Black natural hair is a diverse assortment of kinks, coils, waves, and curls. For centuries, many women of African descent felt compelled to hide or alter their natural hair textures to conform to cultural preferences for straight hair. Since the late 20th century, however, Black women around the world have awakened to the unique beauty and versatility of their tresses. Classic and new spins on styling options let you celebrate your natural glory as it grows from the scalp. Set your crown with these ten low-fuss styles for natural black hair.
The afro comes in many sizes, from close tapered crops to massive Guinness record-breaking clouds of hair. The TWA – the Teeny Weeny Afro – is a popular variation for women who do the Big Chop and cut off their relaxed hair to go natural. Afros are a great option for women who do not have much time or patience to incorporate other techniques. Small, medium, or big, the Afro is always in fashion and easy to style with a pick or fingers.
Sometimes, women with natural hair want to stretch their hair to make it easier to style and maintain. Those who want to do it quickly may choose to blowdry their hair. A blowout can provide a temporary straighter look and texture without the intensive, direct heat of a flat iron. A smoothing treatment may help extend the life of a blowout, but any exposure to moisture will likely cause the hair to revert.
A braided updo is an elegant way to protect the hair from the elements and any manipulation. This style lets you lock in moisture while achieving a beautiful look that is always ready with minimal upkeep. Many women use extensions to add volume and help the style last longer. However, it's easy to install a lovely updo with your own hair. A braided updo style may consist of cornrows, flat twists, loose braids, loose twists, or a combination of these.
If your braid-out or twist-out is worn out, a simple bun can be a quick style that works for any occasion. A bun is quick to do and easy to maintain while protecting the ends of hair strands. If your hair is long enough to brush back and hold down, you can achieve this style and add a hairpiece or braiding hair extensions to form the bun. Women with medium or longer length hair should be able to achieve this style with or without hair extensions.
A half bun holds hair away from the face and leaves some out to hang on over the shoulders. It's a simple, gorgeous way to enjoy braids, twists, or loose hair. This style works well with hair that has been stretched with blowouts, braid outs, or twist outs. The half-bun requires three easy steps: part your hair into two sections from ear to ear; gather the front section snugly to the center of your head with an ouch-free band or scarf; let the back section hang freely or gather with a barrette or scrunchie.
Loose braids add length and volume to the hair while giving it a break from daily manipulation. They are also called poetic justice braids and are easy to install on your own or at a salon. That being said, be careful not to braid too tightly. Chronic pulling on the hair follicle, especially along the hairline, increases the risk of breakage and traction alopecia--an irreversible baldness. Many haircare professionals caution against wearing braids for extended periods. An Archives of Dermatology study found that any hairstyle that puts excessive tension on the hair could trigger scarring and hair loss. Furthermore, braids kept in too long may lead to bacterial infections.
Styling the hair in cornrows keeps the hair neatly in place using low maintenance. Unlike box braids that hang loosely from the scalp, cornrows are braided close to the scalp in straight lines or geometric patterns. As with loose braids, avoid tight braiding that may lead to alopecia and scarring. Some cornrow styles may last up to two weeks, but many cosmetologists recommend taking the hair down by this point to minimize the risk of infection.
A goddess braid is a widely popular wash-and-go style that can be as simple as one braid around the entire head. It gives a perennially classic look for casual and formal events. The goddess braid is a snap to make and take down, so it is ideal for exercise buffs who want to wash their hair often.
Bantu knots make a fun and chic style with countless variations. They are practical and beautiful to wear for a few days or longer. This hairstyle can create defined ends for a neat look on any Black natural hair type of most lengths. Bantu knots are an easy hairstyle suitable for transitioning or all-natural tresses that can last for several days. Unraveling them can make stunning knot-outs with luscious waves and volume.
Two-strand twists are made with two sections of hair wound around each other to create a braid-like style. Some people find them easier to install than braids, which typically call for winding together three sections of hair. Smaller twists can provide more flexibility with styling, while large twists offer a quicker set that does not need much manipulation. Many women start locks with two-strand twists, which are not as tight as braids. Twists look great on any hair long enough for them, but extensions can add length and volume. When taken out, the stretched hair has well-defined curls and waves that last for a few days.