7 Protective Styles You Can Wear Anywhere

Picking the right hairstyle can be a really difficult task. Some events call for a really fancy and loud style while others ask for a muted and calm look. For some of us, it takes so long to choose the right style that we barely have any time to wear it right. The task is even tougher if you are someone who likes to go for protective styles.

That’s why we took it upon ourselves to find you the 7 Protective Styles Perfect for Any Occasion. Braids and bangs, braids into a ponytail, mini twists, faux locs, cornrows, box braids, and Passion twists are styles that will help you slot right into any scene. These styles will not only help you fit in but may even make you stand out in a positive way.

Along with that, we’ve compiled a list of styles that are tailor-made for specific occasions such as formal settings, parties, sports, and daily use. We’ve also included a guide to choosing the right style for your hair. However, before we talk about anything else, let’s discuss why you should even go for protective styles in the first place.

Why Protective Styles Are Awesome

Why Protective Styles Are Awesome

Protective styles are one of the best things you can do for your hair. What makes us say that? They offer 8 unique benefits you don’t get from any other style.

1. Holds Historical Significance

First and foremost, these styles are incredibly important for the black community. Over the years, these styles have kept black women’s hair healthy, ensure proper maintenance, and boosted their overall well-being. Recently, protective hairstyles have become somewhat of a lifeline for Afro-textured hair due to severe climate change. Also due to a lack of stylists during the pandemic, this style also helped keep hair healthy.

2. Improves Hair Health

Speaking of health, if you want to preserve your natural hair and promote its growth, there are no better styles than protective hairstyles. They preserve your natural hair by protecting it from tugging and unnecessary manipulation. They also lock in the moisture and nutrients which promote hair growth. The slight bit of pressure in a well-installed protective style also increases hair strength.

3. Allows Self Expression

Changing your hairstyle is a fun way to express yourself. Protective styles can be worn in multiple ways and so it is an excellent way to have fun with your hair. You can switch up your style every few months and show a new side of yourself to the world whenever you feel like it.

4. Boosts Morale

Nowadays, we prioritize mental health, self-care, and other important psychological factors that greatly impact our well-being. Protective hairstyles used to be a divisive topic in the past but today they allow Black women to represent their culture with pride. Furthermore, these styles also keep your attention away from your hair and help you focus on other things.

5. Easy To Maintain

How do these styles save your attention? They are incredibly long-lasting and robust. Protective hairstyles are made with the intention to be worn for extended periods of time at a time and so, you don’t need to re-style it every time. Furthermore, the haircare routine you need to build around it is not rigorous by any means. These styles personify comfort.

6. Saves Time

We’ve all had those days when we were too lazy to style our hair in a presentable manner. This is an absolute disaster if you are trying to create a good impression. Fortunately, because these styles stay in place, you don’t need to spend hours and put in plenty of effort behind styling your hair a particular way, you can just pop out of bed and head out.

7. Keeps Your Hair Safe From Foreign Elements

As we briefly mentioned, climate change is a serious concern for our hair too. The environmental factors greatly impact our hair, polluted air is doing a number on our strands and because protective styles hide away the most fragile part, the ends, we are keeping it much safer.

We also advise wearing headgear such as scarves and bonnets whenever you can for added protection against the environment.

8. Super Versatile

There is one thing that will be evident to you by the end of this article: you can not beat the diversity of protective hairstyles. You can literally find a protective hairstyle for any occasion. Whether it be work, formal events, casual outings, fitness activities, or even a fancy outing, these styles can be molded the way you need to.

Over the course of this article, we will introduce the many variations and explain how they are fit for any of the aforementioned occasions.

5 Protective Styles for The Office

The goal in a professional setting is to look polished and neat. Protective styles help you do that consistently and without much effort. Just remember to pick a style that isn’t too flashy and you’ll be appreciated at work for your professional dress sense. These 5 styles should garner a good impression on the boss.

1. Braided Updo

Braided Updo

This style has class written all over it. This is a simple style that looks absolutely stunning yet doesn’t scream ‘look at me’ to all your colleagues. You can comfortably rock this at your workplace.

2. Halo Braid

Halo Braid

From one elegant style to the next, we absolutely love the halo braid. This style is going to make you look like an angel. The only risk at the workplace is that your co-workers may develop a crush on you.

3. Box Twists

Box Twists

If you are looking for a quick and easy installation, box twists are an excellent choice if you have the right type of hair. They also help you blend into your office environment easily.

