Let’s be real. There are more options for us naturally-curly girls than flat ironing our hair until it’s stiff or trying to replicate straight-hair styles, especially when it comes to special occasion events. I love to change it up and straighten my hair every now and then just as much as the next girl, but when it comes to events, it can seem like there are a lack of options for styling natural curls.
A Very True Story
During my senior prom, I was ballin’ on a budget. I wanted a chic updo, so I went to a local beauty school that allowed cosmetology students to do hair for a price that was much cheaper than the typical salons. My friends, most of which had naturally straight hair, had great experiences at this particular beauty school, so I thought I’d give it a chance.
I remember sitting in the waiting room, looking for my Pinterest screenshots of my desired updos (mainly of girls who had naturally straight hair), when the silky bob-haired, young student stylist came in and gleefully called my name. When I stood up, I watched her smile drop and face twist into what I could only describe as sheer intimidation.
In the chair she fluffed my wild curls in her hands, trying to decide how to manipulate them into my updo of choice. The styling-professor, making her rounds to check up on all her students, stopped by and I heard my stylist meekly say, “Uh…. I could use a little guidance with this one.”
Let’s just say there are not many photos of me at my senior prom for a reason. I walked out of there with a headache. Every curl had been pinned to my scalp in a tight mess of bobby pins, and my hair was crisp from an entire cans’ worth of hairspray. The front fringe and flatiron-formed curls that framed my face fell flat before dinner was over. I was a mess.
From this experience I learned two very important lessons:
When I go to any salon, I make sure they know my hair type ahead of time so they can pair me with someone confident who is experienced with my texture. And secondly, I try to choose inspiration from women with similar hair-representation.
Lucky for us, times have changed, and we now have many gorgeous, inspiring women who rock their curls on the red carpet. Let’s get into some of those gorgeous looks that don’t require any flatiron at all.
At the 2017 VMAs, Yara showed us how to work her curls with vintage finger waves. This style is perfect for the events where you want your curls to be free, but out of the way. Maybe you’re doing a beaded top, rocking an off-the-shoulder look, or just feeling a pony that day. You do you. Change up the front by adding a few decorative clips to the waves, or get wild with bold earrings.
Live your best curly life.
The Pineapple Pony
She’s the queen of a hair revolution, is she not? Riri shows us how to rock a pineapple with a faux fringe on a red carpet at her 2015 launch of Riri by Rihanna. She styled up this look by going heavy on the accessories with layered necklaces, dangle earrings, and wrists decked out in gold. You may only be familiar with the pineapple on hot summer days and on shampoo-day, but not anymore.
If Rihanna says its fashion, it’s fashun.
Cornrows and Nape Knot
Sometimes I want to pull all my curls back and up out of the way without touching any heat tools. This is where cornrows come in. This look from Zendaya at the 2016 Glamour’s Game Changer Luncheon is a chic way of styling classic cornrows. Her braided ends are tied up in a knot at the nape of her neck. The best part is this look keeps the focus on a fun eye and bold brows.
Lay your edges and slay.
How iconic is Janelle Monae’s space buns? She’s worn this adorable ‘do at several events over the years, changing it up with different accessories each time. These loose space buns are an updo that lets you take advantage of your volume. Monae added an extra punch with a few floral clips for a fairy-esque look, and I’m here for it. With your curls pinned up, you’re free to have fun with earrings.
(Some of us know the struggle of missing out on studs when you have big hair.)
Natural hair isn’t only a casual occasion thing. If these iconic women have proven anything, it’s that the options for styling natural hair is endless with a little creativity. Let us know how you rock your natural hair by commenting below, or by tagging @FavianaNY on Twitter. Also, don’t forget to keep up to date with Faviana by following us on Instagram @Faviana and on Facebook @FavianaNY!
Written by Sydney Lenox
Edited by Erica Fouts