5 Protective Styles to Try for Black Hair

What's the deal with protective styles? Many women with long hair swear by them. They insist that keeping their hair's ends up and out of sight helps them to retain precious length. So is it true?

Protective styles don't make your hair grow, but they do make it possible to prevent breakage. If your hair is breaking off faster than it grows, then you'll never see any length retention. What protective styles do is keep your ends "protected." Try any of these protective styles and see if you experience less breakage on your ends and therefore retain more growth. Just make sure, no matter which way you wear your hair, that your ends are put away.

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Bun or Chignon

A bun is a chic protective style.
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This is a simple style that works for any occasion, including dressy or formal ones. All you need are hairpins and/or a covered elastic band or satin scrunchie. Buns work on relaxed and natural hair with a relative amount of ease. You can part your hair down the center or on one side if you prefer. You can also add some flair with cool or edgy accessories. Make sure your edges stay sleek and smooth with edge control products like CURLS Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste or ORS Edge Control Gel (both available on Amazon).

Twists work best on natural hair. Relaxed strands are simply too straight and slippery to hold twists in place without unraveling. They work for children and for adults. You can fashion twists in various ways while still protecting your delicate ends. One good thing about twists is that they can last for days or weeks, with minimal touching up. To ensure that your ends stay moisturized if you wear your twists for a while, dampen them at night and apply a small amount of moisturizer before bed. More »

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Braids as a protective style.
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You can braid your natural hair or you can opt for braid extensions. Whether your braids are all yours or created with enhancements, you still need to care for your hair and scalp while you're wearing them. However, as long as your ends are braided away, they'll be protected from the elements as well as daily handling. The smaller your braids, the longer you can expect them to last. More »

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Woman with weave
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How many times have you heard a woman say that she got a weave and her hair just grew like weeds? The reason this seems to be so is because a properly cared for weave is a great protective style. If your hair is braided completely beneath it, it's not subject to sun, wind, rain or other weather. It's also free from daily manipulation. For maximum hair growth, however, it's still important to care for the hair beneath the weave. As much growth as you might experience when wearing one, however, you still need to give your hair and scalp a break between weaves. More »

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Flat twists are a protective style option.
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Similar to cornrows, flat twists are created with two sections of hair instead of three. Flat twists offer more versatility because unlike two-strand twists, flat twists work equally well on relaxed or natural hair. If your hair extends past the nape of your neck, you can gather the ends of flat twists and fashion them into a ponytail or bun. More »