If you’re someone who has a busy schedule, you don’t want to spend too much time fixing your hairstyle. Protective styles can save your time and effort – making life easier. But you must know what types of protective styles are out there to decide the best one for yourself.
Protective hairstyles don’t require too much maintenance and daily care is stress-free. But the types of protective styles may differ depending on the texture of your natural hair. Some of the most popular types of protective braids include cornrows, halo braids, lemonade braids, faux locs, etc.
Knowing the types of protective styles isn’t enough; it’s important to learn the basics of their maintenance before deciding on one hairstyle. You should consider factors like the thickness, strength, and texture of your hair too.
What is A Protective Style for Hair
A protective style minimizes stress or pressure and tucks the end of your hair away – giving it a neat and composed look.
These hairstyles can protect your hair from breakage during bad weather conditions. Your delicate hair strands are grouped and the ends are gently tucked away in protective styles.
Protective styles can reduce tension on your scalp and benefit your hairline and roots. Additionally, your hair will be less likely to knot and tear.
Important Basics to Know Before Deciding on A Protective Hairstyle
Protective styles are popular and always in trend. But that’s not enough reason to decide on protective braids. You need to know why and how the styles can improve your hair growth or health. It’s also important to know which hair type works best for a particular style.
a. Importance of Protective Styling for Hair Care
Protective styling prevents your hair from damage, treats the scalp gently, and protects the strands from tearing. The bottom line is – protective styles can ensure strong, shiny, and healthy hair for women!
b. How Does Protective Styling Protect Hair-ends
Since the hair is braided neatly in a protective style, the ends of your hair are gently tucked away. Thus, the styles can prevent your hair strands from getting knotted or tangled.
c. Protective Styles Can Prevent Hair Damage in Different Weather Conditions
Both hot and cold weather can be a threat to healthy hair. Humidity, harsh wind, water damage, and dust can severely impact the strength of your strands. Wearing a protective style can minimize damage and hair fall.
d. Can Protective Hairstyles Lead to Noticeable Hair Growth
Your hair texture and growth are determined by your DNA. No products or styling can change the natural growth rate of your hair.
So, protective styles can’t lead to noticeable hair growth, but they can reduce hair fall significantly.
e. Protective Styles Help to Retain Moisture and Promote Hair Growth
Even though protective hairstyles can’t exactly promote hair growth, they can help your hair strands to retain their length and maintain moisture.
By reducing the hair-loss, protective styles can give your hair a healthier look.
f. Can Tight Protective Styles Cause Traction Alopecia
If your protective braids are too tight, they can pull harshly on the scalp. This can cause inflammation and damage to the hair follicle. Thus, tight protective styles can contribute to traction alopecia.
So, it’s important to choose the right style for your hair!
g. Protective Styles Can Prevent Knotting and Snagging
When your hair is braided in a protective style, there’s less friction and tension. This reduces the chances of your hair knotting, snagging, or tangling. The styles can also protect your hair from heat and other environmental factors.
h. Can Anyone Wear Protective Styles
Your natural hair texture and type can determine the kind of protective hairstyle that’s best for you.
People with thick and strong hair can conveniently wear certain protective hairstyles, such as box braids. On the contrary, if you have finer and less dense hair – you should be cautious while picking a protective style.
Make sure that the texture of your hair is appropriate and that it can withstand protective hairstyles before you decide to get braids.
i. Common Misconceptions Regarding Braid Installment and Pain
It shouldn’t hurt when you’re getting your braids or protective hairstyle installed. Braids can only cause pain if they’re done too tightly or if you’ve added too much extension.
When done the right way, braid installments are comfortable and gentle on your hair. So, always let your hairdresser know if you face any discomfort.
Do Protective Hairstyles Require Daily or Weekly Care
Protective styles like box braids can last up to 4-6 weeks with proper care and maintenance. However, it’s recommended not to keep protective braids on for more than 4 weeks.
Contrary to popular belief, you should moisturize your braids with natural oils and conditioners often to keep them healthy. If your braids get a bit rough, you can try moisturizing daily.
a. How Much Maintenance Do Protective Styles Require
Protective styles require less maintenance than regular hairstyles, but you should still focus on taking care of them. Try to wash them twice a week to prevent the buildup of grease and dirt.
