Short hair is becoming an increasingly popular style for black women. Pop stars and Hollywood actresses are beginning to crop their hair, and ordinary black women are following suit—often in defiance of cultural preferences for “weaved” or processed hair and family pressure to wear more conservative looks. “Natural” hair, or hair that has been untreated by chemicals, has experienced a similar renaissance, and the number of its devotees is growing. There are several beautiful ways to style African-American hair that is both natural and very short.
Decorate with a headwrap or a colorful scarf
Some women—especially those who are transitioning from chemically straightened hair to natural hair—choose a short-cropped style sometimes called a TWA (teeny weeny afro). While the hair is at its very shortest and growing out, they can “dress up” their style by wearing colorful headwraps and scarves. Those scarves can be purchased at many hair-care stores in African- or Caribbean-immigrant neighborhoods. They’re also available at websites that specialize in hair-care products for black women.
Simple, elegant style
If your hair growth is as long as your thumb, you can use an elastic headband and pull it back, away from your forehead. Let it sit at the center of your head and tuck the hair under the bottom of the band, or simply let it flow back loose. A simple black elastic band is elegant, but you can choose a headband with a large flower or a bow. They can be thin or thick in width, and come in multiple colors so women can layer two or three if they wish.
Mini twists or Micro braids
If your hair is slightly longer, you can braid or twist it. Senegalese women are especially famous for their braiding technique. Some braided and twisted styles can be quite expensive and take hours to do. Be sure to find a reputable stylist who specializes in natural hair. If the braids are too tight, they can cause discomfort and break the hair. If they’re too lose, they can look messy and come undone, wasting the time, money, and effort you put into your style.
References and ResourcesTransitioning to natural hair
Short Hair Styles