Having natural hair is all fun and games until you realize that having natural hair means putting in work. Between the deep conditioning, twisting, finger-coiling, hot-oil treatments, and trims, it takes time and dedication to keep your hair happy and healthy. But sometimes — especially when those freezing winter temps hit — nobody's got time for all that. That's where protective styles, like box braids, come in. They make hitting snooze in the morning feel less sinful and gives you multiple chances to reinvent yourself.
One of the perks of rocking box braids is being able to experiment with different hair colors without making a long-term commitment. Sure, Janet Jackson Poetic Justice braids are cool, but if you want to transform into a multicolored unicorn (or a honey-blonde Beyoncé) without taking dye to your natural coils, you just have to pick up different shades of braiding hair when hitting up the beauty supply store.
Before you make an appointment to get your next winter protective style, we've rounded up some colorful looks to screenshot and take to your stylist, ahead.1 of 7
So you want to add color to your braids, but aren't ready to go full-on neon? Just weave in a few colorful braids toward the back of your head as a bright accent.2 of 7
You can blend a unique color (like this strawberry pink) towards the ends of your braids to create a bold ombré effect.3 of 7
This gradient, blue-to-lavender situation makes the unicorn trend look so damn cool.4 of 7
Metallic-silver hair has never been hotter — but if you're not up for going full-on gray, just focus the color to the ends of your braids.5 of 7
While we're partial to grays and blues for the cooler months, we'll definitely be saving this photo for when festival season rolls around (or when we need a mid-winter pick-me-up).6 of 7
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When you can't pick one favorite color, take a cue from celebrity tattoo artist Miryam Lumpini
and go for both. The neon pink and electric orange braids look especially striking when separated by a strong middle part.
Experimenting with color isn't limited to neons and pastels. You can make your box braids more interesting just by incorporating golden tones within a few shades of your base color.