The 7 Best Summer Protective Hairstyles to Try This Season

From goddess braids to Senegalese twists, we've got you covered.

Zoe Kravitz, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross
Zoe Kravitz, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross. Photo:

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, George Pimentel/WireImage, Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

With rising temperatures and pollen in the air, it's officially time to consider the best summer protective hairstyles. Not only do they offer a streamlined daily routine (and a welcome break from heat-styling), but they can also deliver serious TLC for your strands. And, of course, they're an easy way to switch up your current hairstyle. "There are so many great protective style choices for naturally curly hair," says Lacy Redway, celebrity stylist and TRESemmé partner. "I recommend finding styles that suit your lifestyle and are easy to look after."

That said, the options can get overwhelming, which is why we turned to the experts for their favorite protective styles for the season. Scroll ahead for their picks, and get ready to be inspired.

01 of 07

Goddess Braids

Zoe Kravitz
Zoe Kravitz.

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Also known as boho braids, goddess braids work for all natural hair textures — but are especially helpful for fine hair, says Redway, since they can give the illusion of thicker strands as loose hair escapes from the braids. The vibe? Effortless and undone.

02 of 07

Senegalese Twists

 Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington.

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Nothing beats Senegalese twists for their versatility, according to Annagjid "Kee" Taylor, hairstylist and owner of Deeper Than Hair salon in Philadelphia, PA. Similar to box braids, these twists involve twisting two strands loosely together for a more relaxed look. Plus, she says, they can be worn up, half-up half-down, with charms, and beyond — really, the sky's the limit. If you want more volume and length, you can also add synthetic hair to your twists for a fuller look.

03 of 07

Braided Bobs

Amandla Stenberg
Amandla Stenberg.

Toni Anne Barson/WireImage

If you're working with short to medium-length hair, opt for a braided bob, says Redway. (Plus, bobs are the cut of the summer. Just saying.) Keeping strands moisturized is key, which is why she recommends using sprays and mists to help cut through the weaving of the braids and reach your scalp and strands. Try TRESemmé One Step Wave Mist, which "offers five benefits in just one bottle," she says. "[It] helps repair damaged hair, adds shine, reduces breakage, heat protects, and smooths hair."

04 of 07

Knotless Box Braids


George Pimentel/WireImage

Knotless box braids are another riff of box braids. But instead of working in extensions at the scalp, knotless box braids begin with your natural hair, then extensions are fed in as you braid. On top of looking fresh, they also feel it. "I love knotless braids for the summer or warmer weather," says Taylor. "They are super-lightweight and can minimize scalp irritation and sweat."

They're also a great option if you're just getting into braids and want a style that doesn't need much upkeep, Redway says. A low-maintenance look? Count us in.

05 of 07

Lace Front Wigs

Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion.

Taking a cue from the queen wigs Megan Thee Stallion, try a lace-front wig. "Lace-front wigs have recently made a comeback and they are just as cute as ever," Taylor says. "They give you the ability to part your hair wherever you want, wear it in multiple styles, and even change the color without damaging your hair." However, Taylor says to do your research to ensure you choose a stylist that best suits your hair's unique needs.

06 of 07

Micro Braids

Solange Knowles
Solange Knowles.

Arnold Jerocki/GC Images

Redway is a huge fan of micro braids for the summer, which just shrinks the scale of your usual braid. To keep these looking on point, a thorough cleanse once a week is a non-negotiable. Taylor also recommends using a nourishing oil on your scalp, like the Deeper Than Hair’s First Class to Jamaica Black Castor Oil, to maximize hydration.

07 of 07

Straight Backs

Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Redway predicts that straight-back cornrows will be big this summer. Exhibit A: Tracee Ellis Ross wears hers that feed into with super-long braids, which reach all the way down her back. Dramatic? Yes — and we'd expect nothing less.

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