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Short natural hair can be sleek, bold, and fun— and these looks prove it.
Truth be told, short hair often gets a bad rap. It’s often believed that longer styles mean more styling freedom, but that’s not entirely true. And when you add naturally textured hair on top of that, it can seem a bit intimidating to know exactly how to style your strands without repeating the same ‘do over and over again.
Thankfully, there’s a solution to that problem. Whether your hair is as short as a buzz cut or down to your shoulders, there are dozens of ways to style short hair. And this is especially true if you’re rocking your natural hair, because curly hair makes everything just a little more fun. The best part is, your arsenal of styles can be as simple or as intricate as you want it to be and still perfectly match your personal aesthetic and personality.
To help you avoid (or get out of) a hair rut, here are 21 short natural hairstyles that will give you major hair inspo for 2021. From singer Janelle Monae’s wispy pixie cut paired with a fancy accessory to a curly mohawk sported by actress Logan Browning, the options truly are endless. Some of these styles are easy-to-recreate and others are bold enough to turn heads as you strut down the street, including styles for very short hair and round faces to afros and more. Keep scrolling to see some of our favorite A-list-approved short natural hairstyles to start rocking, ASAP.
Actress Halle Berry is one of the first to rock a killer pixie cut. And honestly, her practically-perfect short hair will forever be loved. For easy, fool-proof styling, invest in a 1/2 inch curling wand to add texture to your short ‘do.
SHOP CURLING WAND
Perhaps this is one of the most daring cuts amongst the bunch, but actress Zoe Kravitz makes this very short crop look edgy, cool and super chic. For a smooth look without shine or crunch from a hair gel, try wrapping your hair with a silk or satin scarf overnight to keep your hair in place.
The versatility of the natural hair puff makes it a go-to style on days when you want your hair out of your face but not necessarily up. This rendition from actress Issa Rae is like wearing your hair down and back at the same time. It’s basically the best of of both worlds.
From hats to safety pins, Janelle Monae totally gets how to adorn her tresses with hair accessories, but this gilded headband is one of our favorites. It’s simple, stately and downright gorgeous.
SHOP GILDED HEADBAND
Don’t let your Teeny-Weeny Afro keep you from experimenting with new styles. If anyone knows a thing or two about perfecting a TWA, it’s actress Lupita Nyong’o and the mastermind behind her tresses, Vernon François. From adding an accessory to playing with hair extensions and hair pieces, the options are endless.
If you’ve been thinking about a haircut that frames the face, consider pairing a chin-grazing bob with wispy bangs. This cut perfectly compliments singer Kelly Rowland’s oval-shaped face and is still long enough to pull back or pin up, if and when you feel like it.
This old-school style is still totally wearable and works on a variety of hair lengths, even if it’s just a few inches long. Singer Alicia Keys dressed up this look with statement earrings and perfectly-placed baby hairs.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance style, this cut is for you. Model Samile Bermannelli’s cut is short along the back and sides with va-va-volume on top so styling is essentially done for you.
Let’s face it: Actress Zendaya makes just about any hairstyle look flawless, including this platinum ‘do. If you’re looking for a way to soften the forehead, try choosing a fringe like this one that stops just an inch above the brows.
What’s more to love about singer Rihanna’s throwback style, the color or the cut? Not to mention, the deep side part and major swoop gives this look sexy yet sweet vibes.
Allow your hairstyle to express yourself, like actress Amandla Stenberg. This auburn-tinted asymmetrical flat top is totally unique, youthful and bold.
Calling all thick-haired gals: just because you’re rocking short hair doesn’t mean you can’t show off how thick and luscious your hair is like actress Gabrielle Union. This look isn’t perfectly straight and shows some natural texture with super blunt ends.
Faux-hawks are the best way to test out a haircut without committing to the scissors. And Logan Browning’s version is all about an abundance of curls around the crown of the head. To secure this look, try using mini butterfly clips or bobby pins, depending on the length and weight of your hair.
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Buzz cuts aren’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re daring enough to sport the look, kudos to you. Actress Alexandra Shipp makes this simple style look edgy, yet still feminine.
One of the easiest hairstyles for natural hair is a simple wash-and-go, like the one actress Yara Shahidi is sporting here. To achieve this look, wash and condition your hair as usual and follow up with your favorite styling products for perfectly-defined spirals every single time.
Textured and slightly messy updos were practically made for curly hair. Actress Gugu Mbatha Raw’s two puffs work for practically any occasion from the grocery store or gym to the office or red carpet.
Afros are timeless and head-turning. To get a voluminous look like actress Teyonah Parris, use a wide tooth hair pick to comb out your curls until you’ve achieved the volume and shape you want.
Curls can be unpredictable, coming out perfect one day and not-so-perfect the next. That’s where rod set curls come to the rescue. They create perfectly uniform spirals like these ringlets that actress Ashley Blaine Featherson is showing off.
Leave it up to singer Solange Knowles to make a hard part look edgy and feminine. Hard parts allow you to add unique flair to your look, especially when your hair is too short to style. But be warned, it’s best to visit a professional hairstylist for this look. We don’t recommend trying to DIY at-home!
Reminiscent of prim Easter Sunday ringlets, singer Corrine Bailey Rae‘s spirals are picture perfect. Simply wet your hair, wind curls around your finger, hold for 10 seconds and pull your finger out. It’s really that simple.
If you’re interested in rocking short hair, but don’t know where to start, a lob (a.k.a. long bob) is a good first step. You can frame it perfectly to your face like actress Taraji P. Henson did and wear it either curly or straight.