Fashion designer and Brooklynite Simone Williams broke the Guinness World Record for having the largest Afro back in December 2020, a title that was previously held for eight years by Aevin Dugas. Measuring in at 8.07 inches tall and 8.85 inches wide, Williams’s afro was the culmination of years of gentle maintenance and care. In this episode of How I Do, the designer walks us through her entire twist-out hair routine.
Williams’s natural hair journey started years ago as a way to save money and move out of her father’s house after graduating from college. Before going natural, she says, she would spend upwards of around $50 to $100 every two weeks to maintain her hair in its permed state. “The plan was to go back to perming after I moved but I started seeing so much new growth,” she adds. “And I’m like, wait, I haven’t seen like my texture and so long and so I just kept it going.”
Growing up, Williams wore her hair natural until middle school, when she saw the trend of permed hair becoming popular amongst ’90s stars like Aaliyah and Tia and Tamera Mowry. “There is definitely way more [natural hair] representation from when I was younger and even from when I first started my natural hair journey. I now see a lot more naturals in the media,” she says.
Growing her hair to record-holding status was far from easy. She describes the journey as being filled with ups and downs as she learned to understand her hair type and what worked best for her to retain growth. When she finally decided to apply for the Guinness World Records, she was filled with doubt about whether she could ever accomplish such a feat. “I would have never thought that I would be a world record-holder now, but it just means so much,” she expresses. “I get messages from people all over the world telling me you’re an inspiration and you inspire me.”
Williams shows off every product in her routine in the above video, including her heroes: Aussie Three Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner and Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel. To maintain her healthiest hair, she tries to keep all of her styles very low in manipulation.
Williams describes the afro as “one of the purest forms of [Black] beauty,” as the style has long stood as a sign of resistance and empowerment in the community. Her advice for fellow Black women wanting to grown their hair out is simply patience. “I would say just have patience with your hair—it’s a very personal experience,” she shares. “Definitely try to figure out what works for you and minimize your expectations and just take time to learn about your hair.”
Watch the full video above to learn all of Williams’s hair secrets below: