In the 1960s, the Afro hairstyle 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 an 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 with Afro hairstyles has helped me lean into my own.
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Here, find 32 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.
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.
Picked 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 the look at home.
Small and Mighty
Lupita Nyong'o is always switching it up. Here she shows us small Afros can pack a big beauty punch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some try to say type 4 hair doesn't grow, but Fola's full, back-length fro disproves that theory. Use a pick to enhance the volume and be sure to deeply condition so the style stays well-moisturized.
Slicked in the Center
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?
Short and Natural
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.
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.
Coiled and 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 amp up your coils.
Injecting color to your curls is one of the most effective ways to add depth. As with any color service, you'll want to be sure the integrity and health of your hair come first.
This glorious puff shows that an Afro, like other styles, can be versatile. Afro puffs are also protective styles, so they help with the overall health of the hair.
I'm not sure if Cole's ombre fro was done on purpose or if she's growing out her hair color, but either way, the auburn tips are a fun beauty choice. The trick here is to concentrate the color on the mid-lengths to ends, so there's a subtle contrast between the roots and the dyed hair.
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.
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.
Lots of Length
No matter the length of your hair, a fro is always a beautiful possibility. To replicate this look, use a pick to create a side part and direct the hair in two different directions for a little bit of drama.
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.
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.
Falling somewhere between short and voluminous, the mid-length style is classic with a twist. Here, the ends aren't blunt, allowing some of the natural texture to shine through. This look works for everything from the office to an evening event.
Rounded With Bangs
This is another 1970s style, but with a little looser texture. We love that the bangs add to the rounded shape but still give it a bohemian look.
Chic Bowl Cut
Halle Berry's texture, length, and bangs combine for the chicest-ever version of a bowl cut we've seen. The key to this look is keeping hair well-moisturized.
Take a cue from Elaine Welteroth and slick your hair into a low ponytail, keeping the look clean and crisp with a center part. The contrast between the slicked sides and the fro in the ponytail is so bold.
Loose With Volume
Imaan Hammam's loose and voluminous fro is ultra-sexy. For this look, use a pick to ensure the ends spring out in different directions, really emphasizing the natural texture.
Naomi's rich chestnut highlights add further interest to an already gorgeous style. Here, the contrast of dark and light highlights creates dimension.
Viola Davis always looks great, but we especially love how her natural curls are styled in this asymmetrical Afro. To get the look, create a side part and use a styling cream to smooth and direct curls in varying directions.
This style is a protective way to keep curls intact, and it's full of personality. To replicate, bend your head over so that hair is pointing to the ground, and use a scarf or scrunchie to secure the hair at the base, allowing curls to spill over the top (like a pineapple).
Short and Straight Up
Even those with a short Afro can have fun with the style. Here, the curls are cropped close on the sides with the texture directed up at the center of the head.
Center Part With Volume
We love Oprah's center part, which provides volume at the roots and opens up the face. Here, the curls are only slightly rounded, so the effect is less 1970s and more 2020s.
Afro With Cornrows
Jourdan Dunn's slick cornrows feed into her voluminous natural texture. We love the contrast between two classic styles and the cornrow portion really protects her her roots.