African American Prom Hair Styles

African American Hairstyles for the 2008 Prom

It’s prom night! That means it’s your time to sparkle and shine and step into the spotlight in a big way.  Prom night is an event you’ll remember the rest of your life, and an opportunity to demonstrate your personal style and unique identity.  A special “you” hairdo is an ideal place to begin.

If you have African-American hair, your choices for prom night hairstyles are almost endless. You can choose a hairstyle that is as complex as braids, dreadlocks, cornrows or weaves, or as simple as a natural curly look or a close-to-the-head pixie cut. Your prom night look can be elegant, simple, classic, funky, romantic, or downright daring.

Before you settle on a hairstyle for the big night, consider your particular type of hair. African-American hair textures vary dramatically. You may have straight hair or you might have tight kinks, loose curls, or soft waves. Take some time to experiment and discover the perfect hairstyle for your particular hair type.

You can’t go wrong with an up-do for prom night, with more variations on a theme than you can count. You might choose to pull your hair up in a twist or knot, creating a sophisticated up-do, or you may be more comfortable with a classic ponytail with a few adorable ringlets or tendrils spiraling down. You can pile curls on top of your head or you can bind your hair in some funky afro-puffs or African knots. A sprig of baby’s breath will add a romantic touch to any updo.

Once you’ve decided on an updo, you can choose to accentuate it with bangs pulled back in a sleek and elegant style, or with bangs that will frame your face.

If an updo isn’t your style and you’ve always dreamed of long hair, extensions or braids are a way to add drama to your prom-night persona.

Conversely, short hair can be just as dramatic and elegant. African-American women often look especially gorgeous in an ultra-short do cut close to the head, drawing more attention to a beautiful face or long, lovely neck.

This year, curls are especially popular for African-American women, and represent an opportunity to return to a healthier, chemical-free beauty. This means the freedom to allow your hair to return to its natural state, be it a traditional afro or looser curls.

Don’t be afraid to show pride in your African heritage with colorful beads, baubles, jewels and other adornments, or add some pizzazz by finishing your do with some colorful glitter. (Apply a light coat of hairspray first, so the glitter will adhere to your hair).

Regardless of what style you settle on, start with clean, well-conditioned hair. Remember that African-American hair can be dry and is more fragile and easily broken, so keep your locks sleek and healthy with a moisturizing shampoo and regular conditioning. If your hair is showing signs of damage, you may need to apply a deep conditioning treatment a few days before the prom.

Many hairstyles are beautifully simple and can be done at home, but be sure and practice, practice, practice! Don’t invite stress by waiting until the last minute to decide what you will do with your hair on prom night.  Start early, experiment in front of the mirror and have some fun trying out different styles. The hairdo you select for prom night is every bit as important as that drop-dead gorgeous gown and matching shoes.

If you choose to have your hair professionally styled, shop around and find a stylist who is accustomed to working with African-America hair.  Don’t wait until the last minute to make an appointment, or you’ll likely be out of luck. Set up a date with the stylist at least two months ahead of time, and call a few days ahead to confirm. The last thing you need is an unwanted surprised that you were somehow bumped or accidentally canceled.

If possible, take a photo of your prom dress and ask your stylist to suggest hairdos that will complement it. If your dress has a frilly neckline, you may want to consider hairdos that won’t compete. If your dress is elegant and classy, consider a simple style or an elegant up-do. If your dress is funky, have some fun with an unconventional hairstyle.

If you decide to do your hair yourself or if you opt to have your hair professionally styled, the most important thing is to choose a style that you like. Don’t let yourself be talked into something that doesn’t fit your style or isn’t comfortable. This is your night, and you’ll look and feel more beautiful if you’re comfortable, confident and relaxed.

Once you decide on the best hairstyle, relax and have fun on this memorable occasion, and don’t forget to take a picture!

~Ben Anton, 2008

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