Style

Three Friends Share Their Favorite Natural Hairstyles

Three Natural Hair Styles for Summer

Every summer, an exhilaration comes over me at the thought of changing my hair — the options are vast and beautiful! This year, I decided on a short, angled cut (I’m in the red dress), and it has been one of my favorite styles. But I’m still experimenting and searching for the right products. So, I asked two of my friends about their summer styles and techniques for taking for natural hair, and here’s what they told me….

Three Natural Hair Styles for Summer by Kim Rhodes

First, I’d love to share my natural hair journey.

Sitting in my cousin’s kitchen a few years ago, I was thrilled by the thought of feeling my hair’s curly texture for the first time in 20 years, since I was in kindergarten. I was doing my “big chop” — when your relaxed or chemically straightened hair is cut off from your natural hair. My hair had been chemically straightened since I was five. As a kid, I never really understood why I had to change my hair, although my mom told me it would make my “difficult” hair bone straight and easier to manage. The chemicals used in relaxers are very harsh, and can burn your scalp if left on too long. They also make hair weak to the point that it just breaks off. As a kid, I had hair all the way down my back, but after a few years of relaxing, it wouldn’t grow past my shoulders.

Societal pressure also played a part in how I perceived myself as a kid with curly, kinky hair. All sorts of things — from relatives making disparaging comments about the tightness of my curl pattern to being the only black kid in all my classes — took a toll on how I thought I measured up to society’s standard of beauty. It’s still something that black men and women are up against today — for example, this year, California and New York signed laws that ban employers from discriminating against people with natural hair.

So, 20 years after my first relaxer, after figuring out what was healthy for me and using this natural hair video as a lifeline, I cut my straightened hair and I didn’t look back.

Fast forward to a few months ago — it had been five years since my big chop and my hair was big and full and beautiful and everything I’d wanted it to be. But caring for all this luscious hair was completely overwhelming. If you’ve lived through a wash day with natural hair longer than a couple of inches, (and I do mean an entire day), you understand my anxiety around this.

After scouring Pinterest for ideas, I felt excited about doing something new with my hair. I finally decided on a short, angled cut, which has been one of my favorite styles. I started wondering if other women had similar feelings about summer styles or techniques for taking care of natural hair. I asked two friends, and here’s what they had to say:

3 Natural Hair Styles for Summer

3 Natural Hair Styles for Summer

Leslie
Hair type: 4c hair (very tight, coarse curls)
Summer style: box braids

Why I chose this style: I work 12-hour shifts as a nurse and love to explore New York City on my days off, so I need something easy to take care of. Box braids are a protective style, which gives my hair a break from constant manipulation and provides me that extra 10 to 15 minutes of sleep in the morning that we all need. I can wear my braids down or in a top knot, depending on my mood, so there’s never a dull moment when I choose to rock them. The braids last six weeks per installation, so, for me, it’s a summer no-brainer! I also love that natural hair pays homage to my love for being a black woman.

My natural hair journey: I grew up getting relaxers on my hair, which caused irritation and long-term damage. In college, I decided to cut my hair completely off except for a few inches, just to see if I liked it — and I loved it! It was the first time I felt beautiful in my own skin. I ditched the relaxers and embraced the possibilities of my natural hair. A few years later, I tried a sew-in weave, which I liked but there was still lots of maintenance (hair stylists every two weeks, expensive reinstalls, and expensive bundles of hair). And don’t even think about getting it wet or walking in the humidity — that was a day-ruiner, and I used to carry around a mini hair straightener. I felt like I always had to have perfect hair to meet people’s expectations of a “palatable black woman.” Once I got over trying to please everyone, I decided to give a more natural look a try and here I am today. Best decision!

How I care for my curls in the summer: Every six weeks, I get my box braids redone by a stylist that I found by searching the hashtag #boxbraidsbrooklyn (the power of social media!). When I take down my braids at home, before getting them redone, the process takes 90 minutes from start to finish and is accompanied by a glass of red wine and Motown tunes. Then I take a picture to track my hair growth. Next, I wash my hair using Mielle Organics products, which were developed by a black nurse. I use a pre-shampoo treatment, wash/condition with the Rosemary Mint Oil, and twist my hair into two strands for the evening and style using a curl-enhancing styling creme. I also love to wear West African-inspired head wraps from Harlem-based Cee Cee’s Closet.

3 Natural Hair Styles for Summer

3 Natural Hair Styles for Summer

Nakia
Hair type: 3c hair (well-defined, tight corkscrews or coils)
Summer style: Pineapple — pulling the curls up with a silk scarf — on hot days, and on cooler days I just rock the fro.

Why I chose this style: It’s way too hot and humid in the summer to be playing games with my hair. I choose the pineapple style on hot days because the fro traps heat around my neck and forehead. But on cooler days, the fro is just so effortless and a show stopper.

My natural hair journey: Four years ago, I was graduating from high school and my hair looked so short in the pictures. It was relaxed and cut in a bob, which I just wasn’t confident with. Short hair is bomb — don’t get me wrong — but I love big hair and knew that’s what I wanted. This was before wigs started popping, so I figured the only way to get my hair to grow long was to leave it alone. And I was becoming more conscious of the hair products I was using from watching natural hair videos for hours at a time. I learned about sulfate-free products, as well as the brands Shea Moisture, Curls and Mixed Chicks. During the next four years, I wore my hair in protective styles — buns or two puffs. Then, junior year in college, I was running late for class, struggling with my hair. So, I wore my hair out in a fro for the first time. I couldn’t believe how much my hair had changed! After years of the same styles, I finally released the beast and it took me a while to get used to, but it grew into such a beautiful shape — like a beautiful tree.

How I care for my curls in the summer: This summer, I moved here from California and am adjusting to the NYC weather — and so is my hair. I wash my hair once a week with Not Your Mother’s Natural Repair + Protect Shampoo. For conditioning, I swear by Palmer’s Olive Oil Deep Conditioner — I lather my hair and leave it in for the day. The next day I rinse and then style it throughout the week using Jamaican Castor Oil and Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel if needed on frizzy parts. This is the only way I can keep my curls looking moisturized and fresh, or else this humidity will have its way!

3 Natural Hair Styles for Summer

3 Natural Hair Styles for Summer

Kim
Hair type: 4b/4c hair (tight curls, coarse texture)
Summer style: short, angled cut

Why I chose this style: For the past two years, I’d had box braids, so I wanted something fresh to shake things up. My mom pled with me not to cut it, but I just had to! Short hair makes me feel the most like myself — it’s just a gut feeling that’s like, “YES. This is us.” I’m also low-maintenance and wanted to be able to wash and condition it quickly, without devoting a whole day to it. I love that it stays off my face when the weather is hot, and I can wear a head wrap on days I don’t have time to deal with it.

How I care for my curls in summer: My hair type is arguably the most complex to care for (which is part of the reason I chopped it off) and always needs a lot of moisture. I’m still experimenting and researching which methods work best for me, but for now I wash and condition it every week with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo and conditioner. Leslie introduced me to Mielle Rosemary Mint Oil and I’ve started using their Pomegranate Curl Smoothie as a styling creme. On their own they smell amazing, but together they’re INTOXICATING!

3 Natural Hair Styles for Summer

Do you have natural hair? What are some of your favorite styles? Thank you, Leslie and Nakia for sharing your stories!

P.S. Three beauty uniforms featuring women with natural hair: Paola Mathé, Ingrid Silva and Klancy Miller.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)

  1. vanessa / tulsa ;) says...

    Kim, loving your summer chop!! you look stunning :D Xo!!

  2. elizabeth says...

    oh kim! i just want to say that my girls and i miss you. we just moved from boerum hill to nj and miss your lovely smile and chit chats while we got coffee and many sweets at one girl. and your tv recs! xoxoxo
    and also, you look AMAZING :)

  3. This is so beautiful!So fascinating to hear about natural hair – I’ve realized how little I know about it. Thank you for featuring this and these beautiful women. Thanks for sharing this post.

  4. Jill says...

    I really loved this article, thanks for posting! As a white woman with 100% straight hair, this is so far from my reality. It’s really interesting reading about all the intricacy that goes into styling curly natural hair! And how many times do you read magazine articles with titles like ’10 cute new summer hair styles’ and none of them even feature a single black natural hair look? It’s so refreshing to see this here, thanks Kim!

  5. Kristen says...

    Absolutely love this post. More like it, please!

  6. Aimee says...

    I loved this post! Love that there are summer options for natural hair, and can so relate to the liberating feeling of chopping most of your hair off.

  7. MJ says...

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED this post!!! Please more posts on natural hair, please please please. We do not see or talk enough about the incredible beauty of natural hair and share skills/tips to maintain and enhance natural hair in this type of format. Thank you Cup of Jo for this wonderful post. More please!!!
    A little tip: I’m an adoptive mom of a gorgeous girl with hair just like Kim’s. I make a “potion” out of: aloe vera juice; water; honey; various oils including almond, grapeseed, jojoba; essential oils including tea tree, lavender and chamomile; and glycerin oil; and put it in a spray bottle. It smells amazing and my daughter sprays it on her hair morning and night and sometimes middle of day for a hair pick-me-up. We use this in addition to natural honey pomade and hair milk (both from Carol’s Daughter) and it’s been a game-changer to moisturize and protect her beautiful curls. Just wanted to share in case it’s helpful to anyone. I so appreciate all the tips…. please keep them coming!!!

    And Kim, Nakia and Leslie, you are amazing and beautiful!!!

  8. AMK says...

    Yes!!!! Finally a post about natural hair!! Best post ever! I definitely buying the Jamaican castor oil. I’ve been wanting to check it out! I am Latina with 2c/3a hair and feel free letting my natural hair thrive. It is now part of my identity and I love it. I used to flat iron my hair for all interviews and professional meetings but now I let my curls free. It is now a good luck charm. I’ve had really positive and interesting interviews and meetings when my hair is in its natural state. Natural hair, natural me.

  9. Emily says...

    You just blew my mind! My son is biracial with 4b/c hair and likes to keep it longer on top. He also had a bad case of lice in 2nd grade. Tea Tree oil is supposed to be so great at keeping lice away. The only one in our house who didn’t get it was my husband who uses the same Trader Joe’s shampoo/conditioner. I’ve always bought speciality products. Never thought to just buy off the shelf at TJ’s. Here’s to a new school year with no bugs! haha

  10. Brooke says...

    Oh Kim, what gorgeousness! Love love your angle cut. Leslie and Nakia are both so radiant with killer hair too. Loved how y’all styled this-like raspberry and lemon and lime sorbet ;).

    I watched The NY Times natural hair doc thanks to link——chills! I loved Zino Saro—Wiwa’s narration that to live with freedom and in tune with how she wants to feel is political in such a permeating way. Here’s to more and more centering of more and more WoC!

  11. Morgan says...

    Love this post so much. My favorite hair products are by TGIN, which is now carried at Target. My hair has never been healthier and the products also smell amazing. Even better, TGIN is a Black-owned business! Thanks for the post.

  12. Ashleigh says...

    Well done!

  13. Elizabeth says...

    I have very curly 3C hair. I got my hair from my dad, so my mom had no idea what to do with it. I’m also white, so I didn’t have the love and attention of brilliant Black women helping me with my natural hair! But I do now. I follow SO MANY women of color on Instagram who are doing brilliant things with their natural hair and really teaching the rest of us how to care for it. Whenever I see a young girl with natural hair, I tell her how lucky she is to be growing up now because there’s such a wide choice of options out there for curly girls now. My favorite product lines:
    Ouidad ($$$)
    Deva Curl ($$)
    Miss Jessie’s ($)
    Shea Moisture ($)

    It really comes down to regular maintenance and making sure you’re giving your hair the TLC it needs. Stay away from heat styling as much as possible. Masks MUST happen at least once a week, probably more. I’m a big fan of the homemade mask: for protein, I’ll do a big dollop of Greek yogurt and then whisk in some olive oil and one or two egg whites. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes. It really helps with my curl pattern. And for moisture, I love all the Jamaican Black Castor Oil products from Shea Moisture. Leave moisture masks on as long as you want, and pretty much ALWAYS leave them on longer than what the directions say.

    I’m a big fan of the “boho bandeaus” sold by Natural Life. You can use those as a head wrap on hot summer days or non-wash days, and still look SUPER cute. I have a whole drawer of them.

    I’m proud to have curly hair; it’s such a huge part of my identity and my image. And I’m so thankful for all the women of color out there who are wearing their natural hair with pride and showing the rest of us how to do the same! These women look beautiful!

  14. Katey says...

    Loved reading these journeys. The importance of hair is immense. I’ve had sleepless nights over bad haircuts because hair represents so much about us. What stood out to me most in these profiles was the generational pressure (soft or firm) about having chemically treated hair. I get the impression this generation is establishing new norms about what hairstyle is beautiful and what hairstyle is easiest to maintain and what hairstyle is acceptable. And, man, it is never easy to flout the norms of our elders; it always seems like such. a. big. deal. I’m inspired by all of us who redefine beauty for ourselves. Yay people! Keep it up!

  15. Eileen McMillan says...

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  16. As a regular Cup of Jo reader and woman of color with curly hair, I LOVE this post! How many times do I pick up a magazine about “new summer hairstyles” and my hair is not represented? All the time! I wore a relaxer as a teen and in college (I begged my mother for one, now I cringe at the memory). When I got pregnant with my first child I didn’t want any chemicals on my body and that was that – no relaxer ever since. I had long dreadlocks for over a decade – loved them – then got bored and combed them out (yes, you can do that) to reinvent myself. Now my hair is curly and free. Since I do a wash and go, it’s only 30 minutes for me and I love that. I go to the hair salon every three months for color and that’s it. I was a product junkie for a year after my locs were removed but now I have it down: co-wash, leave-in conditioner, moisturizer and a light gel.

    When she was younger and I did her hair, mostly it was in twists or puffs because she was a kid playing. But then she got older and did her own hair and boy, that’s when it started. One of the reasons I undid my locs was because I wanted to be a role model for my daughter, who at the time was a pre-teen and having “hair identity” issues. Even though I had locs/natural hair her whole life, it’s not the same as having loose hair to “deal with.” We don’t have the same hair texture (I can do wash and go’s, she can not – she has to do twist or braid-outs), and that was difficult for her at first, but over the last couple of years she has found her groove with using the right products and perfecting her twist-outs. She’s confident with her hair and I don’t think she will ever change her texture with chemicals (thank God, that was my goal). When she has a school camping trip she gets box braids for ease. Her boyfriend is white and when he took her to his prom (basically all white school) she asked him how should she wear her hair – like she normally does, box braids or get it straightened? He answered “like you normally do because that is your hair.” Good answer LOL!

