African-American Hair

50 Wonderful Protective Styles for Afro-Textured Hair!

natural hair bun with hair accessories

Protective styles can become an essential factor in caring for your afro-textured hair. If you have this natural hair texture, you are well aware of the challenges it imposes.

Reduce hair stress in more ways than one and do so with some help from any of these alluring protective styles – so scroll to discover them all!

1. Chignon Protective Styles for Natural Hair

If you are one of the fortunate ladies who have succeeded in growing out their natural locks, this style is a must! After properly relaxing your hair, twist the sides and tuck the ends in a safe and stylish chignon.

2. Faux Locs

Dreadlocks are a beloved hairstyle, but we all know how much long-term damage they can cause. For a more gentle approach with a similar visual impact, consider faux locs instead. They look ravishing and are a great protective style as well!

3. Protective Hairstyles for Hair Growth

If your aim is to grow back your natural hair, you should only consider protective styles that put as little strain as possible on your locks. For instance, this twisted crown hairstyle is nowhere near tight so it should not cause hair breakage.

4. Havana Twists

For a tropical island gal look, Havana twists can easily become your next hairstyle! They are made of a two-strand twist that, in this case, gracefully flows from a dreamy hairdo. The brown balayage goes to complete the look.

5. Protective Styles for Short Natural Hair

There are several protective hairstyles that you can wear even if you are still at the beginning of your regrowth journey and still have rather short hair. For example, consider going for flat twists or even some half flat twists that end in cute curls.

6. Protective Hairstyles for Transitioning Hair

Similar to the abovementioned hairstyle, this look mixes flat twists with adorable corkscrew curls – and all on short curly pixie hairstyle. It’s an exceptional way to protect the locks while transitioning to natural hair.

7. Box Braids

As far as braided hairstyles for African-American women are concerned, box braids are easily in the Top 3 most beloved list. They come with a myriad of benefits: you can vary their width and also make them on any hair types and lengths.

8. Ghana Braids

Ghana braids are yet another very endearing protective hairstyle besides box braids. This jumbo version is undoubtedly eye-catching – partly thanks to their thickness. In the example above, they were also styled in a high ponytail that falls over one shoulder.

9. TWA Protective Styles

The Teeny Weeny Afro, or TWA for short, is one of the first major steps in embracing natural hair. After undergoing the BC (Big Chop), you can start growing your afro curls. To protect them throughout the transition, consider going for this hairstyle.

10. Half Up Twists

Twisted braids are a dream come true in terms of afro-textured hair care. They are part of the loose braids category – meaning that they won’t distress your hair any further. The high twist updo is also just one of the many great ways to wear them.

11. Protective Hairstyles Braids

Speaking of braids, this photo proves our point in the most beautiful way possible. Although there’s a long road to getting natural hair with this length, you can still perfectly protect your locks with extensions in this style.

12. Goddess Braids

Women with bold personalities will simply adore goddess braids! These big, breathtaking, and brilliantly safe braids will surely make you stand out! Also, the metallic bead accessories are super stylish and one of the prominent elements of Fulani braids – which were probably the source of inspiration.

13. Nubian Twists

If you’re all for spring coil locks, then Nubian twists are the protective styles for you! After getting these braids in place, you will enjoy a unique texture that will make raking your hands through your hair a real pleasure.

14. Flat Twist Protective Style

We can’t stress enough how significant flat twists are among protective styles. The photo above goes to show a full flat twist on natural hair that helps delicately protect your locks from any harm – including heat damage.

15. Protective Hairstyles for Relaxed Hair

Once your natural hair grows long (or even your protective one) there is an entire world of infinite styling possibilities and ways to wear it. To get really creative with your hairstyle, consider going for a long-haired updo. This example shows how jaw-dropping they can turn out to be!

16. Senegalese Twists

Yet another way to make the most of those long strands while shielding your natural locks from any harm is to go for Senegalese twists. In case you were wondering or did not know, their name comes from their area of origin. Don’t hesitate to try either short or long twists to see which ones suit best!

