What are protective hairstyles?

What are protective hairstyles?

What are protective hairstyles? Whether you want to do a protective hairstyle in order to take a break or to switch things up, anything is possible with protective hairstyling. You can add length, change your hair color, and more.

Not only does it benefit the health of your hair, but it allows you to spend less time worrying about your beautiful tresses and gives you more time to enjoy whatever it is you want to do.


What are protective hairstyles ?

There’s is a little hint in the name. The name gives away what it does which is to protect the hair. As you know, your hair grows from the root end will eventually end up at the end of your hair. This means that your ends are the oldest part of your hair resulting in them being more fragile. In order to protect them, you can keep them tucked away in different types of hairstyles such as braids, twists, locs, wigs, crochet hair, and cornrows.

Rather than manipulating and leaving the hair and leaving it exposed to harsh conditions, protective hairstyles help to limit the tear that goes through when done correctly. It’s also believed to promote hair growth and I can see why it may seem that way.

On average, your hair grows ½ inches a month. If it breaks off at the same time, it may seem like your hair isn’t growing at all. The truth is your hair is still growing however, certain practices that you do on your natural hair may not allow you to retain length. This is a great benefit that protective hairstyles provide, length retention.

Braiding your hair in January taking it out in March will definitely reveal the inches you’ve gained throughout the months. Although, 3 months is quite a long time.

How to take care of protective hairstyles?

I may have mentioned that protective hairstyling will give you a break from your hair. Of course, that doesn’t mean you get to neglect your hair. You will still need to moisturize your hair and take care of your scalp as your hair is in a protective hairstyle.

Prepping your type 4 hair

First, make sure to prep your hair for a protective hairstyle by properly washing and moisturizing your type 4 hair. Another tip I would like to share is to make sure that the protective hairstyle you’re getting won’t pull on your hair strand. I’ve seen it happen many times where women complain about having pain for the first few days on their scalp and where you can visibly see the stress that has been put on their hair cuticles. It’s important that you’re comfortable with what you’re getting and that you get to enjoy the hairstyle.

Don’t leave your protective hairstyle in for too long as it can cause more bad than good. You can do different things to maintain the hairstyle so that it will go a long way. Most would recommend that you keep your protective hairstyle in for 1 to 3 months. Just like with your natural hair, you can tie your protective hairstyles at night with a satin scarf. This will make the hairstyle last longer as it will slow down the hair getting rough.

What are protective hairstyles?

The 5 most popular protective hairstyles for natural hair

  • Box Braids
  • Twists
  • Cornrows
  • Wigs
  • Crochet hair

Box Braids

Box braids are a protective hairstyle that has been around a long time. Your hair is sectioned in boxes (square or round) and braided. Usually, braiding hair extensions are added to your own natural hair. This hairstyle can be worn for 6-8 weeks depending on how the hairstyle is kept.



This protective hairstyle is an all-time favorite amongst naturals. Your hair is sectioned in either round or boxed sections before being twisted with 2 strands. This hairstyle is done a lot with natural hair but braiding hair can be added.



Unlike braids, with cornrows, the hair is braided very close to the scalp. When your hair is sectioned, it can be done in various different ways. This protective hairstyle can range from simple to very creative patterns. Like most protective styles, this can be done with just your own hair or with added braiding hair. Cornrows can last for 4-6 weeks depending on how you maintain the hair. Other factors such as the size of the braids and hair growth also matter.



Wigs are considered protective because it keeps the hair tucked away. This hair accessory, usually goes on top of hair that has been braid down. You can also tie the hair down if you don’t want to commit to wearing wigs. Depending on your budget you can buy a wig with synthetic fibers or human hair which will determine how long the style will last.


Crochet hair

Crochet hair is a protective hairstyle where a latch hook is used to add synthetic hair to your natural hair. Usually, the hair is braided down but this is a protective hairstyle that is extremely versatile. If kept well, this hairstyle can last you 8 weeks.


No matter the protective hairstyle you choose, make sure you don’t neglect your hair. By not taking the proper steps to keep your hair and scalp healthy, you might as well scratch the word protective from the term protective hairstyles.