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An African-American woman with a fancy updo hairstyle, wearing a black V-neck top and a pearl necklace.

Hairstyles for Black Women: Let’s Talk Party Hair

Do’s, Don’ts, Tips and Step-By-Step Hair Tutorials

When life gets extra special and extra celebratory, there’s something inside us that wants our hair to look extra special too. “Everyday hair” will not do. No, we want something more dramatic, more magical. It must be different and beautiful. And it must suit who we are.

Whoa, that’s a tall order. Thankfully, we have Kerre B., Ashro hair and wig stylist, here to help!

Kerre Berry, an African-American woman with black Afro curly hair, wearing a black long-sleeve shirt.
Kerre B., Ashro hair and wig stylist

Kerre has done hair/makeup for big names like Nike, L’Oreal and Vidal Sassoon. She knows what’s what, so we asked if she would get real with us—and let us take notes. Read on to get her “party hair” do’s,  don’ts and tips. Or if you can’t wait to see the gorgeous hairstyles she creates for our Ashro models, skip ahead to:

You’ll get a step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve two of her most beautiful, most dramatic party hair looks. LET’S GO!

Party Hair Do’s, Don’ts and Tips

Experiment…But Not Too Much

Don’t wear a style that makes you feel uneasy. There’s a fine line between experimenting and going too far. You want to feel like yourself, so you can enjoy the celebration.

Do consider a simple style. A side ponytail, braid or bun is a classic and beautiful way to go. Giving it a relaxed, loose look makes it modern—and very alluring.

Try adding hair jewelry. Hair jewelry can instantly turn your everyday hairstyle into something sparkling and unique. If you don’t want to buy ready-made hair jewelry or can’t find exactly what you want, MAKE IT. It’s so easy! Craft stores have ribbons, beads and bling in every color and material you can imagine: rhinestones, faux pearls and metallic baubles. Just go to the jewelry-making aisle. You’ll also need to get some strong craft glue and plain clips, barrettes or bobby pins (whichever works best for your hair). Glue on the decorations. Let dry for 24 hours.

Be Smart About Getting Ready

If you’re changing out of an outfit before your party outfit, don’t forget to wear a button-down top or one with a wide-enough collar. When your hair is perfect and complete, you don’t want to wrestle a turtleneck over your fabulous hair!

Do think about your outfit and choose a hairstyle that complements it. For example, if your outfit is all about a dramatic collar, don’t cover it up with long hair. If you have a plunging neckline, decide just how daring you want to go. Do you want to show that décolletage off completely with an updo? Or add a little covering with long, free hair or a side braid?

Give yourself time for trial and error. If you experience some styling setbacks, you don’t want the added stress of racing against time!

Nitty-Gritty Hair Basics

Don’t get too formal with your hair. With the exception of black tie or formal parties, “wedding hair” usually isn’t the way to go. Avoid stiff updos and product-heavy cascading half updos.

Do wash and dry your hair before styling…and go light on product. Just because your hair is up, does not mean you can get away with not washing it—or layering on heavy styling products.

Don’t be afraid to add hair. If you want to achieve a look that calls for a lot of hair (more than you have), you need extensions, clip-ins or hair padding (or you need to pick a different look). Ladies, there’s nothing wrong with using braid hair. You can get what you need at your hairdresser or local beauty supply store.

Braided Updo with Bling

A black woman in a white top, with a fancy braid updo hairstyle.

Kerre wanted to highlight the silver sparkle of our Sonya Shimmer Top & Pant with this spectacular DO.

[quote]”This style is inspired by a really confident, beautiful actress who wears braids like this. I also wanted to highlight the silver sparkle of the outfit, so I found matching jewelry wire at a craft store and worked it through the model’s hair.”[/quote]

Here’s what you’ll need…

A pack of hair for braiding, hair tie, hair pins, bobby pins, and decorative hair jewelry.
  • 1 pack of hair used for braiding
  • 1 hair tie
  • Hair pins
  • Bobby pins
  • Decorative hair jewelry (I used bendable metal jewelry wire from a craft store)

Here’s how to do it…

An African-American woman in a yellow sleeveless top, with wavy shoulder-length hair.


Curl (clean and dry) hair to add texture and body.

