The Ultimate Summer Braids Guide: Maintenance, Styling, and More

Young african american woman smiling happy leaning on the wall at the city

Summer braids are always on trend! They're highly versatile, add amazing length to your hair, and come in a rainbow of colors, textures, and styles. Best of all, protective hairstyles allow your natural hair to grow, thrive, and flourish. Braids are low maintenance and make for easy summer hair care.

Keeping your summer braids fresh from one look to the next is the hair goal at the top of everyone's list. We've put together our top go-to tips and tricks for achieving vibrant braids into one ultimate guide. 

Master End Control: Glue and Dip Your Ends

Frizzy, unraveling ends are the bane of box braid wearers everywhere. Although some styles of summer braids are more resilient when it comes to end control, all braids eventually fray. Telltale ends can make your braids look worn out before their time. Longer braids are especially prone to frayed ends, so it's important to manage the frizz before it has time to split and unravel. 

One method of end control is re-dipping the ends continuously to keep them fresh. However, most braids need a bit more reinforcement to keep their shape. Nail glue is your hair's secret weapon when it comes to keeping your summer braids on point. Add this extra step to your braid maintenance routine. Trust us, your braids will thank you. Simply braid your hair down as close to the ends as possible, dab a bit of glue on each end to seal it, and dip your hair as you normally would. Not only does the glue reinforce the bond, but this technique enhances uniformity so your style looks sleek throughout.

Looking to make your ends even silkier and smooth? Try dipping with hot water. You can brush out each end with a hard bristle brush beforehand to remove any knot, then dip your summer braids one at a time. Dry with a microfiber towel and be sure to wrap your hair in a silk scarf or bonnet when you sleep to keep your ends salon fresh. 

Give Your Scalp Lots of Love

A healthy scalp is what holds your summer braids together. Your scalp is the foundation of thousands of hair follicles and the epicenter of new hair growth. From clearing out dead cells to replenishing shiny, new hair and combatting summer hair loss, scalp care is an important part of overall skincare that's often left by the wayside. Be sure to give your scalp plenty of love for supporting your amazing style. 

According to hair care experts, "scalp care includes good cleansing, re-balancing, and moisturizing. One must keep the scalp clean by regular cleansing (minimum thrice a week) and hydrated by using a moisturizing scalp-compatible mask. In case of specific scalp concerns, regular use of a cure or a treatment is vital."

Set a healthy scalp foundation for your summer hair care routine by implementing a few basic steps.

Clarify

Clearing away your scalp from build-up, sweat, sunscreen, and products is essential when it comes to fighting redness, inflammation, and itchiness while promoting new hair growth. Work a clarifying routine into your summer hair care schedule. Aim for washing your scalp with a clarifying shampoo every 7 to 10 washes.

Moisturize

Hydration is important for a healthy scalp. Follow up each clarifying routine with a rich moisturizer. On off days, consider co-washing to keep your scalp hydrated. A spritz of coconut oil and cooling aloe is a great way to revitalize your skin after a day out. 

Protect

Don't forget to add a little SPF to your scalp! Not only are sunburns along the scalp line a pain, but these annoying summertime woes can wreak havoc on your skin and cause your summer braids to lose their strength. In turn, this can lead to the breakage of your natural hair. Stop the irritation with a liberal spritz of sunscreen whenever you're out enjoying the day.

Salon Day!

Last but not least, add scalp care to your self-care routine. Book a salon visit for a hot oil treatment to refresh and revive dead skin cells and keep your scalp fresh.

Young african american woman wearing summer hat standing at the beach

Touch Up in Sections

Your summer braids will need a touch up - it's a fact! Don't stress. Believe it or not, revitalizing your style doesn't have to mean a full salon trip. In fact, it's best to touch up your hair in sections. A general timeframe for braids is that when they're first laid, you'll want to be as hands-off as possible with your hair. Once your protective hairstyle hits the halfway mark (about 3-4 weeks), it's time for some maintenance. We recommend having only the front and perimeter redone. This saves you the work of completely taking down your braids without compromising on your fresh summer style. Twists sections up to keep each part intact. You'll find that the life of your braids lasts far longer with a little touch-up work in between take-downs.

A word of caution regarding maintenance for summer braids. While we love any tips and tricks for keeping protective hairstyles fresher longer, don't go past the three-month mark when it comes to maintaining braids. Once your braids have passed their expiration date, it's best to get them taken down and professionally laid.

A few telltale signs that your braids are ready for a full refresh include when your roots start separating from the braid and you're seeing lots of new growth, when your ends are frayed to the point of no return, and when you're seeing lots of build-up along your scalp. Of course, the beauty of protective hairstyles is the ability to change it up whenever inspiration strikes! We'd like to add "whenever you want" to the list of times to refresh your braids. If you're feeling inspired by a new color or style, it's time to take your old braids out and swap your summer braids for a new, bold look.

Remember; you're in charge of this style of adventure. Wherever your journey takes you, we're here to make sure split ends and dull hair aren't a part of it.

Gentle Styling for Long-Lasting Summer Braids

Protective hairstyles may be resilient, but that doesn't mean your braids don't need a little TLC. Gentle styling is the best way to maintain summer braids from season to season. Be sure to give your hair plenty of breaks between washes. We recommended washing braids every 2-3 weeks for best results. You can co-wash on the in-between days using only a high-quality conditioner (or make your own with these no-poo DIY recipes!).

When it comes to brushing out your hair, make sure the brush you're using for your edges and baby hairs isn't pulling on your roots. Mixed bristle brushes that utilize a combination of boar bristle and synthetic are a great option as well as finger brushes for perfecting details. Gently detangle any knots with your fingers before brushing and be sure to use a conditioner that provides plenty of "slip" for your hair. 

Lastly, rethink your blowdrying routine. High heat is one of the biggest culprits behind hair damage, frayed ends, and summer hair loss. Frequent blow drying not only causes your roots to become brittle, but high heat can exacerbate scalp irritation and build-up. This can cause your braids to fall out and become frizzy long before their time. In addition, heat can degrade the chemical bonds in your hair to the point that your natural roots will lose their structural integrity.

micro braids

Revolutionize the way you style and save time on your morning routine with RevAir! Our innovative reverse air technology is low heat and gentle, designed for all hair types including protective hairstyles like braids or even locs. Where conventional hair dryers are rarely designed with natural hair in mind, our unique device styles section by section to achieve amazing results. Enhance shine, stretch your natural locks, and style your summer braids without damaging the bonds using innovative low-heat technology.

With summer in full swing, it's time to get your signature warm-weather look on point. Summer braids are the perfect complement to any look. From boho to chic, braids go with every style and range from long to micro, delicate to chunky. Whatever look you choose, make sure you go into your salon visit with a home care routine that works for keeping your summer braids vibrant. Our dynamic healthy hair team is ready to support your summer braids journey. Don't hesitate to reach out with any styling questions weighing on your mind (or hair).

If you're considering summer braids this year, get pumped for the occasion with a few tips for getting your natural hair ready. Prepping for a protective style is a great way to support ongoing maintenance. After all, starting with a blank canvas is the best way to achieve a masterpiece. Get the scoop with 5 Ways to Prep Your Hair for a Protective Style and keep enjoying your sizzling summer style.

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