NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A Louisiana woman once again holds the Guinness World Record for the largest afro on a living human.
Four-time record winner, Aevin Dugas, of Napoleonville, spoke with Nexstar’s WGNO about her hair journey and offered advice for anyone having their own natural hair experience.
“I went natural in probably ’99, and the reason I went natural was, I literally woke up one day and was like, ‘Why am I permanently straightening my hair?'” said Dugas.
Natural hair is free of chemical straighteners or relaxers.
Dugas said it took about five years for her to get comfortable and stick with the transition. In the meantime, she continued to apply perms until one day she said enough is enough and stopped.
“When I went natural, when I finally cut the permed ends off because I transitioned, I did not big chop, I just let my hair grow out and one day I cut it off. It was almost like the natural hair gods smiled on me because then all of a sudden I got it,” said Dugas.
Dugas says despite the ups and downs, the journey has been good. She continues to find different ways to wear her hair as she revisits past styles and discovers the new.
“I used to think, ‘Oh, my kind of hair doesn’t do that.’ Because I was so used to seeing curlier hair and wavier hair, I didn’t think my hair — being kinky, coily — could do that,” she said. ” Your hair really does have all different textures going on.”
Dugas has gotten her routine down to a science.
“My routine is very simple. I wash my hair once a week for the most part. I do a hot oil treatment with butter I made, then start the shampooing process. I shampoo with a clarifying shampoo and follow up normally with a moisturizing shampoo and then condition, sometimes deep condition.”
One special ingredient added to the routine will have you in tears.
“I put purple onions in my shampoo. It has sulfur in it. it does help with growth and, no, you do not smell like onions when you finish. You put the onion in and you let it sit for two weeks and then shake it up, and you use it and it does help with growth and shine.”
How did you learn about the record?
“It was a childhood friend from New Orleans, her name is Jewel, and she saw a picture that my sister had posted and she said, ‘You should try out for the largest afro,'” said Dugas “I knew about the Guinness Book of World Records because when I was young, I would go and look at who has the longest hair. So when she said afro, I went to check it out and said, ‘Okay, cool.’ I submitted my picture, and it became a whole back and forth.”
That was the beginning of her winning streak. Dugas first claimed the title in 2011, then lost it in 2020 due to the pandemic. She regained it in 2021, 2022, and recently, in 2023.
Years before Guinness, Dugas said she found herself in her best friend’s hair salon as she was getting her hair done, speaking to customers about how important it is to love your natural hair.
“One of the girls in the salon ended up going natural after that and then my best friend went natural, and I never thought she would go natural. So I was the person that if you were in the hair care aisle and I can tell you are freshly natural, I would start talking to you to try and help you.”
“Let it go”
In March 2022, House Bill 2116 was passed prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s hair texture. The movement started “The Crown Act,” which helped to create a free, respectful and open world where individuals can wear their natural hair without discrimination or repercussions.
When asked about her feelings towards legislators making bills focused on workplace hair discrimination, Dugas said simply, “Let it go.”
“Let it go. Just stop. My hair doesn’t stop me from typing on a computer or from submitting my work. If it’s distracting to you, don’t look at it. There are so many other things you can concentrate on. If you don’t like, don’t look at it. Get over it.”
Dugas offered a few wise words to anyone wanting to pursue the natural hair journey:
“Don’t do the hair envy thing. Even when I first started, I had no clue what my pattern was going to look like, but don’t even look at my hair and think, ‘Well, your hair is growing like this so I want my hair to grow like that,'” she said. “Each person’s journey is different. Your hang time will come. You just have to let it keep growing. Don’t mistreat your hair. Just be patient and enjoy every moment of it.”