What are the best Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair Growth and protective styles for natural hair without weave options? Face it, we (especially if you’re a natural hair babe) all need to know about protective hairstyles. It makes a whole lot of difference!
When looking at the best protective hairstyles for black women, you want something that’ll actually do the trick – give you a way to wear your hair how you want to while causing minimal damage and moisturizing or rehydrating the hair at the same time.
That’s where these beauties come into play – the best protective hairstyles for black women… Oh, and why they work! Check out our list of easy hairstyles for natural hair.
protective styles for natural hair without weave
easy hairstyles for natural hair
1. HAVANA TWISTS
Using Havana hair extensions, these twists are created with two strands (rather than three with cornrows and braids). If you want bigger and fuller twists, you apply minimal tension. If you want thinner twists, you pull them tighter.
Havana Twists Protective Hairstyle for Black Women
Instagram / adoreurface
Easy to wear but more expensive than other twist-styles, these will require quite a bit of preplanning and maintenance, something you’ll definitely need to bear in mind.
2. FAUX LOCS
These ones have become increasingly popular over the years and it’s not hard to see why. Faux locs can be both temporary and permanent, giving you a beautiful way to protect your hair, the yarn or synthetic material woven around it.
Faux Locs Protective Hairstyle
Instagram / anthonycuts
You can have human hair as well as synthetic hair and yarn, and you can pick from a wide range of colors giving you a million ways to wear them.
3. GHANA BRAIDS
An African style of wearing your hair just as the name suggests, Ghana braids are long-lasting braids, offering a way for you to have fabulous hair when time just isn’t on your side.
Ghana Braids Protective Hairstyle for Black Hair
Instagram / thatdynamitechick
These ones have simply been braided back and left loose at the nape of the neck at which point, you could easily bun them up or wear them in a pony tail.
4. BOX BRAIDS
Twist them over to one side, wear them loose, throw them back in a ponytail or weave them into a bun… There’s nothing you can’t do with the right box braids and even worn casually, they are beautiful to look at.
Box Braids Protective Hairstyle for Summer
Instagram / christian_byshe
For the days your makeup and accessories are on point, keep the hair away from the face like this large twisted and braided look.
5. CROCHET BRAIDS
When crochet braids unravel, they look beautifully curly and as long as you keep them well hydrated and maintained, frizziness will be at a low, ensuring you can wear your look for longer.
Crochet Braids Protective Hairstyle
Instagram / elbonyxdenaya
These crochet braids are adorable and definitely follows the 90’s vibe which has hit this season with a vengeance.
6. TWISTS WITH A POP OF COLOR
We loved the side-swept nature of this larger twists, and we also love that red shade running through them too, another classic way of revamping a look you may have worn a thousand times before but making it look a little different.
Twists with a Pop of Color
Instagram / faithketay
You could change your color every time you head to your stylist, and you could even add multiple colors if you wanted to. What color combos would you come up with?
7. CUSTOM WIG
Of course, you could just all-out cheat and opt for a custom wig to perfect your look. We love this one, a cute and curly style with just the right amount of caramel bronde running through for added measure.
Natural Looking Wig Protective Hairstyle
Instagram / ladyafrika
What do you think? Would you be brave enough to rock a big and bold look like this? We want to see your versions of it!
8. DOUBLE HALO BRAID
We loved this double halo braid, fit for an angel of course! What we love the most about it is that solid pop of bright red running through the braids!
Braided Protective Hairstyle for Black Women
Instagram / ezimprovedbeauty
Why not add a slightly subtle pop of color to your braids and twists? It helps you to stand out from the crowd and let’s face it, who wants to look like everyone else anyway?
9. SHORT TWISTS
Hair accessories are a very big thing for right now and we are one hundred percent in love with these cool corn row cuffs, or hair cuffs as they are otherwise known.
Short Havana Twists Protective Hairstyle
Instagram / kiitana
Add them to your regular cornrows or twists to accessorise just like you would with earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other types of jewellery. Bling it up!
