The Editors
Updated on August 27, 2021
1 of 30

Black curly hairstyles are amazingly beautiful, chic and creative. African-American women have gorgeous yet unique hair texture that require some special love and care to look its best. From long loose curls to shorter cropped styles, here are 30 ideas for those who search a new way to sport black curly hair.

Black Curly Hairstyles for Short and Long Hair

Curly hairstyles flatter African American women immensely, regardless of length. Here are some pictures of the most beautiful curly looks for inspiration!

1. Long Loose Waves

black curly hairstyle for long hair

Helga Esteb /

Zendaya Coleman’s long loose waves are the perfect example of curly hair that makes you turn around. From casual to formal, this hairstyle can literally be worn for any occasion and it looks great when paired with any outfit.

2. Medium-Length Curly Hairstyle

Natural hair is very popular for African-American women these days, and the very tight curls in the photo are a beautiful example of how gorgeous natural hair can be. Use an ethnic hair product designed to accentuate very tight curls like these.

medium curly hairstyle for African American women

carrie-nelson /

3. High School Chic Hairstyle

This was the go-to hairstyle for 90s high school girls with curly hair – heavily gelled, strands left hanging freely in the front, spiral curls tumbling down. Best of all, it still totally works today for black girls of any age.

half up black curly hairstyle for long hair

Helga Esteb /

4. Curly Hairstyle with Loose Spirals

Black spiral hairstyles have the potential to look great on anyone, but those with thick, curly hair will really pull them off well. With plenty of body and not so many rules, this hairstyle is a windfall. Let spiral curls flow freely to frame your face and bring this feminine, attractive look to any occasion.

long natural curly hairstyle

Helga Esteb /

5. Curly Highlights

Kim Fields learned the “facts of life” long ago, and now as an older adult she has learned how to make the most of her naturally curly hair. Going for natural tight curls, she brightens up her face by adding grey blonde and honey highlights.

medium African American curly hairstyle

Helga Esteb /

6. Healthy Hippie Hair with Waves

Put into the limelight by fashion-forward celebs like Zendaya and Beyoncé, long, black wavy cuts like this one by @anthonycuts give off that effortlessly cool hippie vibe. Pair with a black choker, loose printed blouse and neutral makeup, and you’ll be Coachella-ready in no time.

Long Wavy Side-Parted Hairstyle

Instagram / @anthonycuts

7. Sweet Curly Crop with Highlights

Oftentimes, when styling black curly hairstyles, it can be all too tempting to chemically relax and straighten locks. But as this sweet, curly crop goes to show, there’s nothing more beautiful than rocking your natural texture, maybe even enhanced with tight spirals and a delicious caramel blonde color.

African American Short Curly Blonde Hairstyle

Instagram / @loopsalon

8. Romantic Tight Curls for Natural Black Hair

Turn up flirtation on your next first date with this stunningly sweet set of natural spiraling curls. When pulling your naturally thicker hair up into a messy, oversized ponytail, you can easily insert cute, playful adornments (like these red and white flowers) to mix it up.

Afro Puff With Flower And Highlights

Instagram / @modelesque_nic

9. Unicorn Curls on Long Hair

Although tiffany blue and pastel pink color schemes on a black girl seem like the worst possible idea, this fun, effortless style by @shelleygregoryhair in SoHo, New York completely shuts that ridiculous notion down. Keep a few of your naturally colored strands intact to make your look even more dynamic and fun.

10. Angled Black Cut with Soft Curls

Curly hairstyles for black women oftentimes look unique, and this gorgeous bob is no exception. Go for a dramatic a-line cut for even a bigger statement.

11. Edgy Red Bob with Deep Side Part

Colors for African American hair tend to be pretty standard, with black strands dominating and some light brown highlights thrown in sometimes. Red hair, however, is typically unheard of. But as this model’s gorgeous shade exemplifies, fiery reds can be stunningly gorgeous on natural hair.

African American Curly Red Bob

Instagram / @haircolorkilla

12. Sexy Loose Curls with Side Part

On a date, an interview or just going out on the town with girlfriends, there’s no sexier hairstyle than lovely, loose soft curls. @360hairstudio mixes it up by adding a couple of face-framing amber highlights, in addition to a deep side part and sweeping bangs.

Black Curled Hairstyle With Caramel Balayage

Instagram / @360_hairstudio

13. Naturally Curly Blonde Hair with Bangs

For ladies with healthy black curly hair, there is absolutely no reason why you should be afraid of dramatic coloring. As this model makes clear, you can certainly rock a wide variety of shades, including bombshell blondes. The fluffy bangs give this heavenly coif even more sweetness.

Medium Natural Dark Blonde Hairstyle

Instagram / @curlpop_n_hair

14. Gorgeous Bouncy Curls for Black Hair

Ladies with long hair should consider wrapping their hair around a large-barrel of a curling iron or placing in oversized hot/Velcro rollers to get that super bouncy, fun and carefree curl. Just be sure to smooth over frizzies with a pomade or serum afterwards.

15. Rocker Pixie for Thicker Black Hair

Prepare to be the center of attention with this short, ultra fun rocker pixie for thick black hair. Ask your stylist to carefully shave the sides and back of your head while leaving the crown and front pieces long, with the longest layers near your face.

Black Curly Pixie With Undercut

Instagram / @khimandi

16. Half-Up Bun with Waves for Black Hair

Let’s be honest here––rocking the half-up, half-down bun trend isn’t the easiest thing. And that level of difficulty is increased when you have curly black hair. Thankfully, @the_right_difference shows us the right way to wear the highly Instagrammed style with loose waves and a sky-high wrapped bun.

