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Black Hair Styles

Natural Hair

While some stylists use the term natural hair to refer only to Afros, others use the term for any hair style without chemical treatment, including Afros, updos and all types of braids. Since the chemicals used to straighten and relax black hair can be damaging to the locks as well as to the scalp, many people prefer a natural approach. It allows the hair to grow longer since it is undamaged and can also be combined with hair extensions.

Straw Set

If you are transitioning to a natural hair style from a chemical treated look, consider a straw set. In a straw set, you use drinking straws or small perm rollers to wrap your hair in ringlets.

1.Once you have shampooed and conditioned your hair, wrap small sections around the straws and secure it with hair pins.

2.Dry your hair under low heat with a bonnet hair dryer, or with very low, diffused heat with a hand dryer.

Roller Wrap Set

Roller wrap sets are a great way to get large, loose curls without damaging the hair with heat styling. This is a very popular styling method for many African American women as black hair tends to be very fragile. For large curls or waves, use large rollers to roll your clean, damp, conditioned hair. Dry your hair under low heat with a hooded dryer. When it is completely dry, you can remove the rollers and brush the hair into smooth waves.

You may find these smooth natural black hair styles easier if you use one of the “natural” relaxers available on the market such as Naturalaxer.


Double Strand Twist

Double strand twists are one of the most popular types of natural black hairstyles. This style can also give hair a break from everyday styling damage, as the twists are typically left in for a few days or weeks. Double twisting the hair is simple.

1.Part the hair into small sections all over the head, approximately one inch in size.

2.Place a small amount of oil on the hair and separate in half.

3.Cross the two pieces of hair over each other and pull tightly. Continue this process until the entire length of hair has been twisted.

4.Secure the end of the twist with a hair tie. Repeat this process until the entire head has been twisted.


Dreadlocks are popular hairstyles for many African American men and women. Dreadlocks are created when wet hair and a small amount of natural products are twisted together multiple times until the hair naturally stays in a locked form. When dreadlocks are put in the hair it will become matted and the locks will stay in place for a long time. The only drawback with this hairstyle is that they are nearly impossible to remove and usually need to be cut out.

Relaxed or Straightened Black Hair Styles

The chemical processes used to relax hair can make for beautiful sleek tresses, but they can also cause dryness, thinning and breakage. If you have your hair chemically relaxed, make sure you discuss the best shampoos and conditioners for your situation with your stylist; some leading black hair stylists recommend Nexxus hair products as well as the Dudley product line.

If you desire long and lustrous straight black hair styles, remember that there is no miracle pill for hair growth and that every process to which you subject your hair has an impact on it. Relaxers, hot curlers, hot combs, and color can all damage your hair and using more than one of these can make the problems exponentially worse. If you are planning to color and perm, you should always do your perm first or the color is likely to change dramatically.

Since straightening your hair removes elasticity from the hair shafts, the straighter your hair is, the more fragile it will become. If you want it bone straight, you will have the best success with very short styles. On the other hand, if you are relaxing but leaving a fair amount of curl in place, you can successfully have a longer hair style.


The different types of braided black hair styles available are nearly limitless. However, there are a few more popular braid options for African American hair.

•Cornrows: Cornrows are small, tight plaits, close to the scalp that are popular on both men and women. Cornrows are typically left in the hair for weeks or months at a time.

•Micro Braids: Micro braids are very tiny braids that are done to either just the root of the hair, or all of the hair. In many cases micro braids are so small, they are not noticed by the naked eye. These braids can be left in the hair for months.

•Tree Braids: Tree Braids are slightly larger than micro braids. They are small, noticeable, three strand braids that are done to the hair in small sections. These braids should only be left in the hair for a few weeks at most.

A lubricant, such as Aveda Humectant Pomade, is usually used for the twist. Of course, braiding is an art and it takes a substantial amount of time. Make sure you find someone you trust and that they understand the style you are going for. If often helps to look at pictures to indicate the style you are seeking before your stylist starts. When you wash your braids, make a diluted shampoo and water solution and work it gently into your braids. Then, use your shower to work it first through, then out of your hair. Repeat the same technique with your conditioner.

Keep in mind that braids can stress your hair; if they are put in too tightly, the hair is constantly pulled at the roots and this can result in breakage.


Extensions are popular hair choices for many African American women, mainly because growing out black hair can be very difficult due to its naturally dry and brittle nature. Extensions can be added to black hair in a number of ways.

Micro Braiding Extensions

Micro braiding is a very popular method of adding extensions to black hair. In this process, natural hair is partially micro braided and then extensions are added to the braid. Extensions can be left unbraided, or be completely braided, depending on the preference of the individual.


Fusion hair extensions are less popular with African American hair, but this method can be used on black hair if necessary. With this method, hair extensions are fused to natural hair with protein bonds. This is generally not recommended for women with extra brittle hair.


Hair weaving is possibly the most popular for African American women. In this process, a corn row or track is created around the head, right on the scalp. The extensions are then sewn onto the tracks. Then the real hair covers the track where the extensions are sewn in. Essence magazine has a gallery on African American hair weaves for pictures on how natural hair weaves can look.


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