We talk a lot about finding your personal style when it comes to fashion and clothing, but we don’t always discuss defining your personal natural hair style. No, not the hairstyle we choose for the week or for an event; I’m talking about our distinctive style that defines how we choose to wear our natural hair most of the time, and the reasoning behind it. This is just as important as knowing our personal style for fashion. Let’s discuss…
Choosing styles and colors and lengths and cuts, just like choosing clothes to wear, are a reflection of who we are as individuals and what drives us. We will discuss trends in the next fashion post about finding and defining your style; but I think it’s just as important to discuss personal style and trends for natural hair. Well, any hair, really; because it’s just as relevant. Our personal style should determine how we wear our hair, not vice versa. Just as you should be comfortable and confident in the clothes you wear, you should be just as confident in the natural hairstyle you rock.
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So how do you know what your personal natural hair style is, and why should you care?
Natural Hair Styles
Some naturals choose to wear their hair long, some prefer their natural hair short and rock a TWA for years. Some women prefer a relaxed or texlaxed ‘do to natural hair; and some will rock a wig for their entire journey.
And some naturals will wear their hair based on what’s popular at the time – changing up their style whenever a new fad comes rolling around. You’ve seen it, and I’ve done it, too. When the purple hair fad hit the red carpets, I was too excited because my favorite color is purple, so I went out and found all the purple dye I could. Same when grey/silver hair was a big thing to have. Forget the damage I had to put my hair through and the maintenance required to wear silver hair – I wanted to have it to, dang it! What about when everyone was talking about Curlformers? Sally’s couldn’t keep those hair curlers in stock; but now you don’t see as many videos about them.
Just like a too-tight-fitting tube dress, or a too-loose pair of trousers, not every style is for every natural.
So how do you know what’s right for you?
Your Natural Hair Style
I hope this isn’t too confusing. But in order to wear a hair style, you have to first know your style.
Right. Clear as Ampro brown gel.
Let’s walk through it together… first,
What is your personality? Likes? Dislikes?
To figure out your style, you have to first know who you are and how that influences your fashion and hair choices. Do you have a bubbly personality, or are you more laid back? Are you a perfectionist who plays by the rules, or do you just go with the flow? Do you consider yourself organized and tidy, or more on the messy side? Can you be seen as introverted or extroverted? Do you prefer to do it yourself and choose your own ingredient adventure? Questions like this will help you in taking the first steps towards figuring out your personal natural hair style.
How? Well, for example, if you lean towards a messier work space, you may prefer low-maintenance styles that are a little messier in appearance. This could also go with a bubbly personality. But if you are a perfectionist, you will probably prefer styles that require a process and follow a certain pattern.
Know Thy Hair
I’m not saying that you should hold back from natural hair products and styles; but I am saying that you should know your true hair type so that you can better understand how to accomplish certain styles, or if certain products are for you.
Folks, porosity, texture, and density matter. Learn how to determine yours, here.
Know Thy Journey
So why did you embark upon this new and often treacherous but highly satisfying natural hair journey? What are your reasons for going natural?
I made that sound like an old point-and-click medieval video game, didn’t I? It’s all the anime and video games. LOL #issues
Did you begin wearing natural hair because it was a fad and you liked the way it looked on your favorite TV show actresses? Were you forced to cut all your hair because of alopecia or some other hair damage? Did you see your natural texture growing from your roots and decide that you wanted that texture all over? Or were you just tired of the relaxers? Your hair journey may be something you’re completely dedicated to, or something you just wear until the next big thing. Do you hate your short hair and prefer rocking longer styles until it grows out?
What about your hair goals? Are you hoping for long waist-length natural hair, or do you just want natural chemical-free hair? Knowing your journey and what you want out of that journey will help you know your personal natural hair style.
Know Thy Lifestyle and Thy Environment
What are your favorite activities? Are you very active or less so? Athletic? Do you travel a lot, or are you a homebody?
More active lifestyles may require low-maintenance styles that last longer. Those will less active jobs or daily activities may be able to dedicate more time to styling and experimenting with various types of styles.
