For the past six years, a big, glorious afro had been my signature hairstyle. It really felt like a statement-making reclamation of my Black pride and beauty after years of listening to narrow and toxic beauty ideals and applying chemical relaxer to help permanently straighten my coils as a direct result. And while much of the world was in a holding pattern for the last two years, and stay-at-home COVID orders shuttered beauty salon doors for huge stretches of time, I saw my afro become the true definition of “larger than life.” We’re talking Kaepernick-level. I became a first-time mum during that time, too.
I truly see my type 4 curls as a gift from the hair gods, but I won’t lie: sporting a healthy and well-kept large afro makes you work for it in terms of a haircare routine. And as I embraced the most demanding, exhausting, exhilarating and rewarding chapter of my life (a big shout-out to all the fellow mamas out there), I found my regular hair routine becoming harder and harder to accomplish. My long curls looked like a disheveled mess most days and a pineapple puff updo quickly became my hair’s best friend.
Between juggling the demands of a family, home and career, I recently decided that I desperately needed a hair change-up that better suited my new busy lifestyle: something quick and low-maintenance that still made a strong statement with my natural texture. Cue the cropped afro.
Whether you’re transitioning away from protective styles, growing out hair that’s had a little too much chemical processing, or are simply ready for a big chop like myself, a short afro hairstyle has so many eye-catching possibilities (not to mention looks bomb with a pair of statement earrings!). From the archetypal afro cut — a mini version of the iconic seventies style — to a modern take on the high top, we’ve rounded up 32 cropped afro hairstyles spotted on the Fall 2022 runways and big-city streets to inspire your next trip to the salon. Click on, friends, click on.