Now, as we enter a shiny new decade, it’s time to look at what the mood for 2020 will be. We turned to some of the best industry experts to garner their predictions for the afro hair trends that we’ll be seeing everywhere this year.
The braided bob
And for your scalp? Scratching shortens the lifespan of your braids as it can disrupt them and inevitably cause frizz. Keep your scalp hydrated from the inside out by using a scalp tonic like the Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner, £22. Apply using a cotton bud to calm any itches that arise. Add some fire to your edges with kiss curls or entwine your braids with beads, pearls or ribbon to fully embrace the 2020 vibe.
"There will definitely be an increase in more structured cuts," predicts Natalie Rodney-Powell, founder of MO ISO. Moving into 2020, she's noticed an uptick in women opting to shave their hair and get tapered cuts, a style which she specialises in. "High tops and angled cuts like the Gumby cut will be making a return," she says. "Most recently crowned Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, is an example that a woman can shine on one of the highest platforms with a structured cut and look stunningly beautiful."
Shaved and tapered sides will be embraced by women who straighten their hair, too. "An alternative way to wear a shorter style with length on top is to put some waves in them, like finger waves," advises Rick Roberts, current British Hairdressing Awards Afro Hairdresser of the Year. However, these short styles aren’t for those who like low maintenance routines, as they require upkeep and frequent trips to the barber or hairdresser. "Short hair should be cut every seven to 14 days to maintain the sharpness of the style," adds Lorraine. If you're thinking of opting for the crop in 2020, keep a foam sponge in your product kit for natural textures and a styling mousse for finger-waving straighter textures.
Natural hair will continue to dominate the black hair space in 2020; we're defining our kinks and curls, having fun and playing with the versatility of the texture. "Defined curls are going to be big in both volume and popularity," says Charlotte. The best thing for it? "Invest in a diffuser to ensure you get perfectly defined curls without too much manipulation," she advises. Try ghd Air Hair Drying Kit, £92, complete with a diffuser, brush and clips, or BaByliss Platinum Diamond 2300W Diffuser Dryer, £55.
To keep your natural hair healthy, get yourself a spray water bottle and fill half with water and half with a conditioner, such as Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil Conditioner, £24, and spray hair to prep for drying. Tilting your head to the side or upside down over the diffuser cup will give you the most volume at the root. But be sure to use a low to medium setting and dry gently. If you are happy to use a bit more heat on your hair, then you can opt for a heated wand to give you guaranteed definition through the top and front, or to elongate your curls.
The high and low ponytail
"Big, bouncy ponytails are back," says Dionne. "We’ll see women slicking their hair off of their face in clean, smooth styles, both high and low." It’s the antithesis of the carefree look and can be worked if you have natural hair or if your hair is straightened. One thing you do need is length, in order to catch all the hair in the band you’re using.
The KeraCare Wax Stick, £12.90, is great for slicking hair and catching frizz and flyaways. Stay clear of the mid-pony though; it’s all about an impactful statement. "Keep hair either low at the nape or high at the crown," says Charlotte. For a timeless look, tie with a black hairband or thread, or borrow from the next hair trend and embellish your ponytail by braiding in different materials. "Using materials will add a festival or carnival feel to the hair. Black hair really works with bright colours and it adds something to the look," says Rick.
Unique hair accessories and clever placement
Accessories aren't just for carnival or festival season. "We’re going to see more people adding bright colour and blinged-out accessories to their hairstyles in 2020," says Lorraine. Decking out styles in vibrant coloured jewels and fabrics such as denim will reign supreme this year.
According to hairstylist Charlotte, there'll be a retro take on the trend, too. "Curly hair will be brushed out into a soft, crimped texture and pulled back at the sides with '80s comb slides," she predicts. To finesse this look Charlotte advises applying a few drops of Manketti Oil, £48, to your lengths to soften the hair prior to brushing with a paddle brush. Complete with a spritz of finishing spray.