There are countless ways to style natural hair, that's one of the things we love the most about it! But if you are just starting out on your natural hair journey the wide variety of hairstyles can feel overwhelming at first. Here are 4 basic hairstyles that every natural should know about. You do not have to use them all, but it is helpful to know that they are options for you to try as you find what works for you.


Loose is another way of saying down. These are your wash and go’s, twist out, braid outs, Bantu knot outs, afros, and anything else that allows your hair to be free. Women love to wear these styles when they crave volume and big hair. For more curl definition install your twists, braids, or Bantu knots on wet hair and do not fluff when you unravel them. For more volume, twist or braid on dry hair and separate each section after you have unraveled them. If you have low density hair, consider using an afro pick to gently comb the roots but do not backcomb. Although possible, these styles are not ideal when you want to retain more length. Exposed ends lead to dryness and breakage from moisture in the air and friction against your clothes.


Updos are the ultimate protective style that require little style maintenance between wash day and protects your ends. There are plenty of pin-up, pompadour style tutorials on YouTube to select from. For more voluminous buns, consider doing a blow-out before styling. For more shine, create your updo on wet hair.

Low manipulation style

These styles are great when you are transitioning, on the go, or like the minimalist aesthetic. French braids, Dutch braids, cornrows, buns, and roll, tuck and pin are great for no-fuss hair. These are also considered updos but take less time to style and may require more touch-ups throughout the week. Two-strand twists are also great options that require no maintenance between wash day and can actually be worn for weeks at a time.

Protective style

Protective styles usually involve extensions. Wigs, weaves, and extensions are all considered protective styles when installed, maintained, and removed properly. Wigs are hassle free. You can put them on and remove them within seconds. Now there are wigs that match curly and coily textures, but with most starting at $700, they are not affordable for everyone’s budget. Weaves involved sewing extension wefts along your own hair that has been braided to the scalp. When installed too tight, your scalp can experience traction alopecia and when removed too late, matting and locking can occur. With options like crochet braids, which are gentler on the scalp and easier to install, more women are forsaking the weaves. Last are the timeless extension twists and braids. Extension twists that are beloved by the natural hair community include Senegalese twists, Havana twists, and Marley twists. These are often used to reduce manipulation and retain length, but it is important you do not neglect your own hair, which can cause breakage and make your efforts counterproductive.

Remember to always install extensions on clarified, moisturized, and thoroughly dried hair. The last thing you want is to remove the extensions and realize your hair is brittle and your scalp has mildew.

Read more: Ask Dr. Kari: Effective Protective Styling

Here are the Styling Products for Natural Hair that can help you achieve these looks. 

How do you style your natural hair?