If you’re on the hunt for a go-to hairstyle this summer, look no further. Goddess braids are a summertime favorite protective style for a reason—the glam and versatile braids date back to ancient Africa, where they were a symbol of creativity and artwork. Honestly, this still rings true in 2024, given the inventive ways you can wear natural hair in goddess braids.

Plus, goddess braids are perfect for anyone who wants a boho flair to their hairstyle. Due to the added curly strands, the hairstyle looks less uniform than traditional box braids while still being a great option to protect your natural strands.

What are goddess braids?

Goddess braids are essentially thicker cornrows. They’re a great choice for natural hair because the low-maintenance style protects the hair from getting dry or tangled. Goddess braid hairstyles are bigger, raised higher, and braided closer to the scalp. They are unique in that they can be styled for every occasion; you can go from the gym straight to work, then out to drinks, all while protecting your hair and looking fresh. Another plus? Because they’re larger in size, they usually take much less time to install than traditional box braids or cornrows. Plan on anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on your braider and the intricacy of the pattern.

From braided bun hairstyles to quick braided hairstyles for Black hair, goddess braids present a world of possibilities. Almost any style can be adapted for goddess braids, whether you’re looking for half-braided, half-curly, or one of the shorter Black braided hairstyles. Even box braids can be done in a goddess-braid style. You choose the look, and you can also play with different hair color ideas. No matter what you pick, you’ll be protecting your hair and looking cute while doing it.

What is the difference between goddess braids and box braids?

Goddess braids are also often called boho braids, which refer to the style when curly strands are added to the hair’s mids or ends. This results in a bohemian style that leaves a whimsical look. The curly hair can be added to all the braids or only some, depending on how voluminous you want your hair to look.

“It embraces the addition of human hair curls throughout each and every braid to craft the perfect combination of braids and curls. The curls for this hairstyle can vary from loose wave, deep wave, kinky curl, and any hair texture that best fits your desired look. Not only do you get the protective style and longevity that we all love, but you also have the curly bundles that get us ready for any occasion. Giving you two looks in one,” says Nayla Chalas, Master braider and Educator at NVYLV Salon.

Are goddess braids good for your hair?

Goddess braids are considered a protective style, which means that they are great for hair. You can usually leave the style in for up to four to eight weeks, and it will keep your natural hair protected from the elements.

Feel free to swim in them, wash them, and get your scalp sweaty from a nice workout. Just remember that they require a bit more TLC due to the curly ends. You’ll want to invest in a good hair detangler to prevent the curly ends from getting frizzy, especially after getting wet or waking up in the morning.

How to maintain goddess braids

Maintenance is key for long-lasting goddess braids. “Goddess braids must be properly maintained throughout the duration of the style,” Chalas says. “As you may know, you are not only managing braids but human hair as well.”

She recommends oiling your scalp frequently, every three days, and wrapping it with either a scarf or durag to keep the roots nice and neat. “The human hair should be prepped with delicacy and care, as you would your own hair,” she adds. “Apply leave-in conditioner, detangle frequently, and wear a bonnet to sleep in order to maintain fresh and voluptuous curls all day long. Follow these key steps, and trust me, your goddess braids will last all summer.”

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