20 Protective Styling Ideas For Natural Hair

The kinky nature of our hair makes it susceptible to split ends, damage, and breakage. This is why the term "protective style" is a popular one in the natural hair community. Protective styling help to protect our hair from breakage or damage caused by the constant styling, combing, and manipulation of the hair.

What are protective styles?

Protective styles are hairstyles that keep the ends of your hair protected from exposure to weather conditions, breakage and shedding. Protective styles like braids or twists helps you avoid the constant manipulation of your hair, and in turn, retain hair length. 

If you're looking to give your natural hair some break to replenish and grow, keep reading to see some protective styles you can try.                               

What is the difference between protective styles and low manipulation styles?

Protective styles conceal the ends of our hair from damage that could be caused by styling, friction, or any environmental conditions. Low manipulation styles on the other hand are styles that require minimal styling and upkeep. There are styles like updo buns, low ponytails, or wash and go which requires less touching of the hair. 

How long should you keep in your protective styles?

The longer you keep in your protective styles, the more your hair accumulates build ups from products or chemicals, which could lead to scalp issues in the long run. It is recommend to take out your protective styles after 6-8 weeks of wearing them.

How do you maintain your protective styles?

While wearing protective styles is a great way to skip styling and combing the hair often, you need a hair routine to maintain them. Here are 3 ways you can maintain your protective styles.

1. Moisturize regularly: Since protective styles are aimed for the long term, you need to keep your natural hair moisturized at intervals. You could use a detangling moisturizer or a leave-in conditioner that is water-based to keep your scalp and the roots of your hair moisturized and refreshed.

2. Keep them long enough: You would be thwarting the purpose of wearing a protective style if you pull them down after a short while. At least, these styles should be carried for 4-5 weeks so your natural hair can have enough time to relax before you resume combing and styling. This also allows your hair to grow out during those weeks. 

3. Flaunt them: Since they would be worn for a long period, you have the freedom to re-style them as much as you want. Try out different styles while you go out for events, hangouts, or to the office.

20 Protective Styles for Natural Hair

For your next hair appointment, here are 20 kinds of protective styles you can try with your natural hair.

1. Box Braids

This style is super-versatile for styling and would keep heads turning in your direction. If well maintained, box braids can be kept in for 4 to 6 weeks.

Box braids

2. Knotless Box Braids

The beautiful thing about this style is how it is started off with your natural hair before hair extensions are added. This reduces the tension on your scalp, is more comfortable to wear, and prevents the chances of hair breakage. You can make your parts small or big, depending on your choice.

knotless braids

3. Bantu Knots

We'd like to call this style a 2-in-1 slay. Aside from wearing your Bantu knots as the picture below shows, when you unravel the knots, you reveal a head of curls that you can rock for another couple of days. You get Bantu knots and Bantu knot outs in one style.

Bantu knots

4. Double Braids

Consider this style as a quick go-to look, especially if you don't like to sit for long hours at the salon.

Double Braids

5. Faux Locs

The amazing thing about faux locs is that they protect your natural hair and look better, the longer you keep it in! If you rather not spend time getting your faux locs installed at the salon, our Nubian Goddess Faux Locs Wig can do the magic for you. It is light weight and super comfortable to wear. 

Faux Locs

6. Wavy Braids

You can choose to spice up your braid game with a wavy/curly braid style.

Wavy Braids

7. Cornrows

You can choose to go simple with cornrows and of course, a splash of accessories here and there. You can also make your cornrows with hair extensions for a longer look.


8. Ponytail

Ponytails give this extraordinary vibe that makes necks turn your way. The best part is that you can rock to anywhere, it looks good with everything!


9. Bob Braids

Bob braids are not just protective styles, they are also gorgeous styles that require low maintenance to rock them. You could also try this style with a wig extension.

Bob braids

10. Two-strand Twist

if you are looking for a style that has a tangle free, then you should try this out.

two strand twist

11. Senegalese Twist

This is another perfect choice to make if you are looking for a protective style that is both stylish and requires low maintenance.


Senegalese twists

12. Goddess Braid

These are oversized cornrows that add a classy spice to your look. You can either wear them with your natural hair or with extensions.

Goddess Braid

13. Faux Hawk

The best thing about this style is that it works for any hair type. Whether you have type 3C-4C hair, you will love the Faux Hawk hairstyle.


Faux Hawk

14. Hair Up-do

This style gives you the levity to flaunt your beautiful kinky curls. You could also wear this with an extension to add some length.

Updo ponytail

15. Space Buns

Space buns are an absolute beau. They showcase your edges in their full glory.

Space buns

16. Cornrows Ponytail

Cornrows are beautiful on their own. Now, imagine them as a ponytail. Stunning!

Cornrows ponytail

17. Flat Twists

Flat twists have been saving lives since forever! It's a hairstyle you can always count on for adequate protection of your natural hair.

Flat twists

18. Halo Braid

If you're looking for a style that is simple yet stunning, you have Halo braids to save the day. They are also another opportunity to flaunt your edges in style.

Halo braid

19. Clip-In Styles

Add volume and length to your hair while still protecting your kinky curls with Clip-in extensions.

Clip Ins

20. Fulani Braids

If you love bold and colourful, this is one cute hairstyle you should try.

Fulani braids