In a world of ever-changing makeup and hair trends, women are embracing their natural hair more than ever. Celebrities like Solange Knowles, Janelle Monáe, and Viola Davis have resisted processed, damaged tresses in favor of natural curls or coils.
"Brides are embracing their natural hair texture!" says multicultural hairstylist Dee Rouzan. "Some of the more popular natural hair bridal hairstyles include textured afros, twist-outs, locs, and textured ponytails. Many of the styles include either the client’s natural hair or natural hair extensions."
Meet the Expert
- Dee Rouzan is a licensed cosmetologist that specializes in multicultural hair and makeup. She is the founder and Senior Beauty Expert of Faces of Virtue Beauty Studio and has over 15 years of experience in the industry.
If flat irons, hot rollers, and relaxers aren't your thing, then you shouldn't have to force yourself to use them on your wedding day. Besides, it's your wedding day, and you should be able to style your hair in a way that's comfortable for you. If you're looking to transition to natural before you walk down the aisle, consider consulting with your hairstylist before you begin the process.
From styles accented with veils and bits of blooms to minimal no-fuss looks, keep scrolling to find your hair inspiration.
“My hair was the big accessory,” says bride Janine of her Brooklyn wedding. “I have a fro, and I knew I wanted it to be big but soft—to fall a little bit over my shoulders. And, I knew I wanted white flowers.” We're absolutely speechless with the ethereal look.
A Bevy of Braids
Before her fro's dramatic entrance, Janine sported a slightly more pared-back vibe for the rehearsal dinner. Chunky goddess braids capitalized on all that natural texture to deliver an updo that didn't sacrifice style. We love how the artfully plaited composition contrasts with the femininity of the tulle bridal cape.
Who needs aggressive styling when you've got gorgeous curls like these? The spirals' natural structure does all the heavy lifting here, with just a few intentionally placed pins to keep the 'do in place. We especially love the few rogue tendrils delicately framing the bride's gorgeous features at her intimate Sonoma wedding.
For a beach wedding, let your curls flow with the wind for an effortless and sexy vibe. The portraits of your tendrils blowing in the breeze will definitely be worth it. Not to mention all the time you'll save getting ready.
Fashion designer Carly Cushnie gave her wedding day hairstyle a bit of edge by trimming on each side of her face and leaving the top to bring all the fullness and height. The results are lush and edgy, providing a slight contrast to the otherwise romantic theme of her destination wedding in Mexico City. Bonus: This cropped style will keep you nice and cool if your nuptials take place in a hot or humid locale.
Bring your updo to life with small blooms pinned in-between strands. This bride's glossy coils are decorated with a smattering of barely there petals, giving off an ethereal feel. If you love the look but don't want to put the effort in, just have your guests shower you and your spouse with tiny flowers as you leave the ceremony or reception.
Art Deco Glam
A stunning headpiece can easily pick up where your natural strands left off. Whether supplemented with an additional veil or shining bright all by itself, a creative choice in headdress can add so much oomph to any hairstyle. This one in particular just radiates retro glamour.
Remember to bring your accessories with you so the stylist can work them into the coif.
Romantic Half-Up, Half-Down
We're swooning over this bride's romantic curls. Unlike the loose waves that have become a bridal hair staple, these perfectly coiffed spirals have tons of dimension and texture. The structured strands easily hold together a shapely half-up, half-down style without the need for extra product.
A Floral Accessory
Add a touch of romance to your hairdo by pinning a few roses to the side of your hair. You can experiment with the size and color of the blossoms to tailor the accents to your ensemble. We think this bride totally nailed the theme of her garden party fête in Maryland with these oversized blooms.
Big and Bold
This natural-hair moment is jaw-dropping, to say the least. "If a bride wanted to transition her hair back to its natural state, the bride would need to visit the salon to access the condition of her natural hair," explains Rouzan. "In most cases, a trim is needed and many brides will use protective styles to achieve the desired look."
A crown of florals adds a touch of whimsy and bohemian flair to every hairstyle. This bride opted for a pastel-hued headpiece for her multicultural beachside celebration in Brazil. The boho topper is an absolutely divine pairing with this gorgeous messy updo.
