Celebrity hairstylists Felicia Leatherwood and Larry Sims share the styles you need to know — and the perfect products to achieve them.
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These past two years have been rough to say the least, so why not step into the new year with a new hairstyle to give you that extra zhuzh?

You may not be sure what you want your next look to be, but no worries — we caught up with two of the best celebrity hairstylists in the natural hair game to give us all the details on what's new for 2022.

Felicia Leatherwood is best known for her work with natural hair queen Issa Rae, and tending to the curls, coils, and locs of Jill Scott, Lenny Kravitz, and Ava Duvernay. Larry Sims is the co-founder of Flawless by Gabrielle Union, and is responsible for not only Union's looks, but the coifs of Mary J. Blige and Regina King as well. Together, the two natural hair experts reveal the looks you're going to get inspired by when you create your first new hairstyle of 2022.

These Are Going to Be the Trendiest Natural Hairstyles for Black Women in 2022
Credit: Getty Images

Braided Glory

"We are going to see more colored braids, super bohemian braid moments, and structural braids," predicts Sims. Whether it's Amandla Stenberg's colorful oversized cornrows or Zoe Kravit'z boho chic up-do from the 2021 Met Gala, you can pull from this inspo for a beautiful braided style. "I think we'll see braids that are waist length. The demand for braids has increased to all year-round, simply because they last so long," he adds.

Aside from the versatility, braids are beloved because the style is super easy, low-maintenance, and an opportunity to let your natural hair rest. "People will opt for no-stress, carefree styles," Sims shares, but adds that you'll still need to tend to our own natural hair while the plaits are in. "We need to make sure to keep our hair moisturized and hydrated in protective styles to prevent any breakage."

Hydrating your hair is a must and focusing on scalp care is essential when it comes to maintaining healthy hair once your braids are out. Sims recommends his Flawless by Gabrielle Union Soothing Scalp Tonic "to soothe itchy scalp and remove product build-up." Also try Dark & Lovely Detangling Cream when you are taking down your braids to loosen the build-up between the braid and your hair, minimizing breakage in the removal process.

Pretty Ponytails

Felicia Leatherwood predicts ponytails will continue to trend right into 2022. "It's a forever trend," she says. "It's classic, easy, and complements every hair shape." But for the new year, the more whimsical, the better.

"We'll most specifically see the full princess pony similar to Issa Rae's wedding photo," the stylist shares. "We'll also see some high and low ponytails."

So get creative with your look!

Bling Bling

Jewels aren't solely for your hands, darling. Add some sparkle to your style by bringing bling to your braids. "There will be a huge incorporation of gems and stones in looks such as updos and ponytails."

By decorating your hair, you can bring new life to an existing look or simply update your style. "These additions bring some personality and individual style to a classic look," says Sims. In the above, he's adding some darling details to Gabrielle Union's box braids.

Lots of (Faux) Locs

Locs are the top trending look for 2022, literally!

"We will see a lot of fake locs, of all colors and lengths, and people wearing a lot of very modern dreadlock hairstyles," shares Leatherwood.

Faux locs give you a natural-looking protective style — and actually look better as time progresses. "These styles are temporary and gives an opportunity to try something new and not fully commit to the locs," states Leatherwood. But for anyone who's ready to take the plunge, natural locs are a gorgeous and versatile look.

While the protective style itself is easy to maintain, don't forget about your natural hair underneath if you're going the faux route. "Definitely keep the hair moisturized and conditioned with a leave-in such as Melanin Multi-use Softening Leave-In Conditioner or Melanin Multi-Use Pure Oil Blend," advises Leatherwood.

The Eternal Bob

The bob is one hairstyle that will never vanish. This classic cut is flattering on all face shapes and gives an automatic put-together and chic look.

"We'll definitely see lots of lobs, especially since people were caring, maintaining, and growing [their hair] during the height of the pandemic," shares Sims.

And it turns out that Gen-Z was right about the middle part. Sims predicts that will be the section of choice in 2022. "It accentuates the face," Sims explains.

To keep your bob looking fresh, cleanse your hair with a hydrating shampoo like the Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash followed by the Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask to maintain moisture in your hair. If you have a tighter texture, opt for 4C Only's Too Slick Styling Cream for the juiciest, shiniest curls. To keep hair moisturized, Sims recommends Flawless by Gabrielle Union Leave In Detangling Conditioner.

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.