Sprucing up for a job interview? Or maybe you’re after a 180-degree overhaul? Whatever the reason you’re rebooting your barnet, these are – according to multi-award-winning hairstylist Jamie Stevens – the styles to know, and how to get them.

1. The Flat Top

What Is It?

“This style features hair on the sides of the head tapered to the skin, working up towards a flat top – think Will Smith as The Fresh Prince and you can’t miss. It works really well with afro hair and offers such a striking look that I can’t ever see it losing its coolness.”

The Best Men's Black and Afro Hairstyles - The Flat Top

How Can I Get It?

“The most important factor here is ensuring you have very curly afro hair, because it’s those tight curls, once combed out, that gives the style its shape and definition.

“For a traditional take, have your barber skin fade the sides and back, working up towards the occipital bone [the saucer-shaped bone at the lower back of the skull]. From there, they should continue to freehand cut the shape into your hair.

“To give the squared flattop effect, barbers often use a flattop comb to comb the hair out to stand on end so that they can freehand cut the shape for the sleekest finish.”

How Should I Style It?

“Invest in an afro comb; this will allow you to comb your hair into shape easier and, as the teeth are long, allows more flexibility when working through the hair.

“You might also find a hairdryer useful to help mould the hair if necessary, and some hairspray will keep it in place, too.”

Men's Flat Top Hair Styling Products

Denman 6011 Afro comb - Click to buyFUDGE SKYSCRAPER - Click to buy

2. The Shape-Up

What Is It?

“This is a short, sharp-edged look that traditionally means the straightening of the hairline. These days, it has many variations and teams well with pretty much every outfit and occasion.”

The Best Men's Black and Afro Hairstyles - The Shape/Edge/Line-Up

How Can I Get It?

“As one of the most versatile cuts on this list, there are so many variants of the shape-up that pretty much any head of hair can be catered for. It’s a strong look so to give it some proper structure, ask your barber for a hard shape-up to really define your hair’s perimeter.”

How Should I Style It?

“Your barber will probably want to use some hair chalk to outline the areas to be shaped up. At home, you’ll want a good bristle brush to keep this look groomed and an oil like Matrix Total Results Silk Wonder Smoothing Oil to ensure your hair stays in good condition.”

Men's Shape-Up Hair Styling Products

Matrix Total Results Silk Wonder Smoothing Oil - Click to buyKent Brushes Pf07 Oval Paddle Pure Bristle Brush - Click to buy

3. Natural Texture/Afro

What Is It?

“A natural afro is all about working with your natural hair texture, using products to enhance your curl to create a healthy shape.”

The Best Men's Black and Afro Hairstyles - Natural Texture/Afro

How Can I Get It?

“Mid-length or longer hair is best as this will give the most impact and scope for styling. A favourite of ours is Lenny Kravitz; his is a great afro – the perfect shape and length to work with everything.”

How Should I Style It?

“Apply a product like Mizani’s True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion to damp hair to define and enhance its natural curl. You could also try mixing in some moisturising oil, such as Mizani’s Supreme Oil, for a healthy shine.

“The best way to style an afro is to avoid heat, allowing your curl to take its natural shape. So, once you’ve applied product, allow your hair to dry naturally. And if you have a looser curl, try twisting small sections of your hair while damp to help define it.”

Men's Natural Texture/Afro Hair Styling Products


4. Cornrows/Braids

What Is It?

“Made up of tightly organised rows of braids, cornrows are a great option for guys who want a striking look while minimising day-to-day upkeep.”

The Best The Best Men's Black and Afro Hairstyles - Cornrows/Braids

How Can I Get It?

“At the risk of stating the obvious, the key to this one is getting someone who knows what they are doing. I’d recommend finding a cornrows specialist as it’s a tricky style to get right. With the right approach, though, you’ll have a tailored look that won’t eat up a huge chunk of your day.”

How Should I Style It?

“To prevent your cornrows from fraying or generally appearing untidy, use a hair wax, like our Mr Style Wax, to lightly hold your cornrows and keep them looking neater for longer.

“More importantly, it’s essential for guys with cornrows to look after their scalp as it’s constantly on show and exposed to the elements. To minimise the weather’s adverse effects, regularly apply an oil like Matrix Total Results Silk Wonder Smoothing Oil, which will prevent dandruff and ensure your scalp doesn’t dry out.”

Men's Cornrow/Braids Hair Styling Products

Matrix Total Results Silk Wonder Smoothing Oil - Click to buyMR. STYLE WAX - Click to buy

5. The Short Afro With Fade

What Is It?

“A combination of two classics, this style is both modern and versatile. It’s a great cut that can be tailored to suit both your look and lifestyle.”

The Best Men's Black and Afro Hairstyles - Short Afro With Fade

How Can I Get It?

“You’ll need some length on top to create the perfect contrast between the fade and your ‘fro, but you can take the fade as tight as you like. For a sharp finish, I’d suggest a short tapered fade at the sides and back and a relatively short but still textured top.”

How Should I Style It?

“Try applying some sea salt spray, like Mr Style Salt Spray, to hair on the top of the head and either diffuse through the hair using a hair dryer and diffuser attachment or allow to dry naturally.

“Salt spray is a lightweight product that enhances texture and gives good hold – great for creating volume and defining curls.”

Men's Short Afro With Fade Hair Styling Products

MR. STYLE SALT SPRAY - Click to buyGHD AIR KIT - Click to buy

6. The Hard Parting

What Is It?

“A step up from a side parting, a hard parting is a shaved line in the hair. How defined it looks is totally dependent on how deep you choose to have it shaved in, with options scaling from a neat, office-friendly parting to a deeper, edgier take.”

The Best Men's Black and Afro Hairstyles - The Hard Parting

How Can I Get It?

“Your barber should consult with you on where you usually wear your parting before clippering in and shaping the hard parting.

“With so many variations available, there is plenty of flexibility – you could choose a groomed, work-appropriate style or something a little more dramatic, like Tupac’s famous Juice look. It’s worth having some examples to hand, on your smartphone for example, so you can work with your barber to achieve exactly what you want.”

How Should I Style It?

“Depending on the look you opt for, I’d say a good comb is essential to be able to separate the parting. Use something like Matrix Total Results Silk Wonder Smoothing Oil to keep your hair conditioned and, for a groomed finish, apply a touch of wax, which will give hold and a subtle shine.

“If your hair is particularly unruly, give it a blast with a medium hold hairspray like Mr Style Fix Spray.”

Men's Hard Parting Hairstyling Products

Matrix Total Results Silk Wonder Smoothing Oil - Click to buyEVO ROY DETANGLING COMB - Click to buyMR. STYLE FIX SPRAY - Click to buyREDKEN MEN'S MANEUVER WORKING WAX - Click to buy

Final Word

Have you tried any of these hairstyles on for size? Or are there other cuts you’d like to get an expert opinion on?

Comment below to let us know.