In the 1960s, the afro became a symbol of Black self-acceptance and an iconic figure of the Black power movement. Famed entertainers like Diana Ross and Pam Grier, along with political activists like Angela Davis, were representative of this new movement in popular culture and politics. Black hair is and will always be political, and passing of laws like The Crown Act, which bans Black hair discrimination in schools and the workplace, proves that point. Though the legislation is now only in five states (California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Colorado), the progress makes me hopeful for the next generation.
The latest natural hair movement is reminiscent of the groundwork of Black voices that came before us. We now live in age where we see the representation of Black hair across all mediums, encouraging Black people everywhere to rock their hair as is without reservation. As a 4C girl who has learned to embrace my fro, I have found that seeing other naturals embrace their coils has helped me lean into my own.
Click Play to Learn How to Create the Perfect Afro
Here, find 22 stunning Afro hairstyles that will inspire your next cropped cut or give you the courage to unapologetically allow your coils to take up space.
The Classic Afro Puff
If you're not following Essence Gant, you're missing out. From makeup tutorials to afro-puff how-tos, her page and stunning fro are worth the follow.
Big Hair Don't Care
My internet friends got so excited when Ciara debuted this larger than life fro. You might not be able to wear this look every day, but you can undoubtedly take note of her accessories game.
Pick Your Fro To Perfection
Ebonee Davis is a beauty icon, model, and social activist who wears her perfectly round fro well. To recreate this look, you'll need a pick and a stylist to cut your hair into this shape, so you can easily recreate this look at home.
Small and Mighty
Lupita Nyong'o is always switching it up, and here she shows us small Afros can pack a big beauty punch.
Take The Sides Off
When I saw this, I immediately thought of Grace Jones. A tapered fro look is a great way to add a new spin to an iconic classic.
Embrace Your Coils
Afros are a go-to for influencers like Taylor Anise, who has 4C hair. I love to see it because it takes away from the false narrative that 4C hair isn't worth praise too.
Fluff and Go
Yara Shahidi's parted fro is super easy to try. With a blow dryer on low heat and a brush or pick of your choice, you'll have this look recreated in no time.
Get A Shape Up
This face-framing fro is poppin'. If you find yourself struggling with the shape of your curly fro, don't be afraid to reach out to a pro.
Show Off Those 4C Coils
Some try to say type 4 hair doesn't grow, but Fola's full, back-length fro disproves that theory.
Many of us were first introduced to Marsai Martin on the primetime television show Black-ish. The young star has since blossomed into a beauty and style icon right before our eyes. Here, she shows us how to rock Afro puffs in full glam.
Logan Browning has one of my favorite fros of all time. With the Curl Doctor, Shai Amiel, at the shears, how could we expect anything less than perfection?
Let Your Features Shine
Not only do short fros show off your unique features, but cropped fros are also even easier to style. Really want to wash and go? It might be time to try something new.
Try A Lighter Hue
Solange pulls white blonde off like no other. If you're interested in mimicking this hair color, you'll want to tread lightly to ensure you don't end up with damaged coils.
Play Up Your Natural Texture
Fros don't represent just one look. You always have the option to play up your natural texture. Using a curl-enhancing gel or cream is the best way to play up your coils.
Add Depth With Balayage
Adding color to your curls is one of the most effective ways to add depth, but with any color service, you'll want to be sure the integrity and health of your hair come first.
Throw It Up
This glorious puff shows that an Afro, like other styles, can be versatile.
Embrace Those Roots
I'm not sure if Cole's ombre fro was done on purpose or if she's growing our her hair color, but either way, the auburn tips are a fun beauty choice.
Stretch With Care
A stretched fro is always a good idea, and here Anima opts to add a side-swept element. A few bobby pins and dash of edge control, and you're out the door.
Don't Shy Away From Tapered Designs
Ryan Michelle Bathe has become one of my red carpet beauty favorites. She, like so many ladies on this list, proves natural coils and afros can be molded into whatever our hearts desire.
Fro Those Curls Out No Matter The Length
No matter the length of your hair, a fro is always a beautiful possibility.
I didn't pop myself in here for a shameless plug, I promise. With the help of celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephens, I learned how to get creative with my natural curls and try a 1970s look.
Try On Some Fringe
Rocking a fro with a bang might seem like too much maintenance, but if you're afraid of trimming your fringe on your own, you can cheat it with bobby pins. It may take some trial and error to get the right length, but once you've got it, you'll have a hair trick you can use forever.