An African-American woman in a yellow sleeveless top, with a ponytail at the top of her head.


Comb or brush hair into an off-centered ponytail and place it at the top of the head about 3 inches from your hairline.

A black woman with a ponytail at the top of her head with extra braid hair attached, falling down to her chest.


Take the “braid hair” and wrap it around your ponytail.

A black woman in a yellow sleeveless top, with a long braid at the top of her head, falling down to her chest.


Braid your hair and the “braid hair” into one long braid.

A profile of a black woman with a braided updo and hair jewelry.


Then, using your hair pins, secure the braid along your hairline.

Use the remaining hair to create a bun at the nape of your neck and secure it with hairpins. Don’t forget to decorate your braid with hair jewelry for an extra-festive look. Absolutely gorgeous party hair!

There it is…beautiful party hair!

The Party Pompadour/French Twist

An African-American woman with a fancy updo hairstyle, wearing a black V-neck top, pearl necklace and a red floral skirt.

Kerre describes this gorgeous DO as “1940s vintage glam.”

It was inspired by our Isabella Floral & Mesh Ball Skirt and Charo Bodysuit.

[quote]”The look made me think: black Hollywood glamour.”[/quote] -Kerre

Here’s what you’ll need…

A small gold comb, bobby pins, hair tie, hairspray, and a white curling iron.
  • Comb
  • Hair tie
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair pins
  • Hairspray (optional)

Here’s how to do it…

An African-American woman in a yellow sleeveless top, with wavy shoulder-length hair.


Curl (clean and dry) hair to add texture and body.

A black woman with the top of her hair in a small ponytail at the top of her head.


Part the hair in a crescent-like section about 2 inches above the ear.

A black woman with Pompadour hairstyle, long hair at back, before French twist is finished.


Create the Pompadour “front bun.”

Back-comb the hair closest to the forehead…and smooth remaining hair over the teasing. Secure with bobby pins, and set with hairspray.

A black woman with a French twist and Pompadour hairstyle.


Use the remaining hair for your French twist.

First comb the hair to one side. Then part a small section down the middle and back-tease. This will add some fullness to the twist and a cushion for the bobby pins to stick in and hold. Lightly hairspray. Twist your hair up by grasping the hair and twisting it in the opposite direction that you swept it. Insert bobby pins to keep the twist in place. Continue to do this until you reach the Pompadour. If you have excess hair left, you can tuck it into the twist before you add your final pins.

There it is…beautiful party hair!

Whatever you’re celebrating, we wish you joy, love and peace. And as you plan your party looks, don’t forget to have fun with (and take care of) your hair. As Kerre says, “Your hair is your crown and your glory. It’s a part of you, an extension of you.” We can’t wait to see what you look like!

[quote]”I hope your holidays—and your hair—are A-Mazing! I wish you all a merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa and blessed (SAFE) New Year!”[/quote] -Kerre

[quote]”Ditto!”[/quote] -your Ashro family

Kerre Berry, an African-American woman with black Afro curly hair, wearing a black long-sleeve shirt.

Kerre Berry is a Chicago-based makeup artist and hairstylist. She’s worked for L’Oreal, Lancome, Vidal Sassoon, Nike, Nordstrom, Jockey and Ashro. Still, Kerre always keeps it real, and we think that’s a truly beautiful thing.

– Are You An Ashro Woman? –

We’d love to see a pic of you with PARTY HAIR!
Use the hashtag #iamashro on Facebook or Instagram.
We can’t wait to show off your pics—and see how YOU do Ashro! 

Comments (12)

Could you please show women 50+ as some of your models for hair and clothing.

How come you never offer any grey hair?

These hair styles are gorgeous!! I just cut my hair😔 you better believe that I’m letting it grow so I can rock these. Thank you for sharing.

You are very welcome Adlai!

I will be trying these styles real soon letting my edges have a rest. Thank you so much!!!

You’re welcome. We’re glad you enjoy!

Thank you for the hairstyle

You’re welcome!

I love, love, love both styles! Thanks so much for showing us how to do them. keep it up!

Thanks so much for the comment and compliment Judith! :)

These styles are awesome. thanks for the ideas….I love to do my hair…

I like also. I will try the long braid.

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