17 Short Natural Hairstyles That Are Anything But Boring — See Photos

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All the inspo you need, from stars like Saweetie, Solange, and Lupita Nyong’o.

Graphic image containing three Black celebrities wearing short natural hairstyles

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Some say that short, natural hairstyles are boring. Others say that the options for these looks are limited. But both of these statements are untrue. Don’t be fooled by length. Short curls and coils are versatile enough to be braided, twisted, and wrapped into plenty of double tap-worthy styles.

Whether you’ve just gotten the big chop or short hair has been your signature for a while, there’s no shortage of looks to try. You could take a page from Doja Cat’s book and get a blonde buzzcut, experiment with intricate twists like Issa Rae, or try finger waves, tapered Afros, and mohawk pixies.

Looking for inspiration? Ahead you’ll find different ways to style your short, natural hair, courtesy of Hollywood’s most stylish curly-haired celebrities.


Meet the experts:


Mini Afro

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Keep it short and sweet with a mini Afro, an easy-to-style cut that makes a bold statement. (Solange’s platinum blonde color adds an ethereal spin.) To style this look, use a natural hair sponge, which can help gently define your curls.

Be Bigeddie

Be Bigeddie Magic Twist Hair Sponge

Tapered Afro

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Add shape to your Afro with a tapered cut, which allows curls to fall perfectly in place. Actor Logan Browning’s high, round tapered cut with curly bangs frames and accentuates her almond-shaped face. “Show off this beautiful cut with your natural hair texture or with texture-altering hairstyles like a wash-and-go,” says New York City-based hairstylist Monae Everett. She uses the Doux Mousse Def Texture Foam for her wash-and-gos, as it “provides a strong hold and does not flake.”

The Doux

The Doux Mousse Def Texture Foam

Box Braid Bob

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Love box braids but don’t want to commit to lengthy extensions? Try a stylish bob with box braids. Amandla Stenberg’s copper box-braid bob is made even more eye-catching with its silver streaks.

If you’re itching to get this hairstyle but your scalp is sensitive to synthetic hair extensions, Everett recommends using hypoallergenic hair, like these extensions from Dosso Beauty. These extensions are made of Kanekelon braiding hair that has been cleansed of the synthetic coating that can cause scalp irritation.

Dosso Beauty

Dosso Beauty 3 Bundle Pack Hypoallergenic Braiding Hair

Fauxhawk Pixie

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This spiky faux-hawk pixie cut adds spunk to Halle Berry’s signature short hair. “Mohawks are great for those with short hair looking for an edgier look,” says hairstylist Annagjid Kee Taylor. She also loves this look for how low-maintenance it is—after your hair is cut in a mohawk shape, styling is a breeze.

Buzzcut

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Doja Cat’s blonde buzzcut is one of her most striking hair looks. If you’ve just gotten a dramatic haircut, dyeing your hair platinum blonde is one way to make it even more daring. But your scalp will be much more exposed to the elements, so make sure to keep it hydrated with a mist or serum, such as the Crown Affair Scalp Serum.

Crown Affair

Crown Affair The Calming Scalp Serum

Afro Bangs

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These Afro bangs on actor Danai Gurira prove that short, kinky hair never has to be boring. The cropped bangs add an animated flare to her curly ’fro, while the gold twine embellishment makes her look like a goddess.

DonLeeving

Gold Hair Tinsel

Finger Waves

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Finger waves are timeless, having made their way from the 1920s, when they were commonly worn by flappers, to today’s red carpets. Case in point: Saweetie’s take on the hairstyle. Says New York City-based hairstylist and NTRL By Sabs founder Sabrina Rowe Holdsworth, “The look usually involves combing the curls away from the face and creating defined waves with a comb and fingers so that they become little soft ridges in the hair.”

Says Everett, “Smoothing your curls with pomades, mousses, and gels will help keep them in place as you style.” She recommends using the Mizani Styling Foam (for its non-flaky hold) and Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel (to add moisture and hold).

Mizani

Mizani Styling Foam Wrap

Eco Style

Eco Style Argan Oil Styling Gel

Side Part Finger Coils

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You can’t go wrong with a side part on short, naturally curly hair. “The neat part to the side brings out your face shape,” says Holdsworth. “The curls act as a frame for your face and add volume to your look.” The simplicity of this style also makes it easy to maintain, and ideal for those who want to show off their natural curls without spending too much time styling each day.

