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Marsha B

Source: Ambitious Shooters / Ambitious Shooters

Black women have been using protective styles as a way to minimize daily maintenance for centuries. Although women default to protective styles year-round, there’s usually a spike in braided, crocheted, or long-lasting updo’s in the summer months. The official stamp of vacation season is a fresh set of braids right before you hop on a plane to head to that tropical destination.

Last summer I experienced limited travel. With Covid turning international and state-side travel upside down, protective styles didn’t seem too appealing to me. Working from home limited my human interaction so I was alright with tucking my hair away in a bun or doing the occasional twist out when I decided to go outside. Fast forward to this year, I’ve had a different hairstyle in rotation over the last couple of months.

Despite the plethora of protective styles out there to try, I’m always lost on what to do next. After hours of scrolling Black stylists’ Instagram pages for inspiration, I usually come up with 1-2 ideas to test out. If you’re looking for inspiration on your next vacation hairdo, then we’ve got you covered. Check out 5 fun protective styles to try before you jetset to your next island.

5 Protective Styles To Help You Power Through Vacation Season  was originally published on

1. Chunky Braids

Chunky Braids Source:Ambitious Shooters

When I first contemplated getting chunky braids, I was worried they’d be too heavy for my hair. The truth is, after the initial day of soreness, I barely felt the hair on my head. This style held me down for close to 4 weeks before I traded them in for my natural curls. 

I adorned my braids with metallic string for a little pizazz. Adding hair jewels is a fun way to dress your braids up and elevate the look.

2. BoHo Locs

BoHo Locs Source:Ambitious Shooters

Crochet styles are always easy to maintain. With my hair fully braided and protected underneath, I can preserve this style for a little over a month. The boho locs felt incredibly light on my head and I was able to up them up and style them in a variety of ways.

For this style, I used gold hair cuffs on random locs. It gave me an added regal look.

3. Braided Ponytail

Braided Ponytail Source:Ambitious Shooters

A braided ponytail is a cool alternative to your basic ponytail. Now, they type of hair you use is completely your choice, but know you’ll have a seamless look when you match your hair texture with the ponytail. For this style, I used ombre kanekalon hair.

4. Top Knot Bun

Top Knot Bun Source:Britt Smith Photography

If you’re looking for a sleek look that’ll last you about a week or so, you may want to try a top knot. The classic looks requires a small bit of maintenance. To preserve your style, make sure you have edge control, a brush, and a silk scarf to tie your hair down at night.

5. Full Bun with Braids

Full Bun with Braids Source:Marsha B.

I wanted to try a quick and easy style right before I hop on the plane this weekend. I opted for a full bun with braids on each side, one down the center, and a jumbo braid in the back. I preferred this look over box braids because it didn’t take too long to execute and it gave me the regal look I wanted. It also allows for me to keep hair off of my neck, back, and shoulders while I spend time on the beach.