40 Best Protective Hairstyles Black Women in 2023

Protective hairstyles for black hair
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Cindy Marcus
Cindy Marcus Hairstylist, Editor-in-Chief

Protective hairstyles are any hairstyle that keeps your natural hair from exposure to the sun, heat, and other damaging agents. A hassle-free look to refresh your image? Win your hair game with a multi-use hairstyle!

Topping the list are the box braids, crochet braids, wigs, and twists. From uncomplicated to detailed braids, micro to jumbo plaits, there are many chic ideas on how to style and protect your natural strands.

Your favorite celebrity fashion figures, Solange Knowles, Keke Palmer, Angela Simmons, and Tessa Thompson, just rocked their versions of a protective hairstyle. They made all of us head over heels! These black women’s hairstyles look way better than their original versions with new and improved modern styling and braiding techniques.

One more thing to love about protective hairstyles for black women is how low maintenance they are. By keeping your scalp moisturized and religiously doing the correct hair care routine, your braids will feel fresh and healthy for a long time.

If you’re in serious desire of more inspiration, forget your worries! Give these extra trendy protective hairstyles a shot.

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Protective Beautiful Long Hair with Braids
Instagram @beautyspaceke

#1: Beautiful Long Hair with Braids

Beautiful long hair with braids can easily be executed without synthetic braid hair! One of the most exciting things as a braider is to be given creative control. This way, I can design a freestyle from time to time. Ladies who receive braids without braid hair should be prepared to limit water exposure and consistently tie down at night. Ask your braider what product is best for moisture and style retention at home.

#2: Casual and Low-Maintenance

When wanting to protect your hair, a casual and low-maintenance hairstyle is desired. The bun hawk hairstyle allows you to keep your hair safe and still look stylish for a night out, a weekend of fun, or a day at the office.

#3: Slayed Twists

These slayed twists are on fire! Plan to get to the salon and ask your stylist for this look ASAP if you can stand the heat.

#4: Unique Braided Design for Long Hair

Are you a Black woman looking for a protective hairstyle to keep your long hair healthy and stylish? You may want to try a unique braided design that features intricate patterns. This chic hairstyle can be worn differently, like a loose high ponytail or half-up half-down style. It also provides protection for your natural hair, preventing damage from daily styling. This braided design can last several weeks with the right care and maintenance. It will give your hair a low-maintenance yet classy look.

#5: Flat Twists and Faux Locs

If you want something easy on tension but different, consider merging flat twists and faux locs. When you don’t have an expert in locs, several braid hair lines have made crochet replicas of faux locs. This way, the install is consistent and fast without requiring much skill. Opt for 2-strand flat twists as opposed to standard flat twists. Two strand twists create a rope effect that allows for longevity.

Protective Braided Long Hairstyle for black ladies with extra long hair
Instagram @b_classicsalon

#6: Protective Braided Long Hair

Black women with long hair! You know the challenge of keeping your long hair healthy in a braided protective style. One solution to this problem is a braided hairstyle that safeguards your hair. You can get long-flowing braids that fall down your back. When you aim for healthy hair in your braids, avoid braiding your hair too tightly. This can cause hair breakage and damage.

#7: Sexy Ghana Braids with Cuffs

Protective styles for black women are essential to keep our hair healthy and strong. Rocking sexy Ghana braids with cuffs is one of the most popular options. These braids provide protection for natural hair. It minimizes heat and environmental factors from directly contacting your natural hair. Adding cuffs to the braids helps elevate the look even more, creating a trendy and unique style. To keep your hair safe from damage, avoid keeping the braids in after six to eight weeks.

Stunning Ghana Braids Protective Hairstyle
Instagram @voazin_atelier

#8: Stunning Ghana Braids

Colorful stunning Ghana braids are a top choice for vacation hair! Perfect for low maintenance while enjoying the water and sun-filled activities. These uniquely designed braids are great for almost any texture and age. Ask your braider for some hair jewelry and added length so that you can wear your hair in different styles. Braid the ends, dip in hot water for crinkles on some days, and switch up the clasps and jewels to fit your attire.

Protective Gorgeous Braids with a Middle Part
Instagram @hairpreto2022

#9: Gorgeous Braids with a Middle Part

This gorgeous braided protective style with a middle part is perfect for any face shape. It will give you a chic and timeless look when styled correctly and maintained regularly. It’s best to tell your braider about the size of your desired parts and the length that works best for you.

Middle-parted protective styles for black hair frame your face nicely. It gives you confidence as well as protection from heat damage or breakage. This style can be worn for weeks if you can properly keep up with at-home maintenance. It’s both timely and cost-effective for the busiest of lifestyles.

#10: Awesome Kinky Braids

Kinky braids into a ponytail have endless designs for the young woman who isn’t afraid of freestyle. You can opt for designs such as Iversons, fishbones, crisscross, or anything exciting! However, if you have weak edges, I advise you to avoid a braided ponytail and wait until they’ve strengthened.