    I haven’t read all the comments but I see a few from white moms with bi-racial or black daughters. One of my good (white) friends adopted two girls from Ethiopia (ages 5 and 6) and from the start she found a person to come to the house to braid their hair. She was also a mother to 3 boys up til that point and not “girly” herself so she didn’t know what to do with girls’ hair – let alone black girls LOL. I always admired that she had their hair braided. And then when the girls got older and didn’t want braids anymore, she asked me for suggestions for products and I made sure that she felt comfortable doing so. I also made conversation with the girls about hair and shared products with them. On the flip side I see other kids with curly hair with moms who don’t know how to care for it and don’t try to find out (by taking them to a salon, watching youtube videos, talking to friends). I think it’s so critical for their self-esteem to learn how to care for their hair.

  17. D says...

    Beautiful x3! I love the sculptural elegance of natural hair. I follow model sisters @ciprianaquann and @tk_wonder on the ‘gram and marvel at what they can achieve. It’s on a HAIR AS ART kinda level.

    Thanks for the education & love the cut, Kim.

  18. Jen says...

    Love all of these styles and the fun stories! Thanks for this post.

  19. Another white lady chiming in to say how grateful I am that CoJ showcases women of all colors and sizes and stylings. Seeing Black women with natural hair as the beautiful style icons they are is important for other Black women and girls of course, and also super important for white people.

    For those wanting to take the love a step further, here is a petition from Color of Change to push for more legislation protecting those with natural hair from discrimination:

    https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/end_hair_discrimination/?t=5&akid=34824%2E2271244%2Ex8CB1l

  20. Emily says...

    I just learned from this post that I have naturally curly hair (2c). Shea moisture is the best, but I’ll be trying some of the other products mentioned too. Thank you!

  21. Christina says...

    Thank you so much for sharing your hair journeys! You all are beautiful and have such good perspective. I am grateful for your willingness to teach this community how your hair works and what goes into your daily and weekly routines. Each of us readers will walk away with a better understanding and appreciation. xo

  22. stuart pennebaker says...

    Absolutely beautiful!

  23. NK says...

    Fabulous! Thank you for sharing. Loved the ‘journey’ section. Loved their lipsticks too! So beautiful.

  24. Brenna says...

    I really think calling this ‘natural hair’ is disingenuous, when the truth seems to be closer to: unless you have a certain kind of hair, it must be groomed to standard when you’re in public, or else cut short.

    If time-consuming grooming is a cultural imperative, then fine. And grooming can certainly be called a natural behaviour. It’s just that using that word ‘natural’ kind of implies that we’re on an equal footing, which we’re not.

    I was a kind of clueless tomboy foster kid (white) with very coarse, thick, ‘low porosity’, slightly wavy hair, and when I was younger I got a lot of hurtful comments about my hair, even though it was clean and I didn’t know how to do anything differently. Yes, it was dry and frizzy and probably matted and shaped like a long pyramid: not pretty.

    If it’s ok to have natural as-is skin or facial features or bodies, and if calling bodies ‘unhealthy’ is not OK, why is it OK to talk about whether people’s hair is ‘healthy’ or not? (Never mind that all hair is equally unhealthy i.e. dead). If it’s because we value a certain groomed target appearance, again, that’s fine; it’s just that calling it ‘natural’ seems to be glossing things over a bit (no pun intended!).

    • Christina says...

      Brenna, I’m having a little trouble understanding your argument here. Why do you have a problem with women referring to their hairstyle as natural? No matter what, hair takes effort to look presentable. Even shaved heads require a regular razoring.

      Natural doesn’t mean it doesn’t take any work – it just means that they aren’t using chemical straighteners or other alternatives (like weaves or wigs). They might also have a natural hairstyle and rock a wig sometimes! It’s definitely worth noting that natural hair can take much more time and effort.

      I suppose I want to know why you felt the need to come in here and challenge / question the terminology and values of these women? I’m honestly asking.

      I also had curly / frizzy / unmanagable hair that my mom never taught me to properly care for. I also got a lot of hurtful comments and bullying. That has zero bearing on this conversation. Let’s stay in our lane.

    • Sabrina Ramos says...

      I’m unclear what your issue is with calling Black, unprocessed hair in it’s natural state ‘natural’, regardless of what level of care and grooming it requires or what its’ texture. In case you are unaware, for years Black women have been forced to perm, iron, blow out, or put their hair through any number or harmful, heat based and chemical processes in order for it to be deemed acceptable by the majority culture. That has been the experience of each woman profiled here. They have stopped these processes and allowed their hair to grow out in it’s ‘natural’ state, i.e.-natural hair. Most people, especially women, wash and condition their hair, use styling products, etc. Is their hair then no longer considered ‘natural’ after that point? I am sorry you experienced ridicule because of your hair texture as a child and hope you have learned how to accept and care for it, but think you need to look much further into the history of people of the African diaspora and the context by which our hair has been politicized, regulated, and mocked. Recent local legislation was even required to protect us against discrimination based on the hair that grows NATURALLY OUT OF OUR HEADS. Nappy, tamed, brushed out, pulled back, braided….however it is being cared for or styled-if there is no chemical process being applied, it is most definitely natural hair. And this flexibility of styling is, precisely, the beauty of our hair!

      If I have missed the point of your comment, please correct me, but I am fairly confused by it.

    • Brenna says...

      Christina and Sabrina above, I meant that it seems like talking about hair “taking effort to look presentable”, and “requiring a level of care and grooming” is the same as how people once talked about requirements to cover ankles, wear girdles, wear bras, remove body hair, and so on.

      A person can easily imagine a world in which uncut and unstyled hair of any texture is perfectly presentable, in the same way that some people like dark denim and others ripped jeans, some people like manicured lawns and other people like wild meadows. If “no matter what, hair takes effort to look presentable”, is it also OK to say, “no matter what, effort needs to be put towards toning your body to look presentable”? I wanted to point out that we’re moving towards being culturally allowed to be fat, thin, lumpy, smooth, shaven, unshaven, BUT with hair, it’s different. Some hair textures are expected to be sprayed or soaked or coated with treatments to be seen in public, and I don’t think that’s any different than expecting women to cover their knees.

    • Sabrina says...

      Hi Brenna-
      I saw your response, and had to follow up with one more comment regarding your analogy; comparing making hair presentable to women covering their knees are not at all the same. What you’ve failed to take into consideration in your argument is the layered dynamic of race-the politicization of Black bodies (including hair), the hypersexualization of Black women, the basic principles of white privilege, and the numerous nuances of culture and identity throughout the African diaspora. There is no way you can make an argument or have a conversation without those factors. In effect, at the end of the day, even with frizzy unkempt hair, you are still walking around as a white woman, regardless of your personal story or socioeconomics. A Black child with a natural nappy afro will NEVER have the same amount of privilege as that frizzy headed white child. Never. This argument goes much much deeper than simply saying ‘society should let women have hairy legs and not wear bras’. It’s important that this is understood, particularly in the context of this post and why it is so important.
      If you have any doubts, simply take a look at all of the positive enthusiastic comments by women of color and white women applauding the representation. It’s almost pathetic that we have to say ‘yay, thanks for featuring people who look like me! I’m so happy to hear a story about something very regular like me washing my hair’ but, this is where we are.