High Puff

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When it comes to short, natural hair, it doesn’t get more classic than a high puff. Slick back your curls with some gel, then secure the puff atop your head by using a wide elastic band. If your hair is especially thick and you struggle to slick it back and down, Everett suggests working in sections to detangle and smooth the application of your hard gel before gathering hair into the elastic.

This look is cute, easy to style, and doesn’t require much restyling the next day. Just pick out your puff (we love the Pattern Beauty Hair Pick for this), slick down flyaways with more gel, and you’re good to go.

Pattern Beauty

Pattern Beauty Hair Pick

Flat Twist Updo

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Flat twists are usually just a means to achieve a twist-out, but when done right, they can be a style all on their own—just ask Issa Rae. The star wore this updo to an Insecure season premiere, and the details in the hairstyle are stunning. The honey blonde highlights add a pop of color and dimension to the twists, while the circular rows that lead to the cascade of curls create the prettiest pattern.

Baby Braids

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These ’90s-inspired baby braids are easy to create and maintain. Lori Harvey adds her It girl flare to the look with slicked baby hairs and a deep side part. For sleek parts, New York City and Los Angeles travel braider Shanna St. Cyr recommends the Pure O Braiding Gel.

PureO

PureO Natural Neatbraid Conditioning Shining Gel

Mini Twists Pixie

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 25: Lupita Nyong’o poses at the Opening Night of “Angels In America” on Broadway at The Neil Simon Theatre on March 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/WireImage)Bruce Glikas

Lupita Nyong’o, the queen of short, natural hairstyles, makes a strong case for mini twists in this deep-part pixie. This look is the perfect example of how natural hair can easily be shaped into the trendiest hairstyles. To give your mini twists a springy bounce, Holdsworth recommends smoothing a small amount of the Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter on each section before twisting—it provides a soft hold and defines curls.

Camille Rose

Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter

Bantu Knots

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Bantu knots are a great way to embrace short, naturally curly hair. “These little knots can provide endless styling options and give you lots of texture that looks gorgeous,” says Holdsworth. Says Everett, Bantu knots can also be “a great way to create heatless waves or preserve your curls overnight.”

To get this look, stylists recommend starting on wet hair, using a mousse or foam to style the knot, and a gel with a strong hold (Everett likes the Got2B Strong Hold Gel) to smooth the hairline and create edge art.

Got 2b

Got 2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel

Flexi Rod Curls

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Flexi rods are one of the easiest ways to get shiny, bouncy curls on natural hair. The result of these heatless curl tools is fluffy curls that fall in cute ringlets (think Shirley Temple’s, but you know, for grown-ups). Add a pump of mousse to each section of hair before wrapping it around the flexi rod—we love the Ours Full Time Plumping Mousse for its airy texture and lasting hold.

Singer Corinne Bailey Rae styles her flexi rod curls in an ear-skimming bob with a deep side part and a sparkly barrette.

Hours

Hours Full-Time Plumping Mousse

Twist-Out

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Twist-outs are a tried-and-true style for naturalistas with short hair because they help stretch out shrinkage. After doing two-strand twists all over your hair and leaving them overnight, you’re left with beautifully defined curls that you can style in many ways, including this gathered-up puff style.

Says Everett, if you want a two-for-one style, “you can begin your twist-out as a protective style to tuck away your ends.” (Mini twists work best for this.) Mist your twists a few times a week with a moisturizing spray to keep your curls soft and nourished. Everett suggests using the TPH Keep Shining Dry Oil Mist, a lightweight oil that seals in moisture without weighing down the hair.

TPH By Taraji

TPH by Taraji Keep Shining Dry Oil Mist

Micro Locs Bob

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Lupita Nyong’o’s micro-locs era produced a handful of screenshot-worthy looks, including this elegant side-part bob. Camille Friend, the actor’s hairstylist, previously told Allure that Nyong’o began a sister-locs (a form of micro-locs) journey while filming Black Panther. Ultimately, this influenced her character’s hair looks in the movie. Tiny locs like these take a long time to create, but if you’re seeking an easy-to-maintain hairstyle, this is for you.

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