It’s hard to imagine braids not being invented for the summer.
For starters, they’re a great way to keep cool while staying stylish. Plus, with countless variations, braids are perfect for taking advantage of the freedom the summer months allow us with our hair styles. And since braids are temporary, you can revamp with very little risk.
The benefits of braids go past just their style and convenience though. When not pulled tight, braids are a healthy alternative to a ponytail’s tightly pulled scalp and strand-strangling hair ties.
Plus, braids are a great way to protect your hair from the elements. While we all love summer, it can be brutal on your hair, and protecting it from humidity and sunshine can be an afterthought. Braids limit the amount of hair exposed to the sun and keep it in place in the moist air.
The key to learning how to braid hair is to brush it out completely before you start. Who wants to hit a knot and have to start over? Here are some hair brushing tips that will make sure your braids are at their best.
So when you’re deciding what to do with your new summer do, start with braids.
Here are some styles you can’t go wrong with:
The Tried-and-True Three-Strand Braid
Chances are, you probably learned how to braid hair with a three-strand technique. Of all the different types of braids, three-strand braids are quick, easy to do on your own, and perfect for the spontaneity that the warmer months allow for. Just a few minutes of weaving and even your work hair can be ready for happy hour whether it’s at the bar or the beach.
The ability to put your hair in a three-strand braid quickly makes it a practical, healthy alternative to the ponytail.
French Braids Are Always In Style
Not quite a DIY style, french braids use more intricate weaving to create their classic style. If you have thick hair, creating tighter braids can make it manageable; those with thin hair can pull their stitches out a bit to add body. Looser, boho looks are in right now, so don’t sweat a few loose hairs in your braids.
You’ll also see types of french braids used in other styles, whether they’re in pigtails or halos. The point is, don’t be afraid to experiment with your braids.
Double Down on Dutch Braids
Dutch braids, sometimes called reverse braids, use a very similar technique to french braids, but weave their hair using an underneath method, whereas French braids are weaved together over the top of each stitch. What you get is a beautiful alternative to French braids. Of course, many Dutch braids are worn tightly, so we suggest incorporating the weaving method into other styles like a braided crown.
Get in Season with Fishtail Braids
Want to dive headfirst into the mermaid life this summer? Perhaps the most descriptive of all the different braid names, fishtail braids offer intricate styling that unmistakably screams summer. It’s also versatile enough to keep in on that first Monday back in the office after vacation. At least your braids will look like you’re still on the beach.
Crown Braids Fit for a Queen
When worn loosely, these whimsical braids offer the complete blend of boho and special occasion, making it the perfect do for a beach wedding or a romantic night out during vacation. Television shows like Game of Thrones have revived crowned braids recently and this is definitely a braided style not to ignore.
Go Over the Edge with Waterfall Braids
Another style from yesteryear, waterfall braids incorporate the crowned look but do so by creating interlocking braids all the way around the head that allow the rest of your hair to cascade down. This produces a textured waterfall appearance that looks styled and relaxed at the same time. With the braids beginning at your temples, your hair is pulled away from your face, which can be a huge help with long hair.
They Go Together like Pigtails and Braids
Yes, we realize you’re not in grade school anymore. But using braids gives your pigtails the little bit of style they need to go from juvenile to playful. Also, by creating two different pull points (which are undoubtedly different than your normal ponytail placement), you’ll be able to put your hair up while still relieving the normal strain on your scalp. Always try to keep your braids as loose as possible for this same reason.
Still not sure about going with pigtail braids? Relax! It’s the summer!
Go All-In with Half-Up Braids
Hopefully no one catches on to the fact that this is a super-easy way to add some texture and style with braids without having to work too hard at it. Half-up braids are a great way to thin out a sweaty mane during the hot summer months, and they’re a wonderfully breezy complement to your favorite sundress. Use it with all the different braids—fishtail, pigtails, crowned, or Dutch braids, there’s a half-up variation for every occasion.
Going with half-up braids means your loose hair will be on display. To keep your hair healthy in the sun, consider using a sulfate-free shampoo to help preserve your scalp and hair’s natural oils, which help stand up to the elements while giving your hair a natural shine. That way your half-up braids won’t be displaying a dirty head of hair.
Should You Try Braids This Summer?
The great thing about braids is that they offer a style for everyone, from the ultra-conservative, bookish types that are simply looking for no-fuss, all the way to the ultra-stylish trendsetters looking to use braids in ways no one has before.
Braids allow your hair to stand and shine on its own while still allowing the comfort of a ponytail.
So give braids a go this summer and try out any style from above to bring in a fresh new look.