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Best Protective Hairstyles For Hair Growth

Are you looking for the best hairstyles to keep your hair healthy and actively growing? Protective hairstyles are a great option for encouraging hair growth and protecting your natural hair from damage.

But, what are the best protective hairstyles for hair growth? If you’d like to find out all about the top protective hairstyles perfect for tackling breakage and thinning strands, keep on reading…

Red haired woman with long hair in a loose braided hairstyle

What Exactly Are Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair?

Protective hairstyles are designed to safeguard your natural hair from environmental factors, such as harsh weather conditions, and to minimize the potential for breakage and damage.

The primary objective of these styles is to keep your hair’s ends tucked away and reduce manipulation, providing your hair with the opportunity to grow unencumbered.

As you explore different protective hairstyles, you’ll find that they come in various forms. Some common styles include braids, twists, faux locs, and buns.

While these styles may differ in appearance, their purpose remains the same: protect and preserve the health of your hair.

Braids, such as box braids and cornrows, keep your hair secured and prevent your strands from becoming entangled. This reduces the amount of stress on your hair, leading to less breakage and more growth.

Twists, like Senegalese or Marley twists, are similar to braids in that they secure your strands, but with a slightly different technique. Twisted styles also offer a variety of options, making it easy to find one that suits your preferences and hair type.

Faux locs mimic the appearance of real dreadlocks, but without the long-term commitment. By wrapping your hair in extensions or yarn, faux locs provide a low-maintenance way to protect your natural hair.

Buns and other updos are also effective protective styles, as they keep your ends tucked away from the elements. This simple method can be tailored to suit any hair length, and it can be easily done as part of your daily routine.

When choosing a protective hairstyle, it’s essential to consider the needs of your hair. Be mindful of styles that place excessive tension on your scalp, as this can lead to hair breakage and damage.

Ensure you maintain a proper hair care regimen while your hair is styled. This means cleaning, moisturizing, and conditioning your hair and scalp regularly.

Benefits Of Protective Hairstyle To Avoid Hair Damage

Protective hairstyles are an essential part of maintaining your hair’s health and promoting hair growth.

When opting for these types of styles, you not only safeguard your natural hair from external factors, but also minimize breakage and manipulation.

Hair Health: Protective styles shield your hair from environmental elements such as sun, wind, and pollution. These factors can cause dehydration, weakening, and damage to your hair.

By using protective hairstyles, you give your tresses the opportunity to retain moisture and maintain its strength.

Hair Growth: One of the primary advantages of protective hairstyles is that they promote hair growth.

Giving your hair a break from constant manipulation, styling, and heat allows it to grow faster and healthier.

These styles often keep your hair in a stretched position, reducing the risk of tangling and knots, which ultimately prevents breakage.

Breakage: Excessive styling and use of harsh tools can lead to hair breakage. Protective hairstyles are an effective way to minimize this as they require little to no manipulation of your hair while styled.

The less you have to touch and style your hair, the less likely it is to suffer breakage.

Manipulation: Constant manipulation and tension on your hair from various styling techniques can weaken your hair over time.

Protective hairstyles help reduce this by limiting the need for frequent styling.

They also work to maintain your hair’s natural moisture, ensuring it stays healthy and manageable.

Blonde haired woman with her hair in a loose bun

The Role of Hair Texture and Type

When it comes to protective hairstyles for hair growth, understanding your hair texture and type is key.

Different hair types have unique characteristics, and choosing the right styles can help minimize damage and promote growth.

For natural hair, particularly afro-textured hair, protective styles are incredibly beneficial.

This hair type is prone to dryness and breakage, so it’s essential to select a style that retains moisture and reduces the amount of manipulation. Some popular protective styles for natural hair include:

  • Box braids
  • Senegalese twists
  • Cornrows
  • Goddess locs
  • Plaited updos

If you have relaxed hair, your hair has undergone chemical processing that can potentially weaken the strands.

Protective hairstyles can help reduce the stress on your hair by giving it a break from heat styling and over-styling. Some suitable protective styles for relaxed hair are:

  • Bantu knots
  • Flat twists
  • Low manipulation styles, like buns and ponytails

Knowing your hair type is also essential in choosing the right protective style. Hair types are classified into four categories, with Type 1 being straight and Type 4 being the most curly:

  • Type 1: Straight hair
  • Type 2: Wavy hair
  • Type 3: Curly hair
  • Type 4: Coily hair

Each hair type has subcategories (A, B, and C) as well, which define the tightness of the curls or waves.

Understanding your hair type can help you determine the best protective styles for your hair, ensuring that the style works with your hair’s natural pattern instead of against it.

Finally, you need to consider the hair texture when selecting a protective hairstyle. Hair texture refers to the thickness of your strands and can range from fine to medium and coarse.

Choose a protective style that doesn’t place too much tension on your hair to minimize the risk of breakage, especially if your hair is fine or fragile.

