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Curly Nikki

Age Appropriate Natural Styles

By January 27th, 202120 Comments

Brianna writes:

I’ve been wearing my hair “heat free” for a little over a year now, and I struggle with finding “sophisticated” styles for my grown, adult self. Many times the short Shirley Temple curls and afro puffs make me look very juvenile, and I feel like a little girl wearing those styles.
Any suggestions on how to “age” those looks? What styles are suitable for a more mature woman?
Thanks for your help!

CN Writes: Check out the vid that NylaCoils put together for the Grown and Sexy, Naturals Over 35!


  • LBell says:

    I too find it funny that 35 is considered "elder." Gosh…when I was 35 and working in corporate the only styles I didn't wear were cornrows, flat twists, Bantu knots, or any other style that required sections laying flat to the scalp. These styles all made me look like I was 12. Everything else, though, I wore. I agree that updos (once your hair is a certain length) always work.

    Now I'm 45, working in academia, and nobody cares how I wear my hair…but ironically, for the last six months or so, I've been keeping it in a TWA. Like Anon@8:27AM, I've noticed that my hair is thinning; plus I don't want to spend tons of time and money on styles anymore.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm 56 and I do not have the same concerns about hair as a 35 year old. I don't think we should be lumped together either.

    These are my concerns: I'm looking for hair styles that soften my face, that works with a receeding hairline, and thinning hair, and that detracts from my wrinkles. Also at my age, I'm interested in hair styles that don't take for ever to fix and don't cost an arm and leg to pay for.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree Sandy, our minds do need to catch up with our heads. Why on earth does a 35 year old call herself old? When you are that age you're still in your child-bearing time of life. As a female, that means you are in your prime. Some of us get too caught up in the media hype. Relax and enjoy the ride. You're still young!!!

    What I like the most about this site is that these hair concepts and styles don't come from Hollywood, Korea, or Madison Ave, but everyday sistas!! We are sistas who are bucking the system. We are creative and thinking out of the box and Nikki is leading the way. That's revolutionary! I say, there's no limit to what we can do. Collectively, we are so strong, so supportive, and oh so stylish:).

    In that spirit, age is just a number, don't let that hold you back. You've recovered from the creamy crack, so the sky's the limit. As long as your hair is becoming on you, its appropriate (for the occasion or job), and works with your life style,you've got it going on.

  • sandy says:

    I think it is "how" you wear the styles which includes your accessories and outfit. I've seen puffs on young folks that make them look old and I've seen puffs on older women which is flattering, because it gives a lift to the face. Also, I agree with the person who stated that it's funny how a pony tail of straight hair is looked upon differently than curlier hair on a woman of the same age. Another one of those paradigms which bug me: a short natural being considered masculine but a short straight style is not.
    Our minds need to catch up with our heads…smile

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you ChrLvsBks. Found it!

    I wont actually be 35 until next year but looking at the ladies there, if I stay in the gym, it shouldn't be a problem. 🙂


  • b. says:

    One style I do sometimes (on stretched hair) is a double french roll. Fasten the hair back with a banana clip. The clip should sit vertically. Divide the hair hanging out of the clip vertically into two sections. Fasten each section under itself around the sides of the banana clip. Hair combs work well for fastening the hair. Ta-da! Double rolls. I sometimes leave some hair out in the front for a side twist bang or a small pompadour. If your hair is finer or shorter, rolling the hair around just one side of the clip works well too.

  • Napfrocurlzgirl says:

    I'm 40 and have been natural all my life. I've never thought of age-appropriateness when it comes to my hair. I wear my hair in all kinds of styles, including pigtails, pony puffs on each side of my head…I think it really depends on your personality, style and confidence to pull it off.

  • ChrLvsBks says:

    I felt like many of you regarding hairstyles since I am 38 1/2. I rock everything–braids, twists, WnGs, ponytails, etc. I work for an engineering consulting firm–white male environment. I've had no issues although I thought I might when I decided to wear my hair in its natural beginning last August. Mind you I had been at the job for three years and typically wore a ponytail or updo.

