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The Top Protective Styles For Natural Hair


If you're a naturalista, then you know how important it is to keep your hair healthy and protected. Protective styling can be incredibly beneficial for maintaining strong and vibrant locks. There are many different options out there when it comes to protective styles, so it's important to find one that works best for you. In this article, I'll provide an overview of the top protective styles for natural hair. From buns and braids to twists and weaves, these hairstyles will help keep your tresses looking great while minimizing damage. Keep reading to learn more!

Table of Contents


Buns are one of the most popular protective styles for natural hair. They provide an easy way to pull your tresses away from your face, while also keeping them in a neat and tidy style. When styling buns with natural hair, it's important to choose the right products and accessories that won't damage your delicate strands. Product selection is key when looking for something to help hold up a bun; look for lightweight gels or mousses that will keep flyaways at bay without weighing down your hair. You should also use scrunchies and other soft fabric-covered bands around the edges of the bun if you want to avoid breakage from traditional elastic bands.

When styling a bun, don't forget about scalp care! Keeping your scalp healthy means using oil treatments regularly to prevent dryness and promote growth. Before putting your hair into a bun, massage some lightweight oils like coconut or jojoba onto your scalp. This will nourish both the roots as well as give extra shine and definition throughout the rest of the style. Additionally, make sure not to tie up too tight - this can lead to headaches or even more serious issues such as traction alopecia which comes from pulling on the roots over time.

It's also essential to remember proper maintenance habits while wearing any kind of hairstyle – especially protective ones like buns! Make sure you're gently taking them out every 3 days maximum so that they don't become overly tangled or cause unnecessary strain on vulnerable parts of your mane. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to achieve beautiful buns without compromising the health of your locks!


Box braids are a great protective style for natural hair, as they can last up to 8 weeks with proper care. They're also great for creating intricate hairstyles, as you can add beads and other accessories to them. Cornrows are also a popular choice, as they can be styled in a variety of ways and can last for up to a month. French braids are a great way to keep natural hair away from your face and can last for weeks with proper care. They can also be accessorized for a more sophisticated look. All three of these styles are great for protecting natural hair and can be styled to suit any occasion.

Box Braids

Box braids are a great protective style for natural hair! They're perfect for those who want to give their strands some time off from the constant heat and manipulation of styling. As a hair care specialist, I highly recommend box braids because they help keep your natural tresses healthy while also giving you an opportunity to express yourself through fun colors and patterns.

When caring for box braids, make sure you use gentle products that don't contain any harsh chemicals or sulfates. Additionally, be sure to moisturize regularly with light oils like jojoba and almond oil. This will ensure that your scalp stays nourished and hydrated throughout the duration of wearing this hairstyle. Also, it's important to protect your ends by tying up your braid tips at night before bed.

As far as styling goes, there are so many options when it comes to rocking box braids! You can wear them in low ponytails or high buns--the possibilities are endless! Just remember to avoid using too much product on each section as this could lead to build-up over time. With proper care and maintenance, box braids can last up to 8 weeks or even longer if done correctly. Allowing your natural hair underneath plenty of breathing room is key for achieving optimal results with this look!


Cornrows are another great protective style for natural hair and they offer a lot of the same benefits as box braids. In addition to giving your strands some time off, cornrows also allow you to express yourself with creative designs. However, there are some styling challenges that come along with this look that should be taken into consideration before taking the plunge! For one, you'll need to pay extra attention when brushing out any tangles or knots so that you don't damage your hair by pulling too hard on it. Additionally, if you're looking to keep your cornrows in longer than 8 weeks, I suggest using a light oil such as jojoba or almond oil to ensure that your scalp stays nourished and hydrated throughout their wear-time. Finally, always remember not to use too much product on each row since build-up can occur over time. With proper care and maintenance, cornrows can look amazing for up to 12 weeks--so go ahead and get creative with them!

French Braids

Now, let's take a look at French braids! This protective style is perfect for those with longer hair who want to keep their strands out of the way. Not only can this hairstyle last up to 2 weeks, but it also promotes healthy hair growth since not all of your hair is pulled back into one braid. To get the most out of this look, make sure you use moisturizing products and don't pull too tight when creating each section. Doing so will help reduce any breakage or damage from occurring by keeping your scalp hydrated and nourished. So go ahead and give French braids a try - they're an easy styling option that'll have you looking great in no time!


Moving on from braids, twists are another popular protective style for natural hair. Twists provide great length retention and can be done in many different ways with a variety of materials such as yarn or cotton thread. Unlike braids, which require the use of a comb to detangle the hair before styling, finger detangling is the recommended method when preparing the hair for twisting. It's important to ensure that your hair is properly moisturized prior to installing twists; this will minimize breakage and promote healthy growth over time. When selecting products for twist styles, opt for water-based leave-ins and oils that won't weigh down the strands but still keep them hydrated throughout wear. As long as you're mindful of proper product selection and prepping techniques, twist styles can last up to 8 weeks without needing touch ups!


Weaves have long been a popular protective style for natural hair, and clip in weaves provide an even more secure option. Clip in weaves are typically made of human or synthetic hair that is woven onto cornrows. They can be left in for up to 8 weeks with proper maintenance:

  • Wash the scalp every 2-3 weeks
  • Moisturize the scalp and weave twice a week
  • Protect your weave when sleeping by wrapping it up or wearing a satin scarf over it Clip in weaves allow you to add volume and length without permanently altering your own hair, making them an ideal protective styling method. Additionally, they make it easy to switch up hairstyles with minimal effort. Here are three reasons why you should consider giving clip in weaves a try:
  1. They offer many styling options - from tight curls to straight strands;
  2. The installation process doesn't require any harsh chemicals; and
  3. You can remove them at any time without damaging your natural hair. With these benefits, there's no reason not to give clip in weaves a go! Whether you're looking for extra body, fullness, or just want something different – this could be the perfect solution for you.

Low Manipulation Styles

Once you've opted for weaves, it's time to turn your attention to low manipulation styles. These are another great way of protecting your hair while still looking stylish and put together. As with any protective style, the key is to keep them in as long as possible - ideally no more than six weeks at a time - and ensuring that they're properly cared for throughout their wear. Here are some tips on how best to do this:

Firstly, when creating or maintaining these styles, be sure not to pull too tightly on the strands of your natural hair, as doing so can cause breakage over time. Instead, use gentle techniques like finger detangling and twisting rather than brushes or combs. Additionally, make sure that you're using moisture-rich products such as leave-in conditioners and creams before styling; this will help ensure that your curls remain hydrated during the course of its wear. Lastly, don't forget about regular scalp massages which help stimulate growth by encouraging blood flow around the follicles and distributing oils from root to tip.

When caring for your low manipulation style, focus on keeping it moisturized both from within and without by spritzing water onto the hairstyle every couple of days if needed. Also try adding an oil or butter product into the mix; these will add extra nourishment deep into each strand helping prevent dryness or damage. Protective styling isn't just about shielding your natural tresses; it also involves taking proper care of them with simple yet effective hair care tips!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Keep A Protective Style In For?

Are you struggling to decide how long to keep a protective style in for? As a hair care specialist, I recommend keeping your protective styles in until it's time to retouch or redo the style. This can be anywhere from 4-6 weeks, depending on the type of protection and the level of upkeep required. Keeping protective styles in longer term has several benefits such as heat free styling which prevents breakage and split ends due to minimal manipulation. Additionally, maintaining healthier hair is easier over extended periods; this will ultimately result in less damage overall with fewer touchups being needed throughout the year.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Protective Styling?

Yes, there may be risks associated with protective styling. It's important to take preventative measures when wearing a protective style for an extended period of time in order to maintain the health of your hair. Protective styles can keep moisture out and cause dryness or breakage if left in too long without proper maintenance. Make sure you're using moisturizing products to care for your scalp and strands while in a protective style, as well as keeping up regular trims.

What Products Should I Use To Maintain My Protective Style?

When it comes to maintaining your protective style, moisture is key! To ensure that your hair stays healthy and hydrated while in a protective style, you should be sure to use moisturizing products. For example, choose products such as a lightweight oil or cream-based leave-in conditioner to help lock in moisture. Additionally, don't forget the importance of length variation: try alternating between different styles so that there isn't too much tension on one area for an extended amount of time. Following these tips will guarantee that you keep your natural hair looking great even when it's tucked away!

How Often Should I Wash My Hair While Wearing A Protective Style?

When wearing a protective style, it is important to maintain proper moisturizing and heat protection in order to keep your hair healthy. As far as washing goes, you don't have to wash your hair every week while wearing a protective style. In fact, over-washing can strip the natural oils from your scalp resulting in dryness and damage. Instead, try using a light mist of water or oil spray on your roots when necessary. If possible, avoid shampooing altogether since this can loosen the hold of the protective style.

How Do I Minimize Breakage When Taking Down A Protective Style?

When taking down a protective style, it's essential to minimize breakage and maintain healthy hair. As a hair care specialist, I recommend avoiding too much tension when undoing your style, moisturizing throughout the process with light natural oils like coconut or avocado oil, and being extra gentle with combs and brushes. It is also important to keep in mind that patience is key; take your time while unraveling the knots so as not to pull at fragile strands of hair. With these simple tips for minimizing damage, you can transition from one gorgeous look to another without compromising on health!


It's important to remember that protective styling is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your hair type and lifestyle, you may find yourself needing to adjust the frequency or duration of your styles. To get the most out of protective styling, I always recommend trying different techniques until you discover what works best for you!

For instance, if you have fine strands it can be helpful to keep styles in for shorter periods of time and use lighter products when styling. On the other hand, those with thicker strands may find they are able to keep their style in longer without worrying about breakage. Taking the time to figure out what works best for your individual needs will ensure healthy, beautiful natural hair all year round!