    • Brenna says...

      Hi Sabrina (in case you or anyone happen to read this!)

      I’m wondering if we were talking about two different things, and if they can both still be true; I definitely wasn’t meaning that a white kid with messy hair and a black kid with natural hair are politically the same, at all. If I was doing the post again I wouldn’t even mention my own hair. I was more wanting to point out the simple fact that, right or wrong, natural ungroomed hair–but only *some* natural ungroomed hair–isn’t culturally permitted.

      Which would be completely understandable IF there wasn’t such a big deal made on the internet (I don’t really see this in real life) about accepting “real bodies”: uncovered vitiligo, unshaved armpits, uncovered acne, ungirdled rolls of fat, undyed grey hair–that’s the part that I find disingenuous. Part of this “real bodies” trend is that women shouldn’t have to conform to cultural beauty norms, but people don’t seem to notice that this seems to apply to everything except hair. “Discriminating” against some hair types but not others is still accepted. (Again I don’t mean systemic discrimination like racism, I just mean individualistic discrimination.)

      My point is that all women aren’t actually free in the sense that they couldn’t really show up to even the most progressive professional workplace with long, unconditioned, coarse hair. Which is fine – it looks bad, and conforming to cultural beauty norms is just what humans do. But then why isn’t it OK to say that acne/fat/grey hair looks bad. Or much better, why is it still OK to think that certain hair looks bad, if the other things don’t.

      Like the “I love your pretty dress” comments, none of this addresses race politics. Maybe that isn’t acceptable on a post about race.

  25. Bec says...

    OMG, I had no idea natural hair was so challenging to care for! I watched the video; arm ache! No kidding! I’ve always admired natural hair & thought to myself that it’s what I would choose, but of course having no idea the work involved. It’s so dramatic, and beautiful! And so different from my own plain straight fair hair. Which BTW I can barely manage to care for. Last week my husband watched me brush it out after washing and said “pretend you’re brushing a dog!” and after no change to my rather brutal brush strokes, “A dog you like!”

  26. KQ says...

    Loved this post! And Kim – your dress is amazing. What a terrific color!

  27. Sue says...

    Thank you for sharing your hair journey’s! Loved it, and representation matters.
    After thirty years of not knowing what to do with my hair, I after many trials and tribulations, have finally figured out what works for me. My mom is white so she just did her best. But I was seldom happy with my hair. Pulled on it every morning, hoping it would go straight. It wasn’t until I came of age and was confident enough to rock my natural hair that I made peace with the fact that I have curls.

    Cut to; my daughter of one and a half with gorgeous curly hair! Aaahh..new texture and curl pattern..the journey starts all over again. I luckily have some experience, but some mornings she wakes up with a blond mop of spun sugar looking adorable, but very knotted. Whoof do those mornings make me think of my mom, with straight blond hair and her little girl with curls. Where to begin.

    Just want to say thanks mom. It takes a lot of love and care to look after someone else’s curls before they can take over the reigns of their own hair journey.

  28. Niamh says...

    Fab post! Such beautiful women!

  29. MK says...

    Speaking as a woman who is not black but is colored, I LOVE this post. I have so much respect for reading how you and your friends tailor your self-care to fit your lifestyles, culture, and aesthetic. Women don’t need sleek blowouts that take tons of maintenance to feel attractive and beautiful – though sleek blowouts are certainly an option if that’s your game. You are all individuals with your own needs, but the way you thoughtfully consider your self-expression and presence through your hairstyles is something we all can learn from. Would love to see more posts like this!

  30. Mwis says...

    I feel like Kim,I have yet to master what works for my hair and I am glad to read of kinky hair struggles on coj.I am rocking braids for the summer and I am just loving the fact that I can roll out of bed without the anxiety of knowing I have to somehow get my mane tamed before work.Nice post:)

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      So me!! Love the ease of braids! I’m already looking at braid inspo again haha xx

  31. Rosalie says...

    They look so beautiful😍

  32. Emily says...

    Lovely post! Loved reading these women’s stories and learning more about natural hair. Beautiful!

  33. Sarz says...

    Kim, you and your friends nailed this shoot! I had to put my glasses on to make sure I wouldn’t miss a stunning detail! 😁 You also inspired me in the middle of a pretty sizable hair rut! I’m lucky that my type-3 tresses are still passable with the bare-minimum of effort, but after seeing these shots? Who wouldn’t want the most self-expression from their hair!?Beautiful! 🌺

  34. Your cousin’s husband !!! says...

    Right On Time! Excellent read, and extremely gratifying to see the confidence and grace of you young women. The words flew off the page to provide a perspective that was truly insightful, respectful, and intriguingly fascinating on the gravitas of how our communities are internally and externally impacted by cultural influences. As the father of (2) young beautiful brown girls (7 and 4) that will soon unfortunately have to deal with the pressures of how society sees them, but it’s feels good to know that they have an inspirational resource for positivity just a few key strokes away.

  35. Tshego B says...

    Braids in the summer are underrated. So easy, versatile and of course water isn’t enemy number one LOL! (Not to tight though, because edges.) My 2nd favourite for when I don’t have time or I’m on a tight budget is to do two-strand twist.

  36. Ellie says...

    Love reading beauty features by and for WoC. I’m white and notice how white my world is (incl this blog) so more of this please, it’s awesome. Beautiful hair, ladies. My own 3yo daughter also has curls (2c/3a maybe) and it’s not something I have a clue how to deal with. I’d never cut it off, it’s beautiful, but I want to do it justice! This was such an interesting read.

  37. Irene says...

    This was amazing. I especially liked the “journey” each woman took to going natural. Now how about a story on going grey, another form of going natural. I don’t think I fear being grey, but I dread the idea of months of two-color tresses.

    • Saundra says...

      Yes… the two toness of the graying process, the multi textures and on some already gray heads there looks to be some yellowish mixing; whew! Definitely a seen one aka (senior) no turning back as I prefer to use no dye or chemicals on my very virgin back from (6) chemo i infusions which caused complete hair loss 4 yrs ago now. Would love a little insight on this hair concern!! Thank you Sista’s appreciate the sharing and feed back! Saundra

  38. Christina says...

    fabulous!!! i loved this article!!!

  39. Mette says...

    You look GREAT ladies! Love the natural look, keep rocking it!

  40. Krista says...

    When this post showed up on my reader, I clicked on it assuming it was one of the hair blogs I follow. WOW! So thrilled to hear these women share their hair stories of feeling their most confident, gorgeous selves on Cup of Joe. I have two Black daughters, both of whom have different hair textures, adopted through foster care in NYC. As a white woman, my learning will never be complete, but I also love having more resources to leave strewn throughout our home for them to stumble upon and peruse. Representation truly matters!

    Also, if you ever decide to peel back some layers and take a peek at the complex, heart-wrenching nature of foster care, specifically in NYC, please reach out. I won’t share my daughters’ specific stories, as they are not mine to share, but would share my experience. It would be beautiful to also hear from a mom or dad who was able to successfully reunify with their children after their children spent time in foster care. There are so many different sides to this issue, and it would be remarkable to see some of them brought to light.

  41. K says...

    They’re all so beautiful. Love it. Learned so much. Thank you.

