After a Year Spent in Braids, I'm Wearing These 6 Curly Hairstyles All Summer

After a year in braids, my strands are feeling healthy and strong—and my curls are ready for their moment in the spotlight. Of all the curly hairstyles that exist, the wash ‘n go will forever be my favorite, but as we know, washing curly hair every day strips it of natural oils essential to scalp and hair health. A healthy wash schedule of once per week for my low-porosity hair means there are several days between washes to experiment with other curly styles incorporating twists, cornrows, and more.

While I've probably tried over 20 curly hairstyles in the past few months, all roads lead me back to the six styles included below. They are pretty easy to accomplish and most will last several days if you can muster up the strength to wrap your hair at night. Keep scrolling for some of the tools and products you’ll need to get these looks, along with my tips for getting the best results. All these products currently hold a spot in my routine so you’ll be happy to know they also work well together.

Wash-and-Go

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(Image credit: @banniakabread)

We are starting with the Beyoncé of curly hairstyles, also known as the wash-and-go. Now, we all know the name is somewhat of a misnomer because there are a lot more steps required than just washing. My current routine is to: shampoo, condition, detangle, let conditioner marinate for the rest of the shower, rake gel through my hair in large sections, finger twist the ends of those sections, let the hair dry 50%–75%, scrunch curls using sweet almond oil… and go.

I recently discovered the game-changer that is braiding your hair in large sections before your wash-and-go. I usually cornrow my hair at least a day prior to washing, which gives the curls some quality bonding time and makes them more clumped and defined when it's time to come out and play.

Half-Twist Space Buns

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(Image credit: @banniakabread)

Space buns are the newest style in my curly hair arsenal. They are so playful and perfect for sunny, summer days. To get this look, twist the front half of your hair and secure with rubber bands, then part your hair in half and wrap them into buns. I like my space buns high on my head and close together, but you can play around with their placement to determine what looks best on you. Another variation of this style can be accomplished with half cornrows instead of twists.

Braided Front

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(Image credit: @banniakabread)

I would venture to say 90% of my curly hair problems revolve around the front part of my hair and what I want to do with it—especially when I'm on day five hair and still don't have time to wash it. Luckily, we have braided front hairstyles to save the day. All you'll need is good edge control, an edge brush, and a silk scarf.

Cornrows

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(Image credit: @banniakabread)

Cornrows are probably my most frequented hairstyle. Yes, you'll have to know how to cornrow to do these—Youtube University is your friend!

As mentioned earlier, I usually cornrow my hair at least a day before doing a wash 'n go to help clump my curls. I treat these cornrow days as a breather from products and will just add a leave-in conditioner to keep things moisturized and some gel along the parts to make sure all the hairs are gripped and secured in the braids.

Curly Bangs

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(Image credit: @banniakabread)

Braid styles, while protective in many ways, can also be very drying on the hair. So while I'm curly, I'm in a constant state of deep conditioning. If I have to go somewhere, I'll leave out some curls in the front so it feels more styled.

Braided Bob

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(Image credit: @banniakabread)

I consider these natural braids a curly hairstyle because there is no added hair and I stop braiding 3/4 down the braid, so it's technically curly. This braided bob is so versatile. Wear it down, in a ponytail, or half up half down, as pictured.

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