A woman from Louisiana has secured the World Record for the largest afro for the third time in 13 years.
Aevin Dugas, 47, began growing her hair in 1999 and initially did so with the intention of promoting the beauty of natural hair.
Dugas says she coveted the Guinness record for the longest hair, particularly because some cultures have historically associated beauty with straight hair.
‘I didn’t decide to grow an afro as much as I decided to go natural,’ Dugas told Guinness World Records. ‘It’s about pride in textured hair which leads to self-love.
‘At one time I strived to get hair that was bone straight and now all I want is it big and poofy’.
Aevin Dugas has broken the Guinness world record for the largest afro three times in the past 13 years with her hair now stretching 5’5″ across
Dugas, from Louisiana said she aimed to promote the beauty of natural hair by breaking the record and grew up coveting the record for the longest hair
She began growing the afro hairdo, which is now her trademark, in 1999 although it does require frequent trims and styling regimens to maintain
In her 20s she began to admire natural hairstyles that many black women wore as a means of expressing identity and pride.
It was after an unsuccessful trip to a hairstylist, she started braiding, perming, and coloring her own hair, learning how to cut her hair without much difficulty before growing he trademark afro.
She recently revealed on her TikTok account, which has almost 48,000 followers how a stylist once braided her hair so tightly it made even the bottom of her feet ache, so she removed the braids within hours.
‘From that day on, I knew: “You know what? If you want to do your hair, do it yourself – learn it yourself,”‘ Dugas said.
In 2010, she broke the Guinness world record for the largest afro with a circumference of 4ft 4in (132cm).
Dugas is an advocate for natural hair and has gained international recognition for her impressive afro – although she often wears it tied back
Aevin Dugas says ‘I didn’t decide to grow an afro as much as I decided to go natural.’
Dugas says she has embraced her natural hair texture and broken the Guinness world record for the largest afro three times
Dugas says she aims to promote self-love and pride in textured hair
Eleven years later, in 2021, she broke her own record with nearly 5ft 2in (157cm) before setting the current record of almost 5ft 5in (165cm) in September 2022.
Her record-setting afro is also more than 9in (25cm) tall and 10in (26cm) wide.
Even though size is everything, the record-setting afro still requires frequent trims and a strict styling regimen to maintain.
Her jaw-dropping look brings her attention wherever she goes but it does have its drawbacks as she often gets it caught in trees, car doors and people’s earrings.
It can also take two days to wash and dry and is so big she struggles to see clearly out from beneath it – which means she cannot drive with her ‘hair up’.
To get her hair ready for a night out she shampoos it and then uses up to five conditioners.
She then puts her hair into two French braids and from then it takes about two days to dry.
But the positives far outweigh the negatives and she has become a hero in her hometown of Reserve, about 35 miles west of New Orleans.
Her biggest joy is inspiring young girls to stop using chemical straighteners, which can cause long-lasting damage to hair.
She said: ‘I don’t know why but there’s something very important to me about little girls appreciating my hair and then wanting to wear their hair the same.
‘I tell them there is nothing that I did special, there is no magical formula, we are born with our hair like this.’
Dugas’s bad experience with a professional hairstylist forced her to take matters into her own hands
Dugas emphasizes that she wears her hair in various styles to adapt to the hot and humid weather of southeastern Louisiana
She receives a mixed response from the public, with some people admiring her hair, while others make inappropriate comments or try to touch her hair without permission
Dugas said she came to admire natural hairstyles that many black women wore as a means of expressing identity and pride in her 20s
Aevin was originally inspired by a picture of her mum Deborah Dugas wearing an afro in the sixties – and she remains one of her biggest fans today.
Mrs Dugas, 72, who runs a care home, said: ‘I’m humbled by the fact she did this because she liked my natural hair, way before she was born.
‘It was about half the size of Aevin’s and everybody loved it.’
She added: ‘Her hair has definitely had an impact on the community.
‘She made her decision when wearing your hair natural was considered unattractive in the black community.
‘But, against all that, she started wearing her hair natural years ago. I am really proud.’
Dugas noted that she can’t drive while her hair in the style of an afro so has to wear it tied up
Dugas learned how to cut her hair without much difficulty and began growing her trademark afro in 1999 first breaking the record for the world’s largest in 2010
The record-setting afro requires frequent trims and styling regimens to maintain
Dugas learned how to style her hair herself, which ultimately led to the birth of her iconic afro
Sometimes Dugas simply opts to wear dreadlocks coupled with beads
Dugas says she receives a wide range of reactions from members of the public when she lets her afro loose in public with everything from words of admiration to even tugging on her hair without asking permission.
‘I’ve learned to just give them a little pop on the hand with a few words of choice I won’t repeat,’ Dugas told Guinness.
Although Dugas says she likes how her distinctive hair helps her become a noticeable figure in a room, she also wears her hair in various other styles in order to survive the scorching Louisiana temperatures.
‘It’s hot. It’s not something you wear out in the Louisiana heat just because,’ 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.’