  42. Mary says...

    Thank you for sharing your life and your journey with natural hair. I’ve been natural now for years, going to try the products Kim’s uses.
    Again thanks.

  43. Beth says...

    I love everything about this post. It’s personal and engaging and I want to hear more from Kim! 💗

  44. N says...

    Would love to hear more about the head wraps!

  45. Isa says...

    Yes! Beautiful hairs and beautiful people!

  46. Lara says...

    Love this post and especially hearing about their backgrounds transitioning into natural hair. Lovely people with lovely hair. Love!

  47. Shannon says...

    Fantastic post! I stopped relaxing my hair 5+ years ago, but I still feel like I have to go to the salon and have it straightened every two weeks. These women are all stunning and provided some really helpful suggestions. Thank you for providing diverse content!

  48. Everything about this is so beautiful—inside and out. Thank you for sharing your Selves and your journeys with us!

  49. Elizabeth says...

    Loved reading this. As a white woman raising a biracial daughter with beautiful natural hair, I loved learning more about ways to care for her hair. Thank you! Representation matters.

  50. Sonia says...

    Love this post!! Thank you!

  51. Sarah says...

    Thank you for writing this! I love the product recommendations and style inspiration.

  52. AB says...

    This post is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for sharing an under-represented perspective in the beauty industry. So much love! <3

  53. K says...

    Learned a lot from this post – loved all these awesome styles!! The angled short cut particularly looks bomb.

    Also, just A+ content these days COJ!!

  54. joy says...

    White woman chiming in to say I loved this post. Gorgeous women, gorgeous hair, and as another commenter said, windows into other experiences.

  55. Stacy says...

    YES. BEAUTIFUL. MORE OF THIS, PLEASE.

    Love the “brave” tattoo–would love a feature on people’s tattoos and the stories behind them!

    Do we get clothing/makeup/glasses/jewelry info, too?

    Gorgeous women. I’m so inspired.

    • Leslie says...

      Hi there! My yellow dress is Everlane (love it so much I purchased in other colors as well!), earrings are handmade from Jovial Art, necklace is handmade from Carrie Elizabeth (by way of Local Eclectic). Enjoy! :)

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Thank you, Stacy!! I’d stopped liking my tattoo as much in recent years but all of you have made me love it again! My dress is from Urban Outfitters! My earrings are from Forever 21, rings are Bing Bang and Etsy finds and my lip is Fenty Beauty. Oh! And my frames are from EyeBuyDirect!

    • Sophia F. says...

      @Kim, what instantly struck me about your tattoo is that it’s so clearly for you, written to be visible from your perspective – it’s not telling other people you’re brave, it’s telling you. And I think that’s a wonderful, amazing statement to make.

      (Also, you and your friends have great hair! As a woman with tons of 2c-3a-3b super coarse curls I am still struggling with my summer hairstyle, but the three of you have got it figured out as I’m stabbing in some bobby pins and calling it a day),

  56. K says...

    What a wonderful post!! I’d love to hear more from Kim!

  57. MM says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this article! I just had a super detailed, empathetic, graphic conversation with my cousin about her struggle with chemically straightened hair and her journey to natural hair. She learned so much of it on her own (and so much that I never had to learn about my own hair). I feel like I have a new sense of my cousin’s strength, and I’m so proud of her for navigating all of this solo. xox

  58. M says...

    👏🏽 Representation 👏🏽 matters 👏🏽. Kim, I loved your writing.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      YES. IT. DOES!!! Thank you!!

  59. Keren C says...

    Brearh of frush aiya (fresh air)!

  60. Adiam says...

    I have been coming to COJ for years and this site often gives me the warm and fuzzies, things to ponder, and clothes/accessories to consider buying. I did not expect to see natural haircare and product recommendations. As a black woman with natural hair, I really appreciate the representation :). The ladies are all beautiful.

    I have been getting into DevaCurl products lately and recently got a Deva cut with curly bangs and lots of layers. I’m loving it!

  61. Karine says...

    Oh Cup of Jo team! I love you! I’ve been a loyal black reader for years. I’ve loved so many posts in the past. Hands down for this one. It feels good to be seen. Sending love and hugs from London!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Karine! This made my heart so glad!! So glad you felt seen! Love and hugs from Brooklyn!! xoxo

  62. Kara says...

    Beautiful post! Thank you!

  63. Owl says...

    This is such a great blog.

  64. KS Sews says...

    I’ve read every comment before mine and am 1) happy people are being exposed but also 2) will try to be less annoyed by the questions about my own hair. I’ve been known to tell people to “google it!” because I’ve been incredulous that one hasn’t learnt anything about how non-straight hair is maintained (typically).

    And I implore you to compliment the hair of your coworker/neighbor/etc. Do not comment on how “often” she changes her hair. Please?

    And while I get the desire to use this (new) “hair typing” system, it doesn’t hold nearly as much relevance at knowing the actual qualities of your hair. e.g., Fine, medium, coarse. Thin, medium density, thick. Porosity, strength and elasticity. How does it FEEL? Is it smooth? Rough? etc.

    I have very fine hair. It is not very porous and if I dare go more than 4 days without washing my hair, it will make me suffer :) I refuse to spend multiple hours “washing” my hair and I believe it’s unnecessary because of taking the time to find a (simple!!) mix of products that work for me. It may help that I’m a chemist! :-p I have a looser curl in back, a SUPER springy coil pattern on the sides, something in between in the front, and NO curl pattern in a section at the top. This hair is also prone to dryness so I have to treat it differently.

    Knowing if my hair is 4a/b/c isn’t nearly as valuable as knowing the above.

  65. J. says...

    I teared up reading this! It made me think of how people describe why diversity is so important in children’s books — we all need stories that are windows; we all need stories that are mirrors. I hold some of my own first mirrors so close to my heart (like the movie Selena!), and get all joy-weepy thinking of how though there is still so, so far to go, how many more mirrors there to seem to be each day, whether HBO’s Insecure or Crazy Rich Asians or how a main character’s sexuality in Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart is treated not as THE MOST IMPORTANT thing about her personality but just *A* thing about her or so many others. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Kim, Joanna, and the whole Cup of Jo for being a place with so many windows, so many mirrors, and such value and love for providing both– what’s one for one person is always the opposite for another.

    • MM says...

      Love this and agree with every word!

    • Wendela says...

      Yes! Love this post and completely agree with this comment. So glad to see this on CoJ! Thank you!

  66. Tovah says...

    Best beauty post ever! I’ve worn my hair curly for over 10 years and I’ll never go back. (My hair is similar to Samin Nosrat’s, actually, so I loved her beauty uniform too.) If folks don’t know, The website naturallycurly.com is a treasure trove of information and tips. If you’re considering going natural It’s so helpful to find a “model” whose hair is like yours to find great cut, style, and product recs. CoJ, thanks so much for amplifying these voices so that others may learn from them!

  67. Jakia says...

    “Ohh-kay polka dots!”…Amanda Seals stand-up reference. Meaning, I really STAN for these ladies and this post. As a WOC, seeing this topic and style feature on this site is a joy. Thanks for sharing, Ladies!

  68. Hope says...

    So much beauty!

