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18 Protective Styles for Natural Hair

Who says natural hair isn’t versatile without heat? Here’s 18 protective styles for all of the naturalistas out there.

1.  Extended Braids and Twists

Add some braiding hair or Marley hair to your box braids, Havana twists, Senegalese twists, Poetic Justice braids or whatever other style of braids or twists you desire. They all protect your hair from heat and breakage for up to three months AND they’re versatile.


2.  Non-extended Braids and Twists

Once you’re about six-eight months into your natural hair journey, you can begin braiding and twisting your hair into whatever style you wish. The possibilities are endless and none of them require heat!

IG: neonatural

3. Crochet Styles

Unlike extended braids and twists, with crochet styles, none of your hair is exposed. The cornrows underneath the style you choose will protect your hair from being tugged at or broken off. This style is also extremely versatile.

Beautified Designs

4. Faux Locs

Faux locs are unique in the way that they are simply regular braids with yarn hair or Marley hair wrapped around them. You can think of these as a form of double-protection.


5. Bantu Knots

Looking for something cute and funky? Put that curling iron back under the sink. Bantu knots are the style for you. You can keep them knotted or un-knot them for a cute bouncy look.

Thirsy Roots

6. The Twist-out

This style works best right after the shower. Find your favorite natural hair mousse and throw in some simple two-strand twists. Either sit under an overhead dryer until your hair is dry or throw on a bonnet and go to bed so that you can wake up and slay, honey.

Natural Hair Mag

7. Roller Styles

Naturalistas, flexi rods are your friends. There are so many cute possibilities to try. This style also works best on wet hair!

Trials N Tresses

8. The ‘Fro

The key to keeping your ‘fro looking spectacular all day long is moisture. Find a good leave-in conditioner for natural hair and don’t forget that coconut oil.

Woman and Home

9. The Mohawk

Pin up those sides and let your curls flourish.

Tumblr: embracethenaturalyou1

10. The “Half Up, Half Down” Look

Rock the “poof,” a bun or a ponytail on top and let the rest of your curls hang out for a cute “half up, half down” look.

Pop Sugar

11. The “Poof”

Gel, a hairbrush, a headband and some good natural hair products to keep your “poof” looking juicy is all you need.

Hairstyle Hub

12.  Sleek Buns and Ponytails

Make it high or make it low. Just make sure you make it fleeky.

Curly Nikki

13. A Full Sew-in with a Closure

Do not be afraid of closures, naturalistas. YouTube reviews are your friend. Find one that you trust and you’ll be able to use it over and over again. Don’t keep putting heat on that leave-out. Protect your natural hair.


14. A Wig

Have no fear. Natural hair protection is here. Braid up your hair and throw on a cute wig. You can either stock up on synthetics or style a human hair wig any way that you want.

IG: heartfreehair

15. The Pompadour

Janelle Monáe would be so proud. This no-heat style is perfect for a glam night out.


16. The “Roll and Tuck”

It’s simple and it’s cute. If you need a quick and easy style to throw in your hair before your 8 a.m. class, this is the look for you.

Black Hair Media Forum

17. The “Pineapple”

Let a few curls rest on your forehead for a cute natural hair styled bang.

Black Girl with Long Hair

18. The Head-wrap

The possibilities are endless. Check out a naturalista YouTube tutorial to find out how to create the perfect look. 

Eccentric Glow

Erica Dabney is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. Some of her favorite activities include discovering new music, tearing down the patriarchy and dining out at black-owned restaurants in Richmond. She plans to graduate with her bachelors in journalism in 2019.
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