Protective hairstyles are any hairstyle that keeps your natural hair away from being exposed 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 exist a ton of 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 own versions of a protective hairstyle, and made all of us head over heels! With new and improved modern styling and braiding techniques, these hairstyles are looking way better than their original versions.
One more thing to love about protective hairstyles for black women is how low maintenance they are. By keeping your scalp moisturized and doing the correct hair care routine religiously, your braids are certain to 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.
#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: 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, criss cross, or whatever is exciting! However, if you have weak edges, I advise you to avoid a braided ponytail and wait until they’ve strengthened.
#3: Amazing Braids with Relaxed Long Curls
Get into these amazing braids with relaxed long curls if you’re needing a spicy braid style. My best advice is to use human hair blend for the wavy ends as opposed to 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, stand heat, and product.
#4: Side-Swept Braids
Rock side-swept braids with a bob for a lightweight protective style. I suggest traditional box braids as opposed to knotless braids to help the style look full. This is also a good style option if you need to cover a side with weak or challenged edges.
#5: 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.
#6: Sexy Tribal Cornrows
Rock some sexy tribal cornrows if you want to step outside of 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.
#7: Unique Braids and Bubble Ponytails
Get into these unique braids and bubble ponytails if you’re wanting to make a statement! The easiest way to achieve the bubbles is by using kanekalon braid hair for the whole style. I recommend that you sleep with a satin pillowcase or satin bonnet for the best upkeep.
#8: Trendy Braids for Long Hair
Think about 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, as your hair will look exciting and may set off another braid trend!
#9: 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 manually add color ends into dark braid hair.
#10: 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, when done correctly, it keeps the style set in place for some time. Your stylist will help you determine what type of hair extensions are needed to achieve the style unless your hair is already long and curly!
#11: 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, the use of 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’re interested in this technique.
#12: Marley Twists
Marley twists have been around as a protective style for many ages, a classic soft protective style for black women. The biggest drawback of this, however, 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 downtime will ensure that they keep from getting frizzy.
#13: 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.
#14: Neat and Classic
A neat and classic braid style that goes back many decades and continues to be a hot style today: box braids! 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 by 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.
#15: 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 in no time! Once installed and styled, if you want, you can untwist them and wear your crochet twists in a big faux afro.
#16: 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.
#17: Protective Grey High Bun
For older women with gray hair, a high bun is a good reserved go-to protective style. 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.
#18: 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.
#19: 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 on the braid. It looks pretty and will suit either your casual outfits or sophisticated ones, for sure!
#20: Low Twisted Bun
Give feed-in braids a go if you need a new protective style to wear. Get that long and 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.
#21: 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 so that you can flaunt different styles like a half-up look.
#22: Pineapple Updo
Never be afraid to go extra with your chosen protective hairstyle! This pineapple updo for African-American women features twisted braids on the scalp. It works great on your black, thick hair to maintain the fullness and shape of this lovely updo. When going out, use a dry texture spray for a long-lasting hold.
#23: Braided Faux Hawk
Try this edgy braided faux hawk, and you’ll be an eye-catcher in no time! 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 carry out extra brightness to this protective style.
#24: Side-Parted Twists
Got stubborn thick, black hair? Sure, you’ll love this shoulder-grazing hairstyle! These chic side-parted twists can protect mane while providing you with a trendy look. Take good care of your scalp and keep it moisturized with oil.
#25: Flat Protective Twists
These flat protective twists offer an intricate design that makes a neat, lovely updo. Your black hair and its texture are what can uplift the fullness of such a look. Here’s a tip—spritz on a hydrating curl spray to keep your locks looking healthy.
#26: 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.
#27: 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. Don’t forget that when you wear it, always moisturize your scalp with oil or grease.
#28: 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.
#29: Natural Short Box Braids
Here comes one of the trendiest protective styles for your black curls! Pull off these natural short box braids, and be proud of your dense hair. Attach a few gold cuffs for a little embellishment and vividness, too.
#30: 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 really ask for?
#31: Natural Bun Updo
Featuring a hairstyle that doesn’t only protect your kinks, but also offers edginess! This natural bun updo with an undercut and shaved lines is sure to give your black hair its best form. Wear your best earrings and makeup because that’s how you complete your bold revamp.
#32: Senegalese Twists
Too tired of 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 as this look can grant you the same elegance. Wanting the long hair with hints of red? You can now achieve your desired outcome without damaging your locks.
Q&A with style creator, Britteany Moore
Braider @ Hair by Britteany in Las Vegas, NV
How would you describe this look?
This style is called Senegalese twists. My favorite thing about this look is that it is versatile. You can style this look in so many ways, and it fits any face shape.
Any advice for someone considering it?
Make sure you properly cover hair for bedtime with a bonnet or headscarf. This will help the style last longer. Any hair type can get the style.