11 Protective Styles That Can Hold Up To An Active Lifestyle

Some of us live a fast-paced life. Whether you work a physically demanding job or follow a strict fitness routine, choosing a hairstyle that can stand up to your active lifestyle can be quite difficult. Fortunately, protective styles are a good option for you. These styles not only give your hair the protection it needs but they can also take a beating.

So, What Are Protective Styles For Active Lifestyle? You can choose between Cornrows, Box Braids, Headgear, Ponytails, Pineapple, Bantu Knots, Top knots, Two-Strand Twists, Dutch Braids, Crown braids, and Afro Puffs. These styles are super comfortable and won’t come off in the middle of a run or workout.

Just knowing the styles you can go for isn’t enough, you need to know why you should even opt for these styles. Also, you need to know the styles that you need to avoid at all costs and how to take care of your hair amidst all the physical activity. All that and more is covered in this article.

Why You Should Go For A Protective Style For Workouts

Why You Should Go For A Protective Style For Workouts

People are so focused on their bodies when they work out that they forget about their hair. It is important to have a hairstyle that can endure all those sweaty workouts. You should not need to compromise your hair health for your fitness goals or professional demands. You need to choose a style that is both convenient and protective for these 6 styles.

1. Keeps Your Hair Protected          

Your hair needs extra protection during workouts. All that sweat is going to clog your hair follicles and dry out your hair. Also, the bacteria are not going to have a positive effect on your scalp, to say the least. Protective styles can save you from all this damage as it is the go-to style for moisture retention.

On top of that, it will protect your hair’s fragile edges and keep your hairline in check. Not only will the physical coverage help but the added moisture will keep your edges healthy. Your hairline will go through a lot less stress with each movement too as it is locked in place.

2. Saves Time And Energy

We’ve all been there, we’re running extremely late so we can’t style our hair. The good news is low-maintenance protective styles require little to no upkeep. You’re pretty much up and ready to go as soon as you are out of bed. Your haircare routine won’t take up half your day and you are severely reducing the manipulation your hair goes through.

Furthermore, you are saving a lot of energy. The time you spend getting your hair right in front of the mirror also eats up some of your energy levels. Save all that effort for the gym.

3. Good For Your Hair’s Health

The primary reason many people go for protective styles is that it is incredibly good for your hair. The moisture retention and nutrient-locking nature provided by these styles stimulate hair growth and keep your locs looking and feeling healthy. The aforementioned sweat can complicate the situation but a good haircare routine will solve that issue.

4. Prevents Frizz

If you are purely in it for the physical aspects, you will be happy to know that protective styles are excellent for frizz prevention. The moisture in your hair protects strands from frizz and so ensuring that you retain as much of it as possible protects your hair.

Also, sweat and humidity can literally change your hair texture if not controlled properly. These styles are a quick and easy way to put a stopper on the negative effects of these adversaries.

5. Easier To Manage

Anyone who has an extremely intense exercise session can tell how difficult hair management can get at these times. Simple tasks like pulling back your hair become a challenge, forget going home and follow a long and tiring haircare routine. The good news is you don’t need to do any of that with a protective style.

If you are looking for convenience, you’ve found your stop. You don’t need to worry about having to customize your workout to avoid the risk of tearing your hair or dedicate hours of your day to take care of your locs.

6. Stays In Place

An easy way to test the stability of a hairstyle is to work out. You will find that most hairstyles come undone pretty quickly, especially when doing rigorous sets such as burpees, crunches, or jumping jacks.  Even a few stable styles can be quite annoying because a portion of your hair always seems to reach your face.

You need to find a style that stays away from your face and tucks the ends away to keep them locked in place and safe. That’s what makes protective styles perfect.

Worst Protective Styles For Working Out

You can’t just pop on any protective hairstyle and expect it to do the job. In fact, some are outright unsuitable for these activities. They may be super uncomfortable, damage your hair and even hinder your workout. The biggest offenders are these 2 styles.

