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Natural Hair

5 African Hair Braiding Protective Styles To Turn Heads

Summer is here and us natural girls know what that means – stubborn edges, sweat-outs, and strands drier than the Mojave Desert. No need to fret. Try these cute protective hairstyles inspired by African hair braiding.

Protective Style 1: The Twisted Crown Updo

This summer protective style works for both elegant and casual looks. Created with a side part and two flat-twists that are wrapped around the head and joined with bobby pins to create a “crown,” the twisted crown updo is a perfect summer style as it keeps ends of hair protected from sun exposure and tangling. The style is completed by joining the two flat twists at the back of head with a bobby pin.

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Photo Credits: Curlsunderstood.com

Protective Style 2: Faux Locs & Yarn Braids

Not ready to make a commitment to dread locs which is a common black hairstyle? With faux locs and yarn braids, you can get the look of the classic dred without the lifelong contract. Faux locs are created using synthetic hair either with 100% kanekalon or texturized synthetic hair and can be worn for up to three months with proper care. Want a softer, lighter touch? Consider using yarn to temporarily loc up your hair. The perk of faux locs and yarn braids is their resemblance to natural hair.

To create this protective style, which will take up to six hours for experienced braiders, part your hair in small squares. The larger the square, the larger your locs will be. Add the extensions to your natural hair and begin braiding. Continue the braid until your natural hair has been blended with the extensions. Using either a new piece of synthetic hair or yarn, depending on which style you decide to wear, wrap the hair tightly around the braid. Seal with a rubber band or burn and twist.

This is a D-I-Y style for experienced braiders, but any natural hair stylist or braider can do it easily.

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Protective Style 3: Box Braids

The 90s have made a come-back and it looks like box braids are here to stay. Also known as “individuals,” box braids are the summer’s go-to black braided hairstyle due to its versatility, fashionable look, and longevity. Worn up to three months, box braids can be worn in the pool, styled in a variety of ways, and will protect your hair from heat. Get a pro to do this style or to do it yourself, refer to the instructions in the faux loc & yarn braids section.

** You do not need to wrap hair around the braid for this look. Box braids are braided all the way to the end until the desired length of braid is reached. **

 box_braids_protective_summer_stylePhoto Credits: Styleglam.com

Protective Style 4: Ghana Braids

Women are going ga-ga for Ghana braids this season as they provide a stylish twist to the traditional cornrow style. Originating from Africa, Ghana or banana braids are created by continuously adding hair extensions to the natural hair, making it thicker as you go along.


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This “graduated” effect, with beginning of braid appearing thinner than the middle and end of the braid, is the trademark of the Ghana braid. A seasoned braider can pull this style off for you or if you’re daring enough, try this style yourself.

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Photo credits: Pinterest.com

Protective Style 5: Indian Braids

Protective styling doesn’t get much simpler than good ‘ol Indian braids. Traditionally worn to signify marital status – one braid means you’re married and two braids indicate being single, the Indian braid is a classic hairstyle that anyone can do. First, part your hair down the middle and tie your hair into two ponytails. Braid the ponytails separately and secure with a hair tie. Voila! Hair is complete.

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Photo Credits: Pinterest.com

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