Beauty & Fashion

11 Protective Styles To Inspire Your Summer Hair Roster

A unique dynamic happens with Black women and their hair once the weather starts to warm up: pre-planning your next few hairstyles while one is already done.

It’s a commonly shared practice that comes with the territory of having textured hair. While we might be content with the style we spent hours in the chair to get, there remains a lingering voice in the back of our heads, nudging us to spend just as much time sourcing new inspiration.

Look no further than our screenshots and Pinterest boards for proof, but can you blame us?

The range of styles that have been pioneered over the last few decades, let alone within the last couple of years, have left us spoiled for choice. With new hair innovations and trends bubbling up at every turn, the seasonal scouting for summer styles is a tradition we’ve come to embrace — and there are plenty of looks to choose from.

We know that when it comes to the summertime, the last thing you want to think about is what we’re going to do with your hair. That’s why we’re taking the load off your shoulders to provide you with the must-try protective hairstyles to add to your summer-style roster.

Zoë Kravitz Braids 

We wonder if Zoë Kravitz knew the hold that this hairstyle would have on us after becoming her signature look. Zoë Kravitz's braids have quickly become synonymous with being just as effortlessly cool as she is. The look below can be achieved with human hair bundles being sewn into the back half and sides of your hair, with small micro braids being added to your “leave-out” to give a braided, wavy look.


#zoekravitsbraids #braids #sewin #weave

Braided Baldie 

If you love a hairstyle that can double as a conversation starter, look no further than the Braided Baldie. Created by LA-based hairstylist @TOOKIEDIDIT, this style gives the illusion of one never-ending braid that wraps and swirls around your hair is the perfect look to rock during the heat of the summer. It’s one for the bold types but is sure to turn heads.


The BRAIDED BALD HEAD🔥 FULL VIEW! #tookiedidit #fyp #labraids #labraider #braids #fy #designbraids #braidstyles #braidstutorial #blackgirlluxury #kidbraider #feedinbraids #viraltiktok #bohoknotlessbraids

Mid-Back Goddess Knotless Braids 

Knotless braids will forever be seen as a go-to look for beach days, vacations, and summertime flyness. While longer braids have been the staple, many knotless lovers are opting for a midback and shoulder length for a low-maintenance alternative.

Finger Wave Braids

What can’t an expert braider do? This cornrow style is inspired by the finger waves of the 1920s and 1930s, which give an illusion of having waves around the perimeter of your hairline. NYC-based braider @slayedinbraids shows us below.

Knotless Bob 

There’s something about a bob that can give your face the perfect framing. Experimenting with shorter braids can add an extra touch of edginess to your next style.

Dolly Braids 

Dolly Braids, created by @chocolatemilqq, is a style that the bob-loving ladies are going to love. Think 90s-inspired braids — similar to Brandy on Moesha — with flipped ends for added fun.


how to style your Dolly braids 💗:

Freestyle Goddess Cornrows

Want to add a little extra sass to your straightbacks? Ask your stylist to do a freestyle set on your hair and add human or synthetic hair pieces to the ends for a hot summer look.


Ryan Destiny/Instagram

Bora Bora/Tree Braids

There’s something about human hair that adds a carefree aspect to your protective style and Bora Bora or Tree braids are the hairdos to pull it off. Achieving the look is all about adding high-density human hair and adding multiple strands to your braid as leave out. Spray down with water and mousse for a wavy look, or leave as is for a natural, untamed wave. @boraluxuryhair shows us how it’s done.


#boho #bohobraids #njbraider #njhairstylist #fyp #trending

Freestyle Cornrows 

One thing’s for certain: cornrows will always be in style. But if you want to turn your crown into a creative work of art, add a few flowers, spirals, zig-zags, letters, overlapped braids, braid bangs, and more to your freestyle cornrows.

Half Lemonade, Half Twists Braids 

Channel your inner Beyoncé with this style that comes two-for-one. For the front half, you’ll have a set of Lemonade braids, and in the back, add your choice of twists or box braids.

Faux Locs 

If you’ve always wanted the look of locs without the commitment, faux locs could be the look for you.

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Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images




This article is in partnership with SheaMoisture

Skylar Marshai is known for her extravagant style, and her hair is no exception. But now, she’s giving her hair a break and focusing on hair care with SheaMoisture’s Bond Repair Collection. “I feel like my hair has always been an extension of my storytelling because I know it's so innately linked to my self-expression that I've been thinking a lot about how my love for crafting my hair into these different forms and shapes has honestly never given it a chance to just be,” Skylar explains.

I Went To The Spa For A Deep Tissue Massage But Got A 'Happy Ending' Instead

As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.

This is Q's story, as told to London Alexaundria.

This was a few years ago. It had to be back in '21 because it was during the pandemic. And I work out, so my body is always sore, and normally, I would go to a chain, like a Massage Envy, for the most part. And I got bored with it. I got bored with changing locations. I got bored with changing the therapists.