36 Gorgeous Traditional African Hairstyles for the Trendy Black Woman

Apart from our language and native attire, another thing peculiar about the African culture is our hairstyles. And today, these traditional African hairstyles have gone mainstream.

Women of other races wear them, including your favorite celebrities such as Rihanna, Beyonce, Adele, Khloe, and Kim Kardashian, etc. Furthermore, stylish Nigerian musicians like Yemi Alade have been able to own them well enough, making these coiffures more desirable.

black lady rocking perfect afro hair

If you plan to give Afrocentric fashion a shot, don’t just settle for African fabrics alone. Ensure you rock any of the traditional African hairstyles. They’ll bolster your African look and present you as the African queen that you are.

History of Traditional African Hairstyles
Egyptian hieroglyphs showing the beginning African hairstyles
Many of the evergreen traditional black hairstyles can be traced to the drawings and hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt.

Back then Egyptians wore headdresses or wigs to symbolize their societal ranks. These headdresses were precious to the ancient Egyptians. And they were often styled with braided pieces of palm fibers, human hair, materials on a thick skullcap, etc. But these wigs were only for prominent people as Egyptian law prohibited slaves from wearing them.

Furthermore, in the 15th century, African hairstyles were mostly used to represent different things such as wealth, fertility, and grief.

For instance, women of royal heritage wore elaborate hairstyles to flaunt their status. And to showcase her fertility, a woman would wear her hair thick, long, and neat.

Evolution of African hairstyles

According to Sylvia Ardyn Boone, an anthropologist who specializes in the Mende culture of Sierre Leone:

 “West African communities admire a fine head of long, thick hair on a woman. A woman with long thick hair demonstrates the life force, the multiplying power of profusion, prosperity, a ‘green thumb’ for bountiful farms and many healthy children”

But come to think of it, did they think close relatives couldn’t have harmed them? Well, let’s not ruin the minds of our ancestors.

As we were saying, hairstyling moments were also an opportunity for Africans of old to interact and socialize. That hasn’t changed one bit.

South African lady wearing traditional African hairstyle

I mean, we still make new friends and crack jokes in the salon, don’t we?

And the beauty of these hairstyles hasn’t changed. They’ve only evolved to look more modern and attractive.

Beautiful Traditional African Hairstyles for the Trendy Black Woman

lady wearing traditional African hairstyle

Wanna rock a gorgeous Afrocentric hairstyle? Check out these traditional African braids. You’ll love your look once you wear any of them.

1. Dread Hairstyles

lady rocking gold dreads

These traditional hairstyles date back to 2500 BCE with the Dreadlocked Vedic deity Shiva and his followers. Some people keep dreadlocks as a spiritual obligation and they reference Samson in the Bible to back up their claim.

pretty lady rocking dreads with hair accessories embedded

Even though dreadlock hairstyles are associated with Rastafarians and everything Jamaican, it’s a beautiful coiffure you should try. Moreso, it’s an economical and easy-to-maintain protective hairstyle. And you can either lock your natural hair or go for faux locs.


Lupita Nyong'o wearing the amasunzu hairstyle to an event

7. Afro

lady wearing afro hair with a parting

With this hairstyle came the natural hair movement. This hairstyle was popular among our grandparents in the 70s then it made a serious comeback in 2010 when the natural hair movement gained ground as many black women rocked bold Afro everywhere.

pretty lady rocking brown afro hairstyle

It’s a protective hairstyle that can be easily achieved. And if this is your choice, follow our guide on how to achieve afro hairstyles.

lady wearing short afro hairstyle

8. Zulu Topknot

Lupita Nyong'o rocking Zulu top knot at an event

As you can see from the name, this hairstyle originates from the Zulu people of Africa. Back then, only high-class women wore these traditional African hairstyles to signify their social status.

Beyoncé posing with her Zulu top knot

Now it’s penetrated into other African cultures such as Somali, Ethiopia, and others. And any woman can rock it regardless of her social status.

Back view of a Zulu top knot hairstyle

9. Ngala

smiling Igbo bride wearing Ngala hair for her traditional marriage

This hairstyle is peculiar to the Igbo people of Nigeria. Nowadays, it’s a common wedding hairstyle for Igbo brides. It looks great when paired with

Igbo bride wearing Ngala hairdo with beads
African bride wearing Ngala hairstyle

10. Edamburu

African lady wearing edamburu hairstyle

This traditional African hairstyle originated from the Mangbetu people of Africa. They wear this coiffure to appreciate the culture of skull elongation which symbolizes prestige and beauty to the Mangbetu people.

Beyoncé rocking edamburu hairstyle for her music video

To achieve Edamburu, you twist or weave your hair into a crown.

lady wearing the edamburu hairstyle outdoor

And that’s a wrap for the traditional African hairstyles. Which of them would you like to rock in a modern way? Before you make your choice, don’t forget to adorn them with the right accessories.

pretty lady rocking traditional African hairstyle with beads

Wanna see the ones we recommend for you? `Not a problem. Check out our piece on hair accessories right away.

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