You can oil your scalp and spray your hair with conditioner daily or weekly to keep the hair moisturized, promote growth, and protect it from breakage.
b. How Often Should You Wash Your Protective Style
When you have a protective style on, you don’t have to wash it every day. Depending on the style and your hair, washing the braids once every week is recommended.
Moisturizing the scalp and hair is an essential part of the routine. Never forget to oil your scalp, even when you have braids on. Protective styles can be rough on your hair if you don’t take proper care of it.
c. Is there a Fixed Duration for Protective Styles
The ideal duration for protective styles is 4 weeks, but it may vary due to hair type, style, and maintenance. However, you shouldn’t keep your braids on for longer than 6 weeks as it may damage your hair.
d. The Harm of Wearing Protective Styles for too Long
Wearing protective styles for too long can cause grease, dirt, and dust to build up in your hair. Your braids may also get tangled or knotted – increasing hair fall and hair damage.
e. Tips for Properly Installing Braids
You can get your protective braids installed by any experienced hairstylist. But you should ensure that your hair is prepared, conditioned, and maintained. The braids shouldn’t be too tight as they may enforce pressure on the scalp.
To avoid adding too much weight, you should use less hair on the edges and larger sections on the front. Smaller sections should be incorporated in the braids and you shouldn’t braid all of your edges.
f. Deep Conditioning Treatment Before the Installment
To make sure that your hair is ready to be braided in a protective hairstyle, you should take some special treatments beforehand.
A strong protein treatment followed by deep conditioning is recommended to strengthen your hair. You can use a clarifying shampoo to remove any dirt or residue.
g. Trim the Split Ends Before Wearing Protective Style
Split ends can cause your hair to break more frequently when it’s been braided. So, you should always get the split ends trimmed before installing a protective style to prevent hair loss.
h. How to Maintain Healthy Hair with Protective Styles
The key to keeping your hair healthy while wearing a protective style is ensuring proper care of your natural hair. People tend to forget about their natural hair and only focus on the braids.
While the haircare for protective styles is different, your hair still needs to be washed, moisturized, and conditioned. Using the right hair care products is also an important step!
i. Precautions to Avoid Hair Breakage with Protective Styles
Besides preparing your hair, avoiding tight braids, and regular maintenance – you can follow a few other steps to prevent breakage.
Wearing a silk hair mask before going to bed can significantly reduce hair loss. Be very gentle while taking the style off; make sure to detangle first using a comb or your fingers!
j. What to do If Protective Styling Makes Your Scalp Sore
When your scalps feel sore from the braids, massaging gently might do wonders. You can use a bit of leave-in conditioner and your fingertips to massage through the hair for loosening the braids. Spot clean the scalp if it feels necessary.
Never go past the expiration date when it comes to protective styling, as it may cause great damage to your hair.
k. Sign for Taking Out Protective Styling
If you start noticing that your scalp hurts too much from the braids or experience excessive hair fall – it may be a sign that you should take out your protective styling. Too much grease buildup can also indicate that the braids need to be redone.
l. Importance of Taking Breaks Between the Styling
As tempting as it may sound, you shouldn’t switch protective styles too often. Give your hair a break and let it breathe. Taking breaks between styling will ensure healthy hair and promote growth.
m. Hydrating Products for Wearing Braids
Your hair and scalp should be hydrated enough so that they can handle the protective style. Use olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or any natural oil to moisturize the braids. You can lightly spray your hair with leave-in conditioner too.
n. Common Mistakes to Avoid with Protective Styles
Even when you have a protective style on, it’s important to pay attention to your natural hair too.
People often forget to wash their hair, skip the nighttime routine, and forego hair trims. All of these are essential for maintaining protective styles.
You should also care for your scalp and avoid switching styles too often. Make sure to use the right hair care products and don’t keep the braids on for too long!
Should Protective Styles be Incorporated into Every Natural Hair Wearer’s Style Rotation
Not everyone who maintains natural hair should incorporate a protective style. Protective styles are recommended for people who have the right hair texture, have a busy schedule, and want less maintenance.
