Source: Instagram 

It’s only, well, natural that you would cherish your natural hair and want to maintain it. For one thing, natural hair allows for limitless styling options. 

If you feel like straightening it, cool!  Do you want to make it coily or curly? Still cool! If you want it stretched out or picked out, you can go that route. 

Now that the natural hair movement is gaining momentum among Black women, they know there’s no shame at all in rocking a natural texture. 

However, if you’re getting tired of washing your natural hair every day, you might be looking for an alternative. Protective hairstyles to the rescue! 

Learning to care for, grow, and style natural hair can be challenging. . Protective styles can help you feel fabulous while preventing damage to your hair! 

What Are These Protective Hairstyles?

Protective hairstyles protect your ends by keeping them safely tucked away. These hairstyles need little or no maintenance and heat styling, and they help keep your hair strands moistened. 

Celebrities are embracing this trend, and , celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen explains, “a protective style is one that protects your hair from the harsh effects of sun, heat, and being too overly manipulated.”

Note: A protective hairstyle could either involve hair extensions or exclusively your own hair.  

Another celebrity hairstylist and a brand educator with the African Pride, Robin Groover, further explains, “The benefits of healthy protective styling are length retention, stress free maintenance, and versatility. The objectivity is healthy hair with style ease that does not require lots of time to look good.”

Pros Of Protective Hairstyles?

Protective hairstyles can be vital to year-round  healthy hair routine. . When the colder months come, these styles keep your hair away from icy climates, frosty air, and snow. In summer, they can prevent water damage, wind, and sun. 

Since kinky and coily hair appear naturally dry, the strands are more likely to break.  Over time, weather damage and constant styling weaken your hair fibers, often weakening them. . Protective hairstyles can help you fight back!

What Are The Cons And Precautions To Take?

Protective hairstyles are a fantastic way to keep your natural curls in good shape.  However, without proper maintenance, they can end up doing the opposite! 

Groover explainst: “Some protective styles cause damage due to the use of improper techniques in the preparation of the style. For example, traction alopecia is a common result from tight braids, weaves and extensions.” 

Visiting a trusted stylist can help avoid this risk.  Let your stylist know if you experience any pain while styling, and  before you go for a protective style, be sure to wash, detangle, and trim your hair properly.

After styling, it’s important to moisturize often.  Ursula Stephen saya, “Products that have penetrating ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil are great to use while wearing these styles.”

Be sure to prep your hair adequately before rocking a protective style. That way, the style will protect your hair rather than damaging it!. 

Ensuring your protective style is done properly is key. . Make sure your hair is clean and deep-conditioned first, and  when you plan to keep rocking your hair for a few weeks, trim your hair before styling!  

To keep your style neat and chic, wash it biweekly to get rid of any buildup. This will keep your scalp and strands moisturized. 

Other tips include:

  • Oil your scalp daily
  • Spray your hair with a leave-in conditioner daily

These techniques will keep your hair healthy, avoid breakage, and stimulate growth.

How Long Should You Keep Your Protective Hairstyle In?

Another celebrity hairstylist, Susy Oludele, says that this might vary from one person to another. She further explains, “If you have quick natural protective hairstyles, it can last one to two weeks. For protective styles with extensions, it can last anywhere from one to two months, sometimes three if you maintain it well.” 

Meanwhile, she suggests wearing a satin bonnet or a scarf at night when you sleep. She also advises that sleeping on a satin pillowcase will help protect the hairstyle, and adds that you should take a break in between these hairstyles. This can help you avoid hair loss resulting from the tension of braids or sew-in weaves.

Remember that every style has an expiration date.. Judging by how fast your hair grows can help you know when that date is for your specific style. Also consider the specific style you’ve chosen, since some styles last longer than others.

For instance, styles like wigs can be retained for much longer, since new growth is not endangered in any way. However, other styles, like box braids, begin to appear messy as your hair grows out.

Another signal that it’s time to abandon your protective style is obvious buildup appears.. Unwashed hair in a protective style can get dirty, and this can lead to a dry and flaky scalp. 

Protective Style Inspiration

This is the fun part: the part where you get to choose your favorite style! As you browse, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What exactly do you plan to do? 
  • How much upkeep are you willing to do?
  • How much time do you want to spend getting the style done?

Enjoy our list of the best protective hairstyles you can rock, and have fun choosing your new style!

  1. Cornrows 

 Source: Instagram

Cornrows are one of the most famous protective hairstyles, and they work well for natural or flexible tresses. 

Cornrows are very protective and require little money and time to maintain.  Also, they coordinate with many overall styling looks. You can’t go wrong with these easy, straight-back plants. For more inspiration, check out this style on model Sydney Harper. 

To achieve a lowkey look, go for clip-in hair extensions that fit your natural hair.

  1. Cornrows Low Bun

Source: Pinterest

Low buns are a chic hairstyle that work beautifully with cornrows. For a fresh and speak upgrade, try alternating between braid sizes. 

  1. Cornrows with Faux Ponytail 

Source: Instagram

These cornrows boost your normal ponytail with that “wow” effect. Actress Chante Adams once let her natural texture glow in a low, yet, huge ponytail. 

  1. Box Braids 

Source: Pinterest

If you’re looking for a protective style that’s versatile, trendy and dashing, consider trying box braids. They’re easy to rock short or long, chunky or thin. No matter your styling choice, box braids will always look on point and super chic.

