Summertime is almost here, but the living is not always easy. And, as a women of color, finding a warm-weather style solution can be somewhat of a challenge. Enter the magic bullet: protective styles, a quick solve for swimming, sweating, and all things summer.

“I define protective styles as hairstyles that don’t require much daily maintenance,” explains celebrity hairstylist, Nikki Nelms, who works with Janelle Monáe, Zoë Kravitz, Solange, and Kelly Rowland. “In turn, you can protect your hair from the daily usage of hot tools. I do recommend using human hair [for braiding] if you plan on leaving hair loose at the ends,” adds Nelms.

Lauded trichologist and natural hair care specialist, Dr. Kari Williams who works with Brandy Norwood, Meagan Good, and Eva Marcille, among others, takes it a step further. “It’s a big misconception that a ‘protective style ‘means you are wearing extensions, when in fact a ‘protective style’ is a style that protects your hair from regular manipulation or styling,” she explains. “Remember, this can include braids, twists and cornrow styles without the use of extensions.”

Whether you chose to rock what your mama gave you or enlist a little help, the following protective hairstyles can work for you this summer.




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