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50 Protective Hairstyles That Are Surely Worth Your Attention

You might think protective styles can be hard to come by, but you’d be wrong! These days there are so many ways to style your hair. Rock beautiful braids at an evening event, sport quick sassy hairstyles based on a natural afro, or give a little attitude with an edgy updo.

Scroll through 50 pictures of stunning styles below and head down to your hairstylist. When you walk out that door, you’ll feel like a completely different person! You’ll also have a pile of new hairstyles to try next time you’re stuck!

1. Braids on Braids

Slay the day with glossy braids and smooth baby hairs to soften the look. Use Shea Moisture Laquer for perfect edges.

2. Neat Braids with Cuffs

For black hair, neat curvy braids will have you looking like a queen.

3. Low Braided Updo

Double braids on each side and feed them into a cute pretzel-shaped bun at the nape for a classy updo, eye-catching from every angle.

4. Easy and Quick Braided Pony

Need hair out of the way but still want to look pretty? A braided pony is classic and quick protective style.

5. Smooth and Silky Top Bun

Check out this sleek stylish bun! Look your best at an evening date with a silky straight weave hairstyle.

6. Boxer Braids for Natural Hair

Taming 4c hair is easy when you work them into braids fit for a princess.

7. Retro Black and White Thick Twists

Crochet braids are a showstopper when given a contrasting standout color.

8. Chunky Braid with Faux Undercut

This braided updo with delicate cornrows at the nape puts all other styles for curly hair to shame.

9. Geometric Cornrows

Turn heads with an updo boasting angled cornrows and curled baby hairs.

10. Cornrows Hair Art

Lots of small cornrows are fed into two braids and given warmth with an added color. Brilliant!

11. Extra Tall Chunky Braided Bun

Got long hair with extensions? Twirl it into a huge crown bun for an impressive yet easy updo.

12. Protective Senegalese Twists

Be the star of your own show with Senegalese twists, throwing in bold beads for special accents.

13. Protective Lemonade Braids

Why have braids straight down to your back when you can braid in both directions around your head? This style will work for thin edges.

14. Two Big Afro Buns

Cute Minnie Mouse buns are perfect for girls and women with afros who don’t mind a simple and fun hairstyle.

15. Protective Bantu Knots

By now many girls have tried so many braided hairstyles from cornrows to box braids, Senegalese twists and all kinds of intricate braided patterns. This head full of quirky knots is good when you want to rock what you have without adding any extensions.

16. Bobbed Box Braids

For natural hair in box braids, keeping it down for a flattering frame and movement is often satisfying enough.

17. Fancy Protective Style

Protective styles for natural hair certainly aren’t boring – this stunner looks more like a crown!

18. Very Long Twists

A great option for protective braid styles, Senegalese twists give you a flawless look and a desired length.

19. Shapely Natural Updo

For African American hair, a flattering updo with twist braids is easy, elegant, and fit for any occasion.

20. Upside Down Braid and Bun

A single-braid updo with a tightly twisted bun is classic and eye-catching. Good for medium relaxed hair.

21. Chunky Flat Twist and Side Bun Updo

Several chunky flat twist braids around your head can make for a statement updo. Direct them to one side and pin the ends for a fresh take on the low bun.

22. Protective Hairstyle with Kanekalon Hair

Don’t you mind using some extensions? Try this cute updo with multiple Kanekalon braids featuring an added color.

23. Flat-Twist Updo Hairstyle

An elegant updo like this one with flat twists shows off the neckline and that cute pair of earrings you’ve just bought!

24. Twists and Combcoils

A different take on a twisted updo, this style brings long twists up and leaves cute little combcoils to frame the updo around perimeter, like an undercut would.

25. Touchable Buns with Tiny Braids

For natural hair, incorporating tiny braids into bunchy buns is a great way to show off your mane!

26. Sassy and Stunning Faux Mohawk

The curly updo with faux locs makes for a beautiful mohawk. The thin braids that protect edges keep it pretty but edgy.