However, you can always switch things up and wear your natural hair in a protective style if you want. Consider important factors like hair texture, strength, and maintenance before you decide on a style!
What Factors Do Women Consider When Choosing a Protective Style
Women consider several factors before choosing a protective hairstyle. The texture of natural hair is an important determinant. Depending on how thick and strong or thin and fine your hair is, you should decide on an appropriate style.
The Historical Significance of Protective Hairstyles in Black Culture
For ages, black women have braided, twisted, and knotted their hair in protective styles.
Black women’s hair can be seen as a symbol of their identity and place in society. Throughout history, and even today, their protective hairstyles set them apart from the rest.
Examples of Protective Hairstyles Black Women Can Try
Protective hairstyle has always been an important part of Black women’s lives and their culture. Some of the most popular styles among black women are –
1. Box Braids
Box braids have been around since 3500 B.C. in South Africa. It takes up to eight hours to develop this style today as it did then. Many people thought a woman was wealthy if she could afford the time and money required for these braids.
Box braids are a protective hairstyle designed for natural hair. They are achieved by weaving multiple strands of hair together, creating a pattern of tight, neat braids.
As a protective hairstyle, box braids can shield the hair from environmental damage, reduce hair breakage, and make styling and caring for natural hair easier.
2. Knotless Box Braids
Knotless braids provide you with a lot of styling options without having to worry about overstressing your scalp. Also, the lengths of these braids range from just below the chin to past the hips.
Knotless box braids are a type of braided hairstyle that closely resemble traditional box braids, but they lack the tiny knot at the beginning of each braid.
This eliminates the tension on the hair follicles, making the braids more comfortable and less likely to break.
3. Fulani Braids
Generations of women in the large nomadic groups of West Africa carried on the traditional haircut. This style, which is renowned for its length and distinctive patterns, has braids that hang or loop on the sides of the head.
Fulani braids are a mix of cornrows and box braids that originated with the Fulani people. Braids can be worn on or off the bracelet for an eye-catching look.
This hairstyle is suitable for natural hair since it minimizes brushing and styling damage, as well as the amount of heat and chemicals required. As well as protecting the hair from the elements, Fulani braids keep the hair hydrated.
In addition, this hairstyle can last for several weeks with proper maintenance, saving time and money from regular salon visits.
4. Ribbon-Laced Braid
You can use bright and colorful ribbons of your choice to adorn your braids. Silk ribbons work the best for this kind of protective style as they prevent hair breakage.
The ribbon-laced braid is a hairstyle created by intertwining two halo braids with a long, thin ribbon or another thin accessory.
For special occasions like weddings or parties, this romantic style is a great way to protect natural hair.
So, like, you take this thin ribbon and weave it between the two braided sections. It not only adds a super cool and fancy touch to your hairstyle, but it also makes sure those braids stay put for a long time.
This is especially beneficial for natural hair which is more prone to breakage and damage.
Oh, and another awesome thing about using the ribbon-laced braid is that it keeps your hair nice and healthy by preventing any pulling or tugging that can damage it. So, not only does it look amazing, but it’s also great for your hair’s overall health!
In summary, the ribbon-laced braid is a really great protective hairstyle for natural hair. It keeps your hair safe from damage while still looking absolutely stunning!
5. Crochet Braids
The most versatile protective technique is probably crochet braids. You must use your natural hair to create simple front-back cornrows for the crochet braiding technique; after that, the style you choose is entirely up to you.
A crochet braid is a type of protective hairstyle for natural hair that uses a crochet needle to loop extensions into the base of the cornrows, creating a neat, secure knot.
It’s different from other protective hairstyles because it provides a more natural-looking finish, and can be styled in a variety of ways, such as straight, curly, or braided.
It also offers more versatility in terms of color, length, and texture than some other protective styles.
This protective hairstyle is the easiest to install and maintain. You can get wigs customized however you want!
Wigs are a great way to change up your look without having to commit to a new hairstyle. They come in a variety of styles, colors and textures, and are ideal for those who are looking for an easy and hassle-free alternative to traditional hair styling.
Wigs can be used to protect the wearer’s natural hair from damage, add volume and length to a hairstyle, add color and texture to hair, and even provide total coverage for those suffering from hair loss.
