Hairstyles for black girls vary from easy styles that take only minutes to fashion to more complicated styles, which may last for weeks. Because black hair differs from naturally straight hair, parents and caregivers should be aware of the special care black hair requires. From everyday styles that are perfect for school and play to fancier hairdos that work for weddings and parties, black girls' hairstyles run the gamut from simple to sophisticated.
Natural black hair varies in texture from wavy, curly, coiled to tightly kinky. When worn in its natural state (not straightened with heat tools such as flat irons, hot combs or pressing combs, or with chemicals such as hair relaxers and texturizers), black hair can easily be worn in an Afro or braided styles such as cornrows (hair is braided to the scalp). Black girls often have their hair processed with relaxers, making it easier to style the hair in straight styles without worry of the hair reverting to its curly state in humid weather.
Styling black girls' hair can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the complexity of the style. Easy, quick styles include one to four ponytails or plaits, Afro puffs and two to four braids. Easier styles usually only last a day or two before needing to be restyled. Styles that take longer to design include cornrows, two-strand twists and extension hairstyles--these hairstyles last longer, anywhere from one week to several weeks.
When styling black girls' hair, use wide-tooth plastic combs and brushes with soft, natural boar bristles. Elastic headbands, covered elastic ponytail holders and plastic barrettes are gentle enough to use on the hair. Avoid elastic ponytail holders with metal parts--these can pull out black hair, leading to breakage and damage. Try to use products that are natural or close to natural, such as jojoba oil, coconut oil and rosemary oil, avoiding products that contain petroleum oil.
Relaxer kits made for home use are readily available and inexpensive but should not be used on very young children, whose scalps and hair textures are still developing and changing. Try to save relaxer use for girls older than eight or nine. Heavy extensions should also not be used for young children; the weight of the extensions can pull on hair follicles, leading to breakage around the hairline.
For special occasions such as holidays, parties and weddings, consider fancier hairstyles. Fashioning loose curls is a popular choice for little girls. These curls may be called candy curls or Shirley Temple curls and are easier to style on straightened hair. A curling iron or rollers are used to create uniform curls that last all day and sometimes longer. Curls can be left to hang freely or pulled into a partial updo. Use headbands and pins to add flair to the style.