The Best Natural-Hair Accessories 2021 | The Strategist

It all started with a Google Doc, which outlined the products she uses to keep

Illustration: Jordan Moss; Photos: Retailers

Whether they’re functional, ornamental, or a bit of both, hair accessories are an easy and expressive way to celebrate natural hair. “Hair accessories are an extension of my hairstyle and fashion sense,” says Ciara Costenoble, a Paris-based hairstylist who’s worked with Mary J. Blige, Kelela, Taraji P. Henson, and Solange, among others. “I grew up seeing women in my community and family adorn their hair with accessories and as a child, I loved when my aunt would add beads and bows in my hair.” We spoke to five enthusiasts and hair professionals about their favorite accessories for natural hair, and why they’re obsessed.

The Wrap Life is an independent, Black-owned business that came highly recommended by two of our subjects, both of whom praised its style-meets-comfort approach. The products are made from high-quality fabrics, with both woven and stretchy options. “I truly think there’s a style for everyone — from bold prints and eye-catching colors,” explains Jessica Morrobel, a travel blogger and content creator based in New York City. She discovered the brand while scrolling for hair inspiration on Instagram. Morrobel explained that her favorite accessories from the brand are its Classic Flow head wraps. “I wear them to dinner with a boldly colored statement piece or pull my hair back and wear one for quick errands. I can also throw on a head wrap at night for protective styling.”

Mallory Johns, chief of staff at Vox Media Studios, is a fan of The Wrap Life’s headbands, which she purchased on a whim after a “baby chop” left her looking for ways to style her hair. “As my hair was growing out, I was able to do puffs for the first time, so I experimented with that — using Afro picks to fluff up my hair and styling it very high with all my curls lifted to the top of my head. It’s like a natural face-lift,” she said.

Hair clips are a recent obsession for Johns — she uses them to accentuate deep or middle parts when she wears twist outs. Her favorite brand is For My Kinks, a Black-owned business started by influencer Alexia Frith of @kandidkinks. “I’m definitely guilty of the Instagram impulse buy, because I follow (way!) too many natural hair influencers,” Johns admitted.

[Editor’s note: The exact ones Johns is wearing in the photo are sold out, but For My Kinks now offers these adorable Confetti Hair Clips.]

Celebrity hairstylist Ciara Costenoble loves these colorful, pearl-and-bejeweled hair bobbies for adding sparkle and dimension to her hair. “I love how they can be placed in so many diverse hairstyles and can be layered to show up in my textured hair,” she explained. Costenoble styles her hair in two buns and then adorns each side with about ten or so bobbies, creating a beautiful, twinkly, rainbow effect.

Costenoble is also partial to an oversized, bold headband. “The larger the better,” she says, explaining that she loves the way bold headbands easily gather and slick back hair and help quickly accessorize outfits. This particular headband from the New York brand Lelet — one of Costenoble’s favorite places to shop for hair accessories — is adorably shaped like a giant gold croissant.

Shelby Samaria, a hairstylist based in Manhattan, loves the “retro and Parisian” look of silk scarves. Samaria uses silk scarves to push her hair back into a ponytail. She adjusts the tightness of the scarf and knot based on whether she wants a gentle updo or more slicked-back look that accentuates and lifts her facial features. Samaria says her silk scarf strikes the perfect balance of fun and elegant. “A dramatic coily, kinky, curly fro, styled and centered at a 90-degree angle makes me feel like I belong under a ’70s disco ball.” Costenoble also likes silk hair scarves and recommends & Other Stories as a good place to shop for affordable ones.

Faux/goddess loc artist at Wildflowher Locs Brooke Jasmyn says loc jewelry like gold wires and rings, wooden beads, cowrie shells, and spiritual symbols are one of her favorite ways to showcase both her style and personal values. “They’re accents. Little surprises, like hidden treasures that pop out from different places with every movement of the head,” she says. Her go-to brand for loc accessories is Mali Pah, which features the designs of a collective of diverse jewelry artists. Crittendon says it’s easy to get carried away with adding jewelry to locs and braids, so she takes a “less is more” approach by styling primarily in neutrals and adding a pop of one or two colors. For a peekaboo effect: Add jewelry toward the ends of locs that’ll show when your hair is worn down. Accessories placed at the nape of the neck will peek out when your hair is pulled up.

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