Are Braids Low Manipulation

Whether you like it or not, your appearance determines a lot of things. The way you present yourself physically creates a strong first impression and you definitely want to get that right. Your hair is one of the most important components of your appearance and so you need to get it right as well. An easy way of doing is going for low-manipulation styles.

What Does Low Manipulation Mean In Hair? Simply put, it is hair that you do not need to style again and again. Once it is in place, you can forget about it. This style minimizes the amount of handling, styling, and manipulation required for the hair.

Our favorite ones are the Wash-and-Go, Pineapple, Half-Up, Top Knot, Easy Curly Ponytail, Sleep-Set Curls, Rollersets, Tucked Braid, Crown Twist, Frohawk, Puffs, and Bantu Knots.

Simply knowing a few styles doesn’t make you an expert on low-manipulation hair. You need to know why this style is actually good for you, what the core characteristics are, and how it is different from low-maintenance hair. The good news is this article will cover all that and more.

Dangers Of Over Manipulation

Dangers Of Over Manipulation

We make countless sacrifices for fashion but at one point, it reaches a net negative. Not only are you harming yourself but eventually you don’t look good either. Don’t believe it? The best example of this phenomenon is over-manipulation. Styling your hair too much can end up making your hair look worse for these reasons.

1. Frizziness

When you keep changing styles, it puts a load of pressure on your hair strand. Let’s say you don’t use any of the heavy products ladled with awful chemicals. Even then, when you constantly pull up, pull down, twirl, and fuss with your hair, it ruins its natural shape. You’ll leave with frizzy and uncontrollable hair.

2. Breakage

Breakage is a common scenario if you keep making your hair go through strenuous styling sessions. The friction manipulating your strand causes literally splits them apart. This causes split ends and long-term damage. You lose lots of volumes and end up with thinner hair. If you add heat to the equation, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Characteristics Of Low Manipulation Hairstyles

Characteristics Of Low Manipulation Hairstyles

In layman’s terms, low-manipulation hair refers to styles that don’t require a lot of touchups or editing. This means that you place your hair in one style and it stays that way for a long time. But there are a few more characteristics that help flesh out the definition.

1. No Touching

The first and perhaps defining characteristic of low-manipulation hair is that you minimize touching. You don’t wake up every morning and reach out for the comb to put it into place.

2. Low Effort

On that note, you don’t need to find and try complex styles every few days. Generally, once these styles are in place, you don’t have to worry about getting it to look a certain way every time to you head out.

3. Takes Care Of Itself

These styles also require low maintenance, especially if it is also a protective style. You don’t need to clean your hair as frequently as you don’t use nearly as much product on your hair for the purpose of style. This means you don’t need to wash your hair as often.

4. Reduced Fidgetting

We all know that one person who’s always fidgeting with their hair. This is not good since you touch your hair less frequently, it may condition you to not touch it as often. In other words, you may have less temptation to play with your hair.

5. Healthier Hair

Low-manipulation hair can instantly boost the quality of your hair and increase its volume by limiting the damage. Less styling directly reduces tension and friction. On top of that, you don’t use any styling products. Most of them include harmful chemicals. You also don’t introduce your hair to any heat.

6. Time-saving

One of the most annoying parts of styling your hair is how long it takes to get that perfect look. You can be stuck in front of the mirror for hours to no avoid it. These styles offer a quick and simple solution for any occasion.

7. Super stylish

Last but not least, low manipulation styles are a unique and cool look. It is a common misconception that they are monotonous. You can change them up every once in a while: there are a lot of options. You can even stick to one if you are comfortable with the way it looks. It is completely up to you. 

Protective Styles Vs Low Manipulation Styles

Protective Styles Vs Low Manipulation Styles

A lot of people believe that low manipulation is just a loose protective style. This is completely wrong. They may be similar concepts but not the same. They have some key differences in the following aspects.


Both styles improve volume, prevent breakage, promote length retention, and make the hair appear longer. However, holistically speaking, the goals are different. 

Ends are the most fragile part of your hair. Protective styles aim to tucks them away to shield them. This keeps them safe from external factors and daily wear and tear. On top of that, it promotes moisture retention. It should come as no surprise, they are perfect for damaged ends.

Low manipulation styles have one goal: less handling of hair. You don’t need to tuck away to your ends to meet this goal. 

Ease Of Application

Protective styles take a lot of time and effort. It is an excruciating long styling process that takes hours. If you do it yourself, you need to keep your eyes peeled for that entire time so you don’t make any mistakes. If you go to a stylist, you can’t cut out the waiting and you are going to have to pay a hefty service charge.

However, on the flip side, once they are in, these styles are super easy to maintain. Maintenance is even easier than some low manipulation as moisture retention means there is less need for products.


