Gabrielle Union Upgraded Her Favorite Protective Style & It’s *So* Chic

Bow down.

Gabrielle Union

There’s no “correct” way to age, of course, but it’s safe to say that Gabrielle Union is doing it well. Not only does the 49-year-old actor and entrepreneur seem to get more radiant with time, but she’s never afraid to play around with beauty, particularly braided hairstyles. Gabrielle Union’s braids have long been a prominent element of her looks, whether she’s wearing waist-length box braids, braided ponytails, or intricate updos. To celebrate the holiday weekend, the star enjoyed some beach time with her family where she debuted yet another stunning braided style — and it’s sure to give you all the summer hair inspo you need.

Union was not shy about sharing vacation photos on Instagram, and for that, her followers are truly blessed. Her posts show the actor taking a walk on the sand with her husband, Dwayne Wade, swimming with her kids, dancing with her daughter, and hanging out on the boardwalk. Through it all, her braided style is not only a chic addition to her breezy beach attire but seems like the perfect, low-maintenance style for a relaxing long weekend. After all, the last thing anyone wants to be doing on vacation is worrying about their hair, makeup, or any other beauty rituals that take up time in everyday life.

In her Instagram photos, Union tagged the creator of her braided look, her longtime stylist who simply goes by Larri. Larri created alternating micro and jumbo cornrows braided on an angle, with two face-framing pieces left out and adorned with wooden beads at the ends. The cornrows reached all the way down to the nape of Union’s neck, allowing the loose braids to fall down her back.

“As the braids are flush to the scalp, it looks best to pull the remaining hair away from the face to focus on the patterns of the braids,” StyleSeat hairstylist Erinn Courtney previously told TZR.

Because Union’s hair is out of her face, she’s free to enjoy the beach without worrying about tangles or humidity, while the alternating sizes of the cornrows keep the style interesting and trend-forward. Essentially, it’s the perfect protective style for summer — or anytime, really.