Top knots, balayage, wash and gos – we all have our stand by styles that we rely on, sometimes a little too heavily. We get it, we know what works, we know what to expect and exactly how long it will take to do our hair in the morning, why mess with a good thing?

Because doing so neglects to take advantage of one of the best things about curly hair: the versatility!

So we tapped none other than Lupita Nyong’o’s esteemed hair stylist, Vernon François, to tell us how we can harness a little bit of Lupita’s style prowess this summer. He created the tallest top knot to walk the Met Gala red carpet, so he knows a thing or two about making your curls stand out from a crowd.

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If you’re ready to try something new, these are the next trends to take over summer 2016.

1. Sun kissed ends

Ever take a photo on a really great hair day only to look at the photo and find that your hair looks like one big, dark mass? You can’t distinguish one curl from another when it’s all one color, but François knows how to fix that. “We are going to see more natural hair textures and subtle injections of lighter colors, in shades of mahogany brown and honey.” Rather than bringing the color all the way up to the roots like traditional 90’s highlights, he recommends leaving the roots dark “as this will make hair look extra thick and full adding soft colors to the tips of your hair to create that sun kissed, summer feeling.”

2. Shorter hair

If you’ve been toying with the idea of going shorter, Pinning short haircuts and pulling your hair back to imagine what it might look like – there is no better time to try it! Our curlfriend Mel Burgos aka Rock Yo Rizos has named 2016 the year of letting go, and  went so far as to shave off all of her hair in an act of personal growth. Whether you have something to let go of, or just want to try a new look for fun, now is the perfect time to give it a go. François says “tapering your hair cut at the neck will keep the shape for longer and wrapping your hair in a silk scarf at night will help to stop breakage.”

3. Color Pop Hair

We’ve seen a literal rainbow of hair colors and trends from Cruella DeVil hair to pixilated color over the last year and we understand if you prefer not to make a statement quite so bold. But if you feel like having fun with color François recommends keeping it “low risk by adding some pop color to the back of your hairline.” We love the way it turned out on his client (above”>.

4. Cold blonde

“Beige, cold blondes and ash tones always go down well over the summer months” says François. We’ve all seen how easily dark hair can turn orange when lightened, so the key to rocking this trend is knowing how to keep the color cool rather than brass-toned. Working with a knowledgeable colorist who can help you achieve the color you want without severely damaging your curls is crucial, as is knowing how to properly use blue shampoo and toner to maintain your cool tone.

5. Halo Braids

Is it enough to love this just because Lupita wore it? We think so. But in case you need more convincing, halo braids are “a great solution not only to summer festivals, weddings and special occasions but for those hot summer days when you need an easy manageable solution for your hair” François says. If your hometown is anywhere near as hot and humid as it is here in Texas, you probably just want to keep your curls off your shoulders and out of your face. If you’re not feeling trend #2, then this is the next best way to do just that.

All photos courtesy of Vernon François.

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