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WATCH: Aevin Dugas Sets Record For World's Largest Natural Afro

First Posted: 09/22/11 11:30 AM ET Updated: 11/22/11 05:12 AM ET

Lots of women with natural hair lament the upkeep involved to keep their hair looking fly. But the logistics of their haircare ain't got nothing on Aevin Dugas.

Dugas' afro was measured by Guinness as an astonishing 4 feet, 4 inches around -- larger than lots of children in grade school -- which ranks as the biggest afro in the world, according to the folks at Guinness World Records.

The upside (besides the aforementioned flyness)? She always has a soft pillow to sleep on, regardless of where she is.

The downside? Dugas can't drive when her afro's blown and picked out. "If it's as big as it's gotten, I can’t see," Dugas told The Huffington Post. "I have no peripheral [vision]. I can't react quickly to anything." Once when she was closing her car door, she slammed it shut on her voluminous hair. "I've learned my lesson."

Dugas landed on Guinness' radar after a friend on Facebook suggested that she enter an online contest to find the world's biggest afro. Her hair has gotten even bigger since Guinness certified her last year. She and her friends measured her afro earlier this year, and it was a whopping 5 feet around. (Dugas, for the record, is five-foot-two.)

She only wears her hair big when she's going out. "It's more of a Friday-Saturday thing," she said. But prepping for those Fridays and Saturdays takes a few days. "What I do is a shampoo and condition, and then I put it in two French braids. From then, it takes about 2 days to dry."

After that, she moisturizes, picks it out and sprays it with a little water so it can kink up a bit.

The reaction to her hair is almost uniformly positive, she said. But as many women with naturals can attest, there's the annoying problem of strangers coming up to her to touch her hair. "I smile and try to be as nice as possible," Dugas said. "I've never slapped anybody's hand. I try and duck if I see them coming at me, [but] I don't mind them touching if they ask."

Dugas has been natural for 12 years, and said an old picture of her mother's afro originally inspired her to blow her own hair out. "I was like, 'One of these days, I'm going to wear my hair like that.'"

Now she elicits the same reaction from younger children who her see her big hair. "I love the little kids, because a lot of little black girls say, 'I want to wear my hair like that!'"

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Filed by Gene Demby  |