The most famous protective styles out there include cornrows, knotless braids, faux locs, senegalese twists. Whereas some super popular low manipulation styles include wash-and-go and frohawks

Plenty of hairstyles are both protective and low manipulation such as a bun with tucked ends or braids with extensions. Those are boring, we’ll go over some much more interesting ones later in this article.


Protective styles have a major aesthetic downfall: they can hide curls. Protective styles can also leave hair dry and matted if worn for too long. You need to take them off after 8 weeks. Another risk of this style is that they are not installed right, you may damage your hair with excessive tension.

The only problem with low manipulation style, if they are not also protective, offer little to no defense against natural factors.

12 Low Manipulation Styles You’re Missing Out On

1. Wash-and-Go


Wash-and-go” is a term commonly used to describe a simple and quick hair styling routine that involves washing the hair, applying products, and allowing the hair to air-dry without the need for extensive styling or manipulation. It is often associated with individuals who have natural, textured, or curly hair types.

You can also call it keeping your hair natural. You just leave the house, rocking your natural style. If you love the way your hair looks as it is, this style was tailor-made for you.  However, remember that it needs a rigorous haircare routine as it can highlight any natural flaws. Also, it is not protective by any means.

2. Pineapple


This is a relatively quick and easy protective style. It is a gentle high ponytail that even protects your hair while sleeping. This is one of the best styles to try for beginners looking to get protective styles.

3. Half-Up Top Knot

Half-Up Top Knot

This style looks amazing. A portion of the hair is tied in a knot and the rest is left to breathe. The contrast looks really nice and goes with any outfit. The only problem is that the exposed part is not protected.

4. Easy Curly Ponytail

Easy Curly Ponytail

As the name suggests, it is a really simple hairstyle. Simply collect your hair and tie it up in a ponytail. If you don’t have curly natural hair, we suggest going for other styles. Curling iron apply heat to your hair and that is a big no-no.

5. Rollersets


Rollersets are a great hairstyling tool. They add volume and raises up your curls. They may be an option for those who want a curly look but have naturally straight hair. However, it may not work if your hair is too flat.

6. Sleep-Set Curls

Sleep-Set Curls

Any curls that are fit for going to bed in called sleep-set curls. Loose bun, two-strand twist, and even the aforementioned pineapple falls under this category. This is a great style as you do a lot of damage to your hair when you toss and turn in bed.  

7. Top Knot

Top Knot

Remember the half-up top knot? This is the same style except all your hair goes up. This is therefore a protective style as the ends are safely tucked away. It is a super popular style due to its simplicity and all-round protection.

8. Tucked Braid

Tucked Braid

This is an upgrade on traditional braids where they are tucked away in an updo. It looks great and adds another layer of protection to your ends. This style creates a complete seal around your hair.

9. Crown Twist

Crown Twist

The crown twist is by far one of the most beautiful hairstyles out there. You will look like a princess. However, this is incredibly difficult to make. Even the most experienced stylists struggle to put this place with all types of hair so doing it at home may simply not be an option.

10. Frohawk


If you are looking for a bold style, this one is for you. It is a cross between an afro and a mohawk. You need to have a natural afro to do this style. If you don’t, we recommend not going for it by using complex and expensive heat treatment procedures. Not only will they break the bank but they’ll damage your hair as well.

11. Puffs


This a super sweet and simple style. It requires slightly long hair as you need to tie your hair up into two large seperate puffs. This is a really cute look and so not everyone can pull this off. You need to find the right aesthetic and outfits to match with this hair otherwise it can look completely out of place.

12. Bantu Knots

Bantu knots are a low-manipulation hairstyle that is easy to create with minimal tools. They provide a simple process by dividing the hair into sections and twisting them into knots. The style requires no constant styling or excessive handling.

Bantu knots also act as a protective style, keeping the ends tucked away and reducing breakage. They are low maintenance and can be left undisturbed for hours or overnight, allowing the hair to set into curls or waves.

After removing the knots, the hair can be worn as defined curls or used as a base for different hairstyles, offering versatility.


Which braiding technique has a low manipulation hairstyle which allows hair to grow?

The “box braids” technique is known for its low manipulation hairstyle, which can promote hair growth.

What does low manipulation mean for hair?

Low manipulation refers to a hair care approach that involves minimizing excessive handling, styling, or manipulation of the hair to reduce potential damage and promote healthy hair growth.

How can I make my 4c hair look good?

To make 4c hair look good, you can try moisturizing regularly, using protective styles, avoiding heat styling, utilizing natural oils for added shine, and embracing the unique texture and versatility of your hair.

How do you wear natural 4c hair?

