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The Best Hairstyles for Women: Learn the Most Popular Ways to Style Your Hair

natural hairstyles for black women

Imagine if you had a comprehensive directory of the best natural hairstyles for women.

If that directory also included the best weave hairstyles, wedding hairstyles, and more, would that make things easier for you?

You’d probably be pretty excited to go through the list and find different styles that you like.

Today’s your lucky day, that’s exactly what we’re going to provide in this article:

…a comprehensive list of insanely popular hairstyles and haircuts for women, young girls, and kids that you can wear today.

Insanely Popular Natural Hairstyles for Women

You can use this hairstyle guide for inspiration, regardless of your hair type or natural texture.

1. Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks, which are also known as dreads or locs, are strands of hair that look like ropes. Dreads are often formed by braiding or matting the hair.

Naturally, curly hair that is left to its own devices, by abstaining from combing or brushing, will generally produce tangles and mats will be formed, however it takes planning and maintenance to form evenly sized dreadlocks.

There are a variety of methods that are used to encourage the formation of dreadlocks, for example, braiding, rolling, backcombing, and the crochet hook method.

All of these methods require that consistent work is applied to the dreadlocks for them to become tight, mature and neat in appearance.

Dreadlocks are easily one of the most popular natural hairstyles for black women. We’ve put together a tutorial for those interested in learning more about dreadlocks.

2. Bantu Knots

The Bantu Knots Hairstyle

Bantu people is the generic name for 300+ ethnic groups in Africa, which covers a large geographical region in central and southern Africa.

Most people are not aware of the history that surrounds that bantu knots hairstyle.

The hairstyle features small, lovely buns that are coiled and sprinkled throughout the hair. Traditionally, this hairstyle has been worn for centuries by women of African descent.

3. Afros

afro

Years ago, the afro was commonly referred to as a natural. This style is frequently worn by males and females with curly, kinky hair.

This hairstyle is created by combing the hair away from the scalp, this allows for the hair to extend out from the head in a rounded and large shape, much like a ball or a cloud.

In the late 1960s, afros were particularly popular in African-American communities. Often times afros are shaped with the assistance of a wide-toothed comb referred to as an Afro pick.

The afro is at times abbreviated as a `fro´or TWA (for small afros). TWA hairstyles are quite popular, as many women are choosing to big chop when they go natural. TWA is short for ‘teeny weeny afro.’

There has been quite a bit of innovation recently with short hairstyles, like the ever-popular afro puffs. Also, many TWA styles look great while also being simple to maintain.

If you have short natural hair and are exploring your styling options, there is far more variety than you might think for short hair.

4. Braids, Cornrows or Canerows

braid cornrows canerows

Braids, cornrows, or canerows are a traditional African hairstyle. This is when the hair is braided closely to the scalp; an underhand upward motion is used to produce a continuous and raised row.

The cornrow hairstyle is also found in a variety of Native American cultures.

Many times, cornrows are formed in straight, simple lines as implied by the name, they can however also be formed in designs that are curvilinear or geometric.

They are often popular due to how easy they are to maintain, if properly maintained through washing the hair carefully and regularly oiling the scalp, rows can be left in for even weeks at a time.

It’s important to note that a common type of hair loss, called traction alopecia, can be caused by braids that are pulled too tight or worn for long periods of time.

5. Poetic Justice Braids

Poetic Justice Braids

People used to refer to these braids as box braids before they were known as poetic justice braids.

As a matter of fact, the name poetic justice started after Janet Jackson and Tupac had their famous collaboration in the movie called “Poetic Justice” where Janet (Justice) wore box braids during the film.

6. Goddess Braids

black women wearing goddess braids locs and green shirt

Goddess braids are sometimes referred to as granny braids since they look similar to some styles commonly worn by grandmothers.

They are cornrow-style braids that are large and generally lie flat along the person’s scalp. Goddess braids are a great way of protecting your hair as it grows and they can be braided in a variety of ways.

The various styles come about by twisting goddess braids into knots or buns and combining them with smaller ones, although large cornrows are the typical way for braiding them.

Goddess braids have been very popular for quite some time. Due to the number of hairstyles that can be created, they remain popular.

The versatility they offer when it comes to styling is the reason that women love them. They can look simple, casual and sleek or they can look elegant when styled up.

7. French Braids

french braids

A French braid is also commonly referred to as a French plait.

Three sections of hair are included in the French braid, and they are braided together, starting at the crown of the head and moving down towards the nape of the neck.

There are variations of this hairstyle, for example, the fishtail braid or the Dutch braid. Some ladies wear a french braid complemented by a curly ponytail.

French Braids Tutorial: How to French Braid Curly Hair

8. Ghana Braids

ghana braids pictures

Ghana braids are a classic style that protects your natural hair. Depending on the region or your part of the world, they might also be called banana braids, cornrows, or straight-backs.

Regardless of what they are called, Ghana braids have their origins on the African continent.

In fact, some of the earliest known depictions of Ghana braids are found in sculptures and hieroglyphics carved in approximately 500 B.C.