10. SHORT BRAIDS
Just because you can have length doesn’t mean you need to have length. The weight of all that hair causes stress and tension on your scalp and can damage the follicles so from time to time, go a little shorter than you usually would.
Whether you’re trying to grow out your hair, grow back your hair, or prevent hair damage, protective hairstyles can help and make all the difference in your hair’s overall health. What is a protective hairstyle? As you may have guessed, a protective hairstyle involves wearing your ‘do in a way that protects your hair from elements of your environment that have the potential to damage your hair. And when it comes to scoping out the best protective hairstyles for short hair, medium hair, and long hair—we’ve got you covered. Read on for the 30 best protective hairstyles for natural hair of all lengths.
Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair Growth
Have short hair and want to learn about protective hairstyles to try? Look no further!
1. Short Twists
Twists are a relatively easy way to style your mane into a protective fashion. Simply take a section of hair from your root (use a smaller section for a smaller twist or a larger section for a chunkier twist), divide it into two, and twist the section all the way to your ends. Once you get to the ends of your hair, gently release the pressure to allow the twist to settle into place. This protective hairstyle works well on natural hair because the curl at the ends of your locks will help your twist stay intact.
Cornrows are another classic protective hairstyle that can be done on all lengths of hair. First, take a section of hair starting at the front of your head from the root. Then, split that section into three even sections. Braid your hair as you normally would, but after you’ve braided the hair once, add hair to each strand as you continue to braid down the back of your head. When you reach the end of your scalp, continue braiding normally down the length of your hair before securing the hair with a clear elastic. Repeat this all over your mane.
3. Short Braids
Similar to short twists, you can also opt to create short braids throughout your mane. Simply grab sections of hair of equal size (choose their size based on how big you want your final braids to be) and braid a traditional three-strand braid down the length of your hair. Repeat this process throughout your hair.
Want to get your hair out of your face and off your neck? A chignon is an elegant updo that will also protect your locks.
5. Low Twisted Buns
Another updo option is to create two low twisted buns. Think space buns, but at the nape of your neck rather than on top of your head. Separate your hair into two equal sections, create your buns, and secure into place!
6. Beaded Braids
Want to take your braids up a notch? Consider adding some beads to your hairstyle! You can apply them throughout your braids, solely on the ends, or on a few braids here and there. This is a simple way to add your own personality to your braided ‘do.
7. Top Knot
A top knot will not only keep your hair out of your face, it’ll also protect your locks. Add some detail to the style by creating cornrows along your scalp before throwing the ends of your hair into the bun.
8. Sleek bun
A simple, sleek bun looks super chic and can help protect your locks. Consider using a hair gel, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle LOCK IT Clean Style Gel, to slick back your hair before putting it into a low bun.
9. Space Buns
On the hunt for a protective hairstyle that’s truly out-of-this-world? Space buns are the way to go! Split your hair into two even sections, create high buns on top of your head, and pin into place.
The Best Protective Hairstyles for Medium Hair
Have a medium-length mane? No worries! Here are more protective hairstyles to try on your natural hair.
10. Colorful Twists
Who said twists had to be boring? Take them up a notch by adding some color! You can do so easily, and without making a commitment, by using temporary hair color. Take your pick from one of the beautiful shades from the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup 1-Day Color or the L’Oréal Paris Colorista 1-Day Spray lines. Both temporary hair color options wash out in just one shampoo!
11. Bantu Knots
In case you haven’t heard—everything ‘90s is back in style, including this protective style. To create the look, take a section of hair and twist it from root to end until the hair starts to twist into itself. Form your twist into a bun on top of your head and secure into place! Repeat this process all over your head.
12. Braided Crown
Want a protective hairstyle that will be the star of your beauty look? Look no further than a braided crown. Combine the style with a low bun for a look that’s chic, elegant, and beneficial to your strands.
13. Box Braids
Box braids are another protective hairstyle you’ve likely heard of. This style can be worn on just about any length of hair but is particularly stunning on those with medium and long hair. Check out our step-by-step tutorial, How to Create Box Braids.