The different types of wigs include: lace front wigs, which are made with a transparent mesh lace material and come with a pre-plucked hairline; full lace wigs, which are made with a full lace cap and come with pre-plucked hairline; machine made wigs, which are made with a stretchable cap and come with a pre-plucked hairline; and protective weaves, which are a great alternative to wigs and require less upkeep.
No matter which type of wig you choose, be sure to ask your stylist to not braid your hair underneath too tight in order to maintain healthy hair.
7. Braided Crown and Low Buns
In this hairstyle, the braided hair is wrapped around a low bun in the shape of a half-moon which looks like a crown.
The braided crown and low bun hairstyle for natural hair is a chic and elegant look that helps to preserve the strands.
The braided crown gives the wearer a regal and sophisticated appearance, as the hair is tightly woven together and styled up and away from the face.
The low bun, on the other hand, is a practical and secure way to keep the long hair off the face and out of the eyes. This look is perfect for any occasion, from a night out with friends to a formal event.
Both styles are excellent options for natural hair, as the braiding prevents damage from the constant brushing, combing, and styling that comes with daily maintenance.
8. Flat Twist
The flat twist technique involves dividing the hair into cornrowed sections, flat twisting the hair to the scalp, and then unraveling the twists to get the desired style.
The flat twist is a two-strand twist used to create an updo style. It involves twisting two sections of hair together close to the scalp, gradually working down the length of the hair.
This technique is often used to create protective hairstyles for natural hair because it keeps the hair neat and secure while minimizing the amount of tugging and tugging-related damage.
Additionally, the flat twist technique is versatile, meaning it can be used to create a variety of protective hairstyles, such as asymmetrical updos.
These types of styles provide a neat, elegant look for thick locks and ensures the hair stays in place without the need for additional products or styling tools.
9. Two Strand Twists
Two strands of short hair are wrapped around each other to create a two-strand twist. Eventually, the natural hair in the strand twist starts to dread as well.
The Two Strand Twist is a popular hairstyle for those with Afro-textured or curly hair. This protective hairstyle involves separating the hair into two sections and then twisting them together in opposite directions.
It is an easy and versatile style that can last for weeks if done correctly. The two-strand twist is a great choice for those who want to maintain their natural hair and protect it from environmental damage.
Twisting the strands helps to keep them from becoming dry and brittle from everyday styling.
Additionally, this style helps to keep the ends tucked away to reduce the risk of split ends. It can be used to create a variety of looks, from tight coils to long, free-flowing locks.
Adding a touch of rainbow thread to the two-strand twist can also create a unique and festival-ready vibe. All in all, the two-strand twist is a convenient, easy, and safe option for those with natural hair who want to try different styles without compromising the health of their hair.
10. Pineapple/Puff Updo
The braided hair is puffed and formed into a bun that looks like a pineapple.
The pineapple/puff updo hairstyle is a popular protective hairstyle for natural hair. It’s a stylish and versatile look that can be used for everyday wear or special occasions.
To achieve the look, the hair is first divided into sections and each section is gathered at the crown of the head and secured with a band or clip.
This creates a puff or pineapple-shaped updo. The style helps to protect the hair from damage by protecting the ends and making it easier to manage and style.
Other protective hairstyles include flat twists, cornrows, and side part updos.
11. Braided Ponytail or Bun
Braided ponytails are a very fashionable hairdo. Any hair type works with the updo, and existing locs and box braids look wonderful with it.
The braided bun or ponytail is a stylish hairstyle that involves braiding the hair and then tying it into a bun or ponytail.
This style is perfect for those who want an easy way to keep their hair up and out of the way. It is a great way to look elegant and chic, as the braids add an extra layer of texture and interest to the hairstyle.
The style also has the benefit of lasting for several months without needing to be re-done.
To add even more versatility, the style can be changed into a braided ponytail, adding a playful element to the overall look.
12. Lemonade Braids
Black women’s hairstyles that resemble the braids Beyoncé wore in her 2016 visual album Lemonade are known as “lemonade braids.”
The Lemonade Braids protective style is a type of hairstyle that is created using cornrows, which are small, tight braids that are close to the scalp.
This style can be done using synthetic hair, or using small pieces of your own natural hair, depending on your preference.