9. Crochet Braids

Crochet Braids

Crochet braids tend to confuse some people since the name refers to the method used and the hairstyles can look quite a bit different.

The crochet method is similar to certain types of weave styles, where you start by cornrowing hair prior to adding extensions.

Whoever is doing the crochet braids inserts a crochet needle into the selected cornrow braid.

After that, a tiny handful of hair gets threaded onto that needle, before being pulled through that cornrow braid. It gets tied into a knot, so that is secured to your natural hair.

10. Faux Locs

faux locs

If you have ever wondered what you would look like wearing dreadlocks, then the perfect opportunity for you could be faux locs.

Faux locs are artificial dreadlocks or imitation dreadlocks, and they allow you to see exactly how you would look should you decide to actually grow dreadlocks.

If you’re starting dreadlocks and want to avoid the lengthy growth process, deadlock extensions could be an option.

11. Protective Hairstyles

protective hairstyles

If preserving your hair from damage is one of your hair goals, then protective styling should be incorporated whenever possible, into your natural hair regimen.

Protective styling is a hairstyling concept that reduces consistent manipulation of the hair, encourages length retention and protects the ends of the hair strands.

This concept often leads to increased hair growth and fewer tangles. The concept is to simply mitigate damaged hair.

12. Twist Hairstyles

two-strand twists hairstyles

Twists (i.e., flat twists, two-strand twists, mini-twists, etc.) are some of the most popular natural hairstyles for black women in the United States.

These hairstyles are usually achieved by dividing the hair into various sections, the strands of hair are then twisted.

The “twist out” hairstyle is a variation of hair twists, this is where hair that has been twisted is untwisted creating a texture that is large and loosely crimped.

The twist out has multiple variations, one is done with the use of two strands of hair and the other uses three strands of hair, this one is called the “three strand twist out.”

A textured hairstyle when untwisted is the end result of both methods.

Havana twists, Marley twists, passion twists, two-strand twists, flat twists, spring twists, and Senegalese twists, are some of the most popular twists. Depending on the length of your hair, some of these twists require specific types of hair extensions.

13. Finger Coils

This is a low maintenance, cute natural hairstyle. Beauty vlogger Priscilla Flete has a finger coil tutorial that is super easy.

While finger-coils can be time-consuming to create, they look great and are an excellent choice for various lengths of natural hair.

Finger Coils on Natural Hair ♥

14. Yarn Braids

If you’re looking for a fun protective style or just want to mix it up, yarn braids are a good choice. Yarn braids are braids, but instead of using human or synthetic hair, you use yarn.

This style will allow you to leave your hair alone without having to style it for several days. Some women wear yarn braids for two weeks at a time. At that point, they may start to get itchy, and you’ll want to take them out.

15. Flexible Curling Rods

flexi-rods hairstyles on natural hair without heat

If you’ve ever used your finger to twirl your hair around and wished it would hold that shape for more than a couple of seconds, then that’s the reason why flexi-rods were created.

It is easy to use flexi-rods on natural hair and generate a multitude of different hairstyles depending on your hair type, rod size and how long they’re left in your hair.

A flexi-rod is a long flexible tube that is available in various sizes. When it comes to hair tools, it is fairly straightforward.

Although you can achieve curls faster when you use a curling iron, flexi-rods provide a heat-free way for making creating curly hairstyles.

16. Low or High Bun

How To: Sleek Low Bun | for THICK/ KINKY Hair | Natural Hair

Buns are always easy and serve as “go-to” styles for many women. In fact, a high bun is one of Kira’s favorite protective hairstyles. The bun helps protect the hair ends of your hair and looks very classy.

The style works well with most hair lengths. In this video tutorial, Halfrican Beaute demonstrates her method for creating a neat, professional-looking low bun for type 3 and type 4 hair types.

17. Space Buns

PERFECT DOUBLE BUNS - CURLY HAIR | jasmeannnn

Space buns (or as my wife calls them Mickey Mouse buns) are a little different from low and high buns, but space buns are a great option if you’re looking to change up your hairstyles.

While this style can be worn at any age, it’s particularly cute on young kids. My wife, Kira, and my daughter, Kennedy, often wear Mickey Mouse buns when we visit Disney World.

Jasmine Brown has put together an easy-to-follow space bun hair tutorial. Even though there are multiple ways to create space buns, we love the simplicity of Nina’s process.

18. Frohawk (Sometimes Called Faux Hawk, Fohawk, or Mohawk)

Frohawk Tutorial on Natural Hair

The frohawk (similar to a mohawk) is an emerging style in the natural hair community and it’s one that I really like.

This curly updo style is simple, attractive and can easily be customized to fit your profile and outfit. I’ve even seen some women accentuate their frohawk with platinum blonde highlights.

The style looks nice regardless if you have short, medium, or long hair. In this video, Priscilla, who goes by the name ImShineStruck on social media, provides a simple tutorial on creating a braided frohawk on natural hair.

To create this style, Priscilla uses an afro pick, bobby pins, and coconut oil. This style really highlights the versatility of natural hair.

