Got a frantic Ask Afrobella question to answer, and time is of the essence!

Prom hair

Dear Afrobella,
I love your blog! It’s so refreshing compared to other blogs that just write about products! I never know what to expect when I visit your site but I know it’s gonna be good! I’m a teenage transitioning bella with prom coming around the corner. I usually wear my hair in a wash n go style and I want to do something special for prom! My mom recommended a press n curl =(
But I want to keep my natural texture! Any advice on natural hairstyles for the biggest night of a teenager’s life???
Yours Truly

OMG, Michelle-a-bella! You took me back to the days when there were important! Events! I! Had! To! Look! Special! At!

Haven’t been to one of those since my wedding. LOL – no, I kid, I kid. I get dolled up for the office Christmas parties, and to go out to dinner. But yes, I remember all too well the pressure of high school graduation festivities, I can empathize with the burning need to look promtastic.

The ideal prom look is timeless. Beautiful, alluring, grown-up and modern — so I implore you to steer clear of going over the top with your look. Many prom trends can date your photos in an instant. Do you want to look back on these photos and be proud that your look could work ten, fifteen, twenty years from now, or do you want to immediately notice hmmm, that must have been the season where everyone wore asymmetrical one-shoulder cavewoman dresses with ruching on the side and big poufy Bumpits-assisted hairstyles? The choice is yours. I hope you make a wise one.

This is my advice to you, one bella to another. Figure out your look from head to toe well before prom. Try it out, figure out your makeup situation, know how you want to look. Is your dress going to be the star of the show? Great, then maybe go a little restrained with the makeup and hair. If you’re rocking a simple, chic frock, then amp up your look with accessories and makeup to die for. Often we think we need to go overboard when attending a special event. The truth is, your natural beauty is going to shine through anyway, so don’t worry about going super crazy fancy trying to learn a new hairstyle. Unless you really, really want to.

Two of your best bets for step-by-step guides for pretty natural hairstyles are Going Natural and of course, Motown Girl. She can school you on everything from braid outs to palm rolls, so if you’ve seen a particular style you want and need a how-to guide, she’s your girl.

Janelle Monae

In my opinion, special occasions call for bangin’ jewelry and stunning makeup. Sometimes an overdone hairdo can detract from the rest of your look. A feminine updo is always a great way to call attention to your features and show off your makeup and earrings.
You could consider an avant garde updo ala Janelle Monae, which could be achieved with practice, a product like Devacurl An’gell and lots of bobby pins. Again, see Motown Girl and don’t wait until the day of prom to try to pull a look like this off. Try it out beforehand to make sure this is what you want. Nothing is worse than waiting till the day of your prom-wedding-biggest-day-ever to try out some new look only to realize that a. it sucks and b. you’re now stuck with it because you didn’t come up with an alternative option or try the look out ahead of time. Don’t be that bella!

You might want to consider wearing your hair swept back in a gorgeous, highly textured bun ala Curly Nikki, who did a bantu knot-out and used her trademark floral hairpin to accent the look. I love the flowers of Ododo Designs — they’re perfect for prom, and they can jazz up hair of any length, whether you’ve got a TWA or a big bushy mane.

If bobby pins seem like too much hassle, I can’t overstate the elegance of a simple, fluffed out afro puff, especially set off with a pretty metal or glittering headband or two. Or three — why not, this is your night! France Luxe makes some pretty ones that are available on

Afro puff

There are also some truly awesome natural hair accessories up for grabs on Etsy, so you could literally buy an item to match your dress and set your look off in inimitable style. The hairties of Naturally Sophia are just gorgeous –that safari hair tie is a show stopper! The painted copper is my favorite — so funky! And wow, that white turquoise would be pretty for a windswept wedding on the beach.

Erama’s Hair Ties are gorgeous — the peace sign and heart shaped tie are classic and the cheetah face hair tie is fly, fierce, and unforgettable.

And of course there’s Tomoka’s Twists, which were designed with a high afro puff in mind!

Michelle-a-bella, I hope that helps. I hope your prom is as lovely and bubbly as you are. Wear your natural hair with pride, take my advice and go to a professional makeup artist for a truly remarkable look (think Bobbi Brown, MAC, or Prescriptives!) and let your natural beauty shine. Oh, and take lots of photos — you’ll want to remember this night!

** afro puff photo by Bruce Talbot



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