If you’re looking for inspiration on how to style a French roll hairstyle for black women, you’ve come to the right place!
The French roll is the go-to hairstyle for most black women because of its elegance and timeless appearance.
Whether you want to get a more vintage look or need to spice up your look for an event, there are various iterations of the french roll hairstyle to fit each special occasion!
Read on to see how many different french roll hairstyles you can try!
How to Style a French Roll
Before starting, make sure your relaxed hair is detangled and straightened to make your job easier.
If you struggle with detangling, there are tons of hot combs to straighten black hair. Using a hot comb could be the best alternative because flat irons can cause hair damage and loss (2).
To recreate this vintage style, here are the steps to follow:
- Gather all your hair from the front to the back in a neat ponytail.
- Comb out your hair to one side of your head and secure with pins.
- Hold your hair and twist it, or french braid it opposite the combing side.
- Twist your hair while tucking stray strands into a ‘tunnel’ you make with your hand.
- Roll that section into place and use bobby pins to keep the cone firm and neat.
Your hair should form a cone with an opening at the top. You can also add accessories to help keep the roll in place.
Ideas for French Roll Hairstyles for Black Women
Most 90s and 2000s trends are coming back due to the current fast-fashion craze. But this iconic black hairstyle from the 90s is here to stay.
The 90s was the golden age of black hairstyles and creativity. Black women wore their hair naturally for both informal and formal occasions.
This thriving period came with discrimination against natural looks like afros and dreadlocks were seen as unprofessional for the workplace (3).
States like California and New York City are working towards making it illegal for private and public entities to discriminate against black hair (1).
So this is the perfect time to start your natural hair journey. Here are simple, elegant protective hairstyles to start with.
ALSO READ: Black Woman 90s Black Hairstyles
1. The Classic French Roll Hairstyle
If you’re a sucker for the classics, the original french roll hairstyle is the go-to look for any classy event.
The classic french roll is simple yet elegant. It features the traditional tucked-in roll running from the nape of your neck to the crown of your head.
This look delivers everything you need for a night on the town. You can quickly achieve this timeless look with the best electric hot comb for black hair.
Here is a TikTok before and after of a french roll:
@therealmreverything #90s #frenchroll #updo #black #blackhair #throwback #relaxedhair #btc #barber #cosmetologist #hair #alltextures #alltexturehair #90shair #sleek ♬ This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
2. Braided French Roll Hairstyle
You can never go wrong with braided styles. They not only help protect your hair, but they look fantastic too! This style features the classic french roll mixed with a crown braid and sides.
It is perfect because the braids make it much simpler to maintain. As much as the classic french roll hairstyle is excellent, it’s tasking keeping it neat for days.
Knotless braids are perfect for these fancy hairstyles that can make this updo more fun.
Alternatively, Micro braids can give you a more minimal look than jumbo box braids. This chic updo will only enhance your natural beauty and help protect your hair ends.
If you don’t want heavy braids, cornrows are a simpler alternative. It might take more time to braid the cornrows, but the final look will be worth it. Like in this video:
3. French Roll Hairstyle with accessories
Accessories can transform basic hairstyles into red-carpet-worthy looks.
While you should not use too many accessories, correctly placing them can give you a look you want. It can even compare to a photo from a Pinterest board.
Accessories like bobby pins help keep the french roll in place longer than a couple of hours. Some will add that extra touch of elegance you need for your event.
Even one simple accessory like in this tutorial video can make a huge difference:
4. Side French Roll Hairstyle
This 90s-staple hairstyle is getting an upgrade. If you want a french updo with a modern twist, change the position of the roll to achieve a side french roll hairstyle.
Instead of having the french roll on the back, you can either put it on the side. You can still achieve the elegant updo no matter where you place the roll.
Here is a side french roll tutorial you can try:
5. French Roll with a Twist
You can do a lot to your french roll hairstyle to make it look unique, like a bun at the center to make it a statement look. If your hair is long enough, you can make a bun at the front of the french twist.
A bun at the top of your french roll will keep your look classy. This hairstyle will only work if you have long hair or a weave.
Here is a video showing how to style this natural hairstyle for long black hair:
6. French Roll with a Side Part
The French roll with a side part is the go-to look for a simpler hairstyle. Leave some hair on your preferred side when pulling your hair into a ponytail for the french roll.
Whether it’s the right or left side, tucking that hair into your ear or clipping it with pins will finish the look. You can add a flower or accessory to this cute style to make it look fun.
You can also leave the side part hanging like in this TikTok video:
@thebriianna 90’s French Roll 🟤⚫️ #fy #fyp #foryou #blackgirltiktok #blackgirlluxury #hairvideos #blackgirlhairtutorial #blackgirlhair #90s #halloween #updo ♬ Hold On – En Vogue
7. French Roll Hairstyle with Curls
Curls look amazing and help to frame your face beautifully. If you’re going for a modern vibe, mixing the French twist with some loose curls will add the fullness you need.
You can achieve the curls using passion or chunky twists. This black hair updo features a traditional roll with flowing natural curls from the top. You can have them as long or as short as possible for the desired look.
If you miss the voluptuous look of an afro, adding curls will give you a fuller look. Leaving a few hair strands can give it a messy and more natural look.
This Youtube video shows how to style a French roll with curls.
Are French rolls out of style?
No. Although this style was a staple for the 90s, it is gaining more popularity, with more 90s and 2000s trends making a comeback.
Is a French roll a protective style?
Yes. French rolls help protect people with kinky hair textures from excess humidity. Rolling your ends in a ponytail and tucking them in will prevent your hair from frizzing and curling.
French rolls make combing your hair at the end of the day less painful.
From Jada Pinkett to Janelle Monae, many black women have rocked this classic hairstyle over the decades.
With the ’90s fashion and style trends making a comeback, you don’t want to miss the chance to rock this iconic hairstyle.
With some of the best french roll hairstyles for black women listed above, you can change your look from classy to fun with a few accessories.
The french roll is an elegant protective style for black hair that keeps your ends safe from humid weather.
Have you ever wanted to try this hairstyle? Let us know if you think that you can pull this hairstyle off down in the comment section!
- 1–Donahoo, S., & Smith, A. D. (2019). Controlling the Crown: Legal efforts to professionalize black hair. Race and Justice, 12(1), 182–203. https://doi.org/10.1177/2153368719888264
- 2-McQueen, J. (n.d.). Causes and tests for hair loss in women. WebMD. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/hair-loss-reasons-women
- 3-Powell, C. (2018). Bias, employment discrimination, and Black women’s hair: Another way forward. BYU L. Rev., 933.
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Sylvia is one of the most joyful people you’ll ever meet. She is a high advocate of self-love and encourages women to take care of themselves both mentally and physically. She loves girly talks especially salon talks (a little gossip doesn’t hurt) and spends most of her free time on skincare or hair care. You can find more about here HERE. Find her on LINKEDIN