Micro Locs, Ballerina Buns and 8 More Natural Hair Trends for Fall, According to Top Hairstylists

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natural hair trends for fall a collage of zendaya, kehlani and solange knowles
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Whether it’s trying a new color, getting a bold haircut or adding a new style to the mix, the opportunity for a change is in the air as fall quicky approaches. And for all of our naturalistas out there, we got the scoop from a few hairstylists on the hottest natural hair trends to try this fall, including some visual inspo to bring to your next appointment.

Meet the Experts

  • Shaniqua Garcia is a hairstylist, trichologist and CEO of Pearl Salon Suites in Atlanta and New Orleans. She has over 18 years of experience, specializing in coloring, cutting techniques and hair restoration. Her previous brand collaborations include Aunt Jackie’s, Design Essentials and Dr. Miracles. 
  • Miko Branch is a hairstylist and co-founder and CEO of Miss Jessie’s, a haircare brand catered to curly and coily hair. She has worked in the industry for two decades, working on product development, curl education and facilitating the brand’s salon. 
  • Ciara May is founder and CEO of Rebundle, a hair brand that offers synthetic hair, especially for those with sensitive scalps. She has four years of experience in the industry, but has an extensive background in business administration, customer service and entrepreneurship. She was also one of Inc.’s Female Founders 100 in 2021. 
  • Renée Gadar is a global artistic director for Aveda. She specializes in cut and style techniques for all hair types, chemical treatments and hair extensions. She has a decade of experience, earning her cosmetology license at 26 and working in the salon industry for six years. 
  • Johnny Wright is a celebrity hairstylist and brand expert for OurX, a haircare brand that lets you customize your routine. He has two decades of experience in the styling world, spending time as Michelle Obama’s personal hairstylist and then Tamron Hall’s key hairstylist for her talk show. His previous clients also include Kerry Washington, Queen Latifah and Samira Wiley. Wright also has written a book called Natural & Curly Hair for Dummies to teach others about how to take care of their locks. 
  • Kim Kimble is a celebrity hairstylist and founder of Kim Kimble. She has three decades of experience in cutting and styling all hair textures as well as wig installments for the biggest stars like Zendaya, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Mary J. Blige and Kerry Washington. Her work has also been featured in movies like B.A.P.S, Cinderella, Dreamgirls and Austin Powers: Goldmember. 
  • Michelle O’Connor is a hairstylist and global artistic director at Matrix. She is a five-time North American Hairstyling Awards winner and has two decades of experience in the industry. She has skills in cutting, coloring and styling all hair textures, which enables her to work with countless brands such as Victoria’s Secret, J.Crew and Ulta Beauty. 

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natural hair trends for fall a photo of marsai martin wearing goddess braids
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1. Goddess Braids

This box braids style was a hit last fall and it’s returning with a bang for the season. “This trending style is so popular because it provides volume, texture and a softer look to traditional braids,” says Garcia. As explained by the stylist, it’s achieved by “braiding your natural hair at the scalp and feeding in curly/wavy hair extensions as you braid down the shaft of the individual braid and then leaving out a few loose strands of hair throughout the braid.” The benefit of rocking this style is that it focuses on the health of your natural hair, as it doesn’t require as much tension and pulling at the roots as classic box braids do. From Zendaya to Marsai Martin, celebs have been donning this gentle look for the colder months ahead. One more thing: Use a moisturizing mousse to tame frizz and an edge control gel to slick down your baby hairs for the day.

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natural hair trends for fall a photo of solange knowles wearing micro box braids
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2. Micro Box Braids

Another iteration of box braids popping up for fall? This micro version of the classic. While it follows the same braiding technique, the plaits are smaller and thinner in size, and usually done tightly and close to the scalp, as seen above on Solange Knowles. To maintain the look, Branch recommends a hair oil to give your scalp some love. 

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3. Micro Locs

It looks like we’re getting smaller this season, as micro locs will replace the traditional look for coily gals. “Fall is a great time to start your loc journey, says Gadar. “The look is very small and finely done with precise sectioning involved.” While we’re leaving this style up to the professionals, Gadar recommends stocking up on natural hair care products at home. “Taking care of your scalp is essential. Start caring for your hair and scalp between loc retwisting [appointments],” she adds. Use a scalp balancing shampoo and condition to replenish your hair, as well as a refreshing mist and scalp serum to control sebum and balance out your scalp. 

