7 Protective Styles That Will Make Your Fall Semester SO Much Easier

Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images.
Here's a textbook fact: college is expensive. Even for students on scholarships, you've got the cost of books, housing, and your homecoming outfit to take care of. So ideally, hair should be the last of your worries.
However, naturalistas know that upkeep requires time and coins, too. Between getting acquainted with new dorm mates and settling into your fall syllabus, who has time to sit in front of a mirror and flat-twist every night? In order to alleviate some of that stress, try a protective style ahead of Labor Day? No one wants to fuss around with a curling wand or treatment before their ungodly 8 a.m. course... and besides, you've got an impression to make around campus. The looks ahead will take care of that for you.
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Straightback Cornrows

Not only are these easy to do and chic to look at, but they also serve as a foolproof way to get your wigs to sit right.
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Box Braids

You can never go wrong with a fresh set of plaits, at any length. They cost a couple hundred bucks and take a few hours to do, but the styling possibilities are truly endless.
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Elaine Welteroth's Senegalese twists are just as stylish and functional as braids, but are easier to redo when they come unraveled. Just grab your gel, a few mini rubberbands, and get to work.
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With proper care and attention, a good sew-in can last for a couple of months. Try picking out extensions that match your natural hair texture for a more seamless blend (and to avoid using excessive heat on your leave-out).
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Half-Up Half-Down

If loose bundles are more your speed, but maintaining a leave-out isn't, try a half-up ponytail. Opt for wavy extensions that you can braid before bed and unravel before class.
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Wigs are — by far — one of our favorite protective styles because they require a lot less commitment. You can get a custom unit tailored to your style, and take it on and off as you please.
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Faux Locs

Faux locs are a great option if you're looking to switch up your usual braids. They'll look cute and au naturale when worn down, but are also versatile enough for a half-up bun and stylish barrettes.
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