27 Really Gorgeous No-Heat Natural Hair Styles
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Natural, curly hair is quite versatile and can be styled in a mind-boggling number of ways. What many naturalistas aim for, however, is to go heat-free while enjoying their hair’s awesome versatility. If you are looking to embrace no-heat natural hair styles for your curls, then these 27 photos will give you plenty of inspiration!
Wash and Go
What’s one of the biggest perks of going natural? Showing off your curls after a wash and go, of course. Or, in this case, your naturally beautiful and mesmerizing zig-zags!
When it comes to protective styling for curly hair, Bantu knots are one no-heat natural hair style you should try. Do a few large knots, as shown here, or plenty of smaller ones. You’ll be stylin’ and ready for summer either way!
Bantu Knot Out
Talk about taking the “Wow” factor up a notch! This blue Bantu knot-out has got curls for days!
Twists come in all sizes and lengths and these long, chunky twists nail the style perfectly. As far as no-heat natural hair styles go, they’re super quick, too!
The flat twist is one of many protective styles for natural hair. You can have yours professionally done or learn how to flat twist on your own so you can rock the style any time you like!
Curly girls are very good at getting two beautiful natural hairstyles out of one. So, flaunt your curls in twists for a while then transform your twists into a super curly twist out like the one shown here.
Perm Rod Set
Perm rods aren’t just for processed hair. Naturalistas put them to good use, too. For a true no-heat natural hair style, let your hair air dry after setting – then, work those curls, girl!
Flexi rod set
Lovely, soft, and flowing curls are what you get with a flexi rod set. Don’t be afraid to try it on your own curls – get help from our recent post, How To Use Flexi Rods On Natural Hair for Best Results – 10 Answers.
Oh, the ‘fro! It’s big hair at its curly, kinky finest. Add a front part, as shown here, or let the curls fall where they may. The ‘fro won’t mind – it takes on an empowering life of its own!
Want a no-heat natural hair style that’s edgy at the same time? The frohawk is the answer, girl!
An asymmetrical side part, hair accessory beads, plus beautifully laid and decorated edges – these afro puffs get lots of loving!
Teeny Weeny Afro
The teeny weeny afro blends sophisticated beauty with easy maintenance. Thinking of going for your own big chop? Find some helpful TWA care tips here.
Long in the front and short in the back, the tapered cut has a way of accentuating your face. Plus, this no-heat natural hair style cuts your washing, detangling, and styling time in half!
Tapered Teeny Weeny Afro
The tapered teeny weeny afro is just one way to wear your curls after your big chop. And as you can see here, it can be a pretty fierce choice!
Locs with Shaved Side
What’s not to love about this natural hairstyle? It’s sheer confidence and elegance rolled into one – and it’s bringing on the inspo! Can you feel it?
Cornrows can be done in a myriad of increasingly intricate designs, turning the wearer’s head into an intriguing work of art. However, the classic “rows” as we see them here, will NEVER go out of style!
Cornrows and Bantu Knots
Cornrows and curly Bantu knots combine to create this fauxhawk. It’s the ideal look for those who really like the style but aren’t willing to commit to the shaved sides of a true mohawk.
Box braids are the go-to protective style for many natural curlies. Whether done with just your hair or with extensions for added length, they can be super convenient for those with a busy schedule or transitioning hair.
Micro braids are not for the faint of heart. They can take many hours over several days to install but the result is usually worth the time – and the butt pain from all that sitting!
This is a much-loved look for both brides and formal occasions. You can achieve it on your own, too, with some practice. Learn how to make a halo of your crown with this quick tutorial.
Smooth, long, two-strand twists are the main features of the Senegalese twist. Add your own sense of style with color or by choosing either thinner or chunkier twists.
This is one of the easiest ways to show off your natural curl pattern but with added waves created by the braids. The look is similar to a twist out but with more elongation, especially if done on dry, stretched hair.
The high puff is a good style for preserving the length of your hair while you wear it loose. It beautifully showcases your natural curls – and it can be done on short hair, too.
If you want a sleek style without over-manipulating your hair, then the low puff is a really good choice. Don’t you just love this perfectly formed puff? We do!
The quick and easy pineapple is like the ultimate cheat when it comes to chic styling of your curly hair. It also pairs nicely with off-the-shoulder tops, as shown here.
We know – not everyone’s high bun will be the masterpiece we see here! It’s still a wonderful no-heat natural hairstyle choice when you want a truly sophisticated look.
The low bun sits at your nape with the front of your hair slicked back to accentuate your face. You can go for a smoothed bun or one that’s done more loosely, as in this pic, with your natural curl pattern on full display.
PRO TIP for Protecting Your Scalp and Natural Hair in Protective and No-Heat Natural Hair Styles
As many of these styles are protective styles and include added hair, make sure you read these tips before diving in!
- Prioritize Scalp Health:
- Start by ensuring your scalp is clean and free from any product buildup before getting your protective style installed. A clean scalp provides a healthy foundation for your hair to thrive.
- Keep your scalp moisturized by using a lightweight, water-based moisturizer. Apply it directly to your scalp and massage it in gently to prevent dryness and itchiness.
- Use oils like jojoba, castor, or coconut oil to nourish your scalp. These oils can help maintain a healthy balance of natural oils and reduce flakiness.
- Choose a Professional Stylist:
- Seek out a skilled and experienced stylist who specializes in protective styles. They should be knowledgeable about the specific needs of your hair and scalp and take care not to install the style too tightly, which can lead to hair damage.
- Consult with your stylist about the best type of hair extensions or braiding hair to use. High-quality hair extensions will reduce the risk of tangling and breakage.
- Maintain Proper Hydration:
- Drink plenty of water to keep your hair and scalp hydrated from within. Proper hydration contributes to overall hair health.
- Use a water-based leave-in conditioner to moisturize your hair daily. Spritz it on your natural hair, focusing on the ends and any exposed sections.
- Keep Your Hair Clean:
- Maintain a regular cleansing routine for your natural hair. Depending on your protective style, you may need to wash your hair every 2-4 weeks.
- Dilute your shampoo with water to make it easier to apply to your scalp without causing frizz or matting. Focus on cleansing your scalp thoroughly but be gentle to avoid damaging your style.
- Protect Your Edges:
- The edges of your hair are fragile and prone to breakage. Use a light edge control product to lay down your edges gently and prevent them from experiencing unnecessary stress.
- Avoid tight hairstyles that pull on your edges. Opt for looser styles or styles that leave your edges untouched.
- Nighttime Care:
- Invest in a satin or silk pillowcase to reduce friction and prevent your hair from drying out while you sleep.
- Consider using a satin or silk bonnet or scarf to protect your protective style and keep it looking fresh.
- Regular Maintenance:
- Schedule regular touch-up appointments with your stylist to address any potential issues, such as frizz or loose braids. Maintaining your protective style is crucial for its longevity and effectiveness.
- Avoid leaving your protective style in for too long. Depending on the style and your hair’s needs, aim to keep it in for 6-8 weeks at most.
- Avoid Excessive Manipulation:
- Refrain from constantly touching, pulling, or tugging on your protective style. Excessive manipulation can lead to breakage and damage to your real hair.
- Resist the temptation to redo your edges daily. Allow them to rest and recover.
See one (or a few) that you plan on giving a try? Let us know!
Originally published May 2021- updated for content, clarity and grammar.