#11: Amazing Braids with Relaxed Long Curls

Get into these amazing braids with relaxed long curls if you need a spicy braid style. My best advice is to use a human hair blend for the wavy ends instead of synthetic hair. While it’s a little more expensive, you must be able to manage and refine the ends for the duration of the style. Synthetic hair will only frizz and mat, while human hair can be styled and withstand heat and product.

#12: Side-Swept Braids

Rock side-swept braids with a bob for a lightweight, protective style. I suggest traditional box braids instead of knotless braided hair to help the style look full. This also makes a great option for protective black hairstyles if you need to cover a side with weak or challenged edges.

#13: Tribal Cornrows with a High Bun

Cornrows with a high bun have endless design elements for women wanting unique hair. I strongly advise that you only seek this type of braid style if your hair and edges are full and healthy. For women living an active lifestyle, you’ll get to move around freely with your hair out of the way.

#14: Sexy Tribal Cornrows

Rock some sexy tribal cornrows if you want to step outside the typical tribal parting design. Freestyle designs have become more popular with this style. You can wear your hair in all different designs. Ask your braider to change the design with a monthly touch-up if you need to switch it up.

#15: Unique Braids and Bubble Ponytails

Get into these unique braids and bubble ponytails to make a statement! The easiest way to achieve the bubbles is by using kanekalon braid hair for the whole style. With such cute protective hairstyles, I recommend sleeping with a satin pillowcase or satin bonnet for the best upkeep.

#16: Trendy Braids for Long Hair

Consider getting trendy braids for your long hair if you’re excited about trying a new style. Don’t be afraid to ask for a freestyle design; your hair will look exciting and may set off another braid trend!

#17: Amazing High Bun with Braids, Bangs, and Pink Tips

Such an exciting hair design for the electrifying woman, an amazing high bun with braids, bangs, and pink tips! One of my favorite options to discuss is the different ombré color ends to add to the braid style. To deliver the most seamless ombré ends, you will likely need to use braid hair that is already dark at the roots and fades into color. This avoids a choppy look from attempting to add color manually ends into dark braid hair.

#18: Amazing Long Hair with a Sleek Top

You can have amazing long hair with a sleek top in a ponytail on your long natural hair. Choosing this particular style will require straightening of your natural hair and some sculpting. One of the biggest advantages of sculpting is that it keeps the style set in place for some time when done correctly.

Your stylist will help you determine what hair extensions are needed to achieve the style unless your hair is long and curly! But surely, these protective styles with extensions give you enough confidence as much as when you wear your natural hair.

#19: Thread Twist Bob

A unique protective style that tends to last longer than traditional twists is a thread twist bob. A technique executed primarily by African braiders, using thread to wrap in a particular fashion down the hair section results in neat and consistent twists. To avoid having to re-twist frequently, the threading technique is quite helpful in providing longevity. Remember to seek an African Braid salon if you are interested in this technique.

#20: Marley Twists

Marley twists have been a protective style for many ages, a classic soft protective style for black women. However, the biggest drawback of this is that it must be installed with non-human hair. This makes it limited to different styling options. But keeping a satin or silk scarf covering them at night or during the downtime will prevent them from getting frizzy.

Intricate Braids with a Curly Top Protective Hairstyle
Instagram @beautyspaceke

#21: Intricate Braids with a Curly Top

If you’re not afraid of something spicy for your hair, try getting intricate braids with a curly top. Similar to a mohawk, this style calls for the creative minds of braid stylists. One of the best ways to accurately set this style is to section all parts before braiding, as I do so that I can see the design and layout before I begin to create. You can achieve this mohawk look on medium and long hair simply with the help of bobby pins and some spritz.

#22: Neat and Classic

A neat and classic braid style that goes back many decades and continues to be a hot style today: box braids! These are flattering braided hairstyles for black girls. Great for almost all hair textures and lengths, this braid style is always an easy go-to because of its versatility in styling. If you want to, you can achieve this look in every size, from micro to jumbo.

One of the best ways to get even more versatility in styling is using a kanekalon fiber braid hair. I use this particular fiber so that I, and the client at home, can hot water dip and re-dip the ends for curls, crinkles, and smooth straight ends.

Damali Twists Protective Hairstyle
Instagram @hairbyclipperz

#23: Damali Twists

When you’re seeking a protective style that’s easy to install, consider Damali twists. If you can braid your natural hair down or ask your braider for a simple braid down, the installation can be completed quickly! Once installed and styled, if you want, you can untwist them and wear your crochet twists in a big faux afro.

Butterfly Locs Protective Hairstyle
Instagram @glam_style_ht

#24: Butterfly Locs

Try to get into these beautiful butterfly locs! A jazzed-up version of standard faux locs, the texture softens the look for women wanting something more gentle in their styling. One of the biggest drawbacks is that this is not a DIY technique, so be sure to visit a specialist in braiding and faux loc installation to have this look achieved.