List of Best Protective Hairstyles

Braiding Techniques

One of the most popular and effective protective hairstyles for hair growth is braiding. There are many styles to choose from, such as:

  • Box braids: A technique using three-strand braids divided into square or triangular sections, providing an even distribution of weight and tension.
  • Cornrows: A style where the hair is braided close to the scalp in simple or intricate patterns.
  • Knotless braids: A variation of box braids without the knots at the base, resulting in less tension on the scalp.
  • Braided ponytail: A combination of cornrows and a ponytail, providing a sporty and stylish look.
  • Braided crown: A halo-like style created by wrapping a long braid around the head, giving a regal appearance.

Twisting Styles

Twisting is another method of protective styling for hair growth. Some popular twisting styles include:

  • Senegalese twists: A two-strand twisting technique using extensions for added length and thickness.
  • Two-strand twists: A simple and versatile method where two sections of hair are twisted around each other.
  • Twisted styles: Different variations of twists, such as twisted updos, twisted braids, and twisted buns.

Knotting Techniques

Knotting is a unique and creative way to protect your hair for growth. Some popular knotting styles are:

  • Bantu knots: A traditional African hairstyle where hair is sectioned and twisted into small, tight knots.
  • Bantu knot out: A technique where Bantu knots are unraveled, resulting in curly, voluminous hair.

Bun and Updo Styles

Protective buns and updo styles can be both practical and elegant for hair growth. Some of the best options are:

  • Space buns: A fun and playful style with two buns placed high on the head.
  • Low bun: A classic and sophisticated look where the hair is gathered in a low bun at the nape of the neck.
  • Braided updo: A combination of braiding and updo techniques for a creative and elegant style.
  • Halo braids: A braided updo resembling a crown, perfect for special occasions.

woman with brunette hair with her hair in a braided updo

Extensions and Wigs as Protective Styles

Extensions and wigs can be great protective styles to aid in hair growth. By using these options, you’re giving your natural hair a break from constant manipulation, allowing it to grow and retain length.

Hair extensions can be added to your hair in various ways, such as sew-in, clip-in, or even glue-in methods.

They provide an opportunity to experiment with different styles and lengths without causing damage to your own hair.

When considering extensions, it’s essential to select high-quality materials like Kanekalon fiber, which is known for its lightweight and natural feel.

A popular choice for those seeking low-maintenance protective styles is the lace front wig. Lace front wigs offer a natural-looking hairline, which makes them a go-to choice for many.

Made with a lace material at the front, these wigs can be easily applied with adhesive or clips.

Invest in a high-quality lace front wig that allows your scalp to breathe so that your natural hair continues to thrive underneath.

Faux ponytails are another quick and easy option for protective styling. With a faux ponytail, you can achieve a polished look without putting unnecessary stress on your hair.

Kanekalon fiber ponytails are popular due to their natural appearance and versatile styling options.

To secure your faux ponytail, wrap it around your own hair and secure with bobby pins or a drawstring, ensuring your natural hair stays protected.

Maintaining Healthy Hair and Scalp with Protective Hairstyles

Protective hairstyles are an excellent way to promote hair growth by reducing the exposure of your hair to external factors and mechanical stress.

To maximize their benefits, it is essential to maintain a healthy hair and scalp.

Keep your scalp clean and hydrated. When you have a protective hairstyle in place, it is important to keep your scalp clean.

A build-up of dirt, oil, and sweat can cause damage to your hair and affect its growth.

You can opt for a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your scalp without excessively stripping its natural oils. Ensuring your scalp stays moisturized is also essential to prevent dryness and irritation.

Moisturize your edges. The edges of your hair are delicate and prone to breakage. To keep them healthy, regularly apply edge control products to protect and maintain their health.

Avoid tight hairstyles that can put too much tension on your edges, as this can lead to hair damage.

Use a leave-in conditioner to maintain hydration. A properly moisturized hair is essential in preventing breakage and promoting growth.

Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair regularly, focusing on the ends, to keep them hydrated and reduce the chances of split ends.

Choose the right hair oil for your specific needs. Different hair oils offer varying benefits for your hair.

For instance, coconut oil is known for its deep hydration properties, while castor oil can strengthen your hair and promote hair growth.

Experiment with different oils to find the one that works best for your hair type.

Protect your hair while you sleep. To avoid friction and hair damage, invest in a silk pillowcase. The smooth surface of silk prevents hair from rubbing against the pillow, reducing the chances of breakage.

A silk pillowcase can help retain the moisture in your hair, leaving it soft and hydrated.

Brunette haired woman brushing her long hair with a wooden hairbrush whilst wearing a white bath robe

Preventing Potential Hair Damage

One of the key elements in promoting hair growth is to prevent potential hair damage. Protective hairstyles are designed to help you achieve this goal.

