Gabrielle Union recently proved that braids are perfect for any occasion.
With the oppressive heat that takes over the city of New Orleans in the summer—and during Essence Festival—many have elected to wear the protective style for that weekend, making hair prep a one and done process (moisturize and go). And while box braids in several variations are trending heavily this summer with no sight of going out of style, other braided styles are a great option for the massive fun-filled event.
We’ve rounded up some amazing looks from Instagram to inspire you to try a little something different with your plaits this festival season.
Try a two-tone cornrow with versatility for wearing a flowing pony or an updo.
Throw the ends of your cornrows into thick bantu knots to keep the hair off your neck in the summer heat, and play with the shape of your parts to make your ‘do distinct.
Try a little color in your cornrows to give this traditional style some depth.
If your hair is really short and you like it that way, you can get creative with your braid patterns to give them some flair.
Let your cornrows flow into loose curls and style them as you desire.
Mix in some cool geo patterns and creative accessories to zhuzh up your protective style.
Multi-directional goddess braids equipped with beads and popping baby hair will hold up in the swampy NOLA heat.
If you’re loyal to your box braids change their look by going with a jumbo size, or even adding loads of colorful hair to create a rainbow effect.
Update the shark braid of your younger years with layers, or leave the ends of the braids out for a fauxhawk look.
Adorn your crown with gold accents and twisted buns made of braids.
Try a combination of cornrows and passion twists. Party in the front, party in the back.