Natural 4c hair can be worn in various styles, including twist-outs, braid-outs, updos, afros, protective styles like braids or twists, and other creative hairstyles that highlight the natural texture of the hair.

What can I do with natural 4c hair?

With natural 4c hair, you have numerous styling options available, such as twist-outs, bantu knots, braids, protective styles, updos, afros, and experimenting with different hair accessories or headwraps.

What is soft manipulation?

Soft manipulation refers to gently handling or styling the hair without exerting excessive force or tension. It involves using techniques that minimize damage and strain on the hair strands.

Are finger coils low manipulation?

Yes, finger coils are considered a low manipulation hairstyle as they require minimal handling and provide a defined coil pattern without the need for excessive manipulation or styling.

How often should I manipulate my hair?

It’s recommended to limit the manipulation of your hair to essential tasks such as washing, conditioning, and styling. Minimizing excessive manipulation is beneficial for hair health. The frequency can vary based on your hair’s needs, but generally, less frequent manipulation is better.

What is over manipulation?

Over manipulation refers to excessive handling, styling, or manipulation of the hair, which can lead to breakage, damage, and hinder hair growth. It’s important to strike a balance and avoid overdoing it.

What hair type is the most sensitive?

Generally, fine and thin hair types tend to be more sensitive and prone to damage. However, individual hair sensitivity can vary, so it’s essential to understand and cater to the specific needs of your hair.

How do you style your hair with the least damage?

To style your hair with minimal damage, consider using protective styles, avoiding excessive heat styling, using gentle hair accessories, moisturizing regularly, reducing chemical treatments, and being mindful of how you handle and manipulate your hair.

Is a silk press a low manipulation style?

A silk press is not considered a low manipulation style since it involves heat styling and requires frequent flat ironing to achieve a straightened look. While it can provide temporary sleekness, it may cause damage if not done carefully.

Does low manipulation promote hair growth?

Yes, low manipulation practices can promote hair growth by minimizing breakage and reducing stress on the hair strands. It allows the hair to retain length and reach its growth potential.

Who is prone to manipulation?

Anyone can be susceptible to manipulation, but it often depends on individual vulnerability, the situation, and the intentions of those involved. Awareness and critical thinking can help identify and avoid manipulative behaviors.

What are high manipulation styles?

High manipulation styles involve frequent handling, styling, or manipulation of the hair, which can include tight ponytails, updos, braided extensions, frequent combing or brushing, and excessive heat styling.

Is a high puff a protective style?

Yes, a high puff can be considered a protective style as it keeps the hair gathered and minimizes manipulation, protecting the ends from damage.

How often should you manipulate natural hair?

The frequency of manipulating natural hair varies for each individual. However, it is generally recommended to limit manipulation to essential tasks like washing, conditioning, and styling, to avoid excessive strain and promote hair health.

Is a low bun a protective style?

Yes, a low bun can be a protective style as it keeps the hair contained and minimizes manipulation, reducing the risk of breakage and damage.

What are Bantu knots?

Bantu knots are a protective hairstyle where the hair is sectioned into small knots or coils and secured close to the scalp. They can create defined curls when unraveled and protect the ends from damage.

How do you manage protective styles?

To manage protective styles, it’s important to moisturize regularly, keep the scalp clean and healthy, avoid excessive tension or tightness, and ensure proper maintenance to prevent damage or breakage.

Are Bantu knots low manipulation?

Bantu knots are considered a low manipulation hairstyle as they require minimal handling once they are set. However, care should still be taken when unraveling them to avoid causing damage.

Is a braided ponytail a protective style?

Yes, a braided ponytail can be considered a protective style as it keeps the hair gathered and reduces manipulation, protecting the ends and minimizing damage.

Final Words

There you have it. Equipped with all the information in this article, you can confidently answer the question: What Does Low Manipulation Mean In Hair? This style really is the closest thing to a life hack for those of us who want to up our fashion game but can’t find the time to do elaborate hairstyles every morning.

It is important to note that simply going for a low-manipulation style is not a cure for your hair’s health. Without maintaining a strong haircare routine and using products with good natural ingredients, it’s impossible to rock healthy locs.

Dedicate time to your hair and you will be rewarded with voluminous hair that will stun even the harshest of critics. Well-maintained hair can be one of the biggest upgrades to your appearance. 

By Cindy Mahlangu

Hey there! I'm Cindy Mahlangu, a pro hairstylist with a serious passion for natural hair care. My mission? To inspire and educate others on the beauty and benefits of protective hairstyles. Through my creative writing, aim to empower individuals to embrace their unique hair texture and confidently care for their locks. So, whether you're rocking locs, braids, or twists, join me on this hair journey and let's achieve healthy, fabulous tresses together!

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