I love the holidays: The food, time with family, white elephant parties… But, most of all, I love getting to wear sequin everything. Oh, and how could I forget bold makeup and an updo? As a natural girl, I know how versatile our hair is, but, admittedly, I'm a bit intimated by trying something new. (I've only just perfected my version of a topknot, which a friend had to teach me how to do.)
With that in mind, I thought about iconic hair figures that rock new dos all the time, yet keep it simple. Stars like Lupita Nyong'o, Yara Shahidi, Tika Sumpter, and Zazie Beetz are queens of red carpet hair made simple. Now, I know that many of their red carpet looks are brought to life by celebrity stylists like Lacy Redway and Vernon François, but that doesn't mean their styles are unattainable—it can simply mean adding embellishments, trying a new part, or picking up a pack of braiding hair to install with a YouTuber as your guide to learn how to set a new ponytail.
Here, we've compiled a list of 22 holiday party hairstyles for natural hair to get your creativity flowing. Most of these can be done at home with a little trial and error—but if doing your hair isn't your thing, you can have a hairstylist lend a hand this holiday season.
The Faux Hawk
Teyonah Parris is always hair goals, and this voluminous faux hawk is no exception. For this look, all you'll need are bobby pins (a lot of them), edge control, and a pick to ensure you get the height you're looking for with this look.
Eris Baker stunned on the red carpet in this Josephine Baker-inspired headpiece over her cornrows. If you don't want to go full-on glam, try adding a pearl-encrusted headband.
Keep It Classic
Chloe and Halle Bailey know how to serve us some serious looks. Whether you're wearing locs, braids, or twists, this banded style is an excellent look for everything from an office party to a new year's soirée.
Try A '90s Pony
Going natural doesn't mean you can't wear a silk press every once in a while. Tika Sumpter's '90s pony is worth switching it up.
Add Colorful Accessories
Many people think short hair means less versatility, but anyone that's rocked a cropped cut knows that isn't the case. Adding clips and colorful bobby pins is a way to change your hair in seconds.
Bantu knots, like these on Rihanna, will make for a stunning holiday 'do. Using a product like Cantu's Shine + Sculpt Paste (it's the only thing I use when putting my hair up) will help mold your knots in place while leaving them soft enough to let loose into waves post-event.
Add Some Length
Dayna's look here reminds us that playing with clip-ins is always a good idea.
Hip-Grazing Box Braids
Box braids are the move year-round, and Beyoncé's hip-length braids are so good, they don't need to be styled.
Pearl-Encrusted Faux Locs
Lupita Nyong'o's pearl-encrusted faux locs remind us that accessories go beyond jewelry. Pearl bobby pins are relatively easy to find and offer a low maintenance approach to holiday hair.
Finger Wave Cornrows
Unless you're one of the gifted people who have the skill and patience to braid your own hair, you may have to visit your braider for this one. What I like about this style is that it can be done without adding extensions, and you can add jewels to make it sparkle.
A High Ponytail
Kiki Layne's pony has been on my list of things to do because it is so simple, yet effortlessly glam. With a pack of one-dollar braiding hair and a few extra minutes, you'll have the perfect ponytail.
Add Length and Volume
If you want to add length without the commitment of a sew-in, give clip-ins a try. Recreating Kelly Rowland's hair look can be achieved within minutes thanks to clip-in options made for coily hair types.
Play With Your Hair Texture
Are you someone who can braid your own hair? Layne is offering more beauty inspiration (and a little nostalgia) with this look.
If only one side of your hair is cooperating before your big office party, don't panic—I've been there. Since clips are back, I recommend having a few sets on deck that are so pretty, no one will know you were having a hair emergency.
Wrap It Up
Kelly Rowland's headwrap screams holiday glam. You may not be able to find this wrap readily available, but if you want to channel your inner designer, a fabric store and some practice can make your headwrap dreams a reality.
The Pom Pom Pony
Pulling the hair back can seem a bit unimaginative, but with a style like this, you won't have to worry about being too simplistic.
Colorful Box Braids
I love this look because it's a mix of color, texture, and history. Not to mention, it seems pretty low-maintenance.
These cropped cornrows on Dewanda Wise are everything. You can follow her lead and embellish your hair with gold, or you can find hints of sparkle and color that suit your style.
A Bobby Pinned Ponytail
Pins, pins, and more pins! Amandla Stenberg's crowned pins would be a great match with Layne's ponytail (see number 12).
Gold-Adorned Box Braids
Box braids are one of the most versatile protective styles around. With a gold braiding string, you can recreate Nyong'o's gold-adorned braids.
The Side Braid
Here, Janelle Monáe shows us again how to play with accessories. Her pearl-detailed golden bobby pins and oversized barrettes make for a perfect moment of decadence.
The Sleek Top Knot
Celebrity stylist Rebecca Gross' curls are always laid without a baby hair or a spiral out of place. Her sleek top knot is an option for any natural hair type with the right gel and hair tools. Just be sure not to make your knot too tight in the name of beauty. I've done that, and my hair was so snatched I couldn't think.