Protective hairstyles can be a saving grace no matter the season—keeping hair free of the damage regular styling and manipulation induce and also freeing up your time by reducing the need for maintenance (read: some much-needed extra "me" time in the morning). So whether your goal is to protect your hair while it grows out or simply cut back on the amount of time devoted to making it look 10/10, a protective hairstyle can be a saving grace.
A common misconception is that protective styles require extensions, but in reality, the term applies to any style that saves hair from regular styling, even when it means braiding your natural hair.
Here we've rounded up seven protective hairstyles for natural hair to add to your repertoire. Once done, these styles require little maintenance but come with a big payoff.
Head below for seven protective hairstyles for every skill level.
Box braids are one of the most popular protective hairstyles. Zoë Kravitz has worn them in long iterations in both her natural hair color and gorgeous platinum blonde.
For a statement look that's a gorgeous mix between braids and dreadlocks, goddess locs are the answer. A lightweight iteration of faux locs, goddess locs use thinner twists and end in loose waves.
Bantu knots give you two stunning hairstyles with one go. When worn up, the miniature buns make a statement on their own. When let loose, you're left with beautiful curls without subjecting your natural hair to the damage of heat.
Crochet braids are commonly achieved by braiding natural hair into cornrows then looping extensions through with a crochet hook. From there you can opt from a number of styles, like Kelly Rowland's voluminous curls.
Cornrows are versatile styling that can be worn a number of ways to ramp up the cool-factor. Here, actress Serayah McNeill sports side cornrows for a sleek, glamorous 'do.
There are a number of different types of twists—flat twits, Senegalese twists, Havana twists. The variations are determined by the technique or even size of the twist or the type of hair used.
A protective hairstyle doesn't require you wear your hair down. Opt for an updo that makes use of cornrows, as seen here on Danielle Truitt, or box braids.
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