  69. What beautiful ladies! I love hearing about the natural hair journeys of other women of color.

  70. Julie says...

    Loved learning about all the different curl types!! As someone with stick straight hair, I can’t sympathize with how much work hair can be. But I totally understand the feeling hair can give you, as Kim says, “yes! this is us!!” People say it’s just hair, but that’s not true!! It can be part of your identify. I wear mine super short and shorter on one side than the other. I pass as straight a lot of the time, and my hair makes me feel more connected to the lesbian community.

    Loved this article, so great!!

  71. Elly says...

    This was such a fun, interesting post. Would love more content like this.

  72. Dani says...

    I love this post and all of these cuts!

    I have large curly (3b) hair like many white, jewish woman. I also went through the “big chop” moment in my 20s when I cut off the chemically straightened portion of my hair and discovered I loved my natural texture. I try to always be aware of the privilege I have as a white woman to wear my hair in natural ways without cultural criticism or fetishization. At the same time I am incredibly grateful for the guidance I can get from reading black women’s stories about hair care, products, and styles that also work for my curls.

    Thanks for sharing, ladies!

  73. Sandra says...

    Love this!

  74. Wylie says...

    I wonder if you’d ever consider doing a piece on men who read this site? My SO actually reads fairly regularly and we discuss the site and its nuances on date night. I’ve seen a few comments here and there from men who read and I’d be curious to learn more about them :)

    Your content is so fresh that I’m not surprised men sneak on and read.

    • Heather says...

      This would be so interesting! Great idea!

  75. Liz S says...

    Excellent post. Excellent links. Beautiful women. Thanks CoJ….more please.

  76. Naseem says...

    Thank you Cupofjo for this!! I am biracial, so seeing hair like mine on a website like this is such a breath of fresh air!! I would love to see another post where different women of color share their wash day routines and products they use! (Also, would happily volunteer myself for that!). My wash day isn’t super involved, and takes me about 45 minutes from start to finish, and my hair is arm pit length when curly. But after 10 years of being natural, I’ve finally figured out my routine and products that work (AND, bonus, they are all really cheap drug store finds!)

    Thanks again for representing people with non-straight hair. All of the women look beautiful! I love it!

    • Carlie says...

      If you do reddit checkout r/curlyhair or carefully slide down the Curly Girl Method on youtube… =)

  77. ah says...

    Love this! And for any ladies who have sister locs, styling with Soft Spike Curlers works great!

  78. Veronika says...

    You are sooo beautiful!
    I will never understand how so many people see permed hair as prettier than these wonderful natural curls and braids. All three of you radiate true beauty and authenticity :)

  79. rose says...

    ps: I love that green jean jacket – can you share where it’s from? Thx!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we’ll ask!

    • R don says...

      Dying about it too…. think I might be a little bit obsessed by it

    • Hey! My jacket is from Topshop!

  80. rose says...

    You’re all just beautiful and I’m so happy to see you here as your selves. Shocked! to learn there needed to be a LAW about your hair and that it is only this year??? that it was created! I’m white and that hurts to hear.

  81. Kat Rosa says...

    More posts like this, please! Love it!

  82. Yulia says...

    I so liked that everyone’s natural hair evolution was part of this story along with the reasoning for their current styles and their hair care methods. What goes on in a woman’s mind as she makes choices about her appearance and her identity are fascinating.

    The portraits are really stunning too. I love the colors in the group photo, and in the individual portraits everyone’s skin is amazing and glowy.

  83. Elle says...

    OMG OMG! This post makes me SO HAPPY! To read from women that I relate to so much is truly empowering. That, in addition to the gorgeous photos, has me feeling GOOD! I’ve been natural for 6 years and am always changing it up. The last few years, I’ve been wearing custom made wigs to protect my hair while deciding what to do next. I’m loving your cut, Kim!

  84. Nicole says...

    Thank you so much for this post! My hair is just like Nakia’s and the high bun is my go-to, but I’m going to try the pineapple now! Same effect (hair off my neck), different look!

  85. DJ says...

    I LOVE THIS. have always been curious about (and amazed by) natural hair bc my friends tell me IT. IS. WORK. — all styles shown are beautiful beautiful beautiful — love when CoJ expands their content. more of this please!!!

  86. Sharon in Scotland says...

    I’m black and grew up in Essex, England in the 60/70’s with 2 sisters and 2 brothers. My mum didn’t do anything to our hair other than do corn rows in our hair before we went to bed, rubbing vaseline between the rows. My dad would clip cut my brother’s hair. My mum would use a fearsome metal comb which she put straight on the gas flame then quickly combed through her hair. She never used it on us, (thank goodness). I sat on it once, she put it down on the chair next to the phone to answer the phone and I sat down on it when I took the call………….I have a rectangular shape mark under my left buttock!
    The top tended to grow much more than the sides and I never really did anything to it growing up, never ever relaxed, straightened or permed it. I started to have a number 2 clipper cut in my thirties,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I ADORED getting this done and I’m blessed with a nice shaped head. I used to go to the Vidal Sasson training salon when I was at college in Leeds. They loved me because my hair was completely untouched and I fulfilled their “black hair” module. They used to cut it with scissors, standing with a white towel over their black tee-shirt so they could see every last hair. Then the tutor would come and rub my head to make sure it was even. Hands down the best haircuts I’ve ever had, ever and only about a fiver!
    I had plait extensions later on. My friend used to do it for me, we would get it done on the weekend and make a day of it. I thought I would love having long swishy hair, I found it soooo annoying, but it did make my hair grow, which was wasted as I never did anything to it.
    I’ve gone back to having a really short crop, now with lots of grey hair. I’ve found that as I’ve got older, (I’m in my 50’s) my hair has got less dense and seems to have stopped growing! I haven’t had a hair cut in about 7 years.
    I try and remember to rub in coconut oil to keep it supple and don’t comb it any more, just wet it with warm water in the morning and tease out the curls with my fingers. I wash it when I remember…………………that’s a bit dodgy!
    Thank you COJ. I have NEVER seen this kind of post anywhere else. Apart from London, I’ve tended to live where there were no black hairdressers etc, so this was really interesting x x x

    • Yulia says...

      I loved reading the history of your hair. Thank you for letting us into your story. It is special. :)

    • Ellie says...

      Also in Scotland here, halloo! Thanks for sharing your story, so cool that you got cheap haircuts from future VS stylists!

  87. Lauren E. says...

    Fantastic post! And I freaking love Kim’s tattoo.

  88. Kelly says...

    Love this! I’m a white girl brown mama so happy to see kinky curly hair represented!

    Now if someone can give me tips on getting my 9 yo to make it through wash day…I want her to love her hair but when your 9 and getting your hair washed takes 4 hours it’s tough!!!

    • Ari says...

      I would love if CoJ would do a piece on parents styling their bi-racial kids’ hair.

    • KS Sews says...

      My advise is to keep it simple. I don’t believe you *should* have to spend hours and hours every week on hair.

      If she’s going to be wearing her hair curly, get some shampoo, conditioner and leave-in that will help moisturize and define (I love TGIN for all 3 categories). If the plan includes a blow dryer, use products that help with sleekness.
      The Conair Wet brush is AWESOME for detangling. Contrary to popular belief, the Denman brush is not a detangler. If she has a lot / thick hair, wash in sections. Twist the hair into an appropriate number of sections and wash/condition/leave in each section separately. This will keep it detangled as well.