27. Thick Colorful Braids

For African American hair, chunky braids fed into buns help show off any color you add in.

28. Protective Halo Braid

Look like an angel with a highlighted halo braid!

29. Atomic Blonde Faux Locs

Want to check if blondes really have more fun? Wear these for a couple of months and find out. It’s a relatively quick protective style done with a crochet method. We love!

30. Protective Twists and Bun Updo

Need a protective style for hair growth? Look no further! A natural protective hairstyle like this one encourages hair to grow and looks pretty feminine at the same time.

31. Knotted Mohawk Braid

This beautiful protective updo hairstyle is feminine and edgy. It’s a great choice for any formal event.

32. Natural Hair in a Big Low Bun

There are protective hairstyles that do not pull that hard at your edges and encourage healthy hair growth. This natural updo is a good example.

33. Glossy and Sleek Protective Twisted Bun

A quick protective style for black hair: a twisted bun with an upside down braid.

Protective Upside Down Braid to Bun Updo
By Noi

34. Extra Long Braids with String

Very long braids are gorgeous, but even better with beads.

35. Feed-In Braided Pineapple Bun

Inspired by a pineapple, this unique style gathers different kinds of braids into a bold bun.

36. Formal Protective Style

Sisterlocks are perfect for that special event you’re attending this weekend!

37. Half-Protective Curly Style

For curly hair, this half updo unleashes curls and throws in little details, such as a twist from ear to ear accented with charms.

38. Protective Cornrows with Curls on Top

Cornrows decorated with bobby pins create a fun version of the Mohawk updo and ensure you look your best wherever you’re off to!

39. Glam Natural Updo

Celebrate the beauty of natural hair with this pompous multi-twist updo.

Big Twisted Updo for Natural Hair
By Dani

40. Natural Updo with Voluminous Top

An updo with a little wave action! The sides get their own attention too, with a few smaller sectioned off pieces.

41. Easy Peasy Half-Protective Style

Wake up and go with a simple side braid pulled through beads on 4c hair.

42. Four Dutch Braids

Short on time? Bring four rows of braids into two low buns or just tie the ends of each two braids together.

4 Braids Updo for Natural Hair
By Nola

43. Fulani Braids

Hairstyles that protect edges don’t have to be boring. Working beads onto face-framing braids gives that extra oomph.

Fulani Braids with Beads
By Noi

44. Golden Accents in Faux Locs

Looking to add a little something to your hairstyle? Incorporate a gold string or beads for an ultra-flattering updo.

45. Two Puffy Boxer Braids

Look like a queen with edgy braids pulled apart once braided for a thicker, more impressive appearance.

46. Protective Coiled Bun Updo

The intricate braids look like a rose when arranged around a bun.

47. Huge Natural Flat Twists

Show off your dense 4c hair texture in a thick natural flat twist updo. Bring twists to the back of the head and gather into a chunky bun.

48. Transitioning Style

Transitioning to your natural locks? This hairdo lets you wear your short natural hair in braids and enjoy a voluminous updo thanks to extensions. It’s a good idea to wear a classy hairstyle while your full value afro is growing out.

49. Protective Cornrows and Curly Ponytail

Tightly coiled natural hair looks best when down and wild or up in a princess pony.

50. Dramatic Low Bun Style

Not a new idea, but still a good option to try on 4c hair, this braided updo brings drama to the top and a lot more to the bottom with a rounded braided bun.

The next time you’re struggling to find new interesting protective styles, take a look through our galleries for natural hair. There’s a simple or intricate design for every taste and occasion!

by Serena Piper
Serena graduated from the University of Oregon where she majored in magazine journalism. She is a published writer both in print and online. She currently lives in Daytona Beach where she works at the Early Learning Coalition, an organization supporting children of low-income families. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, reading, country music concerts, exploring Florida, and of course, the beach.