If you're wearing your hair natural this summer, or any other season, there are some incredible It girls to follow for styling inspiration. For starters, we often lose track of time scrolling through the wanderlust-inducing Instagram of Go With the Fro Tour, where Zimbabwean Nià and Nicaraguan Lauren celebrate women around the world who embrace their natural locks. But the #hairinspo doesn't stop there.
From Instagram to TikTok, the stylish set serves up a slew of natural hairstyles that you can DIY at home. To prove it to you, we've rounded up a handful of the prettiest—and most practical—ways to style natural hair complete with pro tips from stylists Jamila Powell and Geneva Fowler. These looks are as easy-breezy as summertime.
Meet the Expert
Head below for 18 easy natural hairstyles to wear on repeat all summer long.
Can't decide whether to wear your hair up or down? Then do both with a half-up, half-down style like Logan Browning here. We love the contrast of her sleek humidity-proof crown that gives way to free-flowing curls.
Amandla Stenberg is our summertime muse in this simple yet stunning afro. "It’s always great to be able to celebrate your crown," comments Powell. Wearing hair natural and down will also allow your scalp to breathe and keep you cool, she adds. "While anyone can pull off this style, it’s really important to have a great wash day beforehand. Make sure that you use lightweight leave-in to give your strands extra hydration. I like Uncle Funky’s Daughter Midnite Train Leave-In ($11) because it also minimizes breakage. If you want to elongate your curl pattern, you could do big twists or braids and let it out the next day."
IMG model Ashley Moore often wears her hair natural, on and off-duty, offering up a range of covetable stylings. This loose, low-slung bun is no exception, nailing the effortlessly cool vibe that is synonymous with summer. Get her look by gathering hair back into a low bun, then pull out a few face-framing strands for that undone finish.
Just because summer styles are all about ease doesn't mean they can't also be sophisticated. Case in point: this elegant topknot. You can either get creative and style your baby hairs or slick them back like Zendaya here using Aveda Flax Seed Aloe Strong Hold Sculpturing Gel ($25)—whatever moves you.
Influencer Lauren Lewis's twists make our list for not only being a protective style but also a great way to stay cool in the summer. And while we can't deny that they look killer with her long strands, they're also a solid option if you've got short hair, too.
- Divide hair into four to six sections.
- For each section, divide in two.
- Twist each of the divided sections separately.
- Wrap the twisted sections around each other to form a two-plaited rope braid.
- Repeat for each section.
- Take a couple of braids and twist them up into a bun atop your head. Secure with bobby pins.
Bad hair day? A headscarf is Fowler's go-to when curls aren't cooperating. It works well on any hairstyle with texture to it, regardless of length, she tells us. Just throw hair into a high, messy bun and finish with a scarf. To keep curls moisturized and defined—not to mention smelling divine—Fowler likes the lightweight Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner ($11).
Down and Loose
Bianca Alexa's natural curls look fresh when pulled over in a deep part. This look is one part beachy, one part glam, and translates easily from day to night. To get her gloss, try a once-weekly deep conditioning hair mask. Styling with a curl cream like John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease Extra Strength Serum ($10) won't hurt either as it will help to keep frizz and flyaways at bay.
The slicked-back ponytail is the hairdo we always keep in our back pocket. And whenever doubt or laziness comes into play when deciding how to style our tresses, we whip out this foolproof number. It's incredibly versatile and pairs well with both informal and formal occasions alike. If you're feeling fancy, wrap a section of hair around your elastic for a seamless finish.
Mermaid locs will have you playing the part of summer siren as you hang out beachside. "[They're] great because you’re not manipulating or damaging your hair. I also love this style because it has versatility. You can wear it in a ponytail, half-up half-down, etc." says Powell. "If you are doing a crochet method, make sure you use a braiding pattern that allows the locs to look full. I recommend using the Rebalance Treatment ($36) from Naturally Drenched on the scalp to keep it moisturized and protected while the hair is in this protective style."
While there's no denying that crown braids and fishtails are beautiful plaited styles, they're not necessarily for braid novices. And since summer is all about ease, why not keep it simple and opt for a traditional braid? It's quick, easy, and if length is on your side, statement-making.
When we hear the word, "pineapple" what instantly comes to mind are tropical beaches, piña coladas, and a practical yet stylish updo for those with natural, curly hair. This quick and easy 'do involves nothing more than gathering hair into a high ponytail and letting your curls do the rest.
Once the dog days of summer hit, keeping hair off of your neck and away from your face is a must. Aisha Dee shows us how with her dual pony puff action. It's fun and carefree, allowing her to show off her natural texture, but also retains an air of refinement with its stark center part.
Claw Clip Updo
The ultimate lazy-girl hair hack, a claw clip is all you need to create an instant updo. Free People's Rainbow Recycled Metal Claw ($24) in Gold is both beautiful and functional. But depending on how long or thick your hair is, you might need to throw in some additional clips and pins for extra support.
Gabrielle Union's hair is flawless. Her high bun is the perfect summer style and as for those bangs? Well, let's just say that if you've ever wondered whether you could pull off a curly fringe, the answer is a resounding yes. Just be sure to use a curl-defining product like Carol's Daughter Goddess Strength Divine Strength Leave-In Cream ($12) to keep bangs looking their best.
Box Braid Ponytail
If you rock box braids consider styling them into an updo. Here, plaits lend texture to your standard high ponytail. Add a little personality by tieing in a scrunchie like one offered in Slip's Silk Large Scrunchie Set ($39). A couple of face-framing braids will finish off this look.
We've seen "the pineapple" earlier in our list but here it gets a fun and fashionable flair with a simple headband. Once you pick out your hair accessory du jour, work in some product. Fowler recommends As I Am Jamaican Black Castor Water ($6) since it's a great refresher for curls that you can use without having to take down your style. When it comes to edge control, you can't go wrong with Style Factor Edge Booster Strong Hold Water-Based Pomade ($9). It's available in a variety of scents but we're partial to Coconut Banana for summertime.
Braid goddess Salem Mitchell is the epitome of natural beauty. Here, she gives off serious bohemian vibes thanks to her braids' unraveled ends and super-long length. While this style is gorgeous worn down, if you want to change up your look—or cool off in case temps start climbing—simply work your plaits into your updo of choice.