A Voluptuous Take
A little volume never hurt anybody, right? This bride certainly makes a case for the claim with a voluptuous, bouffant-like roll combined with her updo. The dramatic style has a brilliantly vintage feel.
How adorable and carefree does this bride look for her industrial wedding in Brooklyn? The fuss-free style makes a beautiful complement to the minimalist dress without being too stark or rigid. We love how the vivacious curls reflect this effervescent bride's personality.
A Side-Swept Updo
To the left, to the left. We're loving this bride's side-swept locks—maybe even more than her gown's gorgeous neckline. There's always something oh so vixen-like and sultry about a style swept to one side, exposing a flash of bare skin from the neck and shoulders.
Who doesn't adore a good side braid? This is a fresh take on the traditionally sweet and romantic alternative. Braid your tresses into the crown of the hair, either horizontally or on a diagonal to up the edge factor, as you would a French braid. Then leave the tendrils on the opposite side to flow naturally. The result is still boho but with a refreshing twist.
A Perfectly Messy Bun
We honestly love an ample bridal bun. There is so much persona—and maybe even a few secrets—tucked away into all that volume and hair. This bride definitely delivered on the big bun front at her nuptials in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
A Bejeweled Coif
Accent a low bun with a jeweled hairpiece to give your style that something extra. This bride opted for a dainty headband for a delicate touch of sparkle in her elegant chignon. And mama doesn't shy away from the shine, either. They accented caramel curls with identical floral hairpins that perfectly matched her statement earrings.
Don't discount the humble top knot. While usually the go-to for lazy Sundays and gym selfies, this 'do can also clean up with the best of them. Keep strands away from your face and those gorgeous cheekbones by gathering them into a sky-high knot. You'll be happy when you hit the dance floor.
Super-high buns and ponytails draw the eyes upward, lengthening the neck and showcasing your face (and neckline).
Natural curls and texture add so much volume and dimension to a sophisticated chignon, giving it a slightly playful appeal. This glowing bride accented hers with gold floral hairpins symmetrically placed on each side for her dreamy celebration in Provence. We love that the groom wore his own covetable curls in a matching low bun.
A Playful Ponytail
Ponytails have long been ascending the ranks from casual off-duty vibes to full-throttle bridal updos. This bride's elevated ponytail is absolutely heavenly with that birdcage veil—a look that did not disappoint at the elegant Mexico City nuptials. Rouzan suggests arriving to the appointment with product-free hair for best results: "One of the most notable mistakes brides with natural hair make is to arrive with their hair full of gel or other products that make it difficult to manipulate the hair into the desired style."
Ultra-long zig-zag braids need little styling as they shine quite brightly all on their own. This bride opted to up the ante by swirling them in a textured topknot that's anything but boring. We love all the dimensional height it adds to the bridal suit for the at-home Brooklyn elopement ceremony.
Twist-Out Low Bun
Fresh twist-outs not only elongate natural curls but look exquisitely chic in a refined low bun. Bride Aisha accessorized the sophisticated coif with an old-world hairpin that beautifully complemented the aesthetic of her wedding in Portugal. "If the hair is styled as a twist-out, it is important that the hair is completely dry before untwisting the hair to prevent frizz," notes Rouzan. "Once the hair is completely dry, be sure to cover your tresses with a satin wrap or bonnet to retain moisture."
A Sweet Lob
Lob-length locs look sweet as can be paired with gilded hairpins and a frothy veil. The style stunningly complements the bride's vibrant floral wedding dress for the botanical Chicago nuptials. "When the bride consults with their stylist, it is important for the bride to convey what their overall vision is for their special day," says Rouzan. "Depending on the style, the stylist should let the client know how to prepare for the appointment by choosing to wash the client's hair or bring their favorite styling product with them to the appointment."
Can I wear extensions with my natural hair?
When should I get my hair cut before the wedding?
We suggest booking your final pre-wedding trim one to two weeks before the big day. Make sure your hairdresser knows the style you've chosen to wear for the wedding before snipping away.