Growing up, I'd always be pumped whenever my mom would let me get box braids or cornrows. She'd leave them in for as long as possible, especially during the summer, because it was cheaper than going to the salon every two or three weeks. My long-hair-don't-care days were always fun (especially if I had beads at the end!), but I'd be worried about what to do with my hair after the plaits came out. It'd be too fragile for heat styling or a fresh relaxer, and I didn't want to get in the habit of back-to-back braid installation.
Oh, how I wish that I had these YouTube tutorials back then. It's no secret that a good ponytail is a foolproof way to slay — and these protective styles ahead can also hold you over until the next time you're ready for a new sew-in or braids. See them, ahead.