Model and entrepreneur, Jordyn Woods, dazzles everyone in her waist-length take on this classic 90’s style. 

  1. Bright And Striking Colorful Box Braids

Source: Instagram

Box braids are a great choice because they give you the opportunity to experiment.  You can try out a variety of hair colors without committing to any of them.  

  1. Faux Locs 

Source: Instagram

Dreadlocks have truly been iconic for years now, and they’re ideal for a naturalista looking for a fierce style that’s also protective.

Nevertheless, dreads demand lots of patience,as you might spend even years to get a completely thorough and finished look. Stay away from this hairstyle if you’re not up for the commitment, and remember that faux locs are a great temporary protective style alternative. 

  1. Goddess Locs

Source: Instagram

Goddess locs are a pattern of faux locs that gives off a more bohemian aura.  They’re distinct from regular faux locs because the ends are left wavy or curly or wavy, instead of sealed. 

This hairstyle is credited to Dr. Kari Williams, who invented it in 2015 when she first tried it on Meagan Good.

Source: Dr. Kari Williams’ website

Goddess locs are the new big thing and have caught on among several celebrities. . The long list of celebrity fans includes:

  • Tyra Banks
  • Lisa Lesley
  • Willow Smith
  • Eva Marcille
  • Ciara

Personally, I am another huge fan of the goddess locs. I wore them as my summer protective hairstyle all through my journey of treating alopecia. I now know from personal experience why this hairstyle is so popular.  For the last six years, I have been restricted to wigs, except for when my hair is managed well and when I have the option to rock my hair curly or straight in short or shoulder-length styles.  However, since my hair is an ever-lasting roller coaster, in the months I cannot wear my own hair, I have only worn wigs.I’m afraid to wear a weave or braids since it could do more damage and pull out the hair I do have to hold on to.  However, this summer I decided to say fu** it and get the goddess locs. They look so beautiful and easy to manage, and if they pulled out my hair, so the hell what…I have plenty of wigs to resort to!  At that moment, I wanted to rock the style I wanted, rather than being forced into a style I needed.  When my first round of locs were successful, looking great and coming out with no abnormal hair locs, I was pleasantly surprised.  In this style I felt confident and like myself..  I didn’t have to do extra work to ensure my wig was blended correctly and looked natural, or worry about whether my hair was too thick, heavy or wiggy.  Don’t get me wrong–there are beautiful wigs available, and I’ve had the pleasure of purchasing them and having them custom made.  But honey, these goddess locs truly make me feel like a goddess while feeling like myself. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  1. Two-strand Twists 

Source: Instagram

These two-strand twists are compact, and they add zero tension. They require absolutely no heat, and They’re the ideal style for your natural hair.  They help maintain your hair’s long-term moisture and keep it tangle-free.

Less manipulation and more moisture retention means healthy, hydrated strands. 

  1. Marley Twists 

Source: Instagram 

As the name implies, this is a hairstyle inspired by music legend Bob Marley. It clearly resembles the music legend’s trademark long dreads. 

Marley twists are a common alternative to faux locs. Designed for people who lean towards these natural locs, this hairstyle is quite different from other types of twists, due to the material used. You need long, synthetic, kinky-curly “Marley hair” to create this look.

  1. Senegalese Twists 

Source: Instagram

Whether you’re working with your natural hair or using extensions,  the versatility of the  Senegalese twists breathes new life into your look. These hairstyles look great at any length, but. chunky, and lengthy Senegalese twists look best when styled using your natural hair.

  1. Dutch Braids 

Source Image: Instagram

You deserve a look you love this season, so why not try this go-to braid?  Among the finest protective hairstyles,  you can install it right from the comfort of your home. If you’re tired of donning a top knot every day, this is the braid for you. 

Dutch braids pair wonderfully with a treatment or hair oil. Check out Lori Harvey’s lovely braids and see how super chic they look on her. Her example shows how these braids can draw strategic attention to your make-up look. 

  1. Bantu Knots 

Source: Pinterest

So many of our favorite celebrities are currently loving these Bantu knots. However, this style isn’t new–it has an extensive and rich history. 

Although it’s over 100 years old, today this style is making a dominant fashion comeback. 

Bantu knots function as a protective style for both natural and relaxed hair.  They’re often used in overnight routines to maintain long-lasting and more cut-out curly styles. 

  1. Low Braided Ponytail

Source: Pinterest 

Looking over these protective hairstyles, one truth becomes clear: your hair doesn’t have to look complicated to look stunning.  

For example, this classic braided ponytail is simple, and you can do it yourself. However, it looks chic and protects your hair wonderfully. 

We love how Zendaya combined the low-key hairstyle with her beautiful makeup and daring earrings. 

  1. Wigs 

Source: Instagram 

Wigs are clearly a versatile protective style, allowing you to switch your look as often as you wish. They come in handy when you want to grow out your hair, hiding the new growth beneath them. 

With so many choices available,, you can always find a wig that suits your style and budget. 

Check out Cardi B’s jetblack, smooth lob–what a stunning look to rock for fall!


This article highlights the loveliness of protective hairstyles and explains what they can do for you. We hope that our multiple recommendations will help you find the best style for you!

Your natural hair deserves the best care you can give it,and protective hairstyles are a step in the right direction. 

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