17. Natural Protective Styles

Twists are a fundamental part of styling your natural hair once it’s grown out. If you decide to go for a playful hairstyle like this one, make sure that you don’t twist your locks too tightly.

18. Marley Twists

When we hear Marley twists, we think about the celebrated musician who inspired and gave them their name, Bob Marley. However, Marley twists also refer to the hair used for this braided hairstyle – coarser hair for chunkier braids.

19. Protective Hairstyles with Extensions

Extensions play a crucial role in hairstyles for women, especially ones at the beginning of their natural hair transition. As your natural locks will be extremely short, you can extend the length of the hair through various braided extensions.

20. Kinky Twists

If you aim for a natural, afro-like look, then consider experimenting with kinky twists. These funky braids can be kept for a few weeks at a time – so they are easy to maintain too. This photo also shows a popular cut for kinky twists, so keep this layered approach in mind.

21. Natural Hair Bun

Protective styles also include buns as well as they are a terrific way of preserving natural hair. After all, you didn’t invest time, money, and patience into growing your hair for your efforts to be in vain, right?

22. Winter Protective Styles

If the weather outside is frightful, it is best to cushion your locks as you would shield your body from the cold. A simple way to do so is with a braided updo which, while it will expose the face, it will nonetheless keep your locks in place.

23. Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair with Weave

There’s quite a talk regarding the safety of weaves. While they can indeed protect the hair, they can also destroy it if they’re too glued or tightly installed. The best solution is to work with an expert stylist and speak to them openly about your objective of growth and protection.

24. Short Box Braids

While you will often find box braids in long versions, their shorter alternatives look just as fabulous. Get inspired and go for popular haircuts to give shape to those – for example, go for an inverted long bob like in this photo.

25. Funky and Protective Hairstyles

Olayinka Mia Noel is an international model that countless women look up to for her natural beauty. She is also an avid supporter of the natural hair community and commonly appear with funky protective styles like this one on her social media accounts.

26. Protective Styles for Summer

After covering protective hairstyles for winter, it’s natural that we would recommend some summer counterparts as well. To fight the heat in a glamorous way, go for a braided updo such as this flower crown. Not only is it safe for the hair, but it also fits casual and fancy events alike.

27. Cute Protective Hairstyles for Natural Hair

Channeling your inner teen? Then dare to go for a playful and youthful hairstyle! You can even take a trip back to the 90s with a super pretty hairstyle with half up space buns. They look fantastic on spring twists!

28. Faux Hawks

Repeat after us, ladies: “Roll and Tuck”! Once you get the hang of these techniques, they will become your ultimate natural hair mantra. Together, they serve as an unbeatable method for guarding your natural hair with numerous styles.

29. Headwrap Hairstyles

What better way to secure natural locks than with a charming and inspiring hair accessory? Not only are headwraps extremely fashionable, but they’re also a delightful way to go back to ones roots.

30. Protective Braid Styles

Keep the braids coming, girls! An example of braided protective styles, we want to point out the enchanting parting technique upon installation. Express your creativity by adding diamond shapes (or whatever shape or size you choose) for each braid.

31. Elegant Pompadours

The classic pompadour will ensure a dazzling appearance at any special occasion – be it a wedding or a black-tie office party – and will do so while also safeguarding the hair!

32. Curly Protective Styles for TWA

Hands down, one of the best ways of showing off TWAs is by getting those curls popping! Make sure to start off with a haircut that properly accentuates the hair’s natural shape and then let the curls bounce around freely!

33. Bantu Knots

Bantu knots are a traditional African hairstyle that has been worn for hundreds of years, and it keeps trending to this very day. Above, see how you can also give them a modern touch by adding some highlights to the hair.

34. Easy Protective Styles

Tiime is on my side – but actually not? No need to worry, for this easy and protective style will work wonders even on short notice. Women with medium or long hair can braid their way to this angelic updo in a few minutes – still, make it a few times before relying on it for when you are in a rush.

