What Are the Different Types of Black Hairstyles?

Rhonda Rivera

Some of the different types of black hairstyles are natural, straight, and braided. People who wear natural hairstyles attempt to avoid harsh styling techniques like hair relaxers. Straight styles can be difficult to keep overall but require little maintenance during the day. There are also hundreds of different braided styles, some of which can stay put for months at a time. In addition, many individuals wear weaves to cover or add to their own hairstyle.

Braided cornrows are one type of black hairstyle.
Braided cornrows are one type of black hairstyle.

Many people adopt all-natural black hairstyles, leaving behind most hair-damaging styles. These hairstyles consist of letting the hair grow without interference from hot styling tools or chemicals. The wearer usually does little to no amount of brushing and combing to avoid straightening the hair’s natural curls. Natural rarely means no maintenance at all, though, since black hair often requires a lot of moisture applied through deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and moisturizing shampoos.

Straight black hairstyles are usually achieved through a combination of straightening chemicals and hot styling tools.
Straight black hairstyles are usually achieved through a combination of straightening chemicals and hot styling tools.

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Straight black hairstyles are usually achieved through a combination of straightening chemicals and hot styling tools. People who straighten their hair rarely wash it every day because of how extensive and damaging the straightening process can be. The degree of straightness can be chosen, with some people choosing to simply “texturize” their wear. Texturizing means making the hair straighter but not bone straight, which is when the hair has no curl at all.

Some African American women prefer natural styles that don't damage their hair.
Some African American women prefer natural styles that don't damage their hair.

Braided black hairstyles are an older style that has become more versatile over time. Hair braids range from simple hairline to neck braids to intricate patterns that take hours to complete. Sometimes the hair is only partially braided, leaving the rest to flow freely or be pinned up. In many cases, this style is washed without undoing the braids, and can be left braided for months with occasional tightening. Braided hairstyles can be combined with straightened and natural styles.

Weaves are also among the most common black hairstyles, and consist of synthetic or real human hair. They are basically extensions that cover or add length to one’s own hair. Some look natural and can be styled like real hair, while others are of too poor quality to shine like real hair. The quality and price of hair weaves can differ dramatically from weave to weave, with the best kind of weave being remy hair, which is human hair. Weaves are different from wigs because the hair is woven, glued, or braided into a person’s own hair, and is usually not meant to be taken out for months at a time.

Some women avoid combing their hair to avoid straightening the hair's natural curls.
Some women avoid combing their hair to avoid straightening the hair's natural curls.

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