11 Ways To Make Your Box Braids & Cornrows Look Even Cooler

Photo courtesy of Joey Rosado.
We could go on and on about the many benefits of protective styles. They give your hair a break from hot tools and product buildup, plus they're so easy to maintain. Aside from the technical stuff, they also look really effing cool. We've already seen how Lupita Nyong'o has transformed the bob, but some people still want their long, flowing braids, twists, and faux locs for the summer — and we can't blame 'em. If you're going long, now is a great time to channel your inner African goddess and add beads to your look.
“Braids have been decorated since the beginning of time," César Ramirêz, Mizani global artistic director, tells us. “I believe they're derived from a very old tribal tradition that has been passed down into fashion.”
He's certainly right about the latter: Disco divas like Patrice Rushen were known to rock them in the '70s, and hordes of imitators followed throughout the decades. We've seen mini resurgences of the look throughout the years, but now, they're back in a big way — and it can be yours, too. “I love shopping at [craft stores] for all sorts of beads, charms, and chains that I incorporate into hair," Ramirêz continues. “They can be sewn or clamped in. Even wrapping a thin wire in adds some texture. Have fun with it!”
Want to try it yourself? Scroll on for a dose of inspiration, and bookmark before you hit the craft store.