8 Perfect Protective Styles For Hair Growth

Hair is notoriously difficult to manage. There are multiple industries built around this body part. It can have a huge impact on the way you look in a positive way or negative way. If you want to style it how you like, you need to be able to grow it at a reasonable pace according to your fashion needs. That’s where protective styles come in.

Can protective hairstyles help hair grow? Yes. Protective styles are a great life hack for faster hair growth. You can go for Box Braids, Twists, Cornrows, Buns and Updos, Wigs and Weaves, Bantu Knots, Halo Braids, or Low Manipulation Styles to speed up your hair’s natural growth rate. All of these styles look amazing and improve your hair’s health.

Before we talk about what makes these styles right for your hair, we need to discuss a few important topics. How does hairstyle even matter for hair growth? Why are protective styles the solution? How do I choose the right protective style? How do I prepare my hair for these styles? The answer to all these questions and more are in this article.

Why Your Hairstyle Plays An Important Role In Growth

Why Your Hairstyle Plays An Important Role In Growth

First and foremost, you need to know why your hairstyle even makes a difference to the rate at which your hair gains volume. If you take the two most common reasons for hair loss and flip them around it is easy to see why hairstyles play such a vital role in hair growth.

1. Hair Retention

In order to notice your hair’s growth, you will need it to grow faster than the rate at which you are losing it. In other words, you need length retention badly. Hairstyles are an important factor in shielding your hair from the environment and friction: The wrong hairstyle can quickly turn your hair growth journey into a nightmare by not being able to keep what you already have.

Hair is fragile and it needs protection: The ends of your hair are particularly vulnerable and highly likely to break if not given adequate care and protection. Protective styles give you that much-needed safety and a good routine is an easy technique to keep your hair in good shape.

2. Speed Of Growth

Now, we need to discuss the other aspect of hair growth, how fast is your hair growing? Slow hair growth can not be mitigated by length retention because even with the most well-maintained hair care routines, you are bound to lose a few strands. To see noticeable growth in your hair, you can not compromise on the growth rate of your hair.

Believe it or not, hairstyles have a direct impact on this rate. The hairstyle you wear directly impacts your scalp’s blood circulation. Good hairstyles will promote it and cause the sebum production rate to spike up. You also need to ensure you don’t lose any important nutrients to the environment.

Why Protective Styles Will Promote Hair Growth

Why Protective Styles Will Promote Hair Growth

Ideally, you want to find a hairstyle that ticks both the boxes in terms of hair growth, the good news is that protective styles will definitely help you keep your hair’s length and cause it to grow faster for these 4 reasons. 

1. Reduces Manipulation Of Hair

Has your mother ever stopped you from tugging on your hair? Well, turns out, she was absolutely right. Hair is not meant to be touched. You need to try and leave your hair natural as often as possible to minimize the stress you put it through. Manipulation is a huge no-no if quick hair growth is what you are in the store for.

Protective styles are perfect for that. Once these styles are in, you will not need to touch up at all. These styles hold their shape very well and they look good as well. You’ll forget that you have hair on your head at times.

2. Minimizes Breakage

As we mentioned, length retention is sort of a must for hair growth. You don’t grow hair from scratch, it’s a cumulative process. Unfortunately, hair breakage can greatly slow down this process. You need to preserve the length that you already have at any cost.

The good news is that styles like cornrows contribute to length retention greatly. In these styles, your hair is in a protective dome that keeps out harmful foreign elements and locks it in place to reduce friction from the strands rubbing against each other. Breakage can be reduced this way.

3. Locks In Nutrients And Moisture

Moisture is very important for your hair. Without enough moisture, not only will your hair not really dry and worn out but you will also potentially lose a fair amount of it as it becomes more brittle. Split-ends are not uncommon for hair that lacks moisture.

Additionally, nutrients such as zinc, iron, protein, and vitamins are necessary for fast growth. Protective styles ensure that the maximum amount of these nutrients is absorbed by your hair and stop any moisture from escaping.

