Traveling This Weekend? These Protective Styles Will Take Hair Off Your To-Do List

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Fox/Getty Images.
When deciding on your next braided style, you have to set your priorities: Do you want a look that you can switch from a topknot to a ponytail to straight-down gorgeousness? Or, do you want a hands-off style that allows you to take off your scarf in the morning and go? If you're partial to the latter, then free-flowing styles like weaves, box braids, and twists might be better saved for another time. But feed-in cornrows are equally cute and require half the work.
"Feed-in braids are any braid or plait that has hair added to it for neatness and length," NYC-based hairstylist Koni Bennett says. The process is simple: a braid is, usually, started on your natural hair. Then, smaller pieces of braiding hair are added to the plait as you go. "Adding hair to your braids makes them fuller, prevents frizz, and adds length, depending on your style," Bennett says. The feed-in technique is used for most braided protective styles, like box braids and Senegalese twists, but we're partial to feed-in cornrows.
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With a long holiday weekend coming up, sipping cocktails and kicking back takes priority over styling our hair. So, ahead, we rounded up some feed-in braid ideas that will save time without compromising your style.
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Among all the protective styles out there, straight-back cornrows are foolproof. They're sleek, won't dangle in your eyes, and require minimal maintenance (just a little bit of oil in between the parts and some edge-control gel along your hairline). Celebrity stylist Larry Sims gave Gabrielle Union six straight-back braids with slicked-down baby hairs for the 2019 Teen Choice Awards. The style put her bright blue shadow on full display.
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Straight-back braids aren't limited to linear parts. You can get creative by braiding over a zig-zag pattern and spending some extra time designing your edges. This style by Stasha Harris of Magic Finger Studio also incorporates the stitch braiding technique that gives the look a graphic effect.
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When you don't want to spend six hours in a salon chair, opt for two sleek, side-parted cornrows. You'll save time installing and styling, plus they're super easy to unravel when you're ready to try out a new style.
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Don't feel limited to jumbo, straight-back braids. If you're partial to something more intricate, try smaller snake-shaped cornrows that extend to the nape of your neck or meet at the center of your head in a high ponytail.
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You can choose side-swept feed-in braids, a.k.a. Lemonade braids, when you want a style that's still easy to achieve. If you're feeling bold, you can also purchase vibrant braiding hair (like red) to add to your look.
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File this braided ponytail under your list of looks that are stunning and simple to maintain. It's great for breaking a sweat if you work out, and you can instantly transform this pony into a dressed-up party style with the help of cute barrettes or an oversized bow-.
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