By Terez Howard

Healthy.  Pretty.  Professional.  Manageable.

These are just a few of the words natural ladies use to describe their tresses. Although natural hair care can be a challenge when you start out with a fresh head of kinks and coils, you will soon learn to love your hair when you realize the versatility you now have with a plethora of natural hair styles.natural hair styles

Styling options include two-stand twists, twist outs, bantu knots, comb coils, natural updos, cornrows, the afro, locs and much more. Your personal experience with your hair can literally include hundreds of unique natural hair styles. Which hairdos will you rock?

Natural Hair Style No. 1 and 2: Two-strand Twists and Twist Outs

A staple in most women’s arsenal of natural hair styles are two-strand twists. This most popular ‘do resembles braids; however it is accomplished by using two strands of hair, rather than three, like a braid. Long- and short-haired natural ladies alike can enjoy this hair style since only about one inch of hair is needed to create it. It also doesn’t matter what texture or hair type you have. A great transitioning style, twists will look beautiful on anyone.

You basically have two options when twisting your hair. You can either:

1. Part the hair neatly and then twist your strands.

OR

2. Grab the hair without parting, using your fingers only to determine the twists’ thickness.

This natural hair style will last one to two weeks, depending on your hair type. The more coily your texture, the longer this manageable style will last.

The twist out look is achieved when twists are unraveled, making the hair appear coily, curly or wavy. The smaller the original twists are, the more defined the twist out will be. Thicker twists will have less definition when unraveled.

Both two-strand twists and twist outs are extremely versatile because you can create a variety of styles, such as updos and ponytails, with them. You can also combine them with a number of other styling options, like flat twists, cornrows and afro puffs.

Natural Hair Style No. 3: Comb Coils

Comb coils, also known as palm rolls, are a perfect natural hair style for the short natural. They are oftentimes used to start locs, but you don’t have to go that route if you plan to rock this look.

You can use a comb to part the hair or just grab sections and turn the toothless side of a rat tail comb clockwise to make a small coil. These coils also can be achieved with your hands only, using your index finger and thumb to coil the hair.

Comb coils will last until your next washing. You can choose to unravel the coils before you wash to achieve a fuller, curly look.

Natural Hair Style No. 4: Bantu Knots

Bantu knots resemble small buns on neatly parted hair. They are not actual knots in the hair. Rather, they are started as coils or two-strand twists, and the ends are tightly twirled around the knot, or bun. Bobby pins or rubber bands can be used to secure them; however, I have found that if twirled tightly enough, they will stay secure without the use of pins or bands.

This protective style will last at least one week. When you remove bantu knots, prepare yourself for a curly, wavy, coily sensation! This is one great aspect of being natural – versatility. Several, smaller knots will produce tighter curls, and a few bantu knots make for a wavy mane. Whichever size you choose, your hair will look pretty.

If you are transitioning from relaxed hair, bantu knots will help to even out your hair texture.

Natural Hair Style No. 5: Natural Updos

The best for special occasions, natural updos can be achieved simply by using bobby pins or very intricately with cornrows, bantu knots and/or twists. For those looking to stretch the longevity of a twist out or bantu knot out, grab random sections of hair and pin it up in your own original design. If you desire a more professional natural updo, use a hand mirror with a wall mirror to plan which sections will go where.

Natural Hair Style No. 6: Cornrows

Cornrows are braids that lay on the scalp. When you cornrow natural hair, make sure it is thoroughly detangled since knots and tangles will make for bumpy cornrows. Start a regular braid and then grab bits of hair as you go down a parted section.

You can make just one cornrow around the top of your forehead or dozens along the sides of your head. They can have a complex design or only appear on half of your head. Cornrow styling options are endless.

Cornrowing from the forehead to the nape of the neck is one of the most wonderful, protective natural hair styles and perfect for transitioning. After you take them out, you will get a curly fro. With my 4a/4b texture, I found that unraveled cornrows had very little definition but made my hair look very full.

Natural Hair Style No. 7: The Afro

The most basic and probably the most celebrated of natural hair styles is the afro. It engenders thoughts of a powerful African American individual.

The afro can be achieved by:

1. Blowing out the hair in sections with a blow dryer. This will make a huge fro if you have long hair.

2. Air drying and shaking your kinks and coils. Your hair will shrink from air drying. You can pick it out at this point or let it do its thing!

Wear a headband around it. Pull it into a puff or two. Combine it with cornrows or twists. Your afro can be as unique as you are.

Natural Hair Style No. 8: Locs

Locs are matted, intertwined chunks of hair which cannot be easily combed out. They essentially are made up of unshed, tangled hairs. Locs can be started as comb coils, palm rolls, two-strand twists, single twists, braids or interlocked with or without the use of a tool.

Some natural hair care routines with locs include not washing the hair for a period of time. Other methods include regular and sometimes very frequent washings. Coily, course hair can loc in as little as 3 months, whereas straighter hair can take as long as 2 years. It all depends on your hair texture as well as the method you use to loc your hair.

Healthy locs have the ability to grow very long since you are not disturbing the hair or manipulating it with combs, brushing, flat irons and the like. Asha Mandela rocks the longest locs at 19 feet, 6 inches.

Once your locs are mature, the locs hair styles that you can wear in your hair are many.

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