A few of you asked me to provide more detail about how I achieve this updo/bun thing that I showed here that happens to be my go to protective style. There's no exact rhyme or reason to it, as it comes out differently every time.
I start off with a shampoo or conditioner wash and deep conditioning treatment.
I section my hair into 8 - 12 braids. Typically, more braids works better for this style. I prefer to do braids over twists, because I like to put rollers at the ends and for me, the rollers stay in place better at the end of a braid. I feel like the weight of the roller tends to unravel my twists a bit.
Sometimes I will stretch my hair first by banding or blowdrying. Often when I stretch the hair first, I prefer to do cornrows instead of braids. Cornrows give the style even more texture. I don't like to do my cornrows on wet hair because it gets too tangly.
I use a leave-in followed by a sealing oil or butter on each section. I braid each section and leave about 2 inches at the bottom. I smooth that hair at the bottom out with my oil/butter and perhaps a small tooth comb and put in a satin roller. Putting the roller at the end is a great way to protect and stretch your ends and it also gives a nice finish to each piece of hair so you don't have to worry about any scraggly pieces sticking out.
At this point, I may put on a satin cap, but I've discovered that using a hair net and sleeping on a satin pillowcase allows more air to get in so it dries faster. I prefer the hair net over just leaving the braids loose. It must dry all the way for the set to hold properly.
When I take it out the next day, I decide whether I want a high updo or perhaps a loose side bun. Then I take a small scrunchy and just wrap it around once. Depending on the length and thickness of your hair and the ponytail holder you use, you may need to wrap it around more but the general idea is for it to not be tight. At this point I simply grap different pieces of hair and just pin it here and there until I like the look. I don't separate the pieces. The less you manipulate it and separate the hair, the longer it will last. If you think of the hair as coming out of the middle of the ponytail like a flower, I generally start with that shape in mind; but then I just kind of pin each section of hair where it falls and I try to make it look more random - sort of like a mix between a bun and a ponytail.
To maintain this, I take it down at night - trying to manipulate it as little as possible. I might spray it with a light oil or something if necessary. Then, I'll either put it in just a few braids with rollers, or I might even just put it in a loose pony on top of my head and tie it down. The more nights that you rebraid it though, the longer it will last and the waves will stay more defined.
Does this make sense? I'm happy to answer questions. I think this is a great style no matter the season, and it allows for some versatility while still giving your hair a rest.