I honestly don’t think there’s a more important time to protect your hair than in summer. Not only is the sun beating down on your locks, you’re more likely to have a sweaty scalp and humidity can wreak havoc too. Afro hair can be more prone to damage at the best of times so mixing in heat and any summer activities can lead to stressed out hair and breakage. Because of this, I often wear a few protective styles throughout the warmer months. I also find that I don’t want to style my hair as much when the weather’s warm; I’d much rather spend my time enjoying the summer.
I’ve tried so many protective styles over the years including braids, wigs, weaves and twists. The best thing about protective styling is that you wake up with your hair pretty much done every day, something that I revel in when comparing the daily management of my curly hair when I decide to wear it in a natural style. Most of the time now I opt for a U-part wig. I leave two thirds of my hair cornrowed underneath and then the top section covers and blends in with the rest of the wig for a seamless look. When it comes to wigs and weaves, you can really experiment with length and colour without having to work without commitment too. Honestly, if you haven’t tried a protective style for your afro textured hair in summer, I urge you to you’ll love much time and worry it’ll free up, so you’ll have more hours spend lapping up the rays instead. Here are some of the protective styles I’ve bookmarked for the months to come.
Box braids can take anywhere from 3 hours for bigger plaits to 7 hours to do, but the time you lose in sitting in a chair is made up with the time that you save by your hair looking immaculate for weeks on end. Remember the bigger your box braids though, the more likely they are to frizz quicker. For keeping things smooth, setting mousse or lotion will be a key component in your hair routine to lay down any flyaways that crop up. Prior to braiding, whether you’re doing them yourself or going to a pro, you need a clarifying wash and a good moisture masque to get your hair in the best condition for healthy curls when you take the braids out
The tendrils around the hairline on Fisayo's hairline are a huge trend for this year.
Why not experiment with colourful braiding hair for your next holiday? Or you could weave a few streaks in if a whole bold look is too vibrant for you.
Whenever I consider micro braids, I dream about channelling my inner Zoë Kravitz, then I think about how long they usually take to install (over 7 hours) and opt for box braids instead. Because of their smaller size, they do tend to look neater for longer though, lasting anywhere up to two or three months so if you are ready for the commitment, it’s a perfect option. As there is more added hair used, these braids can feel heavier so keep your scalp and your hairline protected with nourishing oils and alternative styles to alleviate some of the pulling around your hairline.
Extra small and extra long micro braids, especially in this bronde hue channel Beyonce Lemonade-era and we are on board.
Curly ends can give braids a point of difference. To set, wrap with perm rods, carefully submerge in hot water and allow to dry.
Wigs & Weaves
As I mentioned, wigs and weaves are an ideal way to test out new cuts and colours on you as well as protecting your hair from summer. Whether it’s a bronde balayage or a sharp bob, you can easily try out new looks using wigs or a full weave. I opt for a wig with a leave out and blend because I find these and wigs better for summer as you can take them off so it’s not trapping your body heat at night. Wig styles don’t have to only be straight either. I love Freddie Harrel’s brand Radswan and Ruka Hair for realistic curls and coily wigs.
Want to take the plunge for a lighter colour this summer? Wigs and weaves can help you determine if it works for you.
Blonde without commitment? Sign us up.
Twists & Cornrows
I love twists or cornrows for a short summer break as, for me, they have the least staying power but there are also the least heavy protective styles on this list. Typically, you get a few weeks wear from each style. While twists can be maintained as easily at braids, for cornrows there needs to be a heightened focus on scalp heathy because it’ll be so exposed. Use a scalp serum pre-braiding and use soothing scalp mists, gel or lotion while your hair is braided to calm down irritation or itching.
Long twists are a good alternative to braids as they are less heavy so easier to style up or down.
The smaller the cornrows the longer they'll look neat for.