Dugas once asked the Guinness World Records. “It provides the perfect pillow. I sleep very well.”
Dugas has, however, been quick to point out some of the challenges with the choice of her hairstyle.
“It’s always getting caught in trees, and one time I even slammed my hair in the car door! And I hate it when people touch it without asking my permission first!”, she said.
“I used to let some people touch my hair if their “energy” felt right then I realized they were comfortable with touching it but I was uncomfortable with being touched so I don’t allow it anymore unless I know the person. Half the time people just want to feel to see if it’s real,” she said.
“When my hair is stretched out to its complete length and pressed, it goes down to my butt. But I don’t wear it like that because it looks weird.”
Her natural hair, though often brings her attention, also looks weird for others. Thus, when going out on first dates, she usually ties her hair back, only disclosing details later.
The worst part is that washing and drying her hair do take about two days, and she has to use about five conditioners. When she has to go for a night out, she prepares two days ahead – she shampoos the hair with the conditioners, puts her hair into two French braids and then waits for about two days for it to dry.
These processes may be cumbersome, but Dugas is not perturbed as she once told the Daily Mail that she had become a hero in her hometown of Napoleonville, Louisiana, where she is educating young girls about the dangers of using chemical straighteners on their hair and encouraging them to go natural.
Taking care of her hair, Dugas, at the moment, uses an “array of products anywhere from ones I’ve made myself to everyday drugstore products.”
“It just depends on what I’m in the mood to do to my hair on any given day and what works best for my hair.
“I also like to do my hair and try new styles, methods and products or do my makeup and try different looks and makeup products to see which products blend well with each other,” Dugas, who trims her afro about three times a year told Curly Nikki.
Dugas has this hair advice for young people:
“The best hair advice I can give someone about wearing your hair natural is have patience…..Enjoy every length. It’ll grow it just takes time. Give products a chance to work. Just because it didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean it’s a no go. You may have used it wrong, possibly paired it with the wrong product or maybe your application wasn’t correct. Application of a product is so important!”