We are just eight days away from Essence Festival, and if you haven’t secured that hair appointment yet, you may be in trouble. You want to be photo-ready but also need to beat the New Orleans heat. If you can’t get on your hairstylist’s books with this short notice, it may be time to hit the beauty supply store and YouTube University. 

You’ll want a style that is easy to install, lasts the 4-day duration of the festival, and keeps you cool. That being said, avoid anything too intricate. If you know you cant flat braid on yourself, don’t try now. Instead, opt for a quick slick back braid or extension ponytail that can be added or removed quickly. Also, we recommend staying away from long weaves or wigs. They will make you sweat, which will cause the hair to matte and curl. We need the hair laid from brunch until the late-night comedy show. So, go for a cute short bob that is breezy, chic, and low-maintenance.

And if you are God’s favorite and can braid your own hair, Jumbo box braids or straight backs are a festival-ready go-to. They will last you the whole trip and are easy to style and accessorize. If you weren’t gifted with the hands of a braider, that’s okay too. Crochet styles are another great option for a quick install you can do yourself. And if all else fails, go natural! This is Essence Festival, after all. We want to see all the wash & go TWA’s, coily fros, and slick back buns.

In need of some visual inspiration? We got you covered with Essence Fest-approved styles you should be rocking for a fuss-free festival moment.

Jumbo Knotless Braids

Want to add a little extra pop to your jumbo braids? Add a pop of color, intricate parting, or adorn with beads and clips.

Quick Braid or Ponytail

A long pony or braid gives you all the drama while keeping cool. 

Straight Backs

No-fuss with this classic summer hairstyle. Throw on some hoops, and you are ready for whatever weather or turn-up Essence Fest throws at you.

Jumbo Twist

If you want a boho vibe but don’t know how to braid, jumbo twists are the route you should take.

Wash & Go

If you are down to the wire, come as you are with twists, coils, and curls. This is Essence Festival, after all—a safe space for all naturals.

Crochet Faux Locs

Crochets styles are a holy grail for last-minute styling. There are tons of options to choose from, and there are many beginner-friendly install methods. If you go for faux locs, it’ll look like you put in a lot of effort when you didn’t. 

Slick Back Bun/ Puff

Tried and true, you know that a slick back puff or bun will hold you down if nothing else will!

Bob Wig

Easy and breezy, the bob gives high fashion without even trying. Throw on a fitted cap, and it’s a streetwear moment while blocking the rays.

Quick Weave

If you have the resources and aren’t someone prone to sweating, a quick weave with minimal leave-out is a great alternative to a silk press. We want the straight hair to make it to the end of the festival.

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