When it comes to aesthetics and beauty, black women have always got it on lock. They’re known for their curvy silhouettes, makeup game that’s always on point, and bold outfits they wear with pride.
But one feature that stands out the most about black women is their thick, lusciously curly hair. Many women love to wear their curls long or in protective styles like braids and dreads. However, that doesn’t go for all black women. Some of them prefer to keep their locks neat and short, but still looking dazzling.
Not sure how to style your short, Afro hair? Here are 20 styles you might want to try out, ranging from simple and classic looks to trendy ones with lots of flair!
Short Hairstyles for Black Women:
Short and Soft Curls
Let’s start with the most basic hairstyle for black women—wearing their hair naturally curly. The trick to getting your curls to look this soft and natural without the frizz is by using a curling cream and then drying your hair with a blow-dryer and diffuser. That way, you get a soft, wispy finish with minimal frizz.
Super Short ‘Fro
If you have intensely kinky and coily curls, you should consider showing them off in a short afro. Most women don’t go for afros because they tend to look too big and poofy, but if you maintain your locks so that they’re only about an inch or two long, they’ll look incredibly glamorous and chic. They also show off those high cheekbones!
The afro may look great with your natural hair color, but it looks even more phenomenal when you experiment with bleach and color. One go-to of many black women is bleaching their hair blonde for that shock of lightness against their chocolatey skin. Here’s how a golden blonde afro looks on a beautiful, dark complexion.
Finger waves used to be all the rage in the twenties and thirties, but black women with short hair pull it off even today. The key is to use a high-quality waving or curling cream before wrapping your locks around your fingers. Allow them to set for a few minutes (or dry them quickly with a hair dryer) and you’ve got the perfect vintage finger waves to flaunt.
Bring out the wild child in you by combining two of the most unsuspecting hairstyles for women—the undercut and the mohawk. Ask your stylist to shave off your sides while leaving the top of your hair fairly long. Use some gel and curling cream to add extra height and fluff to your curls up top, and you’ve got yourself a mohawk.
Short Braids a la Willow Smith
Braids are usually worn when you have long, thick hair that is difficult to manage. But that doesn’t mean women with short hair can’t rock the protective hairstyle too. Put your short hair in stunning braids, twists, or short dreadlocks for a bold statement look, just like Willow Smith.
Pixie Cut with Sideswept Bangs
If you want to experiment with straight hairstyles, you’ll love this one. Get a pixie cut and use a flat iron to straighten your natural hair until it’s smooth and frizz-free. Then, brush the hair forward and to the side to create side-swept bangs. This creates a sleek and professional look that’s perfect for an office meeting but also a formal event or dinner date.
Curly Combover a la Jada Pinkett Smith
This look will get a lot of heads turning for sure! Combovers are usually seen as dorky and overly neat. But when done on voluminous, curly, short hair, it looks fabulous. Bring your short curls over to one side (shaving the other side of your hair is optional!) and accentuate your curls with a curling wand for this showstopping look.
Braided Bob with Beads
The bob is a classic short haircut for women with straight hair. But who says black women can’t rock it too? Curls usually shrink when they’re short, so you may think bobs are impossible for you. Putting them in braids might be able to do the trick! Make sure your braids are all the same length and fall right by your cheek for that classic blunt bob look but with a lot of extra attitude.
Braids That Fall Forward
Here’s another braided hairstyle you might like, this time for those with hair that’s a little shorter than the previous look. Instead of wearing your braids down your back, wear short ones that fall in front of your face. This fringe-like style draws attention to your eyes, and the short length brings out the rest of your prominent facial features.
Thick, Fluffy Afro
What’s cool about black, curly hair is that even if you grow it to a medium length, it shrinks and pulls back a bit to make it look shorter. If your locks are in that in-between length of short and medium, you might want to rock this thick, voluminous afro on a night out with friends. Make sure it looks just a tad bit messy at the top so that it doesn’t look so stiff and structured.
Glam Curls a la Michelle Obama
Want to look a little more regal for a special occasion? Channel the energy of Mrs. Obama herself by putting your hair in glamorous red carpet curls—yes, it’s possible even with short hair! Use a curling wand with a big barrel or some classic hot rollers to get these curly waves.
Multiple Braid and Twist Ponytails
If you have a bunch of elastic ties at home, try putting your hair in multiple ponytails made of braids and twists. Be strategic in where you tie your mini ponytails. Make sure to position them in such a way that frames your face, so that while your hair looks stunning, the main focus of the person in front of you is your eyes and facial features.
Low Space Buns
Space buns are usually set higher on the head, near the crown. But they also look cute and on fleek when you place them lower, towards the nape. It also gives off a sexier vibe than the ones that are too high. For this look, leave out a piece of hair on each side of your face and tie it into braids that act as tendrils.
Just want to toss your hair up and be done with it? Do it the stylish way by putting your short hair into a small but high bun. It’s perfect for when you just want your curls to stop going in front of your face. Plus, you’ll look extra sleek and mature—even if all it took was ten seconds to get the hairstyle.
Tapered Haircut a la Rihanna
Let’s go back to the ultra-short hairstyles for a while. Here we have a tapered cut that is longer and curlier up top but tapers to a short fade near the sides. To emphasize that depth and tapered look, consider bleaching your ends.
Combine the messy bun and the girly half-up look with this style. If your hair is extra curly, experiment with a pineapple ponytail instead of a regular one. It helps show off how thick and curly your locks are even if you have short hair.
Crown Twists and Head Wrap
A head wrap is a gorgeous accessory to use on short hair. For an authentic look that honors African culture, put your locks in thick crown twists and finish off the look with a head wrap or scarf.
If you want drama and boldness in your look and don’t mind the extra stares as you walk down the street, try Bantu knots. These tiny buns scattered throughout your head are perfect if you want to give people something to talk about! Add gold accessories and ties for more pizzazz.
Wrap Up Your Head!
Last but not least, if you’re having a bad hair day and don’t know how else to style your short hair, you can always put all of it up in a pretty head wrap. Pick one with an enchanting design, like flowers and patterns, so you still look cute even if you just covered up most of your hair.