You are currently viewing 10 Protective Hairstyles for Natural and Relaxed Hair

If you’re trying to grow back your hair or prevent it from further damage, protective hairstyles can help you do the job. As their name implies, they protect your hair from anything that can hamper the overall health of your hair.

What are Protective Hairstyles?

lady rocking braids

A protective hairstyle is any hairdo that keeps the ends of the hair tucked away to prevent pulling, tugging or any form of manipulation. The idea is to protect the ends of your hair making sure they are free from manipulation. They also prevent your hair from getting frizzy as a result of unfavourable environmental elements.

Benefits of Protective Hairstyles

pretty lady wearing bantu hairstyle

These types of hairdo offer many benefits to your hair. They include:

They Spur Hair Growth.

These hairstyles help your hair grow. This is because you hardly touch your natural hair when wearing a protective hairstyle. And as such, it grows freely without manipulation.

They Retain Moisture

When you wear a protective style, you can be sure you won’t lose moisture in your hair. However, you’ll have to shampoo your hair first and condition it before having this hairdo. This way, the conditioner penetrates into your hair strands, thus preparing it for the styling process.

They Require Low Maintenance

When you rock a protective hairdo, you don’t have to bother yourself about styling them all the time. Once in a week is okay lest you should stress your hair. You also don’t have to apply many products to maintain the hair. Simply wearing a bonnet and adding hair oil can do the magic.

They are Versatile

You can easily style these hairstyles into buns, updos and ponytails or simply wear them the way they were made and get going. They are always beautiful whether you style them or not. And if you want to make them more beautiful, adorn them hair accessories.

What to Note When Using Extensions to Achieve Protective Hairstyles

lady rocking black dreads

These hairstyles protect your hair from manipulation which could result in hair breakage. However, should note that the process of achieving them can be a bit tiring. For instance, you may have to sit for long hours. Also, your hairstylist may pick the strands of your hair too tightly.

When this happens, you should speak out and let them know you don’t want tight braids. If you don’t speak up, you wind up feeling pains, putting much tension on your scalp and experiencing breakage.

How to Maintain Protective Hairstyles

pretty lady wearing weave

Wear Satin Hair Bonnets

You can maintain your protective styles by wearing a satin hair bonnet. This will help to get rid of frizz and retain moisture in your hair. This way, your hairstyle will be able to last longer.

Add Hair Oil

Hair oil will moisturise your scalp and prevent dryness. You can apply oil on your scalp and edges at least three times a week. This will go a long way in preserving your hairdo.

10 Protective Hairstyles for Your Natural Hair

Victoria Willie rocking red knotless braids

Virtually, all the types of African braids make it to this list of protective styles. Hence, the following are the hairstyles that protect your hair from frequent manipulation. They also prevent damage from the sun, cold or heat.

1. Box Braids

lady rocking big box braids

This is one of the most popular protective hairstyles. They are versatile and easy to maintain. You can make your box braids chunky or slim, depending on your choice and your ability to sit for long.

lady wearing black box braids

2. Knotless Braids

Kije Achu wearing knotless braids with curls

Knotless braids are also box braids. The difference is that it is made through the feed-in technique. That is, your hairstylist braids your natural hair from the roots and feeds in extensions as they braid on.

back view of lady with long knotless braids

 Knotless box braids are less painful and lighter than traditional braids though they take longer time to achieve

3. Crochet

lady wearing crotchet hair with beads

This is one of the protective hairstyles that is achieved through crocheting. That is, you crochet hair extensions to your natural hair with a crochet hook or latch hook. They come in different forms, usually traditional braids, twists, faux locs, etc.

lady wearing crotchet hair

4. Bantu Knots

lady wearing bantu hairtyle

The Zulu people of southern Africa invented this style. It involves sectioning your hair, twisting it and wrapping it to form a spiraled knot that looks like a stack of tyres.  It serves as a protective style for both relaxed and natural hair. Bantu knots work well with hair extensions.

lady rocking bantu hairstyle with glasses

5. Cornrows

lady wearing cornrows

This is one elegant protective hairstyle. It involves braiding your hair very close to the scalp, using an underhand, upward motion to make a continuous row. The results are simple, straight lines on your head. Furthermore, you can use hair extensions or your natural hair to achieve this style.

lady rocking simple cornrow

6. Dreadlocks

lady rocking gold dreads

Dreadlocks are simply ropelike strands of hair that are formed by braiding or matting the hair. This style doesn’t give room for any form of manipulation on your hair. This is because it is permanent as you can only take it off by cutting your hair. Unless, of course, your locs are faux. In addition, you’ll have to visit the salon regularly to wash and maintain your dreads.

lady wearing long black dreads

7. Didi

lady wearing didi hairstyle

The difference between didi and traditional cornrows is that you weave your hair as though you are doing it hair inside out. The result is an inverted cornrow which spurs hair growth.

lady wearing didi hairdo

8. Wig

lady wearing brown wig

This is also another protective hairstyle. When you wear a wig, you hardly manipulate your hair. You don’t even stress your hair or pull your edges. Furthermore, they make it possible for you to take care of your hair because you can always take it off.

lady wearing blond wig

 If you’re on low cut, simply wear your wig and get going. If your hair is long, braid it into three or four cornrows so the wig can sit perfectly without creating a bump on your head.

9. Shuku

lady rocking big shuku hairstyle

Shuku involves braiding your hair into cornrows to create an updo or a hump on your head. Once you’re on this style, you don’t have to stress yourself to restyle all the time. Simply decorate the hairdo with gold cuffs, beads and other accessories and you’re good to go.

lady wearing updo shuku hairstyle

10. Senegalese Twist

beautiful lady on long Senegalese twists

Senegalese twists are beautiful and easy to maintain just like every other protective style. They aren’t difficult to loosen and they don’t stress you to achieve too. All you have to do is to wrap strands of hair around each other for each section.

lady wearing gold twists

You either use your natural hair or hair extensions to do this style.

Whether your hair is relaxed or not, protective hairstyles are coiffures you should try out. However, if you’re a naturalista, you may have to straighten your hair before proceeding to braid it.

lady in blond protective hairstyle

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me. And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting. That aside, when I'm not writing copy or SEO content, I'm designing statement pieces for my fashion brand, Ria Kosher, crushing on Lucious Lyon, and writing wild stories that always come with a twist.

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