19. Hair Extension Hairstyles

4C Hair Clip-ins On My Short Natural Hair | HerGivenHair - IfyYvonne

I’m constantly amazed by the creativity of ladies with the curly hair community. In this video tutorial, Ify Yvonne, a popular Nigerian-American beauty blogger, demonstrates how to create a beautiful hairstyle with clip-in extensions.

As you may already know, extensions have become incredibly popular in the natural hair community.

Many popular celebrities, including Issa Rae, have worn hair extensions and weaves to supplement their natural hair.

20. High Puff Hairstyles

Mega High Puff | Natural Hair (Updated)

Similar to the high bun, the high puff is a simple yet elegant hairstyle that works on nearly all hair lengths and textures.

As I mentioned earlier, Kira really loves to wear high buns, the mega puff is also a common hairstyle that Kira wears to work during the week.

The hairstyle is easy, professional and classy. This hairstyle is great for the office, your wedding day, the red carpet or a night out on the town.

In this video, Actually Ashley provides a step-by-step tutorial for creating a beautiful mega high puff.

21. Wash and Go Hairstyles

EASY WASH AND GO TUTORIAL THAT LASTS 7 DAYS + NIGHTIME ROTUINE!!

One of the first hairstyles that many new naturals master is a wash and go. This simple hairstyle is a staple of many natural hair regimens.

In this video, by AlyraTV, a YouTube vlog managed by twin bloggers, Alisha and Kyra, provide an awesome wash-and-go natural hairstyle.

During the video, Kyra provides a quick step-by-step wash and go tutorial that will last for a week.

22. Halo Braid

How to Do a Halo Braid on Natural Hair

The halo braid, which is similar to a crown braid, has such an ethereal, classy hairstyle that has quickly grown in popularity over the past several years.

Celebrities and many popular beauty bloggers have been wearing halo braids lately, so it’s one of the most popular braided styles right now.

23. Military Hairstyles for Black Females

military hairstyles for black females

The United States Army has recently announced new grooming standards via a leaked PowerPoint deck.

My wife, Kira, is a 9 year veteran of the United States Navy. She was appalled that the depth of diversity enlisted in the United States military wasn’t a vital component in making such a drastic overhaul to the grooming standards (i.e., military hairstyles for women).

There are obvious physical differences in everyone’s hair texture, length, individual styling capabilities, and each person’s comfort level.

To label common African American hairstyles as unacceptable military hairstyles for women, it really shows the limited vision of military decision makers.

The goal should be to achieve a diverse, more balanced approach, for acceptable military hairstyles for women.

A balanced approach would include all ethnic groups, not exclude them.

It’s encouraging to see that weaves, hair extensions and wigs are acceptable army hairstyles.

The Army sends a very strong message when the hairstyle guidelines include weave, extensions, and wigs, but prevents military personnel from wearing their natural hair in a manner that is confident and professional.

military hair hairstyles for women

Your personal choice of hairstyles goes well beyond the uniform.

Women shouldn’t be made to relax their hair, wear short hairstyles or hide the texture of their hair.

The United States military is comprised of various groups of people with many differences.

When a rule makes characteristics that are unique to an ethnic group a violation, you immediately make that group a target for correctional actions.

You also introduce an unnecessary level of uncertainty about how those individuals carry themselves. The confidence that should propel you to be the best that you can be is no longer there.

Women who wear their natural hair, without chemicals or extensions, are expressing their individuality by not applying chemicals to straighten their hair or add hair extensions.

There are no adverse effects on military readiness, unit cohesion, good order, discipline, health or safety.

The female personnel of today’s military are volunteers. They voluntarily enlisted in the military and were accepted, meaning they have a place in the military.

Wearing professional, uniformed, natural hairstyles should be included within Army Regulation 670-1 as approved military hairstyles for women.

A petition was created by Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs to allow professional natural hairstyles. The petition needed 100,000 signatures but didn’t successfully obtain the necessary number of signatures.

Natural Hairstyles for Work

It’s not uncommon for ladies with natural hair to ask if we recommend specific natural hairstyles for work or job interviews.

It’s our opinion that regardless of whether you’re relaxed or natural, there are certain hairstyles that are more appropriate for professional environments.

Plus, natural hair is much more versatile than relaxed hair, so the styling options that you have are only limited by your imagination.

Depending on where you work, the expectations of your appearance may be documented in an employee handbook.

Although it’s worth noting that some companies within Corporate America aren’t accepting of African American cultural norms, including clothing, food, language, and hairstyles.

This can be magnified by the often rigid corporate environment layered with dress codes and other appearance and behavior related policies.

I always tell women that it’s important that they feel comfortable with their appearance; that’s always the most important factor in my opinion.

Typically non-profit organizations don’t have the same rigid work environment as corporate settings; therefore, you may be able to experiment more freely with various hairstyles and color treatments.

Ultimately all of the hairstyles included in this article can be styled appropriately for work.

The key is to present a neat, professional appearance based on your personality, preferences, and the culture of your company.

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