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Seven Hairstyles for Naturally Curly Hair

If you’ve recently started wearing out your naturally curly hair (or have been for a while), you probably know that it can be challenging to not only keep it healthy but also to style. As a young girl, I’ve always struggled with how to style my hair (I have a 3b/3c curl type) and make it look nice for picture day or formal events. Many times, I’d end up frustrated and wishing that I had straight hair instead, then end up shoving my curls into a bun or ponytail. It took me a while to see that there were so many different styles that I could do with my hair and highlight its uniqueness. Whether you’re looking for a quick style to freshen up your look before class or an elegant updo, keep reading to see some styles that you can try out on yourself.

Wash and Go

This may seem like such a basic and obvious choice of hairstyle but do not underestimate a good wash and go. Mastering a wash and go that is specifically catered to your curl type, with the right products, is essential for any curly girl. This is my go-to hairstyle, and I love it for its ease and number of different ways I can do to get different results. For more defined curls, I’ve found that applying products on wet hair and scrunching it with a microfiber towel to get rid of excess water and product before diffusing works best. If I’m after more volume, applying it on damp hair or air drying it will do the trick (although it does come with some frizz). Watch curl guru Manes by Mell trying both and try which look you like best on your hair.

Messy Top Knot

At this point, we’ve probably seen every curly-haired celebrity, from Zendaya to Lupita Nyong’o, do this look. This is one of the easiest hairstyles to do on curly gals and I absolutely love it for its versatility. You can wear it on a casual day for work or school, or you can dress it up and it’ll still look chic. It’s also a hairstyle that will work on many different curl types; depending on how long your hair is, you may or may not need to use some extensions. If you have longer and looser curls, you can leave out a few tendrils of hair to frame your face. You can also choose to brush back your hair with some gel for a sleeker look. Do not forget about your edges (baby hairs) because setting them properly will elevate the entire thing. Watch this tutorial by Flawless Britny if you have shorter hair or this video by Naomi Rose for longer hair.

With A Scarf or Head Wrap

I love accessorizing curly hair and a silk scarf or head wrap is a great one to start off with. You can incorporate it into a number of hairstyles from using it as a headband to creating a faux mohawk with it. Personally, I use scarves on days when I’m feeling too lazy to do my usual hair routine but still want a fun hairstyle. You can also get all kinds of fun prints and colors, and color coordinate with your outfits. Just make sure to get one that’s big enough to cover all your hair. Here’s a YouTube video by Brandi Lofton demonstrating all the different ways you can use one.

Side Braid

The side braid is a great way to elevate your wash and go a little bit more or freshen it up after a few days. Start out with your regular wash and go procedure and start a french braid at one side of your head. You can choose how big you want the braid to be and how many braids you do. Adding some accessories like some silver cuffs or rings makes this hairstyle even more edgy and cool. If you need some help, watch YouTuber Franchelli Rodriguez do a walkthrough to help you do this look.

Space Buns

This is such a cute look that brings a youthful vibe and can be worn on any curl type, given some length. It’s also such a fun look that I personally find is perfect for warmer weather. This works especially better on hair that has been slept on and worn out for a few days for that added volume. If your hair length is medium or longer, you can also do this as a half up half down hairstyle. Additionally, this can also be done on hair in protective hairstyles such as braids or locs. Watch this YouTube tutorial by Jasmine Brown to get the look.

Bantu Knots

Much like the space buns, this hairstyle also gives a very youthful energy. This hairstyle may take a couple of tries to pin down but when done correctly, bantu knots look cute and edgy while remaining sleek. There are a number of different ways to do bantu knots and you can choose how big you want the knot to be. Being a protective style, it works well in shielding your hair from the cold winter and can be worn for a few days. Even better, you’ll be rocking an awesome new knot out curls when you take them down. If you’ve never tried this before, watching a tutorial like the one below by Kersti Pitre will help you tackle this hairstyle.


If you have a bit more time on your hands or want to prepare your hair in advance for a busy week ahead, definitely consider doing this protective hairstyle. Cornrows are often thought of to be a super casual hairstyle that is often paired with street style (and one that has been appropriated many times). Recently though, I’ve noticed a lot of celebrities wearing this look on red carpets and formal events, as seen on the likes of Alicia Keys and Zoe Kravitz. Depending on hair length and personal preference, you can either braid your hair all the way to the end, put it in a bun, leave it out curly, or add some extensions. YouTuber ForeverCryssy gives an informative tutorial to achieve this hairstyle.

It’s always nice and fun to change hairstyles, and having curly hair shouldn’t stop you from doing so. Contrary to what others may think, there’s a variety of different hairstyles that you can do on natural curly hair that looks amazing. It’s just a matter of finding one you like and being patient in the process of trying out a new hairstyle. Curly hair is a gorgeous crowning glory, and should be celebrated and loved for its beauty.

Dianne Victor is a Communication Studies student with a passionate flair for the creative arts. Currently in her third country of residence, she loves to explore the city and find new hidden gems.
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