Looking for ways to minimize hair damage? Want to switch up your look? A protective hairstyle may be exactly what you need. From classics like box braids to trendy styles like Bantu knots, these protective styles protect your mane and provide a fun, fresh new look.
Below, we unpack tried-and-true methods to preserve natural hair health and encourage length retention.
What Is a Protective Hairstyle?
If you guessed a style that protects your hair, you’d be right. Those with naturally wavy, curly, and kinky tresses often wear low-manipulation hairstyles to keep their strands moisturized. In the natural hair community, we call these hairdos protective styles.
Protective styles shield your ends from harsh weather and other elements that cause breakage.
Benefits of a Protective Hairstyle for Natural Hair
There are so many benefits to protective hairstyles for natural hair. Check them out below:
Ideal for Every Season
Some curly girls save protective styling for vacations and summer weather, but most of us wear protective styles all year long. Scorching temps dry out natural hair, chilly months weaken strands, and humidity makes tresses frizzy and unpredictable.
The takeaway? There’s never a bad time to use protective styling.
Welcome to the land of rolling out of bed with your ‘do done! If you’re not a morning person, protective styles are made for you. Ditch the days of not knowing what to do with your tresses. Installing faux locs, braids, twists, and other styles gives you time to sleep in. So, go ahead, hit snooze.
Sleek ponytails, flat ironing, and curling your hair are high manipulation styles that impact growth. Not to mention the fact that everyday styling can lead to dryness and cause knots and tangles. If you want length retention, low maintenance styles are the way to go.
Here’s the secret to natural hair length retention: don’t touch your hair. We’re not kidding. When you allow your hair to rest for weeks at a time without a comb, brush, or products, your ends are less likely to break off.
When your hair isn’t in a protective style, it may get dry and brittle. Maintain optimum moisture by conditioning your roots and ends with a lightweight, hydrating product.
Different Types of Protective Styles
Knotless Box Braids
It’s not hard to see why the knotless technique has blown up recently. Taking a new-age spin on the classic box braids, knotless box braids start with your hair (instead of extensions) at the root to eliminate scalp tension. For best results, use the entire Vitale Perfect Braid collection. With the right care, knotless braids will last up to 8 weeks.
Lace Front Wig
This low manipulation style can be as versatile and fun as you want. Human hair wigs can be an investment, but they provide maximum protection with no tension. Prevent thinning and breakage in this style with 4-in-1 Gro Serum.
Faux Locs are a must-have in your protective style rotation. Here’s how you get the look: apply a moisturizing product like Vitale Anti-Breakage Leave-In Conditioner before braiding hair into plaits. Then with a latch hook crochet needle, attach a premade loc to your braid and wrap until your plait is covered.
Crochet braids are a style that uses a latch hook crochet needle to slipknot faux braids to cornrows. With simple installation and absolute versatility, you can crochet nearly any style to your cornrows. Don’t forget to use a product like Vitale Virgin Hair Oil to lock in moisture.
Marley twists use Marley hair extensions to create a fluffy, two-strand, natural finish. This style is named after reggae legend Bob Marley, who wore freeform locs. Before installing this versatile, low-maintenance ‘do, apply Hawaiian Silky Oil Moisturizer 7-in-1 from ends to roots.
The perfect mix of playful and chic, Bantu knots are styled by sectioning hair into 1 to 2-inch sections, then twisting those sections around themselves—forming small knots. This style tends to last 2 weeks. For best results, use Wonder Gro Bergamot Hair & Scalp Conditioner with Shea Butter.
Cornrows + Faux Pony
Get the best of both worlds with this style. Braiding cornrows into a faux pony gives you a sleek style with plenty of personality. If you want a commitment-free protective style, this one’s for you. Be sure to braid with Wonder Gro Bergamot Hair & Scalp Conditioner with Shea Butter, and for flawless edges, try our Pretty Edges Jamaican Black Castor.
Protect Your Natural Hair
Protective styling is about ensuring your hair is in optimum condition for maximum growth. Use our lineup of hair care products to give you a healthier crown.
Considering one of these protective hairstyles for your natural curls? We want to see it. Tag us on Instagram using #TeamAFAM.