starring joan smalls

Black Afro


By Beauty Director Kayla MiChele    @kaylamichelehair


Ah, the rare occasion of seeing a natural afro walking down the street! But why rare? The afro hairstyle is so cool! In this day and age, a person with an afro truly sets apart from the crowd. It’s a hairstyle that evokes a powerful political symbol in the 60s and 70s... and now the power can be yours. I hope this look inspires people with naturally-textured hair to let their hair grow natural, long, and wild. Express the natural texture and set the body free from harmful relaxers and straightening chemicals… now that would feel like a rebirth!


Natural afro hair texture needs more moisture. I recommend treating the hair with Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil before using Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo and Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner. Or better yet, take my client A$AP Rocky’s advice: he prefers Organic Hemp Seed Oil for his hair, as he mentioned to me on set for Interview magazine.




On Joan Smalls, we used a wig to make a larger-than-life statement afro. My team of assistants and I prepped the look a few days before the shoot. We started by sewing four Retro Jumbo Afro Wigs together using zip ties. I wouldn’t recommend wearing four jumbo wigs sewn together to a party, though... it is way too heavy and uncomfortable. Joan can attest to that! Instead, try just one and if you’re brave sew on one or two more. Four of them worked beautifully for this fine art image.


We used a Canvas Wig Block and a Tripod and each other (lol) to measure the wig stacking so we could visualize the final desired shape of all the wigs sewn together. Using Zip Ties instead of needle and thread, make sure to thread starting from the outside, moving to the inside of the wig, then thread back to the outside of the wig to zip together. This will ensure more comfort on the head. Use Gingher Scissors to cut the zip tie excess.


Use strong and reliable YS Park “Shark" Sectioning Clips (an amazing investment for anyone’s beauty bag), and, hopefully, an extra set of hands to section off the ‘fro to gain access to the points of attachment. Use as many zip ties as possible until the wigs seem secure. There is no right or wrong way to attach the wigs together… take total creative freedom to design your wig stacking shape!


Finesse effortlessly with your hands to blend the edges of the wigs together to look like one large wig. There are many cool ways to set the texture of an afro to take on different wave patterns. One of my personal favs is to set freshly washed hair into two strand twists and once air dried, untwist and shake out.




We decided to prep and hide Joan’s natural hair by braiding two invisible french braids and tucking the ends with bobby pins in the lower back of the head. We didn’t use a Wig Cap, but feel free to throw one on if you’d like.


Now for that transformational moment… put that wig on! Use Nishida Bobby Pins to secure the wig on the head by placing them by the ears, nape, and temples.


Once you see the wig on, it will be an instant decision whether or not it needs to be cut to open up the face more. I recommend using Andis Speedmaster Hair Clippers if you choose to shape it. Trim three-dimensionally, like you are carving an ice sculpture…it’s really fun! It’s also messy, so use a Hair cutting Cape to protect the body from loose hair and finish with a blast of cold air from the T3 Featherweight Luxe 2I Blow Dryer to get the pieces off the face.


For a boost of shine, spray Aveda Brilliant Spray-On Shine.


And there you have it: the larger-than-life statement afro… a big hairstyle with major visual impact. Go on, channel your inner Erykah Badu, Jimi Hendrix, Solange, and Pam Grier!


TAKE A SELFIE to complete (and tag us @documentbeauty / #documentbeauty so we can see! We LOVE seeing these looks come to life out in the world).   



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