Hair jewellery has been a part of African culture for centuries, with beads, coins and even traditional crowns being used to signify age, marital status and wealth. The rise of the natural hair movement has paved the way for modern alternatives which are suitable for everyday wear, so I put together a lookbook showing you the hottest ways to style hair jewellery to end your hot girl summer on a high note!
Style 1: Beaded Beauty
I’m sure we’ve all heard of Fulani-inspired braids and beads… but the great thing about beads is you can add them to pretty much any hairstyle! Whether you’re a faux loc, box braid or Marley twist kinda girl like me, beads are the perfect way to add a little ‘African spice’ to your look. One of my favourite things about beads is the noise they make when you move- there’s something kind of powerful about click-clacking your way into a silent space… almost as if you’re announcing your arrival without even having to breathe a word!
Irisa Dress: Grass-Fields | Large gold hair beads: Jorie Hair | Floral printed hair beads: Local market (similar at Jorie Hair) | Large dark brown wooden hair beads: Jorie Hair I Hair beader tool: Jorie Hair
Style 2: Cuff it up!
If you’re after something a little more low maintenance, cuffing it up might be just the thing for you! Hair cuffs are great for adding a touch of metallic magic to your hair, especially for gals like me who like styles that make maximum impact with minimal effort! You could wear your hair down, but throwing it up in a bun is perfect for scorching summer days and it’s a great way of wearing hair jewellery without the hassle, heaviness, or heat of free-flowing tresses. The best thing about this style is it’s super versatile- pop in a few cuffs for subtle sparkle, or layer ‘em thick for golden goddess vibes!
Style 3: Crown it, Queen!
It’s often said that hair is a woman’s crowning glory and a queen can never have too much of anything, so why not give your crowning glory a crown of her own? We’d all love to have one like Her Royal Highness, but topping off your hairstyle with a chain crown is a great alternative that’s much easier on your purse (and neck!) than the real deal. Super affordable and easy to wear, chain crowns are the perfect finishing piece for braids, twists and even low buns. Simply align with the centre with the middle of your head, adjust the size and voila! Dress yours up with a pretty African print dress or dress it down with a fun festival outfit.
Gold leaf chain crown: eBay (flower centrepiece from an old bracelet)
Style 4: Colour me beautiful
From wax print and African lace to everything in-between, colour is a huge part of African culture- particularly when it comes to fashion and thanks to braiding cord, you can incorporate colour into your hairstyles too! Going for gold will make you look like a total queen, but why stick to just one shade when you could have the entire spectrum? As someone who’s obsessed with co-ordination, this style is one of my absolute faves as you can pick out cord to go with so many outfits! Choose a few shades in the same colour family for an effortless tonal effect or combine different hues from your clothing for matchy-matchy magic! I’ve gone for a simple criss-cross effect, but you could use either simple, stylish patterns or cool, complex ones to customise your look!
Style 5: Mix it up!
All these styles complement each-other so well, so if you’re struggling with which one to choose, you could always mix and match! Top off beaded braids with a chain crown, or pair some gold hair cord with glittering hair cuffs- it’s totally up to you! Complete the look with some vibrant African print pieces for Nubian queen vibes, or choose hair jewellery in warmer tones to complement those fresh New pieces for autumn.
Happy styling, Queen!
By Blessing-Zoe Zoe-Shamah