Half Up Knot For Long Wavy Hair

Instagram / @the_difference_is

17. Black Curly Spiral Bob with Highlights

Moving effortlessly from day to night, this curly spiral bob is ideal for females who don’t want to spend hours agonizing over their hair each morning (but still want to look crazy cute). Try inserting bleached highlights sporadically throughout your head, paying special attention to the tips.

Short To Medium Natural Curly Hairstyle

Instagram / @loopsalon

18. Fierce Long Cut with Dramatic Curls

Sporting a layered cut, highlighted color and natural texture is one of the most fiercely sexy things you can do, and this model’s awe-inspiring style is a true testament to that. We love her light and medium highlights, emphasizing her skin tone and features.

Layered Natural Curly Haircut

Instagram / @magavilhas

19. Short Curly Cut with Amber Highlights

Some curly black hairstyles inject too much horizontal volume (a.k.a. your face appears wider than it actually is). With this particular cut, however, the height is the name of the game, with soft, amber tendrils topping the body of tight bouncy curls. Just be sure that the sides are cut shorter than the top.

20. Half-Braided Hairstyle with Tighter Curls

We are huge fans of half-braided styles with curls, like this one from @deecarrington, the Red Scarlet Salon in Orlando. The key to achieving the look is twisting in, and then twisting out, first focusing on the tight side braids and then moving to the loose back.

Side Flat Twists For Short Natural Hair

Instagram / @deecarrington

21. Breathtaking Medium Cut with All-Natural Curls

With flyaway tendrils, barely there makeup and a deep side part, this natural black hairstyle is absolutely oozing confidence. We suggest keeping the cut medium-length and layered in order to retain your natural curl while still remaining in control with its movement and softness.

Big Natural Hairstyle

Instagram / @deshonicakerrie

22. Tight Shoulder-Grazing Curls

With crochet braids you can achieve unique silhouettes of black curly hairstyles, adding height and volume where you need and creating one-of-a-kind looks. This medium style is awesome in texture and shape.

Medium Curly Crochet Hairstyle With Bangs

Instagram / @beautybysheri

23. Effortless Black Curly Waves with Balayage

Contrary to popular belief, not all styles designed for black women need to have seriously poufy textures and crazy heights. Natural hair can fall gently and smoothly in trendy wet looks. The sexy balayage helps to give the hair increased life and movement.

Light Brown Balayage For Natural Hair

Instagram / @curlfactor

24. Shoulder-Length Spiral Curls

When their alarm clock starts ringing incessantly in the morning, the last thing black girls typically want to do is to think of how to style their hair today. This model shows us a simpler, more natural way to wear your longer tresses down. You just need a good layered cut.

25. Soft Curls with Dramatic Highlights

Loose curls on a short crop, like the one pictured here, create the sexiest curly hairstyle for black women. What’s even better? Chunky balayage highlights that accentuate your facial features, of course!

Black Medium Side-Swept Balayage Hairstyle

Instagram / @rachel_redd

26. Black Curls with a High Shine Finish

Here is Viola Davis at a recent event. Hair like this can easily be achieved with hot rollers and a styling product. Perfect for African-American women with short hair, this style is fairly quick and it works fantastic either for a night out with friends or on the red carpet.

black wavy bob hairstyle

Helga Esteb /

27. Formal Curly Hairstyle

Ladies with short hair can have just as much curly fun as those with longer locks. Sleeping in soft rollers overnight will result in these short, tight curls that can be beautifully paired with big-statement earrings or a formal gown.

black curly bob hairstyle

JStone /

28. Thin Half-Up Waves

Women of mixed ethnicities will oftentimes have thinner locks than black women with type 4 hair. Curls can be difficult to manage with different nationalities shining through, but it doesn’t have to be. In this case you can simply use a holding gel in damp hair, “scrunch” it with your fingers and pin loosely back.

asymmetrical curly hairstyle for black women

Tinseltown /

29. Smoothed Out Curls

These curls are natural throughout, but feature a deep side part and a strongly slicked down area on one side. This adds body and drama to the remaining locks. Having them all piled on one side brings in some added formality for that fancy affair.

side curly hairstyle for black women

Jaguar PS /

30. Very Short and Very Feminine Hairstyle

Curly hair can be uber short and still look beautiful. This short, cropped cut presented by Paige Thomas shows how even the shortest curls can look gorgeously glam. Pair this style with heavy makeup for special events, or keep the face as naturally simple as your hair on your downtime.

short natural hairstyle

Helga Esteb /

No matter how you choose to wear your hair, if you have black curls, you are blessed. From natural ‘dos to more controlled styles, your options are endless.

black curly hairstyle for long hairmedium curly hairstyle for African American womenhalf up black curly hairstyle for long hairlong natural curly hairstylemedium African American curly hairstyleLong Wavy Side-Parted HairstyleAfrican American Short Curly Blonde HairstyleAfro Puff With Flower And HighlightsNatural Pastel Blue And Pink HairWavy Black Stacked Bob For Thick HairAfrican American Curly Red BobBlack Curled Hairstyle With Caramel BalayageMedium Natural Dark Blonde HairstyleAfrican American Long Curled HairstyleBlack Curly Pixie With UndercutHalf Up Knot For Long Wavy HairShort To Medium Natural Curly HairstyleLayered Natural Curly HaircutShort Tapered Natural HaircutSide Flat Twists For Short Natural HairBig Natural HairstyleMedium Curly Crochet Hairstyle With BangsLight Brown Balayage For Natural HairLong Bob For Natural HairBlack Medium Side-Swept Balayage Hairstyleblack wavy bob hairstyleblack curly bob hairstyleasymmetrical curly hairstyle for black womenside curly hairstyle for black womenshort natural hairstyle
1 of 30