AFI-Fashion-Experience-at-the-Durban-July-How-to-Style-Your-Natural-Hair-for-the-Big-Event African Fashion International

AFI Fashion Experience at the Durban July: How to Style Your Natural Hair for the Big Event

AFI Fashion Experience at the Durban July: Natural Hair Styles for Out of This World Looks with AfroBotanics

How to Style Your Natural Hair for the Durban July

By Ranji Mangcu

On 1 July 2023, lovers of fashion from all over will gather in Durban for the biggest horse-racing event on the African continent – the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

This year’s theme, “Out of this World”, is a call to action to channel the intergalactic in our creativity. With this being AFI’s second time gracing the Durban July.

Preparing for this year’s glamourous festivities, we fully trust that members of the natural hair community have already doubled down in their search for the perfect style to celebrate in line with this year’s theme.

Contrary to popular belief, there are a multitude of ways to channel your ingenuity in your natural hair. However, from YouTube to Instagram to Tik Tok, a ton of misinformation about natural Afro hair falls into our laps daily.

READ: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Comfortable yet Glamorous Durban July Makeup Look

Before you reach for that hot-comb and head towards a disastrous DIY, we got information straight from the experts at AfroBotanics- who are our hair sponsor for the AFI Fashion Experience.

For the second time, AFI returns to the Hollywoodbets Durban July with a show that is set to be a highlight for attendees at the AFI Fashion Experience with Gemelli at the Durban July. AFI will stage a fashion show inside the Gemelli Durban July Experience enclosure ahead of the final race.

The Founder and CEO of Ntombenhle Khathwane. PICTURE: SFUNDO MAJOZI /AFROBOTANICS

Here is what Ntombenhle Khathwane, the CEO of AfroBotanics had to say about the theme, “Out of this World”, and how you can best interpret it.

What current hair trends are you picking up that speak to the theme “Out of this World”?
The theme “Out of this World” is anti-trend. It speaks to individuality, and full-on creative expression using hair. So, I would suggest textured hair extensions and big hair. The bigger, broader and wider, the more out of this world it is! And bold colours. The universe is all about shades of colour that we do not even have names for.

Natural hair is so much more versatile than people give it credit for, and there are many ways to get creative and eccentric with this theme. What are three hairstyles through which those sporting an Afro can embrace this theme?
Afro Hair is so much more complex and versatile that it transcends hair type. It can hold any texture of hair extensions.  Afro hair is naturally regal, and commands respect. Whether a person wants to wear their natural hair without hair extensions, or prefers to use gels, and curl-defining butters, a standout style can be created. Our offering includes a firm hold gel, as well as curl-defining butter for those wanting to wear their hair curly. We also have a curl activator for those who want to achieve the wet curl look.

From big curly hair, a traditional Zulu headress called Isicholo, as worn by Shaka iLembe actress, Ayanda Borotho or even braids, are ideal hairstyles at the Durban July.

What are three ideal hairstyles for those who want to honour the traditional?
I am loving contrasts for the “Out of this World Theme”.  Pairing textured afro hair with bone straight coloured hair extensions, for example. The event is being held in the home of the Zulu.  The ancient etymology of the name “AmaZulu” refers to “those that came from the heavens” – out of this world; some might say inter-galactic. There’s room to go big, bright and glittery.  I would suggest a textured hair Isicholo, with beautiful accessories to match one’s ensemble.  Isicholo can come in any height and style.

The Durban July is an outdoor event that falls right in the middle of winter. What are three key things for natural hair wearers to keep in mind for this event?
African hair, whether it is relaxed or natural, craves moisture. It is therefore important to wash and deep condition hair, thus allowing it to absorb moisture.  It is also easier to style clean hair.  In winter, we need to increase the number of times we re-moisturise our hair. We also need to use thicker oils and butters to prevent the dry winter air from draining moisture from our hair. We suggest layering products on natural hair to keep it moisturised.  The method commonly known as the L.O.C Method start with a water-based moisturiser, followed by a nutrient-rich oil blend, and end with a nutrient-rich hair butter.

Whether worn as big curls or a buzz cut, African hair is naturally regal, and commands respect.

What are the key things to remember when you are styling hair, especially for an event like the Durban July?
Wash, deep condition, and moisturise hair well. Avoid blow-drying hair, as this dries it out. Use natural means of stretching hair. Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair; this can easily cause traction alopecia.  When using gels for styling, wash them out as soon as possible, as hair gels tend to dry out hair.

Click here to find out more about the AFI Fashion Experience with Gemelli at the Durban July


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