15 Easy Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair

happy woman playing with braids outdoors

15 Easy Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair

Have you ever wished for straight or wavy hair, or maybe just easier-to-manage curls? If you have natural hair, you might have felt this way at some point. But let me tell you, your natural hair is truly unique, and there's so much you can do with it that others can't. It might have taken some time to appreciate your natural curls, but now that you do, it's time to have some fun styling them. In this blog, we're going to share some great ideas on how to do just that. Stick around to learn more!

Who Should Try These Styles?


woman with afro enjoying the sun outside
Credit: Envato Elements/ seventyfourimages

Honestly, anyone with natural hair looking for a change! Natural hair can vary greatly from person to person. Let's break it down:

  • Type 3 Hair: This type includes loose curls that range from light curls to tight, springy corkscrew curls. If your hair falls into this category, you'll find that it has a lot of volume.
  • Type 4 Hair (Coily Hair): This type is characterized by very tight curls or coils. The curls can range from fine and soft to wiry and coarse. Type 4 hair tends to be more fragile and requires gentle handling.
  • Thick and Coarse Hair: This type isn't about the curl pattern but the density and texture of your hair. Thick and coarse hair can be straight, wavy, or curly.

Benefits of Protective Styles


woman with afro enjoying music in the city
Credit: Envato Elements/ Rawpixel

Protective styles are not just about looking good. Here’s why they’re great:

  • Less Breakage: When your hair is styled in a way that requires less daily manipulation, it's less likely to break. Styles like braids, twists, and updos keep your hair secure and reduce the wear and tear from everyday styling.
  • Moisture Retention: Natural hair tends to dry out quickly. Protective styles help lock in moisture, keeping your hair hydrated longer. This is especially beneficial for curlier hair types that are prone to dryness.
  • Promotes Hair Growth: Since protective braids help in reducing breakage and retaining moisture, they also support healthy hair growth. By giving your hair a break from the stress of daily styling, you allow it to grow stronger.
  • Time-Saving: Let’s face it, styling natural hair every day can be time-consuming. With protective styles, you can cut down on your daily hair routine, giving you more time to enjoy your mornings or catch some extra sleep.

How to Properly Prep Your Hair


happy black woman with comb in hand
Credit: Envato Elements/ karrastock

Getting your hair ready for styling is just as important as the style itself. Here's a simple guide on how to prep your hair:

  • Before you begin any style, make sure your hair is clean. Use a gentle shampoo to remove any buildup of oils and products. This helps your hair absorb the products you'll apply later.
  • After shampooing, apply a deep conditioner. This step is crucial for adding moisture back into your hair, especially if you have a curly or coily texture.
  • Once your hair is clean and conditioned, gently detangle it with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers. Start from the ends and work your way up to the roots.
  • After detangling, apply a leave-in conditioner or a moisturizer to prevent dryness and breakage.
  • Next, use a light oil or a hair butter to seal in the moisture.
  • Lastly, if your style requires stretched hair, you can gently blow-dry it on a cool setting.

15 Easy Protective Styles for Natural Hair

Exploring protective styles for your natural hair can be both fun and beneficial for your hair's health. Here are 15 easy styles to try out:

1) Traditional Box Braids


woman with braids and workout clothes making punching motion
Credit: Envato Elements/ phoenixproduction

A classic and versatile braided hairstyle. Box braids protect your hair and are great for any length. You can style them in numerous ways - wear them down, in a bun, or even in a ponytail.

2) Flat Twists


woman with cornrows sideview
Credit: Byrdie

Similar to cornrows, flat twists save time since they are easier to do. They're perfect for those who are new to natural hairstyles or want a simpler alternative to cornrows.

3) Faux Locs


happy woman with faux locks
Credit: Hair Adviser

Get the look of dreadlocks without the commitment. Faux locs are a trendy way to change up your style and give your natural hair a break.

4) Crochet Braids


black woman with crotchet braids
Credit: Jumia Nigeria

This style involves crocheting hair extensions into your natural hair with a special needle. It’s a great way to add volume and length without too much tension on your scalp.

