Braids poppin'.

Braids poppin’.

If you’re anything like me, you feel like a goddess for about two weeks after getting some fresh braids before becoming completely bored with them. Protective styles such as braids, twists, or locs protect your hair from excessive styling and environmental factors that might lead to hair damage. They can help prevent split ends and breakage, but they’re also super convenient and make you look like royalty. One of the best things about braids is that you can wear them for six to eight weeks before you have to take them out. I am almost always rocking braids or twists, which is why I need to keep things interesting. Here are some super easy, super fun looks that will spice up your protective styles.

What you’ll need:

  • Ponytail holders
  • Loc cuffs
  • A medium or large scarf of your choice
  • Bobby pins

Trick One: Bun your braids

RESIZED ugochi bun

Gather your braids into a high ponytail and fasten your hair securely using a hair tie. Then, holding your braids, twist and wrap them around the base of your ponytail to create a classic bun. Secure your style with two or three ponytail holders.

RESIZED ugochi half up half down

Try a fun half-up half-down look by pulling the top half of your hair into a ponytail and creating a small bun. Leave the back of your hair loose for potential hair-whipping.

RESIZED ugochi two buns

Get creative with it. Arrange two or three little buns at the top of your head. This style is so fun and whimsical! Whenever I wear it I feel like Left Eye in the video for “No Scrubs.”

Trick Two: Add accessories

RESIZED ugochi loc cuffs

Get some loc cuffs! I picked these up at Sam’s Beauty Supply Store, but you’ll find them at pretty much any beauty supply that caters to black hair (and here they are on Amazon). They’re super cheap, easy to install and remove, and they add a little shine to your everyday hairstyle. Take one cuff and open it up until it is a little bigger than the width of your braids. Then, wrap it around one of your braids, squeezing it shut until it feels secure. Repeat this step on a bunch of your braids until you feel like you have enough cuffs in your hair. I like to put them on the tips of my braids but you can add them higher up the braid, too—just put ’em in anywhere.

Trick Three: Throw a scarf on it

Ugochi getting the wrap on

Technically speaking a scarf is another accessory, but this one covers your braids completely. I like to use a large scarf to wrap up my braids and add color to that day’s chosen ensemble. Using the full length of a square or rectangular scarf, place one edge at the nape of your neck. Wrap the length of the scarf around your braids and gather your scarf-covered hair at the top of your head as though you were making a ponytail. Then, twist and wrap your scarf-covered hair to make a bun. At this point, I usually just tuck the ends of the scarf under the bun and make sure to twist the bun tight so that it doesn’t move. But if you feel like you need a little extra security, you can use large bobby pins to make sure the scarf doesn’t slide.

ugochi head wrap final

There you go, a few styles to keep protective styling boredom at bay. ♦

Ugochi Egonu is a poet, who knows it! Aside from cheesy rhymes, she also knows the words to every Childish Gambino song ever made. Catch her stuntin’ on Instagram.

How We Live is a series centering on the lived experience and thought of black teenagers.