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12 Easy Protective Styles for Natural Hair

By Finlay Ferdinand -
10 ways to style your natural hair

Do split ends, single-strand knots and breakage keep you up at night? Have you been wishing for curls that are past shoulder length and full of bounce? Stay tuned, as we've got the hair care solution you need.

Protective hairstyles are your fast track to hair that's full of life. Allowing you to take a break from leave-in conditioners and chemical treatments, it's the hassle-free, mess-free method that gives you the chance to regain length and boost growth with minimal effort. Not to mention, there's a style that suits every mood, occasion and season, making it super easy to switch up your look accordingly.

In a bid to kickstart your hair S.O.S, we've put together 12 of the best protective styles for natural hair.


1. All The Buns

Whether you're going to work, school or just the supermarket, the simple bun is a classic. High buns, low buns, two buns: they're all protective styles that are beneficial for natural hair. All you have to do is make sure the bun is not too tight and that you’re using a snag-free hair band.

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2. Bantu Knots

Bantu knots are the super cute easy protective style for natural hair. Working on all lengths, from short to long, it's created by sectioning, twisting and wrapping strands, so that your hair is eventually stacked in a spiral knot. Be careful not to twist too tightly though, as this can cause tension and breakage. When you're ready to undo your knots, expect restored and revived curls to bounce. Enhance them with the much-loved product below!

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3. Two Strand Twists

This style is super cute, easy and can be done by anyone. Simply take two sections of hair and twist, making sure to choose equal amounts each time for a neat result. This style easily lasts up to two weeks and gives your locks a break from over-manipulation. YouTuber Bri Hall recently did a tutorial for her mini twists and look how beautifully she carries this chic style!

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4. Flat Twists

If your cornrow skills aren't quite up to scratch, then flat twists might soon become your go-to style. You can achieve a vast range of looks by flat twisting your hair and all you need to do is stay close to your scalp and twist – it's that simple. Whether it's a chic halo or sophisticated and intricate low bun like the style below, we're certain you'll love this one.

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5. Faux Ponytail

If you want to glam up a regular bun, why not get yourself a faux ponytail? You can choose a bundle of curls, a sleek and straight pony or channel Queen B and rock a long plaited braid. This is a super simple way to spice up your regular look and get in touch with your inner Instagram baddie. Pins and grips are a great way to keep your pony firmly in place and if you want more info, check out our hair extensions guide!

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6. Braids (But Not Micro Braids)

A favorite of the natural hair community, braids are super simple and incredibly long lasting, especially when done right. But braids that are too small, although cute, are not so protective unless you like your edges being snatched – and not in the good way. Choosing box braids over a micro braids allows you to protect and moisturize your hair and care for your scalp, all while serving a beautiful Janet Jackson Poetic Justice look.

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7. Marley Twists

Much like box braids, hair extensions are great for Marley Twists. The kinky Marley hair gives you a more natural-looking twist and so much more length. This is a personal favorite of ours, especially when hair reaches that awkward growing phase. It's easy to do yourself (after watching enough YouTube videos) and looks amazing when styled with hair accessories. You'll be able to do a range of styles with Marley Twists and keep you hair hydrated and scalp healthy.

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8. Hair Wraps

Hands down the easiest protective style: just choose a silky or non-stripping headscarf and make a cute turban that’s super chic and minimal. All you have to do is mold the scarf how you want, pop on some fabulous earrings and voila! Even if you're having a bad hair day, a hair wrap has you covered.

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9. Wigs

Wigs are popular at the moment, which is unsurprising considering some of the impeccable artistry that goes into them. They're not just for looking good, though – they're also great at protecting your natural hair. Just cornrow, fit the wig on top and style as desired. Then when you get home, enjoy the true advantage of being able to fling that wig off - spritz it with some detangler to prep for the next day- and give your scalp some air.

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10. Crochet Braids

Another favorite of mine is the very versatile crochet braid. With this technique you can get braids, twists, faux locs or a cute curly 'do. All you need is to cornrow and, using a crochet pin, crochet your chosen braiding hair through your natural hair. Just make sure you haven't picked extensions that are too heavy or you'll risk breakage – go for something light and enjoy an amazing style that protects the natural locks beneath.


11. Ghana Braids

Ghana braids are fabulous, easy to maintain and add more glamor than regular cornrows. This style tucks away your natural hair by entwining it with braiding hair, giving you a sleek, long, luxurious finish. All you need to do is complete your look with neat and sleek edges. Whether you want two braids, four braids, more braids or a braid updo – Ghana braids got you!

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12. Halo Braid

Style your hair to showcase the queen that you are. The halo braid is the faux crown that every girl needs to try, at least once! Whether you choose to be casual with it or incorporate other braiding techniques or hair accessories, it's a winner when it comes to style, comfort and protection.

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So there you have it: 12 tress-transforming, strand-saving hairstyles to keep your hair tucked away from harsh environmental aggressors and help you avoid unnecessary breakage. These flawless hairstyles are perfect for the naturals out there and will have you singing Solange while you duck the hands of your admirers.