Whether you want to go au natural or find new ways to style relaxed hair, there are so many different African hairstyles to have fun with.
Not least, the endless varieties of braids you can choose from. Braided hairstyles help to protect your hair from harsh environmental factors and give it a rest from constant styling. And although braids date back to 3500 BC, new twists, patterns, thicknesses, and designs make black hair braids feel fresh and modern with every new reinvention.
Plus, the sheer drama of these different hairstyles, whether you go for black hair braids or another look, is guaranteed to get you all the right attention wherever you’re headed.
Keeping reading for some serious African hair inspiration!
- Criss-Cross Goddess Braids
The chunky cornrows known as goddess braids are ideal for creating an easy yet stylish take on traditional braided hairstyles. And a criss-cross design adds an extra modern feel.
Goddess braids are ideal for giving your hair a break from styling or when you’re on a beach vacation and don’t want to worry about redoing your strands every morning. And, since these braids are thicker, they don’t take long to do and are easy to take out.
This flexibility makes it easier to grow African hair as you’ll have better access to your hair to apply deep conditioning treatments and take care of your tresses between washes.
- Thin Box Braids with Colored Highlights
It’s always fun to add some color to your hair. But bleach can be extra-damaging for African hair, leading to more dryness and breakage than before.
This is why box braids for women are such a perfect way to achieve a new and colorful look for your African braids. It’s easy to incorporate colored extensions for a pop of brightness, giving the effect of colorful highlights without the damage.
While a beehive might not date back quite as far as braided hairstyles, this vintage look is a firm favorite for many women.
If you have long straightened hair, this is an easy style to create. And, you can add your own flair to it by incorporating accessories like clips, hairbands, and scarves.
To achieve this look at home, apply a conditioning serum to your hair and smooth it out. Section off some hair at the top and put the rest of your hair into a high ponytail. Divide the ponytail into sections, leaving the bottom section intact.
Tease and fold the other ponytail sections, securing them onto the base of the ponytail with a hair tie to create a voluminous bun. Smooth out the bottom section and wrap it around the bun. To finish, smooth out the front section with pomade then use it to cover the bun, setting it in place with plenty of hairspray.
- Braided Bun
Nina Simone often wore her hair natural, whether it was in a loose bob or a short pixie crop. But a simple yet elegant braided bun was one of her favorite looks.
Channel her unforgettable style with tiny braids pulled up into a high ponytail and secured with a protective hair tie. Then, taking several locks at a time, wrap your braids around the base of the ponytail. Rather than resorting to styling gels and sprays, tuck and pin the braids in place to secure them throughout the day.
- Curly Bob
Who needs chemical treatments and tons of styling tools when leaving your natural hair to do its thing looks so great? Take inspiration from Solange Knowles and her big sister Beyoncé as Foxxy Cleopatra and embrace your natural coils!
To ensure your natural hair looks its best, work a shine-boosting serum through your hair when it’s damp. Then, gently comb your fingers through your hair and let it air-dry. If your hair has a tendency to lose its volume throughout the day, avoid any heavy products and consider topping it off with hairspray to keep your look intact.
- Side-Swept Senegalese Twists
Whether she keeps her hair natural or goes all out with complex braided hairstyles, Solange Knowles is a constant source of hair inspiration. But her take on side-swept cascading Senegalese twists has to be one of our favorite looks.
Although these African braids involve a lot of commitment and effort to do, they can be left in for months and look great in long hair.
The particular style sported by Solange included cornrows and side-swept braids for a new way to wear these classic twists. To achieve her look, start by getting cornrows from the temple to the crown on one side. This ensures the braids are flexible. You’ll then be able to sweep your hair to one side and pin it back.
- Pulled-Back Curls
This is a simple yet effective way to embrace your long, natural curls while adding a texture mix.
To style, apply a conditioning product to damp hair and part your hair down the center. Stretch out your curls at the front and pin them down to make them lie flat. Leave the rest of your hair to its own devices. Or, you could comb your fingers through your curls to separate and define them a little.
If your hair is kinky and won’t lie flat at the front, you could try getting crochet braids in this section of hair. After all, braiding hairstyles don’t have to involve pulling all your hair back. A popular way to create a mix of textures in longer hair is to pull back the front part of your hair into crochet braids and then wear your curls pulled back or up in a ponytail.
Whether you prefer braided hairstyles, wearing your hair loose, or styling your relaxed locks, your hair is bound to turn heads. But, with so many different African hairstyles to choose from, the only problem you’ll have is deciding which one to try first!
For more fashion, beauty, and health tips, be sure to check out our other blog posts.