When reducing the manipulation of your hair and minimizing exposure to harmful elements, you can prevent breakage and ensure that your hair remains healthy.

Reduce Tension to Prevent Hair Breakage: It is important not to create excessive tension on your hair when styling it.

Pulling your hair too tightly in protective styles can weaken your hair strands and lead to breakage. Always make sure to style your hair gently and use a light hand when creating your protective hairstyles.

Low Manipulation Styles: Choosing low manipulation protective styles can help minimize the chances of hair breakage.

These styles often require less combing, brushing, or handling, which can lead to reduced stress on the hair shaft. Examples of low manipulation styles include twists, braids, and updos.

Keep Your Scalp Healthy: A healthy scalp is key for hair growth. Ensure that your protective style allows you to access your scalp so that you can maintain proper cleansing and moisturizing routines.

This will keep your hair follicles healthy and promote hair growth while you are wearing protective styles.

Gentler Styles for Your Edges: It is essential to protect the delicate hair surrounding your face, known as your edges.

When choosing a protective hairstyle, opt for styles that are gentler on your hairline to prevent breakage in this area. Avoid tight styles that pull or place stress on these delicate hairs.

Using Accessories in Protective Hairstyles

Accessorizing your protective hairstyles can give them an extra flair, making your overall look even more stylish.

Don’t worry, using accessories is simple and can be done with most hairstyles. In this section, we’ll discuss how to use beads and head wraps to embellish your protective hairstyles.

Beads are a popular and versatile way to spice up your style. They come in various colors, sizes, and shapes, allowing you to create a unique and personalized look. Here are a few ways to use beads into your protective hairstyles:

  1. Thread beads onto braids or twists: Slide beads onto the ends of your braids or twists to add color and dimension. You can also use beads throughout your braids for a standout effect.
  2. Attach beads to cornrows or flat twists: Place beads strategically along your cornrows or flat twists to create an eye-catching design.
  3. Use beads as hair ties: String beads together on an elastic cord and use them as a fashionable hair tie.

A head wrap is another accessory that can make a bold statement while serving as a protective element for your hair.

Providing coverage and protection from the elements, head wraps can be styled in various ways. Here are three techniques to include head wraps into your protective hairstyles:

  1. Fully cover your hair: Wrap your head wrap around your head to completely conceal your hair, offering the ultimate protection for your locks.
  2. Partial coverage: Fold your head wrap and use it as a headband to cover the front of your hair, leaving the rest of your hairstyle exposed.
  3. Accentuate updos: For hairstyles like buns, twists, or braids, tie a head wrap around the base of the updo, adding character and style to your look.

Woman with long auburn hair securing her hair with a hair tie

Influence of Celebrities on Protective Hairstyles

Celebrities have always been trendsetters when it comes to hairstyle choices, and protective hairstyles are no exception for both long hair and short hair.

Thanks to experienced celebrity hairstylists, many high-profile individuals have brought attention to a variety of easy protective hairstyles that promote hair growth and minimize damage for their black hair.

This not only inspires fans to try these styles, but also helps normalize natural hairstyles in the entertainment industry and everyday life.

Amandla Stenberg, for example, has donned a beautiful blonde bob featuring braids – an ideal protective hairstyle for summer.

This braided masterpiece was one of the predicted trends for summer 2022 and has inspired many to follow suit.

Similarly, actress Zendaya has been seen rocking a variety of protective styles such as box braids, faux locs, and even gorgeous Afros, showing the versatility and beauty of natural hair.

Singer Brandy has been a longtime advocate of braids, often opting for micro braids and box braids in her iconic career.

As for Issa Rae, her show “Insecure” often features her in a variety of natural hairstyles such as twists, updos, and braids, promoting the idea that hair should be celebrated in its most natural state.

Actresses like Tessa Thompson, Logan Browning, and Gabrielle Union have all sported various protective hairstyles, from cornrows to Senegalese twists.

These hairstyles not only protect the hair from damage, but also showcase their natural beauty and inspire others to embrace their hair’s unique qualities.

Yara Shahidi and Ciara have also proudly displayed their natural hair in protective styles.

Yara frequently stuns in intricate braided styles and updos, while Ciara has effortlessly rocked braids, twists, and natural curls.

Both of these celebrities help convey the message that protective hairstyles can be fashionable, functional, and empowering.


Protective hairstyles are an effective way to promote hair growth and protect your natural hair from environmental factors. These styles come in various forms, such as braids, twists, faux locs, and buns.

When selecting a protective style for hair growth, consider the needs of your hair type and texture. It is essential to reduce tension when creating protective hairstyles to prevent breakage.

Ensure you maintain a proper hair care regimen while wearing protective styles.

Accessorizing with beads or head wraps can add style and flair to any protective hairstyle.

Celebrities have been influential in bringing attention to various easy protective hairstyles that encourage healthy natural hair for both long and short lengths.