Best Protective Styles for Natural Hair

It’s a code amongst many black women in the world, that the need of having a protective style is essential. Both a need to look beautiful in it while also protecting the hair to aid in length retention. Although when protective styles done wrong, they can prove to do so much more damage

than good. And so many women have believed in order to hide the damage, to put more damaging protective styles on, and the habit begins.

When done right, you can have a

healthy relationship with the protective style while at the same time have good growth underneat it. Thick, full hair that is protected underneath the not-heavy-looking protective style is just the balance that many women in the world.

I find the balance helps, since being natural there are waves in life. When you are too busy and too tired to spritz and twist and call it a night. With protective styles, maintainance drops significantly while doing touch ups like oiling the scalp for that health, because the hair grows from it.

But with everything in life, maintainance is a requirment. Taking down the protective style just in time to do a bit of self care. Giving natural hair a bit of a break then installing another protective style to go about the busyness of life is just the right relationship to do little to it while still maintaining growth.

So now that we know how many people grew their hair (although the theory isn’t “growing” but “retaining), which are some great protective styles for natural hair?
The only catch is that most protective styles can take as little as 2/3 hours and up to 10hours depending on the size of style and length. The time is also based on whethere breaks were take and whether you did them yourself or had help.

Here is a good list of some fun protective styles that I believe are the best protective styles for our natural hair:

Box Braids

Of course these are the first in the list, considering how easy it is to style box braids. My favourite protective styles for natural hair considering how people keep coming with new ways to install them with the latest being knotless boxbraids. I found myself needing only 2 packs to instal as compared to the old fashioned 8 packs! That’s unbelievalbe how much money I’ve saved since then!

But nonetheless, box braids in all various kinds have kept natural hair tucked away and left along for long periods of time! I’ve seen videos of people keeping them for 3 months! My hair would lock up in 2 months!1 But as natural hair is natural doesn’t mean it’s all the same! Pros:

I’ve seen rubber band method box braids, crochet box braids, twisting the hair before installing the box braid, and now the knotless box braid which seems to have taken over the way we install them.

Pros:

  • Easy to style
  • Versitile Lengths
  • Various Colors
  • Can be kept for longer periods of time (3 months) but you don’t have to do that.
  • Lightweight (thank you knotlessboxbraids)
  • Easy Access to Scalp

    Cons:
    Take long to uninstall. Even if you use a scissor you are at risk of cutting off your own hair.

Twists

Twists are a rave! For the fact that unlike braids, they are far easier to install. By easier to install doesn’t mean faster. Just that more people can install twists than they can box braids. Box braids require a lot of good (but not tight) gripping and twists are such a breeze to install.
I love them better after a few weeks of installing. They look like they are coming right out of your head and if you used marley hair, it’s hard to tell if they are yours or not.

Pros:
Easy to Install
Versatile Styling.
Versatile Lengths
Various Colors
Lightweight to the scalp
Easy access to scalp
Quick take down

Cons
Take long to take down but not as much time as undoing box braids.

Cornrows

These are basically braids stitched in to your head! Ouch! I’m kidding, I’m sure that most of us know that these are and how many people who wear wigs love them! They also stay in for long periods and especially underwigs, no one can detect when they start looking old and matted not to forget the lint build up from the braids.
I honestly think that conrows can extend to longer periods because of how little fibre is used ad compared to lose braids such as box braids or twists. When kept under wig or wraps. They last longer while protecting the hair ensuring that the hair is tucked from root to tip while you can still look good in your wig.

I love how cute they look when they are installed on children. With added colorful beads and other accessories to enhance the style. It’s no wonder it’s a win for children. The parent doesn’t have to worry about the child messing up the style as it will be hard to do that. (Unless they take a scissor and cut the hair from the root, children are imaginative!
I would recommend conrow styles for kids for that reason.

Pros
Quick to install
Quick to take down
LImited access to scalp
Added accessories to enhance the style

Cons
Unless corn rows are for wigs, conrows stay the same until take down.

Faux Locks / Locs

This are by far the longest to keep although it all depends on how they are installed. The fibre or rather as we call them faux locks could last for a good 3 months while they still look like locs. The only thing that will catch you is the type of fibre vs your natural hair. Marley hair could make this look last long as compared to your normal synthetic fibre such as kanekalon.

On the other hand, having permanent locs will have your hair growing to great, great lenghts.

You may wonder why I added locks in this list, clearly because most naturals with locks have the longest even on world records! So at least theere is something to it there! Locks are by far the best in ensuring our natural hair grows to great lengths because we really don’t manipulate our individual strands like we would if our hair was out! So that means locs has to be part of this list!

Pros
Little Manipulation of hair.
Initially startup locs take the longest.
Easy to style
Variety of colors
Access to scalp for lubrication

Cons
Take down for permanent locs can take days.
Take down for faux locs is longer than box braids.

Conclusion

It goes without saying that from the day you install these untill you take them down. There is a guaranteed length retention. And over time the length checks will be pretty impressive! I love protective styes and I’m sure a lot of naturals do too as they have been part of our history for centuries and will be for centuries to come.
I know that there are people out there that will be doing so much more to make protective styles easier to install.

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