    @Anonymous, the 35+ thread is on the Forum under Styling and profiling.

  • Anonymous says:


    Where exactly is the 35+ thread? I didn't see it.

  • GGmadeit says:

    Yes, the video and our thread should be helpful. I am in the corporate world and rock my curls, twists and curly fro in my suit! 44 yr old here!

  • Barbara Naturally Speaking says:

    I fit this age bracket as well. The women in the video looked great with all of those styles. I mainly wear braid-outs, corn-rowed twist-outs, and puffs. Sometimes when I wear my puffs I feel as if I'm perceived as younger, however then I remind myself of how sophisticated puffs look. Puffs actually look pretty sophisticated when you wear a professional outfit. Feel free to check out my webiste and from there you can also access my blog where I have photos of how I create natural hairstyles on me and my daughter. I also update my blog frequently. My website/ blog can be viewed at

  • Anonymous says:

    This post is sooo on point! I'm transitioning and I'm having a hard time finding protective styles that I can wear to work. While the styles I see on YouTube are lovely, I can't walk into an office with those styles.

  • Unknown says:

    Several of the ladies featured in the video are in the corporate world. Please join us on the 35 year old thread! We oftentimes post pics of the way we wear our hair to work!
    Twists when done right can be worn to work!

  • Anonymous says:

    Very nice, I really appreciate this most because i am transitioning and this was a concern for me as well. I do believe you do have to be confident in any style you wear but i also agree with Vivianne when you work in a professional office how you wear you hair as well as how you dress is a real concern. Thanks Curly Nikki I love your site, it has helped me tremendously. Keep up the good work and congradulations on your new baby.

  • Unknown says:

    +1 for Vivianne's comment

  • Vivianne says:

    As a 41 y/o new natural, I am very, very encouraged by this video. Many of the YT videos I watched during my transition featured young women half my age and I found very little representation for people of my age group. I had some major concerns about what protective styles I could wear my hair when it grew longer, considering twists and braids are the most popular. (I BC'ed a few days ago)

    I think at the base of our concerns, is the appropriateness of some of those styles for work, and not just straight hair conditioning. I don't see myself wearing twists or braids in a corporate legal office. As much as we all would like to say "who cares how you wear your hair", some employers do and will judge you based on that alone. I've seen it firsthand. If I worked from home I wouldn't give a hoot, but since I don't, it's an unfortunate and real concern.

    Either way, the women in the video wore popular universal hairstyles that are suitable for all age groups and rocked them beautifully. It was nice to see that. I would love if CurlyNikki featured more posts addressing issues faced by elder naturals.

  • b. says:

    I feel that sometimes, this is part of the straight-haired conditioning we receive over time. People of any age can wear a pony tail, and at its core that's what a puff is. I have one now with a small pompadour in the front (the puff is slightly skewed to the side as well) and its very age appropriate (I'm 30). I can understand preferences such as not liking twists and such, especially b/c they don't look as full on different textures of hair. But simple styles can look very age appropriate with the right accessory and at certain lengths (ie: twists may look more age appropriate when they are longer versus when they are three inches).

  • Nyla Coils says:

    I do alot of styles. Lately for growth and length retention, I have been wearing twists! I do pin up styles with them and just let them flow freely. I feel that whatever…style you rock- You have to feel confident in it!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    This is funny. I actually think we either look younger or older with natural hair. More often then not, the loose hair causes you to look younger, probably because we have equated natural hair to childrens hairstyle then when you are more mature we get our hair "done". It's also bit of the reason I'm looking forward to the completed transition. 🙂

    I welcome the pretty suggestions.

  • Anonymous says:

    Being one of the lovely curlies that is featured in Ms. NylaCoils video, I can testify that at 40 I really don't like to wear specific hairstyles. Not that it may not be age appropriate, there are just some styles that are "Not Me": the twist,braids and bantu knots, I really can't see myself wearing those styles to work….so I have mastered the twist and curl, buns, up curly dos, you can really do alot with up dos. Plus it is a great protective style.

    Hope that helps. – Micaiahty

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