14. Side Twist Updo
Another elegant updo option, this side twist updo hairstyle can be worn anywhere from work to a wedding. First, create a side part. Then, split your hair into two. Split those sections into two and twist as if you were creating a traditional twisted hairstyle. Make sure to twist towards the side of your part! Once both sections are formed into two large twists at one side of your head, twist your ends together. Finish the style by twisting that remaining hair into a bun and pinning into place. Phew—that’s a lot of twists!
15. Senegalese Twists
Can’t get enough of twists? Neither can we! Senegalese twists are another beautifully-twisted protective hairstyle. First, take a small section of hair and split it into two. Then, split those sections into two so you have four equally-sized sections in total. Take two strands and twist them around each other as you normally would, then take the other two sections and do the same. Finally, to complete your Senegalese twist, wrap your two twists around each other by moving your right hand in a clockwise motion and your left hand in a counter-clockwise fashion.
16. Flat Twists
Flat twists are a combination of cornrows and traditional twists. They’re great for both natural hair and relaxed hair. Start by using a rat tail comb to section your hair from your hairline to the nape of your neck. The section should be about one inch wide. Clip the rest of your hair out of the way. Split the section into two and begin to twist as you normally would, starting at the root. As you continue to twist, incorporate hair from the section into your twist. Once you get to the nape of your neck, twist the remaining length as you normally would.
17. Twisted Low Bun
This updo involves the same steps as the twisted side updo, but is at the back of your head instead of the side. It’s the perfect ‘do for any occasion and will keep your mane off your neck and out of your face!
18. Braided Faux Hawk
Faux hawks are in! Choose what type of braid you’d like to rock (cornrows, twists—you name it!) and braid in an upward fashion all over your head. Then, take sections of your remaining hair and create rolls on top of your head, pinning them into place.
19. Pineapple Updo
A pineapple updo is a protective hairstyle that can be worn to bed and out on the town. It’s also super easy to do! First, gather your hair at the top of your head as if you were to create a high ponytail. Loosely secure the hair with a scrunchie. Pull the hair forward and position it how you like for a messy, fun updo.
20. Halo Braid
A halo braid is another updo hairstyle that will not only protect your locks but will also steal the show. This intricate ‘do involves gathering all of your hair into a beautiful braid that goes around your head. Learn how to do a variation of the style in our article, Look Like an Angel: Mixed Halo Braid Tutorial.
21. Bun Mohawk
Another faux hawk style? A bun mohawk! Slick your hair upward before creating three to four equally-sized buns down the center of your head. Feel free to braid the sides or slick them back with hair gel.
The Best Protective Hairstyles for Long Hair
Have long, luscious locks? Here are the best protective hairstyles for you:
22. Side Twist
Similar to a side twist updo, you want to part your hair to one side and twist your hair to that same side. Rather than twisting your ends into a bun, continue twisting downwards to create a twisted side ponytail.
23. Ghana Braids
Ghana braids involve a combination of cornrows and traditional braids. They’re thick, beautiful, and typically require using hair extensions. First, create cornrows that go to the nape of your neck, making sure to include your extensions! Then, finish the braids off by weaving the remaining length of your hair into traditional three-strand braids.
24. Chunky Box Braids
This variation of box braids is perfect for those who prefer a chunky, more voluminous look as opposed to tight, small braids.
25. Crochet Braids
Crochet braids refer to the style in which hair extensions are added to your hair. First, your hair is braided in cornrows. Then, the hair extensions are crocheted under your cornrows. This is ideal for those who may not want to risk damaging their hair with clip-ins.
26. Dutch Roll
A Dutch roll is another easy protective hairstyle. First, put your hair into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck. Then, pull your hair apart just above your hair tie to create a pouch. Tuck the ends of your ponytail into the pouch you created and pin away. Easy, peasy!
27. Double halo crown braid
They say two is better than one—and we can’t argue with that when it comes to this double halo crown braid. This hairstyle is the same as a traditional crown braid but has two braids going across your head instead of just one.
28. Havana twists
Similar to regular twists, Havana twists are used to incorporate hair extensions into your mane while protecting your natural hair. The style involves twisting two strands of hair around each other, all over your head.
