woman running hands through braided protective hairstyle

Protective Hairstyles For Hair Growth: Your Secret to Healthier, Longer Hair


While hair is often considered a defining aspect of our identity and confidence, the daily grind, styling, and the world around us can take a toll on the health of our locks. And, for some of us, hair loss and stunted hair growth can happen as a result. 

For those seeking strong and healthy hair, the solution might lie in protective hairstyles. These hairstyles not only shield your precious strands but also help foster healthy growth and retention. Let’s dive into the world of protective hairstyles and how they can become your new best friend on your journey to beautiful, healthy hair. 

What Are Protective Hairstyles?

Protective hairstyles help tuck your hair away to reduce your risk of breakage woman with a braided protective style looking to the side

Protective hairstyles serve as a shield to safeguard your hair, particularly your delicate ends, from the harsh elements of your environment and your daily routines. Unlike heat-styling methods that damage your hair, these hairstyles focus on tucking your hair away, drastically reducing the risk of breakage. Protective styles can help you grow your hair and retain your length. Typically, protective hairstyles manifest in the form of buns, braids, and other styles that keep your hair tucked away and secure. 

How To Prepare Your Hair For Protective Hairstyles

Start with a clean and moisturized scalp before installing a protective hairstyle

woman with naturally curly hair wearing white lace shirt and colorful bracelets

Before you opt for any protective hairstyle, it’s crucial to lay a solid foundation. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your hair for protective styling:

  1. Trim off any split ends - Bid adieu to those split ends to prevent further damage. 
  2. Thoroughly wash, condition, and moisturize your hair - Nourish your hair with a deep-cleansing wash and a hydrating conditioner to fortify moisture from within. 
  3. Use a deep conditioning treatment - Use a deep conditioner to replenish lost moisture and revitalize the hair shafts. 
  4. Avoid leaving protective hairstyles for extended periods - While protective styles can be a saving grace, avoid keeping them in for more than two months to prevent excessive scalp tension and dehydration. 


6 Common Protective Hairstyles That Aid Hair Growth

Not all protective hairstyles will work for certain types of hair lengths, textures, or types. When choosing a protective hairstyle, consider your hair’s unique characteristics and how a protective style may work for your hair. Let’s take a look at some popular protective hairstyles.

1. Micro Braids

 woman with red micro braids

Microbraids can last anywhere from a day to eight weeks, depending on how well you care for them. Photo courtesy of hair.com.

Micro braids are exceptionally tiny braids that add a delicate, intricate touch to your hairstyle and work wonders for those with finer hair textures. Since the size of the braid is much smaller, tension is reduced on the hair follicles, minimizing the risk of breakage. 

2. Faux Locs

 woman with faux locs protective hairstyle

It can take hours to install faux locs, but this protective hairstyle can last upwards of two months. Photo courtesy of Byrdie.

Faux locs use synthetic hair extensions with your natural hair to create a loc. Suitable for all hair types, faux locs can give your hair a break from daily styling while fostering a stylish, natural appearance. 

3. Cornrows

 woman with cornrows styled in a bun

You can get extremely creative with cornrows for a chic, low-maintenance style that lasts between two to eight weeks. Photo courtesy of The Right Hairstyles.

Cornrows are a classic protective style that involves braiding the hair close to the scalp. This style works well for various hair types, offering a sleek and low-maintenance option for those seeking a practical yet chic look. 

4. Tribal Braids

 woman with long tribal braids

Depending on the thickness of your braids, tribal braids typically last between four to six weeks. Photo courtesy of The Hair Advisor.

Tribal braids, known for their intricate patterns and unique designs, are a stunning option for those who want to make a bold statement. Suitable for medium to thick hair, these braids provide a protective shield while adding a touch of cultural elegance to your look.

5. Box Braids

woman with beaded box braids 

Box braids are a versatile protective hairstyle that last between four to six weeks. Photo courtesy of Allure.

Box braids are thicker, larger braids that offer a bold, stylish look while effectively protecting your hair. This style is well-suited for various hair textures, providing a versatile and long-lasting protective option.

6. Wigs and Sewn-In Weaves

 woman wearing shoulder-length wig

Wigs and weaves give you the versatility you need to have fun with your hairstyles while protecting your natural hair. Photo courtesy of The Renatural

Wigs or sewn-in weaves offer the flexibility to switch up your look without subjecting your natural hair to excessive manipulation. This option is suitable for all hair types, allowing you to experiment with different styles while ensuring your natural hair remains protected. 

Tips for Growing and Maintaining Healthy Hair in Protective Hairstyles

Take proper care of your hair while in a protective hairstyle to keep your scalp and your hair healthy woman with cornrows amidst flowers

While protective hairstyles offer a shield for your hair, maintaining the health of your hair and promoting growth requires just a little bit of care. Here are some essential tips to help you achieve and maintain a flourishing, vibrant mane. 

  • Cleanse your scalp - Even with a protective hairstyle, your scalp can still accumulate buildup and still requires regular cleansing. Depending on your chosen style, find a suitable cleansing routine that keeps your scalp fresh and revitalized without compromising the integrity of your hairstyle. 
  • Hydrate your scalp - Moisture is key to maintaining the health of your hair. Ensure your scalp stays hydrated by using nourishing oils or serums, such as our Silk Hair & Body Oil, to promote a healthy, moisturized scalp and encourage the growth of strong, resilient hair. 
  • Protect your hair while you sleep - Swap out your pillowcase for a silk or satin pillowcase or use a hair cap while you sleep to prevent unnecessary breakage during sleep. By making a small adjustment, you can provide your hair the gentle care it needs to thrive and flourish. 


Incorporating protective hairstyles into your routine is not just a fashion statement—it’s a commitment to the health and well-being of your hair. By choosing the right style and adhering to a thoughtful maintenance routine, you can protect your hair and work toward luscious, vibrant locks.

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