Of all the protective looks on offer braided hairstyles have to be up there as my favourites. When I first transitioned back to my natural hair eight years ago, I used braids to hit the duelling textures of my coils and the straight, chemically relaxed hair rather than chopping it all off. They were so easy to wear, lasted for ages and went with every outfit. But that’s not to say that braided styles aren’t any drawbacks. “While there are some quicker styles to do, a traditional box braid look can take 6-or-so hours,” warns celebrity hairdresser Lorraine Dublin. The time a braid install takes is very dependent on the style and length of the hair, however, the fact they can last up to two months makes all the time in the chair more than worth it, not having to worry about fully washing and styling your hair for weeks at a time. It’s good to note that twists and faux locks (which I bracket into braided styles too) tend to be quicker to do if you haven’t got the best part of a day to spare at the salon, but they normally start to fray quicker than three-strand braided hairstyles.
Of course, braided looks are great all year round, but in winter as our hair goes through more environmental aggressors with the cold, rain and dry central heating, they are ideal for minimal manipulation, so here are some of the best styles to save for your next salon trip.