4. Adds A Small Amount Of Steady Pressure

We need to put an emphasis on ‘small’ here. Too much pressure is a total disaster when it comes to hair growth. Make sure that you always get your protective styles done by a seasoned veteran, even if that veteran is yourself. The pressure can be difficult to get right.

In the event that you do get it right, this pressure will increase the blood circulation in your scalp and this in turn increases the speed at which nutrients travel through your strands and help your hair grow.

Which Protective Styles Are Right For Hair Growth?

Which Protective Styles Are Right For Hair Growth?

You can’t just install any old protective style. You must find one that is right for the task. Not all protective styles were created equal. The style you choose will have a huge impact on whether or not you reach your hair growth goals in time.

In fact, some protective styles actually damage your hair. They may qualify as protective because they tuck away your ends. However, they simply don’t cut it when it comes to giving your hair the environment it deserves. Faux locs are a classic example of a protective that is actually counter-productive because of the added weight on your scalp from the extensions.

In sharp contrast, the simpler tried and tested styles will effectively promote hair growth. A good example would be box braids. They are about as good as it gets for hair growth. Paired with the right products, they will accelerate you toward your goals.

Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Protective Style

Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Protective Style

So now you know which styles to avoid, right? No. You just have a basic understanding. To truly know which styles you should go for, you need to ask yourself these 4 questions.

1. How Long Will You Be Wearing The Style?

What will be the exact duration of time for which you will wear these styles? Will it be from now until Christmas or will you be taking them off next week? The timeline is an important part of your decision-making process as some protective styles last longer than others. Also, try not to take off your styles too early as they do take a little time to make an impact.

2. How Much Time Can You Dedicate To Hair Care?

Whatever style you go for, hair care is unavoidable. You need to build a dedicated hair care routine around it with scalp care, washing plans, and product lineups all being important considerations. Each require requires varying levels of care so make sure you pick a style you can make time for.

3. What Is Your Local Climate Like?

Not every style is built for every weather. You will need to consider the area where you live, the season you are currently in, and how often you step out. At the time of writing, we are well into Fall, and if you intend to rock the style until Christmas, you need to pick a style that can convincingly stand up to the cold and requires less maintenance during this busy period

4. What Is Your Hair Type?

We left the most important factor for last. You should work with what you are given. A lot of people tend to go for harmful procedures such as heat treatments to change the texture of their hair to get particular styles. Don’t do that. There is a protective style for each type of natural hair. These treatments do serious damage to your hair.

How To Prepare Your Hair For A Protective Style

How To Prepare Your Hair For A Protective Style

There’s no getting away from preparing for protective styling. Washing, trimming, and moisturizing are key elements to a healthy foundation for hair growth. Follow these three pieces of advice to unlock your hair’s true potential.

1. Add Plenty Of Moisture And Nutrients To Your Hair

Protective styles don’t magically create moisture and nutrients. It can only hold on to it. Moisture adding enough of both these elements is crucial to your hair growth strategy’s success. Look for products that are moisturizing and nutrient-rich and use them frequently to give your hair all the necessary materials.

2. Create A Habit Of Regularly Moisturizing

Habit forming is a bit of a life hack. As long as you program yourself into doing something regularly, it becomes second nature to you. Doing this with moisturizing your scalp and hair can be a game-changer. Before you even get your hair into your desired style, regularly use oils, butter, and creams to give proper hydration to your hair that will support hair growth.

3. Consistently Deep Condition Your Hair

Deep conditioning is a quick and easy way to nourish your hair and give it a silky smooth workable texture. You optimize its health and prep it for the upcoming long process by deep conditioning it. Make sure you don’t overdo it though as over-indulgence can lead to your hair getting weak from too much conditioning.

8 Protective Styles That Will Boost Your Hair’s Growth

You are now almost an expert on protective styles and hair growth. Now that you have all the information you need, we can finally get to the titular 8 styles. These styles will change your hair’s growth pattern and as a result, life as you know it.