29. Twisted Updo
Throw your twisted locks into an updo! Whether you have traditional twists, flat twists, Senegalese twists, or another type of twist, you can switch up your look by gathering your strands into a large, textured bun on top of your head.
30. Sade Braid
This signature braided hairstyle is sure to turn heads. First, slick your hair back against your head, then secure it with a clear elastic at the nape of your neck. Finally, braid a traditional three-strand braid! You’ll want to have thick, long hair to get the full effect of this style.
For women with afro-textured hair, natural curls are a blessing but also a responsibility.
Whether you’ve just completed your Big Chop or you want to take care of your growing curls, we strongly recommend you choose one of these protective hairstyles for natural hair!
See 50 protective natural hairstyles for natural hair below!
1. Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair Growth
The aim of protective hairstyles is to promote natural hair growth in a healthy manner. Among the styling solutions you have at hand, twists are some of the most effective. If you want your curls to become long and strong, they’re definitely the way to go.
2. Box Braids
There’s no denying the cuteness of box braids, no matter what style you get them in. However, what’s more important is how they work to shield your natural locks while they grow. All you have to do is choose your favorite style of braids and get them installed by a professional.
3. Protective Hairstyles Braids
Speaking of braids, you’ll discover throughout our article that they represent one of the most popular and practical protective hairstyles for natural hair. There is a myriad of braiding techniques for you to choose from, based on your personality and style.
4. Flat Twist Hairstyles
When it comes to protecting natural hair, flat twist hairstyles are lifesavers. Essentially, it’s a hairstyle that you can always count on for adequately supporting the proper growth of afro-textured hair. Additionally, they look and feel wonderful.
5. Easy Protective Hairstyles
If you’re not up for complicated braids, you can look into some easy protective hairstyles as a reliable alternative. Nevertheless, your natural hair should already have a decent length in order for you to style it like in the photo above.
6. Protective Styles with Extensions
Is your hair too short for the easy hairstyles we were talking about? No worries – that’s what extensions are here for. If you want to be extra careful with yours, we recommend using a soft material, like yarn, for your extensions.
7. Havana Twists
Among protective hairstyles for natural hair, Havana twists stand out through grace and style. Havana twists can be easily identified through the rope-like braiding technique, an aspect that also leads to them being regarded as rope braids.
8. Cornrows Hairstyles
Cornrows are possibly one of the most well-known protective hairstyles for natural hair, which also go beyond the community. They succeed in creating the perfect blend of edgy and chic, all while ensuring that your natural hair is in good hands.
9. Protective Hairstyle with Head Wrap
Accessories are a smart and easily accessible way to protect your natural hair. Head wraps, for example, are readily available at many local retailers. You can even purchase a few different ones to go with various outfits.
10. Ghana Braids
If you like the idea of cornrows but you’re not that much into the small braids that come with them, Ghana braids are for you. You can usually find them as a jumbo or chunky braid style, with feed-in braids that you can get in a wide variety of designs.
11. Half Styled Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Braids are undisputedly beautiful, but a full head of them may not be for everyone. Whether you want a temporary braided style or you just want to maintain some of your afro curls freely, get a half styled look like the one shown in this photo.
12. Halo Braid Hairstyles
Sweet, ladylike and flattering are all key traits of the halo braid. If you have reached the milestone of medium-length natural locks, you can continue to care for them with this type of hairstyle. Relax your hair and create the braid around the crown of your head.
13. Crochet Braids
Do you dream of curls galore? Well, if you’re not quite there with your natural hair yet, you can get accommodated with the look by using crochet braids. In a nutshell, this technique results in bouncy ringlets that also help you secure your existing locks.
14. Protective Hairstyles for Short Natural Hair
Short hair, don’t care! In this day and age, you don’t have to sport waist-length locks to express your femininity. In fact, we encourage you to embrace your short natural hair with a pretty protective hairstyle, like these soft twists.
15. Bantu Knots Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Bantu knots shine as a traditional African hairstyle treasured to this day. Sometimes, you can also find them as Zulu knots, owing to their origins. Regardless of how you call them, Bantu knots look amazing and they do a fantastic job of protecting natural hair.
