Protective styling is a life-saver and a game-changer for natural girls.

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When you have natural hair, protective styling becomes your BFF. Not only is it a way to quell the sometimes monotonous feeling of doing your hair and allows you to switch it up, but protective styles are hairstyles that are essential to your hair's growth and ability to retain length. So, win win.

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It never fails. Winter comes, and a little voice in our heads encourages us naturalistas everywhere to straighten our hair.

Maybe it's the desire to look "more formal" at upcoming galas and soirees, topped with the confidence that we won't go from sleek to poof as typically risked during hotter months. Or perhaps it's just too cold to go through with our regular air-dry routines.

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You can always count on Black women for new hairstyles.

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Spring may have come in a little late this year and proved to be more cold than warm, but that's okay because summer is officially on the way to (hopefully) give you all the hot temps and sunny skies you can handle.

Traditionally, cornrows are styled straight back, but this cute, summer-ready version shows that you can rock 'em sideways too. With the parting so simple and the braids so few, it allows the gold thread that's weaved into the braids to be the star of the show.

5. Curly Updo w/ Side Bangs

Upon first glance, you may think this isn't exactly a protective style, but you'd be wrong. To save your real tresses and still rock this hairstyle, all you have to do is invest in some naturally curly extensions. Simply brush your hair up into a bun, pin it down, and wrap the curly hair around it. To finish it off, attach a track of curly bangs to the front.

6. Crown Braids

When it comes to easy, stress-free, protective hairstyles, few are better than crown braids. Not only are they a great way to beat the summer heat, they also look very regal when done properly. The process is generally taking a single jumbo braid and braiding it around to mimic a crown and hair extensions allow it to last a long time.

7. Low Curly Ponytail

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When your hair just won't cooperate and the summer temperatures refuse to let it be great, this hairstyle is a lifesaver. All you have to do to achieve this understated look is to brush your hair into a low bun and grab some natural hair extensions to wrap around your bun's base. That's it, you're done!

8. Curly Bun w/ Curly Bangs

Pinterest/Mane Addicts

Embrace and enhance your naturally curly hair texture by rocking this adorable bun. To style, brush into a high bun, add curly extensions by wrapping around the bun's base, and attach curly clip-ins to the front to create the bangs. You can also add scarves, headbands, Bobby pins, etc., to give the look some personality.

9. Side Bubble Ponytail

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For all the ladies who want to make an impression and shut the summer down, this style is calling your name! The focal point of this look are the hair extensions, you need to make sure you have enough to make your bubble ponytail very thick. Once the extensions have been applied, you place rubber bands or hair elastics throughout to create a bubble look that is sure to turn heads.

10. Auburn & Blonde Box Braids

There are few hairstyles as popular and enduring as box braids. They are so highly coveted that they are not just limited to spring/summer wear, but instead are favored year-round. These standout due to the color combination of auburn and platinum blonde and the added thread and beads placed throughout.

11. Faux Locs Updo

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Supermodel Jourdan Dunn is used to wearing her hair in a host of different ways for photo shoots and runways, but her decision to rock faux locs may be her best hairstyle yet. By placing them in a chic, regal updo, we get to see her incredible bone structure. Also, the added embellishments throughout the hair make this a great evening or formal look.

12. Threaded Low Ponytail

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Actress Tamera Mowry-Housley has been very open about her hair journey throughout the last few years and recently, she has started to take more hairstyle risks that are really paying off. This voluminous, low ponytail is highlighted by a generous amount of gold thread coiled around its base.

13. Curly Puff

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Practically anyone a part of #TeamNatural can vouch for just how reliable this hairstyle is. Even if you have enough hair to achieve this look on your own, the protective method is best for hot summer temps. Brush all your hair up into a bun, secure it with Bobby pins, and wrap curly extensions around the base to create tons of volume. Tip: don't forget the baby hair!

14. Marley Twists

A post shared by Angela Onuoha (@curlbellaa) on

Think of these as the cousin to box braids and Senegalese twists. Marley twists are light on your hair, particularly around those tedious edges, and they can be styled in many fierce ways. When it comes to protective styling choices, twists are one of the top ones to try.

15. Fauxhawk Buns

Can't decide between a fauxhawk and a bun this summer? Well, you don't have to, thanks to this hairstyle that is both funky and functional. This style works for both professional and leisure settings, which is the best of both worlds. To achieve, place hair into bun mimicking a fauxhawk, add extensions to wrap around the base, form into buns, and secure with Bobby pins.

16. Platinum Blonde Box Braids

The only thing better than box braids, are those that are an intense shade of platinum blonde. Here, you see box braids that have been placed into a high ponytail with a few braids looped around the base. The unfinished ends give more of a natural look that is perfect for summer.

17. Braided Bun

Fresh Lengths

When you can't let go of the bun and braids are life, why not combine the two? This gorgeous hairstyle features several braids that have been placed into an elegant updo to keep your neck cool during those hot days and steamy nights.

18. Chunky Faux Locs

While long faux locs are currently garnering most of the attention, don't neglect just how stunning a shorter version can be. These chunky faux locs are Bob-length and they are beautiful, also the colored thread placed subtly into the hair is the perfect finishing touch.

19. Two Curly Puffs

This style can easily be referred to as the "black girl rite of passage," as most little black girls wore their hair like this at least once in their life. For protective style measures, brush your hair into two buns on each side of your head and then add curly hair extensions by wrapping them around each bun base.

20. Curly Faux Locs

In case you thought that faux locs couldn't get any more creative, here are these beautifully curly ones that are hard to resist. They are just like regular faux locs except that the ends are in curly spirals that add a nice element of texture and spunk to this protective hairstyle.

<p class=""><em>*Featured image: Angela Onuoha </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>@curlbellaa</em></a></p>
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Recently, we spotlighted the trend of crochet hairstyles, and many of you animatedly co-signed!

Besides all the perks of being healthier for natural hair and being more affordable and more realistic looking than traditional weaves and wigs, the fact that crochet braid hairstyles are easily DIY gives me life!

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