1. Box Braids

We already told you a bit about this style but we don’t mind praising it again. Box braids are any braids that employ a boxed-off sectioning technique. They help your hair grow in a matter of months if you care for it properly.

There’s a common misconception that box braids damage your hair. This only happens if they are poorly installed and not cared for. If you want your hair to grow with box braids, ensure proper installation and stick to an effective haircare routine.

2. Twists

This is another classic style that will help your hair grow. While twisting your natural hair won’t have an instant impact on hair growth, it does increase hair retention. In fact, you may even not see any growth if you don’t care for it properly. This style stops you from losing hair, making it grow longer is up to you.

Twists will protect your hair from all types of damage, you just need to keep taking care of it and be patient. Twists should be left on for a minimum of 2 weeks to see any results whatsoever.

3. Cornrows

If you are looking for a loud and proud hairstyle that will boost your hair’s growth, cornrows are the style for you. The unique look is enough to turn any heads and the unlimited length is another advantage. You can let your hair grow as long as you’d like so long as your stylist is willing to make the braids.

While you may be tempted to keep it on for longer, please take this style off after 6 weeks. Although it may have a lot of health benefits, these benefits tend to diminish after one point.

4. Buns and Updos

Hair buns and updos are an excellent idea for those of you looking for a simple style. This will help you blend into a crowd but at the same time, you’ll still look amazing upon inspection. This is the style for those of us who are in love with simplicity.

Another good thing about buns and updos is that they are really gentle on your natural hair. You don’t need to put them through a rigorous styling process so the health of hair is preserved. This all contributes to faster hair growth.

5. Wigs and Weaves

In sharp contrast to the previous style, this is not a style where you embrace your natural hair. Using extensions is a great way to add volume to your hair instantly and it even helps grow your real hair by keeping to protected from the outside world.

Wigs are those for you who want to alter their look entirely whereas weaves are slight modifications to the hair by sewing in extensions to the scalps. Both are effect for hair growth. However, you want to take weaves a lot faster as after 2 inches of growth, it may start hindering the process.

6. Bantu Knots

This is a style that is unique to the African community so we suggest not going for it unless you belong to that community or you risk cultural appropriation. That said, this is a really cute hairstyle that helps your hair grow significantly faster, it actually stretches out your natural hair.

The only downside is that it has a fairly short duration. You should not wear it for more than 2 weeks even with the strictest hair care regimen.

7. Halo Braids

If you want a style that is going to catch a lot of attention, this is perfect for you. Halo braids, as the name suggests, give you a literal halo and that makes it one of the most unique and expressive styles out there. That’s why we love it and it ranks high in terms of our favorite styles of all time.

When it comes to hair growth, it’s no sloucher either. This style is going to get you the results you desire as long you give your hair the love and care that it deserves.

8. Low Manipulation Styles

Low-manipulation hair is any style that does not require a large number of touch-ups or editing. You can leave it the way it is without touching it. Technically, all the previous styles also qualify as low manipulation styles. In fact, most protective styles are low manipulation.

Low manipulation ensures hair growth as you are reducing the amount of stress you are putting your hair through blow drying, combing, and straighteners.

How To Care For Protective Style?

How To Care For Protective Style?

You will face some severe consequences for neglecting hair when wearing it in a protective style. If not cared for properly, protective styles can actually become harmful to your hair and cause long-term damage. To make sure that your hair is cared for even when tucked away, follow these 4 tips to the tee.

1. Find A Routine That Is Right For Your Hair

Your hair is unique. It requires its own haircare routine that is specially designed and well-research. You need to cater to all of its demands daily. For example, curly hair requires less washing than straight hair. Finding the right routine is going to take some trial and error.

To properly execute protective hairstyles, you need to set guidelines for yourself to follow. No style will look good if you aren’t taking care of your hair appropriately. Additionally, you can’t avail any of the aforementioned benefits if you don’t even know what your hair needs.