16. Senegalese Twists
Although they come in quite close to Havana twists, Senegalese twists have a couple of distinct features. Firstly, they involve a different hair type (Kanekalon, as opposed to Marley braid hair). Afterward, Senegalese twists usually are thinner than their Havana cousins.
17. Faux Locs Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Do you love the edge or cultural background that come with dreadlocks? If you want to shield your natural hair from harm, we encourage you to try faux locks as an alternative. You can customize yours however you’d like.
18. Roll and Tuck Hairstyles
Here’s another lovely idea for our ladies who already have medium or long natural hair. The roll and tuck has been around for decades, generally being classified as a retro hairstyle. Well, the good news is that it works brilliantly for natural hair protection.
19. Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair with Wigs
Sometimes, you can’t get the specific style you want out of braids or other extensions. In situations like these, classic wigs are just what you need. Nowadays, you can find wigs in literally every shape, size, and color your heart could ever long for, making them an awesome personality statement.
20. Half Up Protective Hairstyles
The benefit of getting extra long braids installed is that you can venture into all sorts of protective hairstyles for natural hair. Thanks to the generous length, you can play around with half up hairstyles, among many other updos.
21. African Braids Hairstyles
Self-expression is essential for a protective hairstyle that accurately reflects your personality. If you are passionate about your roots, you can learn more about braids inspired by African tribes. Feel free to use accessories to further customize your look.
22. Protective Hairstyles for Relaxed Hair
The ultimate goal for plenty of women is to have long and healthy natural hair. Once you’re at this stage, the only other aspect you have to take care of is relaxing your hair for certain hairstyles. This two-way crown braid is a gorgeous example.
23. Twisted Updo Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Updos are not only eye-catching protective hairstyles for natural hair, but they’re also among those that are comfortable. Compared to long braids, soft updos will ensure that you won’t get hair in your face or that you won’t get too hot during the summer.
24. Braids into Bun Hairstyles
Alternatively, you can combine the two ideas in a hairstyle that brings braids into a bun or other updo. If you choose to get this protective hairstyle, be careful with the direction that you braid your hair, starting from the edges towards the center all around.
25. Loose Side Braids
Other cute substitutes for braid extensions are all sorts of loose braid styles. As you can see in the picture above, you can mix braiding techniques like the halo braid and a side-swept fishtail braid for a remarkable hairstyle.
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26. Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair with Weave
Weaves are a fabulous method for safeguarding your natural locks as they grow. Be that as it may, you should be extremely attentive to the installation technique you choose. We personally recommend that you avoid bonding and opt for sewing, as an example.
27. Braids and Buns Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Yet another way you can get creative with protective hairstyles for natural hair is by experimenting with ideas. Having longer natural hair allows you to get a few braids on top, for instance, and wrap the rest from your nape down into two pretty buns.
28. Nubian Twists
To continue our list of extraordinary braiding styles with African origins, here are Nubian twists. They stand out as a thinner and tighter braid, which often tends to curl up a bit at the edges. Nubian twists look astounding in any length.
29. Protective Hairstyles with Straight Extensions
Like any woman keen on changing up her look every once in a while, you may want to try out different textures at one point. For this, you can get straight hair extensions that start from protective braids.
30. Marley Twists Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Want more of a dreadlocks feel to your hairstyle? Marley twists are just what you have been searching for. The braids get their name from the type of hair used in the installation, but also for their resemblance to the reggae icon who had this kind of hairstyle.
31. Tied Back Twisted Locks
Like we previously explained, longer hair or extensions obviously result in a broader range of styling opportunities. If this is the case for you, try out a hairstyle that involves lightly tying a few braids backward in a half up fashion.
32. Protective Hairstyles for Transitioning Hair
The Big Chop can be daunting for an abundance of women, particularly those who aren’t comfortable with super short hair. To ease the transitioning process, you can get thin or jumbo box braids to enjoy long locks in the meantime.