4. French Braids

French Braids

There is a reason why this is considered one of the standard styles for schoolgirls. French braids are a really cute style that doesn’t draw much unnecessary attention.

5. Braided Bob

Braided Bob

If you don’t have very long hair, don’t worry about it; you can still look professional in a protective style. A braided bob is a good option for putting a protective style onto medium or short hair.

5 Protective Styles for Parties

So, you’re looking for a style that will help you stand out in a crowd at a party or festive occasion. The trick is either accessorize or wear intricate styles. These 5 styles all utilize this trick very well.

1. Floral Braids

Floral Braids

There is no better style to opt for at a wedding. Flowers are an excellent accessory and when you couple that with their association with weddings, it makes this style an easy choice.

2. Goddess Braids

Goddess Braids

It is literally in the name. Goddess braids are one of the flashiest styles out there and we love it. The only downside is that they are notoriously difficult to install.

3. Halo Braid

The aforementioned halo braid also works at parties. This is a really smart style because you are accessorizing your hair with its own strand. The halo is an amazing accessory that can elevate your look in an instant.

4. Bohemian Braids

Bohemian Braids

Another super fancy style that is sure to catch the eye, Bohemian braids give you full access to the Boho style. This is one of the most creative styles out there that heavily relies on artistic freedom.

5. Faux Hawks

Faux Hawks

Faux hawks are the loudest hairstyle you can find. There is no appropriate occasion for this style other than a party because it makes you stick out like a sore thumb. But at a party, you’ll get plenty of praise for your bold fashion statement.

5 Protective Styles for Exercising

If you are an active person, chances are you already wear a protective style often. They are the perfect style for locking your hair in place while engaging in intense physical activities. These 5 styles will help you do that with ease.

1. Twisted Ponytails

Twisted Ponytails

This is by far one of the easiest protective styles out there. Not only are your ends protected but this is a solid style that won’t come off when working out.

2. Braided Bob

Short hair is a godsend if you work out a lot. Long hair can be a nightmare to deal with when moving around a lot. Braided bobs will help you keep your well-sized hair protected.

3. Flat Twists

Flat Twists

There are few protective styles that are more secure than flat twists. This style will take a very long time to install but once it’s in place, it’s hard to budge.

4. Low Bun

Low Bun

You want to keep your hair away from your face when working out so a low bun is a good option. It is another simple style but it is super effective.

5. Bantu Knots

Bantu Knots

You may draw a lot of attention at the gym for this style but it’s all worth as long as you can pull it off. This style is as steady as they come. You can hit the weight as hard as you’d like, it won’t come off.

5 Protective Styles That You Can Wear Everyday

Not every protective style is fit for wearing for an extended period of time, you need to look for one that is applying minimal pressure to your hair and requires no manipulation. You can comfortably wear these 5 styles daily

1. Space Buns

Space Buns

Made famous by the incredible actress Carrie Fisher in her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, this style is a classic. It applies very little pressure to your hair so you can wear it daily.

2. Braided Bun

Braided Bun

The dutch braided bun may take a while to install but it is placed in such a pleasing way that you will never need to move it around. This lack of manipulation makes it a great candidate for your daily look.

3. Twisted Ponytail

The twisted ponytail makes a deserving return for good reason. This style is really easy on the hair and so, you can wear it for a long time without any worries.

4. Two-strand Twists

Two-strand Twists

As the name suggests, this is a really simple style that utilizes just two strands for each twist. This is the perfect style for healing from years of over-manipulation.

5. Marley Twists

Marley Twists

Named after the legendary Reggae Singer, Bob Marley, there’s a reason why the icon chose to wear his hair this way all the time. It is difficult to find a more comfortable style.

The Most Versatile Protective Styles Suitable for Any Occasion

The thing about protective styles is that they are a bit of commitment, you should not take them off and try new ones frequently so you should choose a style you intend to wear for a while. This means that flashy styles like the Faux Hawk are simply not feasible for most of us. These 7 styles should serve as good substitutes for even the most adventurous fashionistas, however.

1. Braids And Bangs

Braids And Bangs

If you are looking for a super cute style that will keep your ends safely tucked away, this is the look for you. Bangs are essential for some and this is the only protective style that will allow you to keep them.

2. Braids Into A Ponytail

This is a more complex take on the twisted ponytail, however, it is a far more somber and mature style. You can’t wear a twisted ponytail to work but you can wear this style easily.

3. Mini Twists

This style has gained a lot of popularity on TikTok recently and for good reason. If you have short hair and aren’t a fan of braided bobs, this is the look for you. It is also a lot more customizable so you can add your own twist to it.

