Natural Hairstyles To Help You Slay Your Summer

Marjorie Harvey with Natural Hair

Let’s be honest, maintaining great hair can take a lot of time and commitment. As we steamroll our way into summer, it would be nice to have a few go-to styles on autopilot. You know…a handful of low maintenance, natural-inspired looks that allow us to ditch the heat styling tools (too hot for all that!) and navigate summer totally fuss-free. Read on, here’s how…

Braid it Up, Braid it Up

Woman with natural braid summer hair style
According to L’Oreal Mutli-Cultural Beauty Style Squad Member, Cataanda James, “Those with natural hair love giving their strands a break by doing low manipulation styles or protective styles. Styles like box braids definitely fit the mode.” Once you have your box braids in place, you can style them to create a multitude of ‘dos. Cataanda even suggests adding hair jewelry.

Model with Goddess braids, aka the chunky cornrow

We’ve seen celebs like Jada Pinkett Smith, Zendaya, and Christina Milian, and even the Kardashians rock Goddess braids, aka the chunky cornrow. The key to pulling off this look in a modern way is to keep your edges sleek.

Filmmaker, Nefertite Nguvu, rocking the mini cornrow hairstyle

Another braided style to try now is the mini cornrow. Filmmaker, Nefertite Nguvu, is currently rocking this trend…and killing it. Gotta love a look that doesn’t require a touch for up to two months!

Faux locs are “still holding the spot as one of the top looks since summer 2016,” says Cataanda. Give your faux locs even more oomph by keeping the ends loose and adding a little curl.

Model with faux locs natural hair style for summer

For a super versatile option, crochet braids know no bounds. You can do box braids, faux locs, afros, and more all by using the crochet technique. If you’re up to the task, a DIY job is easier than you think — just check out YouTube.


Hair styling products and accessories for the crochet technique
Girl and Hair Restoring Hair Balm ($20)
Dark And Lovely Au Naturale Anti- Shrinkage Easy Twist Gel N’ Butter ($9)
Jewels for My Locs (Starting at $3)

Put Some Color On It

Marjorie Harvey on the cover of Vogue Japan

Summer is the perfect time to experiment with color. No matter your hair type or texture, there’s an option to add color that will work for you. According to Monica Stevens, Licensed Hairstylist + Hair and Beauty Blogger, the hottest color trends for summer are “copper reds, cool tone blondes, and lots of tip highlights.” Go the temporary color route by trying spray on colors, rinses, or clip-ins. For more permanent options, see a pro — we don’t want you in the streets looking like you lost the battle with a bottle of peroxide.

Hair coloring products and examples of colored natural hair

Big Chop Spiral Clip-Ins ($105)
OceanLocksHair Clip in Extensions (Starting at $18)
High Beams Intense Temporary Spray ($5)
Lime Crime Unicorn Hair in Leeloo ($16)

Big Hair Don’t Care

Marjorie Harvey with big natural hair

Big hair, don’t care is a naturalista’s battle cry. However, if your strands are still on the rise, fake it ’til you make it. Natural clip-in extensions offer the flexibility of having a big afro one minute and a TWA (Teenie Weenie Afro) the next. And unlike a wig, you can add a natural part wherever you want. You also don’t have to worry about losing your added-on hair in a stiff breeze. Clip-ins are super secure!

Chrissy Teigan with beachy waved hair

Wavy or straight hair? Get beachy waves without touching a toe in the sand. Stevens states that this summer, beachy waves are all about “less definition and more volume,” and offers these tips to get the look: “Braid large sections of hair, pin into a knot, and allow to set overnight. Unravel in the morning and air dry or use a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment.”


Hair products and accessories for beachy hair
CurlSista Clip-Ins ($160)
Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray ($27)
DevaCurl DevaFuser ($50)
Alterna Bamboo Beach Sunshine Spray ($22)

Pony Up

Gabrielle Union with sleek ponytail updo

The ponytail is a classic that will forever have a place in our hearts. This easy-to-pull-off style is suited for all ages and hair textures. To add length, use a drawstring ponytail that you can install in minutes! Slick down your edges with pomade, some edge control gel, or a light holding spray, and you are ready to rock n’ roll.

Example of the high puff summer natural hairstyle

Another easy updo option is the high puff. Stevens loves it because “it keeps your hair off your face and neck while allowing your curls to fly free.”

Hair styling products and clip-in extension for high puff hairstyle

Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Edge Gel ($13)
Hairdo 16″ Human Hair Pony ($169)
Harlem 125 Samba Ponytail Draw String ($10)
Tresemmé Tres Two Ultra Fine Mist Hairspray ($6)

Wash, Ready, Go

If you are firmly in camp “do the least” when it comes to hair, a wash ‘n go is probably your most useful style. Stevens suggests incorporating “a co-wash into your routine to allow you to cleanse and condition in one step.” She also instructs to select dual-purpose styling products: Something that acts as a primer as well as offers protection against the sun.

Example of wash-n-go natural hair style

Want an even bigger wash ‘n go style? Cantaaana states: “the more you flip your hair while drying, the more self expressive it becomes! Curls, waves, coils, and kinks on fleek!”

Hair products for wash-n-go natural summer hair style

Aveda Be Curly Co-Wash ($24)
Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner ($20)
Carol’s Daughter Pracaxi Leave-In Moisturizer ($12)
Aveda Brilliant Damage Control ($21)
ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer ($10)

-Felicia Walker Benson of @thisthatbeauty