21 Easy Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair [With Images]

Easy Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair

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If you’re looking for ideas on some of the best protective hairstyles for black women, you’re in the right place. Whether your hair is long or short. Whether you’ve natural hair or relaxed hair 4a, 4b or 4c hair, we’re a protective style that’ll inspire and suit your needs. 🙂

Before we dive in and check out these awesome styles, let’s just do a quick definition check.

What Exactly Is A Protective Hairstyle? And When Do Black Women Need To Protect Their Hair?

It’s said that protective styles are mostly about protecting the ends of your hair. The ends are the most fragile part of your hair strands, being the oldest and the most subjected to dyeing, relaxing, heat styling, and exposure in general. When you tuck your ends away, it helps to decrease shedding, tangling, and breakage. So a protective style should hide your ends from direct exposure and keep them detangled and pristine. Easy examples of this would be a bun, or a wig.

Now, that sounds simple, right?

But it gets a little more complicated.

Whether a style counts as protective or not depends on other things, too. For example, a bun pulled back super tight with harsh hair products like gels and hairsprays used to keep flyaways down probably isn’t going to cut it. And while weaves are often thought of as a protective style, a super tight braid underneath the sew in isn’t going to do you any favors. Yes, your ends may be protected, but what about the rest of your hair? Beautiful ends aren’t going to be any use if your hair’s falling out at the root!

The best news is you can be super stylish while protecting your ends from damage. You don’t have to stick to the same old styles you always fall back on. We’ve collected some of our favorite protective styles from Instagram for awesome hair inspiration. Let’s dive in!

Examples Of Braided Protective Hairstyles

Braids, braids, braids, everything braids! We’ve picked out some hot braided styles from Instagram that will keep your ends protected.

Jumbo Braids

Jumbo braids protective style for black women, possibly with relaxed hair

Wow, we just love these jumbo braids. First, they’re awesome because they look great, of course. Second, because you’re not spending a thousand hours getting tiny little braids done. Third, they’re so versatile. If you want to wear them hanging loose, that’s cool, or up in a bun like the girl in the picture above. Ponytails, buns, even braided braids. Whatever you want, you can do.

Ghana Braids

Ghana braids protective style for natural 4c hair

Ghana braids, or feeder braids, are an awesome protective style if you want to look after the roots of your hair as well as the ends. Because the extension hair is added slowly throughout the braid, it puts less pressure on the front of your hair. We love the electric fuchsia color they’ve used in this salon, but you could use your natural color or just about any other color you wanted.

Braids Into Twisted Mohawk

Twisted mohawk protective style for black women

Is this braids or twists? Well, it’s both really, but we had to pick one, so we put it in with the braids category. We just love how the twists look as they’re curved over into the mohawk. You could also let them loose for a wilder look. This salon certainly have done a good job, and we could see this style fitting in at the office, at the club, at the church… Wherever.

Rainbow Braids

Natural 4c rainbow braids protective style

Aww, isn’t she sweet? She sure looks happy, and if we were wearing this style, we would, too. If you’re all about setting trends and standing out from the crowd with bold looks, this could be your next style.

Unicorn hair protective style

This Instagrammer has got yarn braids installed, and calls it ‘UNICORN HAIR!’ This is an awesome protective style for the self employed, because we’re not sure we’d ever be able to pull that off at the office! However, it remains awesomer than awesome for those who want to make a real candy-coated statement.

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