The Lemonade Braids are meant to protect your natural hair, and give it a break from the daily wear and tear of styling and manipulation.
This style can last for several weeks, and can be washed, conditioned and styled with ease.
The characteristics of the Lemonade Braids protective style are:
- Tight and close to the scalp braids.
- Can be done using synthetic hair or your own natural hair.
- Can be washed, conditioned, and styled with ease.
- Can last for several weeks.
- Protects your natural hair from styling and manipulation.
- Can be customized with different colors and styles.
- Creates a sleek, sophisticated look.
- Low maintenance and easy to wear.
- Prevents hair breakage and split ends.
- Makes your hair look fuller and healthier.
13. Faux Locs
Some hair stylists braid the natural hair, then wrap hair extensions around each braid. Whereas some braid cornrows and then crochet the faux locs with a latch hook onto the natural hair.
The fact that faux locs get better with time might be their best feature. They resemble real locs more closely the frizzier they become.
14. Faux Fishtail Braid
Your hair is braided in the pattern of a fishtail in this hairstyle and it looks amazing!
Cornrows date back to Africa in 3000 B.C. The patterns often reveal a person’s tribe of origin as well as their rank within that tribe. For warriors and rulers, cornrows also served as a status symbol.
Fashion is now prevalent all across the world and is significant in Sudan, West Africa, and the Horn of Africa. The braids in these places may indicate someone’s age, marital status, money, ancestry, religion, or personality.
16. Bantu Knots
The Bantu knot is a creation of the Zulu people of southern Africa. In this style, the hair is divided into sections, twisted, and wrapped such that the hair stacks onto itself to form a spiraling knot.
A Bantu Knot is a popular protective hairstyle for natural hair which entails twisting sections of your hair and wrapping them in tight buns.
This style keeps all your hair off your face and neck, and looks super edgy while still protecting your hair. Bantu Knots are a great way to protect and preserve natural hair, as the tightly wrapped sections ensure that the hair is secure and less prone to breakage.
Furthermore, this hairstyle is incredibly versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, making it a favorite of both celebrities and everyday women alike.
17. Goddess Braids
Goddess braids have a similar background as cornrows and can be traced back to ancient Africa. Tribes saw the hairdo as a work of art, ingenuity, and perfection, and it was frequently highlighted with metal.
18. Senegalese Twists
Besides their lovely appearance, Senegalese twists are popular for their simplicity of installation. Several stylists use the Senegalese crochet technique, which involves crocheting pre-twisted hair strands into your natural cornrows.
The Senegal Twist is a popular protective style for natural hair. It is installed using either a traditional method or a crochet method. In the traditional method, two-strand twists are created using braiding hair and combined with the natural hair.
The crochet method involves crocheting pre-twisted strands of hair into the natural cornrows. Both methods provide a similar look and protection while also being relatively quick to install (three hours or less).
Senegal Twists are a great protective hairstyle for those with natural hair because they allow the hair to be styled without having to use heat or other tools, and they protect your hair from the elements.
19. Marley Twists
As the name suggests, the famous reggae musician Bob Marley’s recognizable, long hair served as inspiration for Marley twists. Marley twists, a common substitute for fake locs, were developed to mimic the appearance of natural locs.
The Marley Twists hairstyle is a popular protective style for natural hair. The twists are created using Marley hair extensions, which have a softer and more natural texture than other synthetic hair extensions.
Marley Twists are smaller than Havana Twists, making it a perfect style for those with shorter hair. This hairstyle can last up to two months with minimal touch-ups needed.
It is an easy and low-maintenance style that offers a protective and stylish look.
20. Halo Braid
This is the kind of protecting style that would make you feel the most like royalty. Your head’s crown-like top is tenderly supported by halo braids.
The halo braid is a popular style for both natural and relaxed hair that helps keep the hair protected and under control.
It’s created by braiding around the head, usually leaving the ends tucked in or tucked away. This style is beneficial for natural hair because it creates a protective layer around the hair and keeps it from becoming overly tangled and damaged from environmental factors.
It also helps keep the hair well-defined and organized, making it easier to style.
Additionally, the halo braid is perfect for those who want to show off their natural curls, as it creates a beautiful frame that highlights the hair’s natural texture.