1. Weaves


Weaves may look amazing but they are definitely not suitable for an active lifestyle. For those of you who don’t know what weaves are, they are basically extensions that are sewn into your hair. You might be wondering “That’s great for working out, they are literally sewn in place, what could go wrong?” Well, as it turns out, a lot.

First and foremost, you are entirely blocking your scalp with hair. This is even worse if you don’t go to a good stylist who provides enough spacing in the braid pattern. The lack of scalp access makes the scalp sweat a lot more and you won’t get to itch it.

On top of that, you barely get any flexibility. Your hair is rigidly stuck to your scalp and you will definitely feel it during an intense cardio session. This gnawing feeling along with overall discomfort makes this a total no-no for workouts. Your workouts will be distraction-free but they certainly won’t be enjoyable.

2. Wigs


You probably already know why wigs don’t make a great option for a workout. While they may cover up your hair really well, completely blocking off the ends and edges, they offer little to no stability.

You can not expect a wig to hold up to intense cardio sessions where you will be moving around a lot. One burpee and it is flying across the gym like UFO. To avoid embarrassment and enjoy a stress-free workout, cross this style off the list.

How To Take Care Of Your Hair In An Active Lifestyle

How To Take Care Of Your Hair In An Active Lifestyle

Because you expose your hair to a lot more sweat and bacteria than the average couch potato, you need to pay a little extra attention to your hair. These 2 tips will go a long way in preserving your hair’s long-term health.

1. Build A Rigid Routine

There is a strong correlation between having an active lifestyle and needing a strict haircare regimen. This regimen does not need to be overly complicated, you don’t need to use a million products and techniques to keep your hair looking nice. All you need is to create a realistic system that you stick to.

If you go for a protective style, this would mean washing your hair every two-three weeks, using good high-quality oil, and applying a hydrating solution a few times weekly. A little goes a long way when it comes to hair care.

2. Use The Right Products

You can’t just pick any old product off the shelf and call it a day. You must prioritize refreshing and hydrating your scalp after exposing it to so much movement and sweat. Also, read the label closely to avoid harmful ingredients such as sulfates and paraben.

Again, if you choose protective styles, natural oils such as tea tree and peppermint oil will work wonders for your scalp. Reach for deep-cleaning shampoos as you won’t be hitting the shower often. Also, ensure that you use a good conditioner, moisture is the key to healthy hair.

11 Sturdy Protective Styles You Can Work Out With

Are you convinced that protective styles will make your workout routine much simpler? Great, now, we need to choose a style that will not only be stylish but it will also be comfortable, convenient and effective. These 11 styles tick all the boxes.

1. Cornrows


To kick things off, we have a classic style. In terms of looking good, you’ve got your bases covered, this is a look with a strong history going back tens of thousands of years. Cornrows are also a style you can count on staying in place. They are braided close to your scalp so the chances of them popping out are pretty slim.

2. Box Braids

Box Braids

From one classic style to another, box braids offer a lot of freedom. You can style them however you want, the only requirement is to have a boxed-off sectioning technique. If you want to express your inner fashionista, this is the best option for you as there are so many options to choose from. Just remember to keep it simple as complex styles are seldom comfortable.

3. Head Wraps, Scarves, and Headbands

Head Wraps, Scarves, and Headbands

A protective style is any style that covers the ends of your hair. So, technically speaking, wearing headgear is also considered adopting a protective style. This is the most controversial entry in this list as many of you will disagree with this statement. However, a headgear will keep your hair safe and locked in one place convincingly.

4. Ponytail


Chances are you came to this article looking for alternatives to ponytails because everyone does this at the gym. The reason why this is so popular is that it is effective and easy to do. If you want a style that will offer all the benefits of a protective style and isn’t as much of a commitment, this is the look for you.

5. Pineapple


If you aren’t a fan of traditional ponytails, you can go for this quirky style. As the name suggests, a pineapple is a hairstyle in which you wear a loose bun in a way that makes your head look like a pineapple. This is a cute style that will stay far away from your face while you work out to your heart’s content.

