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 commentary from others. Black hairstyles have a range, which makes this new wave of self-acceptance so much fun! Here, we have rounded up twenty-one 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 different styles to give you a little inspiration 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 the hair in style.
Diandra'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 the 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.
Dayna has been one of my biggest sources of hair inspiration for years. Her cropped cuts aren't just easy to work with—they have an edge thanks to her bright hair color.
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.
This fringed silk press took me back to my relaxer days. Even if you are natural, straight hair isn't off the table. 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 disrupt your curls.
Cornrows are a style that works for any type of Black hair texture, not to mention they give you a break from the manipulating and styling that can cause breakage.
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.
Instagram is such a gem for hair inspiration. When I saw this photo on my timeline, I instantly hit the save button. You can find Kim's tutorial here if you'd like to recreate this look at home.
Take It Back
Logan Browning's flat top cropped fro gives me Grace Jones vibes. The right stylist might be able to help recreate this look with no scissors involved.
Whitney Madueke is among my list of favorite influencers. She wears her hair in many different styles, but I love seeing her rock this cropped fro.
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, we see a sleek, pulled back look that shows off Fola's beautiful hair and face, and it only cost her $10 to switch it up.
Sleek bobs aren't off the table if you're natural. If you're not a straight-haired natural, you can always try a wig!
Mini braids and twists are a favorite in the natural community. Since they protect and look cute, what's not to love? Moisture is the key here, so use whichever version of the LOC method you prefer to layer your products to help lock in all the good stuff. Krissy used leave-in, a curl jelly, and oil to create the mini braid look we see here.
Go Red or Go Home
The burgundy red hue here complements the skin tone. 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.
Brittany D's cropped style shows how much naturals can experiment.
Let It Flow
Part of going natural is sometimes just allowing your hair to do its thing without overthinking about curl definition or frizz.
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's side-swept two-strand twisted locs frame her face and show off her beautiful hair texture.