21. Passion Twists
Kailyn Rogers, a skilled hair stylist located in Miami, invented the passion twist. Senegalese twists and coily, carefree goddess locs in unison create the coily, gorgeous passion twists.
A passion twist is a type of protective hairstyle that combines two strands of hair to create a long lasting and protective style.
The technique involves twisting two strands of hair together into a single twist and then securing the ends with rubber bands or hair ties. This technique is popularly used for natural hair as it allows for long term hair protection or for a stylish look.
Passion twists are low maintenance and can last anywhere between 8-12 weeks with proper care. The result is a gorgeous style that can be customized to fit any occasion.
22. Butterfly Faux Locs Bob
Butterfly locs are a messy, hippie variation of the faux loc, or counterfeit dreadlock, that has a disheveled, untidy appearance.
The butterfly faux locs bob is a hairstyle that is short and flirty, featuring a dramatic side part. It’s created by looping and wrapping individual strands of Euro-textured kanekalon or marley hair around a natural hair base, resulting in a look that closely mimics real locs.
This style is popular because it offers the trendy, textured look of real locs without the long-term commitment or maintenance.
It also is lightweight and has low tension on the scalp, so it is comfortable to wear. Additionally, it can be styled straight, curvy, or curly depending on your preference.
23. Stitch Braids
A feed-in technique is used to create stitch braids, a type of protective style in which you braid while adding more extensions to your natural hair.
Stitch braids are a popular protective hairstyle for natural hair, as the style helps to keep hair intact and away from damaging elements.
The stitch pattern in the front of the braid is usually achieved by adding different textures or colors of hair to the braid or interlocking the braid to the scalp. This pattern can add a unique, creative flair to any protective style.
Additionally, the loose ends of the braid can be pulled up into a bun, jumbo braid, or left to hang loose. As the braids lay close to the head, it helps to reduce tension on the edges which can cause breakage.
Stitch braids are a great protective style for natural hair as it can help to retain length and provide a break from direct manipulation.
24. Ghana Braids
Ghana braids have their roots in Africa and were originally seen in 500 B.C. hieroglyphics and sculptures. Since then, this style has been very important to Ghanaian social, cultural, and religious customs.
The Ghana Braids protective hairstyle is a method of plaiting natural hair with braiding hair in order to achieve a sleek and luxurious finish.
This style is suitable for natural hair as it keeps it tucked away while also providing a glamorous look. The braids are easy to maintain and can come in any number that you desire, from two to more.
Additionally, with neat and sleek edges, the hairstyle is sure to stand out from the crowd and give you beautiful, long-lasting results.
This is a hairstyle that anyone can pull off with confidence. You just need to have a daily hair care routine to keep the hair shiny and lustrous!
A micro protective hairstyle is a type of protective hairstyle for natural hair that involves tiny, intricate braids. These braids are often much smaller than other protective styles such as box braids, and can be used to give a cute, delicate look.
However, due to their small size, these braids provide less protection and may cause damage to the hair, especially around the edges.
Box braids, on the other hand, are much larger and offer a more substantial protective barrier for the hair, while still providing a stylish look that resembles the iconic Janet Jackson Poetic Justice hairstyle.
26. Top Knot
Braid your hair normally and tie it up as a knot at the top of your head and that’s it! Top knot buns are easy to create and they look great.
Each of these protective hairstyles signifies Black women’s identity and uniqueness.
The top knot is a protective style for natural hair which involves tying the hair into a high bun on the top of the head. It is popular among natural hair wearers because it is an easy and versatile way to keep their hair safe while still looking stylish.
Additionally, the top knot can be dressed up or down, making it a great hairstyle for any occasion. The half knot in particular is a popular variation of the top knot, as it is a low-maintenance and hassle-free way to style natural hair without having to commit to a full top knot.
By combining box braids with the half knot, the wearer can create a unique, eye-catching look that is sure to turn heads.
Protective hairstyle has been a significant part of Black culture and now it’s become popular among people around the globe.
It’s important to know what types of protective styles are out there before you get yourself one. Knowing your hair and maintaining the braids properly are the prerequisites of getting a protective hairstyle!