5 Common Hairstyles Worn by Black Women

Hairstyles, just like any other trend in society, come and go. Women of color have always been on the search for new and exciting ways to switch up their look. Because natural hair is so easily damaged, many women turn to extensions for a refreshing style. With so many options available, there’s no predicting what hairstyle you may see next.

With black culture on the rise in media, you’ve probably seen a woman wearing one of these hairstyles, although you might not understand what it takes to achieve these styles. Here’s a guide for women of color to achieve these popular hairstyles.

Sew-Ins

This is a durable, low-maintenance hairstyle that can last up to three months with proper care. This style, as well as the next three, are known as protective styles—they allow women to style their hair without breaking or damaging their natural hair from any heating tools.

This technique involves French braiding the natural hair into a circular pattern and using needles to sew the ends of the track into the braided hair. These tracks come in the form of bundles or packs, which are extended collections of hair held together by wefts that vary in length and color.

Some of the natural hair can be left out to cover the tracks—this is called a leave out. This process can take up to three hours between the braiding, sewing and styling, but ultimately lasts for around three months.

Lace Wigs

Lace wigs are very common among women of color and have recently become widely endorsed by many celebrities. This wig is made of synthetic or human hair that has been infused into a lace cap that is placed on top of the scalp. The wig is then bonded to the forehead with different serums and pastes that make the wig look more blended into the hairline.

Unlike sew-ins, this hairstyle can be worn daily and taken off nightly. With the accumulation of many wigs, you can potentially have a different length and color every day of the week. This is one of the most versatile styles and can be done in about 15 minutes.

Box Braids

These braids are another extremely popular and durable hairstyle many women and young girls wear. These braids are often combined with gold and silver clips or accessories that represent cultural heritage.

This style is achieved by parting the hairs into tiny sections, similar to cornrows, and then braiding the hair while infusing wefts of braiding hair. Braiding hair is synthetic hair with a thicker texture used to make braids appear longer and thicker. This hairstyle can take from 4 to 8 hours to complete and last for 3 months, at the longest.

Feed-in Braids

The process for these braids is done similarly to box braids; however, they’re bigger and require much less time for installation. These braids have recently become popular with celebrities. These braids resemble French braids, but usually include between three to 10 braids that are installed in the same manner as the box braids, although the hair is instead parted and braided into bigger sections.

Feed-in braids are known for their variation of size. These can often alternate between thick French braids, to tiny cornrow-like braids. Decorative clips and ties are often added to the hair to add sparkle to the hairstyle. The installation time for these braids can vary depending on the experience of the braider and the quantity of desired braids. With proper maintenance and care, these braids can last up to 7 weeks.

Natural Hair

This is the state-of-being of all hair without assistance from extensions or heated tools. This is one of the most versatile patterns that can be worn in endless ways. This often includes thick-textured hair that results in many curl patterns.

This style often requires product due to natural hair being prone to dryness and frizz. This is the most natural of all styles, but is easily damaged due to humidity and breakage. This damage is why many women often turn to the protective styles listed above, as to not ruin or damage their natural hair.

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