33. Scarf Puff Hairstyles
You would be surprised how much a simple accessory like a silk scarf can prove to be useful when personalizing your protective hairstyle. You can have fun with ponytail puffs, buns and other updos while fending off damage to your roots.
34. Sisterlocks Protective Hairstyles
Are you all about curls, no matter what form they come in? Sisterlocks are ideal for recreating a curly texture with braids. To put it simply, sisterlocks are notably thin braids that take the shape of afro-textured curls.
35. Faux Hawk Hairstyles
Whoever said that classy and edgy couldn’t work together to form a spectacular hairstyle? We’re talking about the faux hawk, a charming hairstyle that you can use to show off and protect your natural afro curls simultaneously.
36. Clip In Extensions Hairstyles
Want to add volume and density to your existing hairstyle? Clip in extensions with hair that comes close to your current locks are perfect for achieving the goal. We support them as a temporary solution that won’t cause damage to your hair.
37. Turban Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Head wraps are incredibly versatile accessories for incorporating a personal touch into your appearance. You have already seen how one would look styled at the back of your neck, but just look at how beautiful a turban style is too.
38. Pompadour Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
As far as retro, pin-up or vintage hairstyles are concerned, the pompadour will always have a rightful spot on the podium. Ever since the 50s, the pomp has been a staple hairstyle for women and men alike. In our case, it’s also accurately protective.
39. Jumbo Twists Hairstyles
If you have an outgoing personality, voluminous protective hairstyles for natural hair are a must. Thanks to jumbo braid styles, you can have huge twists all around that bring out the best in your facial features and personal style.
40. Microbraids Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Are you looking for braids that come as close as possible to the texture of a regular strand of hair? Microbraids will be the answer to all of your problems. Like you can guess from their name, microbraids are exceptionally small braids that can also be styled with ease.
41. Colorful Protective Hairstyles
If you’re at it, why not take advantage of braids or other extensions to express your tastes? In other words, we warmly encourage you to use your protective hairstyle to showcase your personality, through ideas like your favorite colors.
42. Elaborate Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair
Indeed, you may not be able to wear intricate, highly accessorized protective hairstyles for natural hair on a daily basis. Notwithstanding, they are picture-perfect for special occasions, such as photo shootings or other art projects.
43. Bow Hairstyles
Hair bows have been increasing in popularity for years now, especially among girly girls. In the end, what dainty gal wouldn’t want an element as cute as a bow to be incorporated into their hairstyle? Get inspired by this photo for your very own hair bow.
44. Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair with Locs
While you can adorn locs that look a lot like dreads, you can also rock them in other styles. For instance, your locs can be long and thin, depending on your preferences. Regardless of the specific locs style you pick, you can rest assured about their protective potential.
45. High Ponytail Braids
Any types of box braids are a true joy to style. Owing to their box-like installation, you can easily manipulate them into updos and other complex hairstyles. A high ponytail is just one of the ideas you can explore.
46. Poetic Justice Braids with Beads
Whether they’re gold or silver, metallic beads are a clever and glamorous way to customize your protective hairstyle. If you have Poetic Justice braids, for example, you can apply a few beads in the color of your choice to make them stand out.
47. Victory Rolls Protective Hairstyle
We’re back to pin up hairstyles for this one, with a look that will make you feel like a Hollywood movie star of the 50s. Victory rolls are a staple in pin up hairstyles, not to mention that they work astonishingly well for natural hair care.
48. Bicolor Protective Hairstyles
If you do decide on using ombre or balayage as techniques for personalizing your hairstyle, we strongly recommend that you do so on extensions, weaves or wigs. Hair dye can be particularly harmful to natural afro-textured hair.
49. Tree Braids
Also regarded as invisible braids, tree braids are excellent for additional texture experimentation. To put it otherwise, you will only see the microbraids at your roots, while the rest of the extensions can take on any texture you’d like.
50. Side Swept Braids
Finally, here’s a pretty and flattering braid style that will make you shine among your peers. When you get your braids done, you can have them installed in a side-swept manner. Nevertheless, please take note that you’ll have difficulties styling your hair any other way than to the side.