African Fashion Culture

10 Africa hairstyles to give you inspiration

African hairstyles
Avatar of Denise Chido
Written by Denise Chido

Africa is the place when you are looking for a continent that will inspire hairstyles. Africa hairstyles are unique and so creative. They are more than just a look; it also tells a story. There is history and culture involved in each style. In ancient African societies, each hairstyle had a significant symbol. Let’s have a look at these styles from different corners of Africa.


Sahrawi Cornrows

The Sahrawi cornrows are one of our Africa hairstyles to make the list. It is from Northern Africa, inspired by the Sahrawi people. The people in Northern Africa have a blessing of curls, so they can not do much to the hair. The cornrows have two partitions with a line in the middle. It is known as the Sahelian style. They then add extensions that they braid into smaller braids. These extensions flow down along their arms.


Sahrawi cornrows

Sahrawi cornrows. Photo/Pinterest



Africa hairstyles from the Igbo people of Nigeria are very creative. The Ngala is a unique hairstyle for special occasions. The women wear it with pride for coronations, festivals, and traditional marriage ceremonies. It is a style of elegance. They use extensions to add texture, and the beads they add on top enhance the style. It leaves the woman feeling exceptional.




The Edamburu is an Africa hairstyle that looks like a crown. It is a braided crown from the people of Congo, the Mangbetu people. It is all about intricately weaving small braids into a crown style. They impressively use the coiffure to appreciate the Mangbetu people’s custom of skull elongation.


Edamburu. Photo/ 2jam4U-Tumblur

Himba Dreadlocks


From Northwest Nambia, we have the Himba dreadlocks. This Africa hairstyle of dreadlocks symbolises the age and life of a woman. They use goat hair, ochre, and butter to create these dreadlocks. They mix it all up to make the locks. Teenagers wear these locks loose, covering their faces as a sign of puberty. When it is time to marry, they begin to wear the locks tied back to show their faces. The women add ornaments and extensions to make the dreadlocks look more beautiful.


Ochre Dreadlocks

The Ochre dreadlocks from Omo valley is an Africa hairstyle from Ethiopia. They use tiny twists of their hair and coat it with ochre. The Hamar tribe settled in Omo Valley, where they mixed with the nomads in the area. Together they came up with this hairstyle. It has cute bangs that shape the face. Colourful beaded jewellery enhances the beauty of the style.

Ochre dreadlocks

Ochre dreadlocks. Photo/lookphotos


Zulu Topknots

This Zulu hairstyle speaks for itself. It is a symbol of status for the Zulu people of Southern Africa. Usually, only royalty could wear this Africa hairstyle. It is a hairstyle of knots gathered and stretched into portions using a tie to create a topknot. Some women use jewellery to embellish their knots. Other cultures have adopted this style, like the Somalis and Ethiopians.


African Threads

Using thread is very common with Africa hairstyles. The Yoruba people of South-West Nigeria do well with this style. Using thread is a natural way of straightening hair, and many tribes in West Africa use it. They style has different names, Sunga, Akula, Eko Bridge and Los. In Zimbabwe, they call it mabahnzi. It is a protective style, and it also helps the hair grow. The hair is completely covered with thread and can be very stylish. It can be in different creative styles.


Fulani Braids

The Fulani braids come from the Fulani people of West Africa. It is a hairstyle of identity. Women in this part of Africa over centuries wore this with pride. The hair is in parts and then braided. The braids are tiny cornrows. You can add beads and jewellery to embellish the style. Other tribes are catching on and wearing this style.


Bantu Knots


Bantu knots are from the Zulu people of Southern Africa. It is a style that shows off a woman’s status and femininity. The hair is in sections, and they twist it into knots. It is a hairstyle that also brings people together. Bantu is people, and many African women enjoy and show off this style. It is a style that African American women have even adopted.

Bantu Knots

Bantu Knots. Photo/ Youtube



This hairstyle is from Rwanda. The Hutu and Tutsi people, for over five centuries, have been doing this style. It was a style to show the girls were still virgins for single girls. It symbolises affluence in society. Warriors wore this hairstyle to show how brave they were and their strength. It is a beautiful hairstyle. Hair is put into crescent shapes with crisp outlines in a collection of rows.


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Denise Chido

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