4. Faux Locs

Faux Locs

This is a complete 180 from the faux hawk which uses extensions to achieve a modest appearance instead of an exuberant one. It is not boring by any means, however. You will look elegant if this style is executed right.

5. Cornrows


Cornrows are braided really close to the scalp and offer a unique yet sober look. This style has been around for over 25,000 years. It is safe to say that this is the closest we can come to a timeless style.

6. Box Braids

Box Braids

If you are looking for a blank canvas, box braids are the style for you. You can wear box braids however you like as long as you use the boxed-off sectioning technique.

7. Passion Twists

If you want to achieve the Boho look but don’t want something as flamboyant as bohemian twists, passion twists are what you are looking for. This is an excellent way to represent your culture, creativity, and artistic vigor.

How To Find The Perfect Protective Style for Your Hair

How To Find The Perfect Protective Style for Your Hair

You need to understand that not every hairstyle is possible with your hair type. Even putting hair type aside, you need to pick a style that accounts for all of these factors.

Quality Of Hair

There are a lot of styles that work well with all hair textures such as ponytails, box braids, and braided buns. However, the quality of your hair and how well you’ve maintained it play a huge role in determining whether a style is right for you. You can’t go for heavier styles with low-quality hair.

Local Environment

If you live in a harsh climate, you should not go for fancy protective styles. The reason for this is that some of them don’t do a great job of covering your ends. In extreme heat or ice-cold winters, your priority should be total protection and not looking flashy.

Time Constraints

Some styles take a much longer time to install and need much more maintenance. If you are a busy individual, we recommend that you go for the simplest styles out there.

Skill Of Stylist

Another advantage of simple styles is that you can get it done at your local stylist or even at home. Fancy styles require expensive and super-skilled stylists that will work on your hair for hours.

Cultural Sensitivity

Last but not least, if you aren’t black, you need to find a style that does not lead to cultural appropriation. Otherwise, you’ll be offending a lot of people.


Why does black hair need protective styles?

Black hair is often more delicate and prone to damage due to its unique texture and structure. Protective styles help minimize manipulation and friction, reducing the risk of breakage, split ends, and other forms of hair damage.

What is the best protective style for athletes?

The best protective style for athletes may vary depending on personal preference and hair type. However, braids, such as cornrows or box braids, are popular choices as they keep the hair secure and minimize tangling during physical activities.

Are box braids a good protective style?

Yes, box braids are generally considered a good protective style. They involve sectioning the hair and braiding it with extensions, which helps to shield the natural hair from excessive manipulation and environmental stressors, promoting hair growth and minimizing damage.

What braids last 2 months?

While individual hair growth and maintenance practices can affect the longevity of braids, box braids, passion twists, and faux locs are some examples of braided styles that can last for approximately two months with proper care and maintenance.

How long can you keep protective styles over locs?

Protective styles can be worn over locs for varying lengths of time, depending on the style and individual preferences. However, it’s generally recommended to give the locs a break every 6-8 weeks to cleanse the scalp, moisturize the hair, and ensure the health of the locs.

Do knotless braids pull your hair out?

When done correctly and not overly tight, knotless braids should not cause significant hair pulling or damage. The absence of knots at the base of each braid reduces tension on the hair strands, making it a gentler option compared to traditional braids.

Are knotless braids better for your edges?

Knotless braids are often considered a better option for preserving edges compared to traditional braids. Since the tension is distributed more evenly along the hairline, there is less pulling and stress on the edges, reducing the risk of hair loss or thinning.

Why do braids pull my hair out?

Braids can sometimes pull hair out if they are done too tightly or if the natural hair is not properly prepared and cared for. Tension, especially at the roots, can lead to traction alopecia or hair breakage. It’s important to choose a skilled stylist and ensure the braids are not overly tight to minimize damage.

Let’s Wrap It Up

There you have it. You are now well educated on what protective styles are right for which occasion. The 7 Protective Styles Perfect for Any Occasion is no-brainers in our books as they don’t need any customization or special adjustments for different events.

However, you do need to remember that specialized hairstyles offer a degree of aptness that is hard to match. For example, a floral braid is the go-to style for a wedding, none of these 7 styles can come to close to it for that occasion.

If you are someone who doesn’t like to plan your hairstyles ahead, these 7 styles are safe options. On the other hand, if you like the process of picking out a look, don’t limit yourself to these 7 choices. Go wild.

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!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *