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Beyond Braids: Creative Protective Hairstyles For Long Natural Hair


As someone with long, natural hair, I know firsthand the importance of protective hairstyles. While braids are a popular choice for many naturals, there are so many other creative options to explore. In this article, we'll be diving into some of the best protective hairstyles for long natural hair that go beyond the traditional braids.

One of my personal favorites is the twisted updo. This style involves sectioning your hair and twisting each section before pinning it up into a chic and elegant bun. It's perfect for those days when you want to keep your hair out of your face but still look put together. Another great option is knotless box braids - a variation on traditional box braids that puts less tension on your scalp and reduces breakage. Faux locs are another trendy style that give you all the benefits of dreadlocks without committing to the permanent hairstyle. These three styles are just scratching the surface of what's possible when it comes to protective hairstyles for long natural hair - let's dive in!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Protective hairstyles are important for those with long natural hair, working well for all hair types and textures.
  • There are various types of protective hairstyles, including braids, twisted updos, faux locs, halo braids, and crochet braids, each with their own benefits and styling options.
  • These hairstyles can prevent damage or breakage caused by environmental factors and symbolize creativity and individuality.
  • They offer low-maintenance but stylish options, lasting up to 6 weeks with proper maintenance, and can be customized with different accessories for a unique twist.

Twisted Updo

Now, you can create a chic and stylish twisted updo that showcases your long natural hair. Twisted updos are a great protective hairstyle for those who want to keep their hair off their face and neck while still looking fashionable. There are plenty of variations when it comes to twisted updos, so you can choose the one that suits your personal style.

When creating a twisted updo, it's important to make sure that it is secure enough to last throughout the day. One tip for securing twisted updos is to use bobby pins or hairpins in strategic places. You can also try using elastic bands or scrunchies to hold the twists in place. Another option is to use styling products such as gel or mousse to give your hair extra hold. With these tips, you can achieve a stunning and durable twisted updo that will protect your natural hair from damage.

Transitioning into knotless box braids: If you're looking for another protective hairstyle option, consider trying out knotless box braids!

Knotless Box Braids

Imagine being able to sit through a braiding session without feeling like your scalp is on fire - that's the beauty of knotless box braids! Unlike traditional box braids, knotless box braids are created by starting with a small braid at the root and gradually adding hair as you go down. This technique eliminates the need for tightly secured knots at the base of each braid, resulting in less tension and discomfort on your scalp.

Here are some styling options and maintenance tips for knotless box braids:

  • Style them in a high ponytail or bun for a chic look.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner spray to keep your hair moisturized.
  • Avoid heavy products that can weigh down your hair and cause frizz.
  • Cover your head with a satin bonnet or scarf at night to minimize tangling.

Transitioning into our next subtopic, faux locs offer another creative protective hairstyle option for those looking to switch up their look.

Faux Locs

You'll love how versatile and low maintenance faux locs can be for your hair. Faux locs are a protective hairstyle that imitates the look of dreadlocks without having to actually lock your hair. They can be made with synthetic or human hair, and come in various lengths, thicknesses, and colors.

Maintenance tips for faux locs include keeping them clean by washing them every two weeks with a mild shampoo and conditioner. It's important to avoid using heavy oils or products that may weigh down the locs or cause buildup on the scalp. To keep your edges looking neat, you can use an edge control gel or pomade when styling them. Styling options for faux locs are endless - you can wear them up in a bun or ponytail, half-up half-down, twisted into a crown braid, accessorized with beads or charms, and more.

Transitioning to our next section about 'halo braid', another creative protective hairstyle for long natural hair is the halo braid.

Halo Braid

We love the halo braid! This hairstyle gives an elegant and chic look that is perfect for both casual and formal events. It not only provides full coverage for hair protection, but it can also be worn with or without extensions depending on your preference.

Elegant and Chic Look

Get ready to turn heads with an elegant and chic look that will make you feel like a queen. This protective style is perfect for those who want to give their hair a break while still looking fabulous. With the right accessorizing options and styling techniques, this hairstyle can be customized to fit any occasion.

Firstly, add some flair to your hair by incorporating decorative hairpins or jewels into the braid. This will elevate your look from simple to stunning. Secondly, play around with different braiding patterns such as fishtail or Dutch braids for added texture and dimension. Finally, experiment with different partings and placements of the halo braid on your head for a unique twist on this classic style.

This elegant and chic look not only turns heads but also provides full coverage for hair protection. So why settle for boring when you can have beauty and functionality all in one hairstyle?

Provides Full Coverage for Hair Protection

Achieving an elegant and chic look with a halo braid not only adds style to your hair but also provides the benefit of full coverage for protecting your locks. This protective hairstyle keeps all of your strands tucked away, preventing any damage or breakage caused by environmental factors such as wind, sun, or dust. Additionally, the halo braid can be embellished with scarf styles or headband accessories to add more flair and personality to your hair.

Scarf styles are a great way to add color and texture to your halo braid while keeping it secure. Simply wrap a scarf around the base of the braid and tie it in place with a knot or bow. Headband accessories can also elevate this hairstyle by adding sparkle or patterned detail. Whether you opt for a thick woven headband or a delicate chain accessory, there are plenty of options available to suit every preference and occasion. The best part? This versatile protective style can be worn with or without extensions, making it accessible for everyone regardless of their natural hair length or thickness.

Can be Worn with or without Extensions

You can easily customize your halo braid by choosing to wear it with or without extensions, giving you the freedom to switch up your look whenever you please. If you're someone who loves versatility in their hairstyles, then this is an excellent option for you. The halo braid is a protective style that works well for all hair types and textures, making it a popular choice among naturalistas.

One of the best things about the halo braid is that there are non-extensions options available. This means that if you prefer not to use extensions, you still have plenty of styling options available to you. You can create a beautiful and intricate halo braid using just your natural hair, leaving out any added accessories or enhancements. Now let's move on to another creative protective hairstyle - crochet braids!

Crochet Braids

Transform your natural hair into a stunning work of art with crochet braids, the versatile and low-maintenance protective style that symbolizes creativity and individuality. Crochet braids involve attaching pre-curled or pre-braided extensions to your cornrows using a latch hook. This technique creates a seamless, natural-looking hairstyle that can last for up to 6 weeks with proper maintenance.

Here are some versatile styling options and maintenance tips for crochet braids:

  • Versatile Styling: Crochet braids can be styled in various ways, including updos, ponytails, buns, and half-up/half-down styles. You can also experiment with different extension lengths, colors, textures, and patterns to create unique looks.
  • Easy Maintenance: To keep your crochet braids looking fresh and neat, you should moisturize your scalp regularly with a lightweight oil or spray. You can also use dry shampoo or co-wash products to cleanse your scalp without disturbing the style. Additionally, you should avoid excessive heat styling or pulling on the extensions to prevent damage or breakage.
  • Protective Care: While crochet braids are designed as a protective style for your natural hair, it's still important to take care of your strands underneath. You should deep condition your hair before installing the extensions and keep it hydrated throughout the style's lifespan by using leave-in conditioners or sprays. Finally, make sure not to leave them in for too long so that they don't cause any damage when being removed from the hair.

Overall, crochet braids are an excellent option for those seeking low-maintenance but stylish protective styles that offer versatility while protecting their natural hair from daily wear-and-tear.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it typically take to install each of these hairstyles?

When it comes to protective hairstyles, the time commitment varies based on styling techniques and hair length. Generally, braids can take anywhere from 4-8 hours while twists and updos may take less time.

Can these hairstyles be worn in a professional setting?

Natural hair stigma can make it challenging to wear certain hairstyles in a professional setting. However, with the styling versatility of creative protective styles, such as twists and updos, it is possible to maintain a polished look while embracing natural hair textures.

Haircare routines for maintaining protective styling techniques require products that promote hydration, nourishment, and protection. Among these are leave-in conditioners, oils, and serums that help retain moisture and prevent breakage.

Are these hairstyles suitable for all hair textures and lengths?

Texture considerations are crucial when selecting protective hairstyles. Styling options vary depending on hair type and length. Versatility and face shape compatibility also play a role in determining the best style for each individual.

How often should these hairstyles be redone or touched up?

"How often you redo or touch up your protective hairstyle depends on the frequency of maintenance and best techniques for your hair type. It is important to keep a schedule to maintain healthy hair." (Rhetorical device: Alliteration) 'By being consistent with upkeep, you can prevent breakage and ensure your protective style lasts as long as possible.'


In conclusion, as someone with long natural hair, I know how important it is to protect your tresses from damage and breakage. While braids may be the go-to style for many, there are so many other creative protective hairstyles that can keep your hair healthy and looking fabulous.

Just like a painter has a vast array of colors on their palette to create a masterpiece, you too have an endless selection of styles to choose from. From twisted updos to knotless box braids, faux locs, halo braids, and crochet braids - the possibilities are truly endless. So why limit yourself to just one style when you can explore new options and find the perfect look for any occasion?

By experimenting with different protective hairstyles, not only will you be preserving the health of your hair but also showing off your personal style. Don't be afraid to try something new - who knows? You may just discover your next signature look. Remember that your natural hair is beautiful in all its glory and deserves nothing but the best care possible. So get creative and let those locks shine!