6. Bantu Knots

Bantu Knots

This is the style that risks a lot of cultural appropriation. Bantu knots are an important style for the black community that symbolizes pro-blackness and self-love. We highly recommend veering away from this style if you aren’t part of that community. However, if you are black, this is a chic style you could go for.

7. Top Knot

Top Knot

If you want to go for a look that adds a bit of volume and lift to your hair, top knots are a good option. You can also style it how you like. You can leave a few bangs or even accessorize. We suggest going for a traditional one though as that will be the best for your workout.

8. Two-Strand Twists

Two-Strand Twists

Unfortunately, this is not a style that is fit for every type of hair. You will need naturally curly or coily hair for this style, straight hair just won’t cut it. If you do have the hair for it, two-strand twists are a simple yet effective style that will make working out a lot easier.

9. Dutch Braids

Dutch Braids

Don’t worry if you have straight hair, you still have a lot of options including this one. Dutch braids are very similar to French braids. In fact, it’s the same style in reverse. For some reason, reversing the technique results in a more secure style that can hold up to an intense workout.

10. Crown Braid

Crown Braid

This is one of our favorite styles. If you want to look like a queen while you slay the weights, this is the style for you. Due to the titular crown in this braid, it is the hairstyle of choice for a lot of fictional royalty such as Queen Elsa from Frozen and Queen Daenerys from Game Of Thrones.

11. Afro Puffs

Cute won’t cut it to describe this style. You will definitely catch the attention of your gym crush with this adorable style. Afro puffs are such an iconic style that famous rapper, The Lady of Rage, named her first single after this style. She even wears the style herself.


How do I protect my braids when working out?

Use a sweat-absorbing headband or scarf to protect your braids during workouts.

What is the most versatile protective style?

Box braids are considered one of the most versatile protective styles due to their ability to be styled in various ways.

What is the best protective style for hair growth?

Low-manipulation styles like buns or twists are great for promoting hair growth while providing protection.

Are knotless braids good for working out?

Yes, knotless braids are a suitable option for working out as they are lightweight and allow for more flexibility during physical activities.

How do you wear knotless braids when working out?

Secure your knotless braids with a sweatband or wrap them in a bun to minimize movement and protect them during workouts.

Should you wear a durag while working out?

Wearing a durag during workouts can help protect your hair and keep it in place, especially for styles like waves or laid edges.

Do braids strengthen hair?

Braids can help protect your hair from damage and breakage, allowing it to grow longer and appear stronger.

How do you wrap braids at the gym?

Use a satin or silk scarf to wrap your braids before hitting the gym to protect them from friction and sweat.

Is it professional to wear braids to work?

Braids can be professional and stylish, but it ultimately depends on the workplace and its specific dress code policies.

What helps tension bumps from braids?

Applying a warm compress and gently massaging the affected area can help alleviate tension bumps caused by braids.

What is the easiest protective style to learn?

Two-strand twists or simple buns are some of the easiest protective styles to learn and can be done with minimal effort.

How often should you wear protective styles?

It’s recommended to give your hair breaks between protective styles. Aim for wearing them for a few weeks to a few months at a time, depending on your hair’s needs.

What protective styles last a week?

Styles like bantu knots, twist-outs, or braid-outs can last for about a week with proper maintenance and nightly protection.

What is the best protective style for relaxed hair?

Low-manipulation styles like buns, roller sets, or flexi rod sets are excellent options for protecting relaxed hair.

How long do passion twists last?

Passion twists can last anywhere from four to eight weeks, depending on how well they are maintained and the growth rate of your hair.

Let’s Wrap It Up

Your options are not limited to the ones that we mentioned above. In fact, there are many more styles you can opt for if you don’t feel any of these match your personal sense of style. You just need to understand the basic definition of a protective style for working out. So, What Are Protective Styles For Active Lifestyle? Basically, any robust style that keeps your hair safe.

No matter what style you go for, you need to know that the instructions we mentioned for hair care are non-negotiable. If you want to look your best, you simply have to give your hair the care that it deserves. Your hair requires extra care because it goes through a lot because of your lifestyle. Trust us when we say that your hair will thank you for your attention.

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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