4. Curly Afro

This year has been all about ‘70s hairstyles, especially curly ‘fros. “A full, fluffy afro is popular for fall because it truly embraces your hair’s natural texture and bounce,” says Branch. “This style is all about big volume and bounce. Whether you have 3B or 4C hair, this style is suitable for everyone due to its versatility and ease.” A voluminous afro starts with adding a hair pick to your arsenal. The tool of your natural hair dreams allows you to lift your curls from the root and stretch them out to your heart’s desire. Branch also recommends investing in a curl cream, which can keep curls super soft, fluffy and frizz-free. 

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natural hair trends for fall a photo of alicia keys wearing ballerina bun
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5. Ballerina Bun

May tells us, “Balletcore has been trending for quite some time and it’s not going anywhere this year! This look is an easy way for those who wear protective styles during the summer to transition to a fall look with a twist. The ballerina bun looks great with feed-in braids specifically, because they look natural, clean and seamless—giving it the ultimate Balletcore vibe.” If you’re sporting cornrows, consider adding some braiding hair to your natural hair, as it will add fullness and shape to the bun. May points out this trend is great for those with oval faces, however those with round or rectangle face shapes should include face-framing tendrils to flatter your features and soften the appearance of your jawline. 

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natural hair trends for fall a photo of tracee ellis ross in a slicked back bun
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6. Slicked-Back Bun

In 2023, buns have surpassed high ponytails and this slicked-back style is a prime example for naturalistas. “A slicked-back bun is a staple in the natural hair community,” says Wright. “As the seasons transition, this hair is a go-to for a few reasons. Your ends are the most fragile and vulnerable as the weather gets cooler. They’re also more prone to drying out and breaking. This style is quick, easy and requires little maintenance.” Whether you’re heading to work or having a night out, Wright notes this trend is pretty versatile, as you can rock a middle, side or no part at all. “The beauty of a slick-back is it looks good on everyone. You have so many options of bun/part placements, so you can adjust it to suit your hair texture and face shape.” Similar to Tracee Ellis Ross above, Wright suggests a curl cream or a leave-in conditioner for a more sleek look. 

natural hair trends for fall a photo of zendaya rocking a butterfly bob
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7. Butterfly Bob

The butterfly cut has become a classic trend in the last few months as seen by countless celebrities, but we’re taking it up a notch by combining it with another favorite for fall. Enter the butterfly bob. “This hairstyle is making its way to the natural hair community as the colder weather approaches. It’s the perfect look to spice up your traditional silk press,” says Wright. The style consists of a short bob length with heavy feathered layers and face-framing pieces. As Wright explains, the ‘butterfly’ component stems from shorter layers near the hairline to mimic wings. “With a butterfly bob you have more versatility to create layers that match your face shape. The shape of the hairstyle has to flow, which makes it easier to have an effortless shape with minimal time for styling,” he adds. 

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8. Silk Press

Here’s your sign to get a silk press this season. Kimble says, “Fall is optimum silk press weather! The season is perfect to sport a silk press due to the lack of heat and humidity, which makes it much easier for curly hair to stay straight. After a summer of wearing protective styles, it’s good to let your silky tresses flow.” Once you blow dry your hair, go over your strands again with a flat iron (or heated comb) for a sleek and smooth finish. To boost shine and reduce any remaining frizz, Kimble recommends using a hair serum to complete the look. 

natural hair trends for fall kehlani
Gabe Ginsberg /Contributor/Getty Images

9. Bropper

Also known as “cowboy copper,” this deep brown and copper hybrid is becoming the fall hair color to watch out for. “It’s the perfect fall color,” says O’Connor. “The deep red ushers in warm and rich tones and gives it a cozy feeling. It looks good on any hair texture and the dimension will make curls pop (and still look sleek when hair is straightened).” To maintain the vibrant hue, the stylist recommends investing in a color-safe hair care collection for shiny, silky tresses. 

natural hair trends for fall a photo of zendaya
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10. Curly Shag

The shag haircut continues to be a winner for all hair types, especially those with curls. This fall is no different. As O’Connor explains, “The curly shag is one of the most versatile trends. Curly hair is always looking for a new shape and this ultra-layered cut makes curls look edgy while being super low-maintenance.” Depending on your hair texture and length, your stylist will play around with the placement of your layers in order to give you more volume and movement. 

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...

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