      Curly styles, air drying is fine unless it’s cold and you want to sit her under a dryer. Straight styles, blow dry in sections then braid or plait or ponytails or whatever.
      It needn’t be a multi-hour ordeal!!

    • Abesha1 says...

      Yes, please!!! My older son has waist length 3c curls with major spring (they pop up above his shoulders if I don’t coax them longer)
      and they are WORK. But I love them.

    • Kelly says...

      KS Sews, i appreciate your advice. i’ve done a lot of research and taken my girl to our share of professionals and somewhere between 3-4 hours is the best we’ve been able to do. I think we keep it pretty simple, but she has A TON of hair and it is tangle prone. So we take out braids – the other day we took out 4 braids and it took about 40 minutes. I try to do it the night before but can’t always. Then we wash. To section, shampoo and rinse her super-thick hair – 20 mins if we move pretty fast. Condition and rinse another 20. Detangling, 1-2 hours (she is tenderheaded so have to be gentle which makes it take much longer plus the super thick, tangle prone hair). The conair wet brush is useless for us, her hair is too thick! the bristles flatten like a corn stalk in front of a steam roller instead of sinking into her hair.

      Getting it into braids another hour.

      She can’t wear it curly, it’s too thick and if she wears it curly she can’t put on a helmet to ride her bike or a hat when it’s cold.

      professionals can do it a bit faster than me, but not by too much. she just has a really intense head of hair I think! I think my best bet is to find someone who will do it side by side with me so we can move faster…anyone in chicago who’s in give me a holler!

  89. Sydney Royes says...

    Thank you so much for this AMAZING piece! As a mother of two, I love learning and hearing about other people’s natural hair journey.

  90. Mandy says...

    I loved this post- thank you so much for sharing your stories! Fascinating to read an experience different from my own and a reminder that hair is political!

  91. Andrea says...

    Boring white-girl hair here, but any dress/clothing info? All of these women look great. And I also noticed (and love) the Brave tattoo and the way it’s facing.

  92. Sara says...

    Thank you so much for this fun and informative post. I’m a white woman with straight blond hair, and I so appreciate seeing inclusive posts like this. I found myself following several of the links within the post and learning a ton. These ladies are beautiful and I’m so glad they’re being featured in this forum. Inclusivity and understanding of experiences other than your own is so important. Thank you, CoJ!

    • Sasha L says...

      Same! LOVED this post. I find beauty rituals and hair so fascinating and it was so fun to read through and look at every single link and learn so much. More similar content please!! Also, the ladies and their outfits and the photography+ their amazing hair was all so beautiful.

  93. Kelly says...

    Gorgeous hair, gorgeous women

  94. Grace says...

    Ok but… can we get A Week of Outfits for these ladies? WOW those gorgeous colors! That awesome jacket!

    • Sasha L says...

      Ooh yes please!! And beauty routines too.

  95. Abby says...

    All three look amazing! Love learning about other peoples beauty routines :)

  96. Kaira says...

    Thanks for the mid-day joy in seeing myself and my hair care/self care experience online!

  97. Kristin says...

    Such gorgeous hair, ladies! It crushes me that society sends the message that this is not OK. Have you had any negative experiences regarding your appearance since you’ve gone natural?

  98. Jennifer says...

    Wow amazing piece. I feel like the stupidest white girl ever for being so amazed by this because I had really NO idea, so thank you so much for this !

  99. maywyn says...

    Great post and hair styles!
    Opting out of the short dyed blonde permed hair for women over 60 took me years. Natural hair is amazing.

  100. Amiah says...

    thank you for this! i’m going to use these products and have been mulling over getting a short cut, the angled looks really good on you, kim.

  101. Anna says...

    I love this! Such beautiful women with such beautiful hair. I’m a white woman with hair that couldn’t hold a curl if my life depended on it, so it’s great to see glimpse into someone else’s experience.

  102. Mary Beth says...

    I loved this feature! All 3 ladies are gorgeous!

  103. dahlia says...

    I’m a white woman with thin, fine, straight-to-wavy hair, so this is not going to be my form of hair care — and I love love love this post. It was great to learn more about how black women care for and style their hair; I love the looks of black women’s hair, but didn’t know a lot of this detail. The informative links were fantastic. I’ll be better able to appreciate the beauty and choices of other women thanks to what I learned.

    I want to affirm again that your ongoing, steadily improving commitment to diversity is one of the things that brings me to Cup of Jo each day. I love watching your community learn, grow, and blossom.

  104. Allyson says...

    All these styles (and variations they rock) are so beautiful. Thanks for the look into natural hair.

  105. Sarah says...

    I learned so much from this – one of my favorite posts in the last decade!

  106. Sarah says...

    Love all of these styles so much. The women all look so beautiful, I love natural (unstraightened) hair. I am white British, as is my daughter, she has really curly hair if left to it’s own devices. Whenever she goes to get her hair blo dried the hairdresser always assumes that she would rather have it dried straight. To me she looks too meek and mild with ‘tamed’ hair. Curls are kick ass, or is that just me?

  107. Lauren B. says...

    Surprised no one has said this yet, so: HAIR IS EVERYTHING, ANTONY.

    Beautiful styles, ladies!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha HAIR IS EVERYTHING.

    • Sasha L says...

      BWAHAHA!!! Truth!!!

  108. Nathalie says...

    I love the way the ‘brave’ tattoo is facing – like it’s a reminder to the wearer that she’s brave instead of a proclamation to other people.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a great point, you’re so right.

  109. Kara says...

    What is it about moms not wanting their kids to cut their hair? My mom is the same with me….and I’m finding I’m the same way with my two boys ha!

    Loved this post! I will never get enough of coily, curly, wavy hair posts!

  110. Love this!! And so appreciate this, stuff that I would never know otherwise. I wish my fair self could rock a head wrap 1/2 as well as you ladies! <3 It'd just slide off. #nocurls

  111. NR says...

    Beautiful! All are incredible but those corkscrew curls have me drooling. Also love the brave tattoo and outfits (awesome to see women who are the same shape as me featured in kick ass outfits)! Thank you for sharing.

  112. Alison says...

    Wonderful post! Thank you!

  113. Sadie says...

    Beautiful portraits <3

  114. Liz says...

    This post is great! It was so interesting to read about different hair types, and I appreciated additional links for more background/information. Thank you for sharing this!

  115. YES content! I’m a black woman that has been coming to this site for years, and I LOVED seeing this! A beauty post that is talking to ME! Thank you cupofjo :)

    Also, still trying to figure out my daughter’s hair type (4b? 4C?) and find products for her. Doesnt help that she hates wash day, lol. I’ll try some of this products out.

    • KS Sews says...

      Hair typing is totally a made up convention and isn’t necessary for finding products. Is her hair fine? medium? coarse?? Is it dense or on the thinner side? Is it very porous or not so much…

      Many of us have multiple “types” anyway and a person can be “3c” and have thin, fine hair and need a very different regimen from a “3c” with dense, coarse hair!

  116. Corbin says...

    Gorgeous!

  117. Meg says...

    Loved this piece!

  118. KG says...

    I loved this! I learned so much and got some inspiration for my own curly hair along the way — “When I take down my braids at home, before getting them redone, the process takes 90 minutes from start to finish and is accompanied by a glass of red wine and Motown tunes. ” Yes! Beautiful hair!!