Protective Grey High Bun
Instagram @kakulahaircare

#25: Protective Grey High Bun

A high bun is a good reserved go-to protective style for older women with gray hair. One of the easiest ways to set the bun is by twisting the locs in this style towards the center and then wrapping them into a bun. Your aging hair can become more stubborn, so it’s best to choose styles that don’t require a lot of manipulation, such as a bun.

protective crown twist with chignon
Instagram @stylesbymichal

#26: Crown Twist with Chignon

Pull off a crown twist with a chignon and feel the glamour it gives off! With sophistication, this protective hairstyle is sure to provide a royal vibe. It isn’t complete without the silver cuffs, which add instant sparkles to the locks.

protective halo braid style
Instagram @deecarrington

#27: Halo Braids

Accessorize your black curls with a chic halo braid style like this one. The streak of a caramel blonde shade adds subtle vividness to the braid. It looks pretty and will suit either your casual outfits or sophisticated ones, for sure!

low twisted protective bun
Instagram @amourjah

#28: Low Twisted Bun

Give feed-in braids a go if you need a new protective style to wear. Get that long black hair to achieve this gorgeous low twisted bun. The plaits offer a neat, intricate design on the scalp so that you can stand out from the rest. Remember to moisturize your scalp with oil or grease to avoid dryness.

protective fulani braids with beads hairstyle
Instagram @chikodix

#29: Fulani Braids with Beads

Very stylish, indeed! Sport a lovely protective style like these Fulani braids with beads for a dramatic finish. Opt for a long length that reaches the waist to flaunt different styles like a half-up look.

protective pineapple updo style
Instagram @badu.naturals

#30: Pineapple Updo

Never be afraid to go the extra with your chosen protective hairstyle! This pineapple updo for African-American women features twisted braids on the scalp. It works great on your thick black hair to maintain this lovely updo’s fullness and shape. When going out, use a dry texture spray for a long-lasting hold.

#31: Braided Faux Hawk

Try this edgy braided faux hawk, and you’ll be an eye-catcher soon! It’s a high-contrast look where sides are neat with braids, and hair on top and nape is voluminous and defined. Pops of golden brown hue on your black locks can bring extra brightness to this protective style.

#32: Side-Parted Twists

Have you got stubborn thick, black hair? Sure, you’ll love this shoulder-grazing hairstyle! These chic side-parted twists can protect your mane while providing a trendy look. Take good care of your scalp and keep it moisturized with oil.

#33: Flat Protective Twists

These flat protective twists offer an intricate design that makes a neat, lovely updo. Your black hair and its texture can uplift the fullness of such a look. Here’s a tip—spritz on a hydrating curl spray to keep your locks looking healthy.

protective mohawk braid hairstyle
Instagram @dr_kami

#34: Chick Mohawk Braid

You know you can slay such an excellent look if you’re blessed with black coils! This chick mohawk braid gives an edgy impression without you having to shave your sides. Opt for this trend if you want a neat updo that works great with your natural glam.

Protective Side Twists
Instagram @baje_hair

#35: Protective Side Twists

This protective side twists hairstyle offers an intricate pattern on the scalp. It’s best on black locks for a neater edge, keeping the length at the shoulders for easy maintenance. Remember that when you wear it, always moisturize your scalp with oil or grease.

cornrow protective hairstyle
Instagram @evanitystudio

#36: Cornrow Updo

Revamp your everyday protective hairstyle, and explore a new one! This is the best cornrow updo to flaunt such a flattering look with braids on your black hair.

protective box braids for short natural hair
Instagram @hairbyeuri

#37: Natural Short Box Braids

Here comes one of the trendiest protective styles for your black curls! Pull off natural short box braids styles, and be proud of your dense hair. Attach a few gold cuffs for a little embellishment and vividness, too.

Protective Box Braids
Instagram @braidsbykachi

#38: Protective Box Braids

Such an exquisite look that won’t leave the trend list no matter what! Adding length to your locks and letting you try out new colors are what these protective box braids can do. This trend requires minimal upkeep while allowing your natural curls to grow healthy. With all these benefits plus its classic beauty, what else could you ask for?

protective natural bun updo
Instagram @tscottjn

#39: Natural Bun Updo

Featuring a hairstyle that doesn’t only protect your kinks but also offers edginess! For a black girl, protective hairstyles that feature a natural bun updo with an undercut and shaved lines are sure to give your locks their best form. Wear your best earrings and makeup because that’s how you complete your bold revamp.

#40: Senegalese Twists

Need to avoid everyday styling? If so, the perfect time to wear these gorgeous Senegalese twists on your natural black hair. Take a break from heat-styling tools; this look can grant you the same elegance. Do you want long hair with hints of red? You can now achieve your desired outcome without damaging your locks.

This style is called Senegalese twists. My favorite thing about these black protective hairstyles is that they’re versatile. You can style this look in many ways, and it fits any face shape. Ensure you properly cover your hair for bedtime with a bonnet or headscarf. This will help the style last longer. Any hair type can get the style.

Black Hair