2. Consistency Is Key

You can’t just build a routine and call it a day. You need to stick to it vehemently. Upkeep and maintenance require time and effort even for protective styles. To have your hair in the best shape possible, you need to understand that this is a long process. You can’t give up in the middle if you don’t see the result. They will come, slowly but surely.

3. Follow A Two-Step Approach

It is always a good idea to follow a two-step approach to an encouraging length: Divide it into growing your hair and improving your hair’s health. They work hand in hand: Healthy hair grows faster. Breaking up your routine helps simplify the techniques and makes your routines less overwhelming.

4. Ensure That You Are Using The Right Products

Never ever purchase a product without reading the labels. Harmful chemicals such as parabens and sulfates are present in almost all off-the-shelf haircare products. Opt for the natural stuff, it may be a little more expensive but it is worth it in the long term.

For protective hair in particular, we’ve found that Shedavi Vitamins, Elixir, and Leave-in Conditioner do an excellent job. Much like your routine, it isn’t the same for everyone. You will need to find the products that work best for your hair.


Does tight braids help hair grow?

Tight braids do not directly promote hair growth. In fact, excessively tight braids can cause tension and lead to hair breakage or traction alopecia. It’s important to maintain a balance and avoid excessive tension when braiding.

How long should I let my hair breathe between braids?

It’s recommended to let your hair breathe between braids for at least 1-2 weeks. This allows your scalp to rest and rejuvenate, reducing the risk of damage and promoting healthy hair growth.

What is the secret of hair growth?

The key to hair growth lies in maintaining a healthy scalp and providing proper nourishment to your hair. A balanced diet, regular exercise, proper hair care routine, and avoiding excessive heat or chemical treatments can contribute to healthy hair growth.

Why isn’t my hair growing in braids?

There could be several reasons why your hair may not be growing as expected while in braids. Possible factors include excessive tension, improper installation or maintenance, underlying health issues, or genetic factors. Consult a hair care professional for personalized advice.

Do protective hairstyles prevent hair loss?

Protective hairstyles can help minimize hair loss by reducing exposure to damaging factors like heat, manipulation, and environmental stressors. However, hair loss can still occur due to other reasons such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, or medical conditions.

How long does it take for your hair to grow in a protective style?

The rate at which hair grows in a protective style can vary among individuals. On average, hair grows about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) per month. It’s important to maintain a healthy scalp and follow proper hair care practices to maximize hair growth potential.

How long should I let my hair breathe after a protective style?

Allowing your hair to rest after a protective style is generally recommended for 1-2 weeks. This gives your scalp time to breathe, prevents product buildup, and allows you to assess the condition of your hair before proceeding with another protective style.

Does your hair grow faster if you lock it?

Locking or “dreadlocking” hair does not make it grow faster. Hair growth primarily occurs at the scalp level, and the rate is determined by factors like genetics, overall health, and hair care practices. Locking simply helps maintain the length of existing hair strands.

How much does hair grow in 6 months?

On average, hair grows about 3 to 4.5 inches (7.6 to 11.4 cm) in six months. However, individual hair growth rates may vary. Factors such as genetics, health, and hair care practices can influence the rate at which your hair grows.

How do you fix stunted hair growth?

To address stunted hair growth, focus on maintaining a healthy scalp and adopting good hair care habits. This includes eating a balanced diet, avoiding excessive heat and chemical treatments, reducing tension on the hair, and keeping the scalp clean and moisturized. If the issue persists, consult a trichologist or a dermatologist for further evaluation.

Let’s Wrap It Up

There you have it. You now have a strong understanding of how you can speed up your hair’s growth. So, can protective hairstyles help hair grow? The answer is a resounding yes. The protection and added nutrition will be a huge boost for your goals.

Although the 8 styles we mentioned are the best ones for the task, remember that you are not limited to them as long as they promote hair growth, you can pop in any protective style. Feel free to express your own fashion sense through your hair.

Also, we can not stress the importance of haircare enough. Even the most effective hairstyles will be rendered useless if not paired with a consistent haircare routine. If you take care of your hair, you’ll find that it grows at the speed of light.

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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