  119. Jenny says...

    Thank you for taking time out of your days, you amazing women, to educate what I suspect is a largely white audience about natural hair. Thank you for investing your time in this. I hope it pays dividends in less people asking you weird questions IRL

  120. Emily Stram says...

    LOVE that red dress, so cute on you!

  121. Becca says...

    Great post!

  122. Amy says...

    I LOVED reading this! I’m white, with loose waves (2A) but it was so interesting and fun to learn about different hair types. My toddler son’s hair is coming very curly (I think in the 3A-B range) so I’ve been trying to learn more about caring for his curls. It’s shocking to me how few resources there are, especially for children! So far we really like the As I Am conditioning co-wash, but his curls still look dry sometimes so I’m thinking of adding a lotion or something on non-wash days. Definitely clicking on links from this article! So happy to hear recommendations!

    • KS Sews says...

      Curl type is less helpful for figuring out product needs. If he has fine, low-porisity hair (raises hand! :-p), “co-washing” may be a terrible idea for him and the reason his hair is dry.

  123. Elise says...

    Great portraits and tips, will definitely share!

  124. Anne says...

    I am a major fan of box braids wrapped up in a topknot or updo. The look is just so architectural and regal and INTERESTING. I’m a white girl so this is purely aesthetic for me, but when I see a black lady with a cool box braid style, it stops me in my tracks. Immediate awesome alert.

  125. Viv says...

    “Short hair makes me feel the most like myself — it’s just a gut feeling that’s like, ‘YES. This is us.'” ABSOLUTELY. I’ve felt this way my whole life and am now at peace with the fact that growing out my hair (to a whopping shoulder length) never results in me trying out cool online hair tutorials as planned, but rather in me feeling frustrated and out of sync with myself.

    • Jenny says...

      Total agreement! I charge into the salon and my hair dude and I say THE SWINTON in unison, every time.

    • Heather says...

      Yes, yes, yes to this for me as well! Almost every hair cut, without fail, I say “Whew, there I am!” I always feel lighter and just more *me*. It felt really freeing when I just decided this is my cut for life and now I don’t have to stress about growing it out again.

      And thank you Cup of Jo for this educational and inclusive content – love all that you do and all the ways you make us better.

  126. asia says...

    Great post! Lovely ladies :)

  127. Jess says...

    LOVE THIS! So fascinating to hear about natural hair – I’ve realised how little I know about it. Thank you for featuring this and these beautiful women.

  128. Thank you for representing us COJ!!!! Long live diversity and inclusion! Can’t tell you how wonderful it is to visit one of my favorite websites and see more and more diversity in the posts — women with different bodies and colors and sizes and styles and journeys… It’s wonderful!!!

    • shannon says...

      The bright, solid color backgrounds, vibrant outfits, angles, everything about the art direction in these photos is compelling and puts the focus so nicely on these three gorgeous ladies! This whole post is poppin!

  129. jdp says...

    gorgeous!!!

  130. Sheri says...

    Wow, you all look so gorgeous! And Kim, that angled cut suits you SO well – and that red dress and lippy! Talk about a showstopper. xo

    • katie says...

      I’ll second that. I’m in LOVE with her entire look. The hair. The dress. The smile. The tattoo.

  131. Julie says...

    Gorgeous, all three of you.

  132. Lea says...

    Great post!

  133. Elise says...

    Beautiful women, beautiful hair!

  134. Lindsay says...

    I don’t comment often…but something about this post blew my mind. Or the fact that I didn’t know any of this (like…didn’t even know that I didn’t know) blew my mind. I’ve heard coworkers imply that their hair is “different” (ie you gotta find someone who knows what they’re doing to cut it), but this is just a whole different world of hair! And I guess that blows my mind because we are so inundated with messages from the beauty industry that it’s a very clear “a-ha” moment to me that your type of hair is sadly not part of any of those messages. There could be a lot more said from there…but…I’d rather say that I reread this multiple times and am amazed at how through hair – something that seems so simple to me – this post touched on heritage and tradition and family and community and self love… And that is a message worth hearing! So truly, thank you for sharing!

    • Annie says...

      Agreed! Thank you so much to Kim, Nakia, and Leslie! I don’t know if it feels loaded to have your hair and stories up on a blog ready by many-a-white ladies, as well as WOC, and I appreciate you doing it all the same. I love the comments by other WOC who feel seen and represented. I hope we get to see more of you, here and everywhere.

  135. KayN says...

    LOVED this post!!! I am Indian-American with much looser (2B-ish) curls, but am so inspired by any natural-hair-loving posts, and by these wonderful black women!

  136. LOVE this post!! As a white adoptive mom of a gorgeous boy with 4C hair I’m always looking for tips and products and vocabulary and just plain background knowledge I don’t have. He’s growing it out now and I’m a sponge for all this. Clicking on EVERY LINK. Thank you!!!

  137. celester says...

    Trader Joe’s shampoo is the bomb! If you have little kids it’s a lice deterrant and so affordable! I enjoyed reading, thanks colorful ladies!

  138. Gloria says...

    Love it ladies! Thanks for the info…

  139. Kami says...

    Thank you for including all these links! I teach high school and a lot of my students are black. I’ve noticed their constantly changing hairstyles and have wondered at the upkeep required to wear their hair natural vs. relaxed, wigs, braids, etc. I watched a few of the videos and found them very informative.

  140. Alyssa says...

    What beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing!

  141. Jen says...

    As the mother of biracial daughters, I am constantly looking for hair product recommendations and examples of women who embrace their beautiful, natural hair. I love that this post fulfilled both of those desires! I’ll be showing the gorgeous photos to my 5 year old and handing off my phone so my 8 year old can read these women’s stories. Thanks, CupofJo, for an excellent piece!

  142. THANK YOU for this post! As a white woman, it is BEYOND refreshing to see a hair care post that is completely not for my hair type! Thank you so much for unapologetically posting specifically for black women. I hope this is a catalyst for so much more! Most of the world doesn’t look like me, so it makes me so frustrated that most of the beauty content is only written o women who look like me. I’m thrilled to see a post where that doesn’t include tips I can use!

  143. I had a shorter version of Kim’s style for a couple of years because it was super cute and manageable (and because my baby loved to yank long hair!) Now I’m growing it out and hoping I’ll have the motivation to do some fun styles like the pineapple.

  144. AH says...

    I have the limpest, straightest white girl hair ever, but I found this post fascinating and educational. I think natural hair (no matter your background) is beautiful. I’m so over processed, straightened, coloured, manipulated hair. Natural all the way!

    • Ris says...

      Same, girl. My hair is the most boring, flat, and thin hair ever. This was so super interesting. Thanks for sharing a diversity of styles, Cup of Jo!

  145. makeda says...

    absolutely gorgeous. thank you for sharing this!

    • Katherine says...

      Love this!!!

  146. Elle says...

    I love this! Hair is so personal and it’s so fun and informative to learn more about the why behind someone’s “look”. Excellent piece Kim!

  147. Jessica Egbu says...

    This is so beautiful!

  148. Natalie says...

    Thanks for this! Love hearing how women with curly, kinky hair approach the change of seasons and how you can sometimes stumble into a great look that feels most like you! I’m inspired – xxoo

  149. Kendall says...

    Oh, I love this SO MUCH! Thank you for featuring natural hair and the beautiful women who are rocking it.

  150. alexis says...

    love this! thanks for sharing <3