Also, if you’re like me and you live in the center of the den of humidity and hell fire and damnation, then you may think twice about styles that are meant to last for a longer period of time. Because you will sweat it right out. #truestory
Know Thy Fashion Style
If you’re more of a grunge-punk tomboy who prefers converse to heels and graphic tees to collared shirts (::raises hand:: me! me!), then you may want to reconsider those glamorous natural hair styles and stick to simpler, lower-maintenance styles – twists, braids, twist outs, etc.
I mean, if you’re going to go through the trouble of defining your personal fashion style, you really should think about how your natural hair styling choices go with that.
Personal Styles for Natural Hair
I have come up with four main natural hair styles based on some of the personality traits described above:
Feminine Natural Hair Personal Style
Now let me clarify that I am not saying that some natural hair styles are feminine while others are not; but I am saying that there are some styles that naturals with a more feminine personal style will wear. For example:
- Often worn with more makeup and accessories to bring out the ultra-feminine personality.
- Uses hair jewelry to decorate her natural coif.
- Styles take on a more romantic feel – updos have more flair and softer feel with softer, fluffier curls
- Products used have a floral romantic scent
Classic Natural Hair Personal Style
When you think of natural hair, these are usually the styles you think of… classic curls and coils. Classic wash & go’s, twist outs, and buns:
- The classic TWA – no taper, no frills – just a short natural cut.
- Wash and go’s with gel and allowed to dry; stretched for second or third-day hair.
- Twist outs, braid outs, and bantu knot outs.
- Texture that has been unaltered.
Edgy Natural Hair Personal Style
Big, bold, colorful natural hair. This is the kind of hair that requires a big personality, and a natural that does not mind being the center of attention. For example:
- No holds barred color – sometimes lots of it.
- Big hair, worn in huge styles
- Bold color in contrast to the natural’s ‘natural’ hair color
- Unique and uncommon styles – definitely not mainstream.
Carefree Natural Hair Personal Style
This would be more bohemian, and definitely low-maintenance. Almost seems as if the natural doesn’t care or put very little effort into how they look:
- Very little to no product. #nakednaturalhair
- Lots of head wraps and head ties are worn by these naturals.
- Afros and big ‘uncombed’ natural hair are a staple. Lots of texture can be seen
- Not a lot of time is spent on wash day or styling – nothing to inhibit the hair.
There aren’t any hard rules to these personal styles. You may find that you like to mix edgy and feminine; or that you lean more towards the classic with carefree styling habits. That’s okay – you’ll probably find that your wardrobe will reflect this, as well.
Get Naturally Inspired
Still not sure what your personal style for your natural hair is? Try looking for some inspiration; I would suggest Pinterest. Observe the kinds of styles you are more likely to pin, and those that you absolutely love.
Remember to observe the actual hair style, and not only the environment or the face of the natural wearing the style. Sometimes we get tripped on things other than the actual style. How do you feel about the style without all the extra stuff? What do these styles have in common?
If you need some inspiration, feel free to check out my Pinterest page for some natural hair awesomeness, inspiration, and #envy images.
Notice Your Signature Style
If you’ve been natural for some time, you will be able to identify that one style that is your go-to. When you have to go to an event, what is the one style you choose most often? What about for work? Church?
More often than not, you are already wearing your favorite hair style and that style will tell you what your personality style for your natural hair is. We are creatures of habit.
When I first big chopped, and my hair just long enough, I started wearing scarves and continued to wear my hair in a puff even when it became gigantic. I loved the puff and it was my signature hair style. Classic.
Play Up Your Strengths
You have awesome cheekbones… rock a TWA.
You love your almond-shaped eyes… tie back your natural into a puff.
Your lips make people swoon… let your strands fall on either side in a twist out and wear your bright lipstick.
These features you love to play up will also help you determine how you wear your hair, and therefore will tell you your personal style for your natural hair.
Be Confident in Your Personal Style
Every natural head is not the same. All styles will not look good on all naturals.
So love your style and work to improve it instead of fighting it or trying to be something you’re not.