35. Full Wigs

If you long for colors or textures that would normally destroy your hair, it’s best to go for a full wig. In recent years, wigs have become more and more popular among celebrities with all types of hair textures. Essentially, they’re the key to changing your look in a second and with 0 damage.

36. Micro Braids

Gabrielle Union holds a special place in our hearts for more than one reason. In this shot, you can admire her micro braids – and then start considering getting some for yourself too!

37. Protective Styles for Kids

We’re back to space buns, this time in a version that will appeal to any kid – be it a small girl or a young soul. The hairstyle is incredibly adorable for young ladies and will also help shield their natural curls from harm. Also, the baby hair is the icing on the cake!

38. Quick Protective Styles

As promised, here is another protective hairstyle for women on the go. On natural hair that is already long, it is easy to gently create a twisted braid and then style it to the side and over the shoulder. After mastering the braiding technique, you can get the look in less than 5 minutes.

39. Clip-In Hairstyles

Remember what we said about the concern surrounding weaves? Well, an extraordinary way to avoid any hair scares is to get a clip-in weave. In other words, all there is to do is to clip in the extensions. That is all!

40. Cornrows Protective Style

Cornrows have been popular for ages but, to add a touch of cretaivity to them, don’t hesitate to play around with their design and even add feed-in models, like above!

41. Afro Puffs

Looking for a hairstyle that will guard your hair while also accentuating your voluminous curls? Then Afro puffs are the way to go! This is fun and very pretty way of keeping the hair up and relaxed and also shocasing those natural curls.

42. Crochet Braids Protective Style

If curls are your main focus, then crochet braids are the answer (no matter the question). This technique will give anyone large, perfectly shaped curls that can also be styled to frame the face or to leave it free. Also, crochet braids can be installed on long and short hair alike.

43. Halo Braids

Whether you call them crown braids or halo braids, these beauties will surely create a hairstyle that is impossible to forget. They are the perfect style if you want to add a boho touch to your festival look or even at a wedding.

44. Protective Styles for Thinning Edges

If you are struggling with thinning edges, the faux hawk can help conceal them and show off the rest of your locks. Make sure that you are gentle with the edges though so you won’t cause any further damage throughout the repair process.

45. Sisterlocks Hairstyles

Want to combine the ideas of curls and braids? Then welcome to sisterlocks, the ideal blend that will offer you the best of both worlds. The braids are similar to micro-ones, while the strands are super curly all around.

46. Protective Bridal Hairstyles

After choosing the dress of your dreams, think about the perfect hairstyle to complement it. This goddess braided updo might just be the one!

47. Long Braided Protective Styles

Hair extensions are lifesavers for multiple reasons. Aside from their obvious protective factor, they can also be worn extremely long. For instance, you can extend your cornrows with waist-length braids of the same size.

48. Protective Updo Styles

If you plan on wearing your hair up – and weraing it free flowing is a rare occasion – then consider getting it braided directly into an updo. For this, you will have ascending braids all around, leaving the top perfect for ponytails or high buns.

49. Turban Hairstyles

For 100% protection in harmful weather conditions, don’t hesitate to rock a turban. You can pick a headscarf with a pattern that reflects your personality and wrap up all your hair in it. It’s a lovely way to accentuate your facial features too and can be worn even just as a style element.

50. Professional Protective Hairstyles

Last but not least, we want to leave you with a protective hairstyle that can be worn in an office environment. This locks style is pulled back into a sleek ponytail, making it perfectly suitable and appropriate in a corporate setting.

Ready to Change Your Look?

In summary, there is an endless variety of protective styles to choose from. No matter what hairstyle you pick, you should know that caring for afro-textured hair requires time, patience, and plenty of love!

We warmly encourage all of you to put a bit of time and effort into taking care of your curls, as the benefits will outnumber the effort in the end. But let’s focus on you! What’s your favorite protective style?


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