Black hair is magical. We can wear it cropped, bobbed, long, and we can't forget the wealth of textures. When I went natural for the second time (yes, it took more than one try), I became a bit judge-y. To me, if you were a straight-haired natural (someone that grows out their relaxer but wears their hair straight) in my eyes, you were defeating the purpose. Going natural means we can only wear our hair curly, right? Wrong.
I was loud and wrong. There isn't one way to wear natural hair. We should wear our hair how we see fit without judgment from others. Black hairstyles have a range, which is a huge part of what makes this new wave of self-acceptance so much fun.
Here, we've rounded up 20 styles that you can wear anytime you're ready for a switch-up. From cropped 4C fros to stretched out wavy looks to sleek silk presses, we found an array of styles to inspire you the next time you're ready to see what else your natural hair can do.
Stretch It Out
Issa Rae knows how to morph her 4C coils into anything she dreams up. An overnight twist-out might be all you need to recreate this look, but depending on what you're going for, a blowout before twisting might yield better results.
Bantu It Up
Yara Shahidi's Bantu knots and doe-eyed makeup stopped me in my tracks. This look is the perfect way to protect your natural hair in style, and variations of it are possible at short, medium, or long lengths.
Diandra Forrest's golden curls can be recreated with a flexi-rod set, no matter your hair texture. Just make sure to have some mousse on hand to help stretch and set the curls. Design Essentials Natural Curl Enhancing Mousse ($16) will give your natural hair hold without the crunch.
Michaela Coel's cropped cut shows off her stunning features and is a low-maintenance way to embrace your natural hair texture without the wash-day commitment.
Janelle Monáe is a constant source of natural hair inspiration, rocking a range of statement-making styles at all lengths. If an easy crop is your style, play up the edge by going blonde—from there, you can play with as many vivid colors as your heart desires.
Knot It Up
Freddie Ransome is a top knot queen. Depending on your hair type, you may need to use a gel, mousse, or edge control (or maybe all three). Be on the lookout for flake-free products like Swag Goo Edge Control Gel ($13) to help keep those edges in check.
Even if you are natural, straight hair isn't off the table—try going for a silk press the next time you're craving a sleek finish. A good, heat-protected blow-dry and a flat iron can help you achieve this look. Just be careful of the heat settings if you don't want to damage your curls.
Cornrows work for any type of Black hair texture, not to mention the natural style gives you a break from the manipulating and styling that can cause breakage. Like with most protective styles, you can wear your set of cornrows for weeks and enjoy looking effortlessly put together.
Puff It Out
I personally live in an afro puff when I'm not in the mood to style my hair. Be sure to take care of your edges since ponytails can add tension.
One of the easiest ways to switch up a protective style from day to day is by adding hair accessories. A simple gold headband, like this one on Danai Gurira, coordinates perfectly with jewelry and looks extra special for an event.
Take It Back
Paired with a crisp blazer and sunglasses, this flat-top crop on Leslie Jones gives us Grace Jones vibes. If you're looking to dip your toes into the look for a special event, the right stylist might even be able to create a similar look with no scissors involved.
Throw It Back
Cropped doesn't have to look the same across the board, and this '80s-inspired cut is one to try.
With the growth of the natural hair movement, a more inclusive range of hair extensions made with Black hair textures in mind has cropped up. Here, Beyoncé enhances her signature blonde locks with ultra-long extensions that match her curly texture.
Sleek bobs aren't off the table if you have natural hair. Accomplish the look with a silk press, or for a quick transformation, wigs are a great option as well.
Mini braids and twists are a favorite in the natural community. Since they protect your curls while looking amazing, what's not to love? Moisture is key here, so use whichever version of the LOC method you prefer to layer your products in to help lock in all the good stuff.
Go Red or Go Home
The burgundy red hue here complements Keke Palmer's radiant skin, and is sure to bring out the warmth in yours. If you're interested in giving this color a try, Dark and Lovely Fade Resist Permanent Hair Color in Crimson Moon ($5) is a fan favorite, or you can try weaving burgundy extensions into your next protective style.
While long strands may be what first comes to mind when you think of locs, this natural hairstyle looks great at any length. A bob length feels fresh and looks especially stunning swept back, as seen here on Willow Smith.
Let It Flow
Part of going natural is sometimes just allowing your hair to do its thing without overthinking about curl definition or frizz. With a simple half-up, half-down hairstyle, you can celebrate your texture and volume in a practical, effortless way.
Slick It Back
With the right molding products and a ponytail extension (if you need it), recreating this look is relatively simple. After styling, you may want to secure your hair with a silk scarf for a few hours (depending on your hair texture) and let the product air dry or even sit under a hooded dryer.
Chloe Bailey's side-swept two-strand twisted locs frame her face and show off her beautiful hair texture.