As we head into the beginning of summer - new styles and new adventures are just around the corner. Protective styles are a must when it comes to maintaining healthy natural curls for summer. This year, we have a vibrant lineup in this protective style lookbook trending in 2023. From low-tension hairstyles to support a healthy scalp to length-enhancing extensions, there are many inspirations to jumpstart your next hairstyle.
These styles combine the best elements of classic natural hair looks with modern chic and a pop of summer. From colors and textures to lengths and patterns, every look on our hot hairstyle list is worth trying.
Explore trending styles for all hair types and celebrate your naturally radiant locks.
Protective Hairstyles: The Highlights
Everything you need to know about protective hairstyles is here at your fingertips so you can feel confident booking your salon appointment. Protective styling is a natural hair technique that has been around for decades. Think braids, locs, twists, wigs, and colorful hair extensions. Your curls can maintain length, volume, and elasticity using faux locks. The benefits of protective styles include improved natural hair growth, supporting a healthy scalp, and shielding your hair from heat and environmental damage. Many enjoy the freedom to create by trying new colors and styles without the commitment or risk of hair damage.
Protective Style Lookbook Basics
Before trying one out for yourself, a few key points to know about protective styles include the installation, maintenance, and, finally, what style is right for you. We recommend having your hair professionally installed to enjoy the full benefits of protective styles.
Salon vs. DIY
Going to the salon is the best option for ensuring you get the most life out of your faux locks. However, a few in our protective style lookbook for 2023 can be DIYed, such as the classic pineapple protective style.
You'll also want to understand the maintenance routine for your protective style. Most faux locks can last 6 to 8 weeks (sometimes 12 with a robust home hair care regimen) before needing adjustment. Typically, you'll want to book a salon appointment to have your style moved up before your hair begins to show signs of growing out.
Your Hair, Your Style
The best part of protective hairstyle prep is deciding which look you'll choose. The right protective hairstyle depends on your natural hair growth goals, your lifestyle and maintenance commitment, and, of course, your aesthetic. We've curated your personal lookbook for summer to get the inspiration started.
Top 10 Protective Styles for 2023
Capture the trend with these vibrant summer hairstyles for natural curls.
1.) Halo Braids
If you have summer weddings to attend, halo braids will be your plus one. This simple but elegant option in our protective style lookbook involves taking two chunky braids and pinning them in a circlet to create a heavenly halo effect. With good edge control, halo braids can last for several weeks. This style is perfect for supporting natural hair growth while keeping your hair neat and elegant.
2.) Pineapple Protective Style
Are you looking for the perfect on-the-go protective hairstyle for summer? Pineapple protective styles are sure to be a trend in 2023. These easy, low-tension hairstyles support a healthy scalp and allow for effortless frizz control. There's no need to book a salon visit to rock this style. You only need a scrunchie, a lightweight hold serum, and some summer goddess inspiration. Simply gather your curls into a high pony and secure the base to achieve the pineapple effect. The pineapple protective style works well with all curl types, including type 3 and type 4 natural hair.
3.) Long Box Braids
Draw your summer inspiration from Laura Harrier's long box braids. This low-tension protective style gives length without adding stress to your hairline. If you're worried about shedding but still want to capture the look of box braids, this protective hairstyle is for you. We recommend having a professional install your braids to keep your hair healthy and get the most longevity out of this style.
4.) Braided Bob
We love long hair extensions as much as anyone, but with summer weather in the air, short hairstyles have captured our hearts. Try a chic, braided bob with rounded edges to create a modern vintage look. When it comes to trending summer hair colors for 2023, platinum blonde is expected to be hot for bobs and pixies. Save your hair from the stress of lightening by enjoying the benefits of protective styles instead.
5.) Feed-In Braids with Curly Hair
This is one of our favorite styles for type 3 curls. Feed-in braids paired with curly hair are a new staple in our protective style lookbook for the 2023 natural hair scene. This hairstyle has taken over and continues to rule the music scene and rock our summer lookbook. It's feminine, edgy, and bold, all in one low-maintenance style. Feed-in braids are a plaited hairstyle where the braid is built with individually laced extensions that fade in from the scalp. The look can last two to four weeks with proper maintenance. A robust moisturizing routine is key for keeping these curls vibrant.
6.) Two-Strand Twists
One of the many benefits of protective styles is minimizing knots and tangles while allowing your curls to hold onto moisture and healthy hair oils. Two-strand twists are perfect for Type 4c coily hair because they lock in hydration without putting extra weight on your hairline. If you have a sensitive scalp, you can create looser twists for a low-tension look or stick with the classic tight twists for summertime chic. Try this one in time for your next vacation if you're looking for an easy, active natural hairstyle.
7.) Space Buns
Space buns are the way of the future, and they're not leaving our trending natural hairstyle list anytime soon. This iconic look is achieved by taking your natural hair and weaving two buns on either side of your part. The style works best on afro-textured curls but can be achieved on any hair texture with a little help from volumizing and sculpting products. If you're planning to rock futuristic hair this summer, move your space buns around every few days so the tension is not concentrated on any part of your hairline. Space buns are another DIY protective style that you can do from home.
8.) Floral Box Braids
It's not summer without flowers! Give your curls a Rapunzel edge and elevate your box braids. Adorning box braids with whimsical florals creates the faerie chic your hair has been lacking. Simple white blossoms are often seen with this trend, but you can use any color floral embellishments that suit your style. We love this look because it's playful, soft, and unique. Teyonah Parris recently debuted her own floral box braids with structured flowers placed at the crown of her curls for a true goddess aesthetic. Go for a copycat look, or put your own twist on this trending style.
9.) Braided Faux Hawk
Bring a little punk aesthetic to your summertime routine with a braided faux hawk. This edgy look saves your hair the commitment of going for a real mohawk without compromising on the style. In fact, braids create texture and visual artistry that takes elevate and enhance the classic look. This hairstyle is long-lasting and can be refreshed easily with a few simple products when you're between salon visits. Add a few colorful extensions to the base of your faux hawk for a look ready for summer music festivals. The hottest fashion hair colors in 2023 include peachy rose, rich violet, and stunning sapphire hues.
10.) Flat Twists
One of the more versatile options in our protective style lookbook for 2023, flat twists are easy to do at home if you've practiced doing cornrows in your hair before. They're smooth, fun to work with, and can be installed in natural or relaxed hair. We recommend using a low-heat styling tool to set the look in place. Your RevAir reverse air dryer can bring this look together by stretching your curls beforehand and giving you the style you've dreamed of all winter. Check out how to style with your RevAir for more techniques to start your protective style journey.
Natural Hair and Protective Hairstyles in Summer 2023
The best protective hairstyles of summer 2023 are already hitting the natural hair scene. We're seeing brilliant platinum bobs, sizzling vacation curls, and elegant updos for every formal event on your list. Are your curls ready to keep up? More than a trend, these bold styles can keep your hair healthy for summer. The benefits of protective styles include keeping your hair damage-free without taking a break from trying new looks. Did we miss any of your most anticipated 2023 protective hairstyles on our list? Tell our team your top hairstyle choices, and keep loving your naturally beautiful hair.