5) Mini Twists


black woman smiling at camera with mini twists
Credit: Root2tip

Ideal for shorter hair, mini twists are cute and low-maintenance. They're a great way to show off your natural texture while keeping your hair protected.

6) Two Strand Twists


black woman with two strand twists
Credit: Byrdie

This style is simple yet effective. Just twist two sections of hair around each other. It’s a go-to style for many because it’s easy to do and works well for all lengths.

7) Pineapple Updo


black woman on laptop with a pineapple updo
Credit: Envato Elements/ vadymvdrobot


Perfect for medium to long hair, this style is all about gathering your curls on top of your head. It’s a chic way to protect your ends and show off your volume.

8) Bantu Knots


black woman with bantu knots
Credit: Textured Talk

A fun and bold choice, Bantu knots work on any hair length. They're not only a style on their own but also a way to create heatless curls.

9) Crown Braid


black woman smiling with crown braid
Credit: Curly Nikki

This elegant style involves braiding your hair around your head like a crown. It’s great for special occasions or when you want to feel a bit fancy.

10) Side Swept Cornrows


beautiful woman with side swept cornrows
Credit: glaminati.com

Give a twist to traditional cornrows by sweeping them to one side. It’s a stylish way to keep your hair neat and tucked away.

11) Fishtail Braids for Natural Hair


happy woman with side fishtail braid
Credit: Voice of Hair

Fishtail braids add a unique texture and are a chic alternative to regular braids. They can be a bit tricky to master but are worth the effort.

12) Faux Pony


woman exercising with ponytail
Credit: Envato Elements/ Image-Source

A faux pony is a way to add length and volume to your ponytail. It's perfect for those who want a longer, fuller ponytail without the long-term commitment.

13) Jumbo Senegalese Twists


black woman with Senegalese twists
Credit: FroHub

These are a larger and more dramatic version of traditional Senegalese twists. They are quicker to install due to their size and give a bold, statement look. They are also gentler on the scalp and edges because of the reduced tension.

14) Reverse Cornrows


young boy with reverse cornrows
Credit: Unknown


Also known as Dutch braids, reverse cornrows are braided upwards instead of down against the scalp. This style adds an interesting twist to the classic cornrow and can be a real head-turner.


15) Halo Braid


black woman with halo braid
Credit: Curly Nikki

The halo braid wraps around your head, creating a 'halo' effect. It's a beautifully elegant style that can be dressed up or down for any occasion. Plus, it's a great way to keep your hair tucked away and protected.

How to Maintain Your Hairstyle


happy black woman smiling at camera
Credit: Envato Elements/ simonapilolla

Maintaining your hairstyle is key to keeping it looking fresh and ensuring your hair remains healthy. Here's a simple guide on how to do just that:

  • Even with a protective style, it's important to keep your scalp clean to prevent build-up and itchiness. Use a gentle cleansing product or diluted shampoo to lightly clean your scalp every few weeks.
  • Your hair still needs hydration even when it's in a protective style. Use a light spray or oil to keep your hair and scalp moisturized.
  • Wear a silk or satin scarf or bonnet when you sleep. This helps reduce friction, which can cause frizz and breakage. If scarves aren’t your thing, consider a silk or satin pillowcase.
  • Make sure your hairstyle isn't too tight. Overly tight styles can lead to tension and stress on your scalp and hairline. If you feel any discomfort or pain when braiding hair, it's too tight. Also, avoid any hair accessories that dig into your scalp.
  • Avoid using heavy gels or waxes that can cause build-up. Opt for lighter products that won't weigh down your hair or clog your scalp.
  • Generally, try not to keep protective styles in for more than 4-6 weeks. Keeping them in too long can lead to tangling, matting, and even breakage.
  • After taking down a protective style, give your hair some time to breathe before putting in another one. This is a good time for a deep conditioning treatment and a trim if needed.


By following these simple steps, you can maintain your protective style and keep your natural hair in great condition. Remember to prioritize moisture, gentle care, and regular maintenance to ensure the best results. So, give these styles a try and enjoy the benefits of stunning, protected natural hair! And, for added hair care convenience, consider using Burlybands hair ties – the perfect accessory for secure and damage-free styling! 

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