10 easy and fabulous protective styles for hair growth

Once you start your natural hair journey, your ultimate goal becomes healthy hair and growth. When I did the big chop it was very important to me that I now have a chance to grow my hair second the length it was before. 

Daily moisturizing and bi-weekly deep conditioning became my new routine. But what to do with your hair in between? How do you promote natural hair growth every day without having to constantly take care of it? 

The answer is through protective hairstyles. Hairstyles that maintain natural 4c hair without you having to style them daily.

What are protective hairstyles

A protective hairstyle is a style that is heat-free and keeps your ends concealed. In order to keep your hair safe from friction and shedding, your ends need to be tucked or pinned away in protective hairstyles. That way your hair strands stay moisturized which encourages growth. 

However, there is a wide range of what is considered a protective style, and not each one of them will promote hair growth the same way. With some, you will retain more length than with others depending on how strenuous the style is on your hair. 

With some styles, you might be using a lot of product or putting too much tension on your hairline. That’s why the most effective protective styles for natural hair don’t just tuck away your ends and retain the moisture, but also ensure strong follicles and a relaxed scalp. No matter if you have short 4c hair or medium-length 4c hair.

Luckily, with all the great natural hair vloggers nowadays, protective hairstyles for natural hair growth do not need to be boring and consist of a bun or twisted ponytails every day. But you can choose from very fun, elegant and creative looks. Here are 10 of my favorite protective hairstyles for 4c hair.

10 protective hairstyles for hair growth

1. Twists

protective hairstyles for 4c hair

One of the main reasons why you want to get protective hairstyles for hair growth is to avoid pulling on your edges or weigh your strands down. And one of the best styles for that is twists. 

This easy but chic protective style is a great solution for women with beautiful thick hair that want to save time while keeping their hair strong. 

Try out twists for yourself, by following this tutorial.

2. Cornrows

cornrows for natural hair growth

Long gone are the days when cornrows were only worn by guys or the mandatory trick to install a weave. Now cornrows, thick or thin, can be rocked for any occasion and with any length hair while helping your hair grow healthy and fast. 

However, when you use cornrows for natural hair growth, you always want to make sure that you don’t braid them too tight, otherwise, you may pull out your edges and break your roots. 

Here is a great example on how to do it.

3. Box Braids

protective styles with extensions

Probably the most common protective style are box braids. They are very popular because they are easy to install and last for a good while. For women that have a very busy schedule and don’t have the time to style their hair every day, this option is perfect. 

When installed correctly, loose without putting too much tension on your hair, the braids will maintain the health of your follicles and scalp. Box braids can easily last up to 6 weeks, are very affordable, and look cute. 

Full step-by-step guide on how to install Box Braids here.

4. Bantu Knots

protective hairstyles for relaxed hair

While Bantu Knots are definitely not the easiest hairstyle for natural hair to do yourself, they look absolutely stunning. And because your hair is first twisted and then nicely wrapped in a bun, it is a great protective hairstyle to grow your 4c hair. 

Curious? Try them out for yourself.

5. Short braids

protective styles for winter

Now, these braids are pretty much a nice little twist on regular box braids. If you are a fan of the classic bob and prefer short hair over summer, then short braids might be a better fit for you. While similar to box braids, they can be worn for 4 weeks and more, short braids are easier to install, maintain, and wash due to the length. And they are super cute.

Check out this tutorial to get started with short braids.

6. Senegalese Twists

braiding natural hair with extensions

If you are not that much into braids and prefer a protective style that is less heavy and low maintenance, than Senegal’s twists might be a good move. This protective style will give your hair a much-needed break and can be worn in many different ways. 

Learn how to do chunky Senegalese Twists here.

7. Passion Twists

protective hairstyles for transitioning hair,

Passion Twists are a mix between Senegalese twists and goddess locs. This natural and easy-to-maintain hairdo is perfect for summer because it radiates straight island vibes. And like most other protective styles, passion twists retain length and additional growth with the duration of your style. 

Follow Kinzey for a detailed tutorial on Passion Twists.

8. Crochet Braids

protective hairstyles for natural hair with weave

My personal all-time favorites are crochet braids because they are super versatile. This innovative hairstyle allows you to rock almost every type of hair texture without having to manipulate your own. By simply attaching synthetic hair extensions, you can pretty much rock any look while still protecting your natural hair. 

Trust me, the crochet method is super easy as explained in this YouTube video.

9. Head Wraps

best protective styles for thinning edges

Uhh, child, the elegance of head wraps has taken the natural hair movement by storm. Now welcomed in every environment, from work to school, a beautifully tied scarf can make heads turn. While head wraps are not a long-term protective style, they are an easy alternative for a bad hair day. 

The only thing you need to consider when using a head wrap is to purchase a satin head wrap that will not suck all the moisture out of your hair like cotton headwraps. 

Trouble figuring out how to tie a headscarf? Get instructions here.

10. Faux Locs

protective hairstyles for transitioning hair

A funky but fun protective hairstyle for short hair or long hair is faux locs. The style requires very low maintenance apart from the consistent conditioning and moisturizing and can be worn for weeks on end. While installing faux locks takes a long time and involves more hair than simple box braids, this hairstyle is not more damaging to your natural hair than any other protective style.  

So if you have always wondered what you would look like with dreadlocks, then faux locks are a great way to experiment. 

Of course, there are many more protective hairstyles for natural hair growth out there. All you need to remember when choosing a style is that it needs to be a hairstyle that keeps you from having to do your hair every morning so that you don’t have to manipulate your hair as much. 

The longer you can keep in the same protective style, the more length you will retain. 

4c-friendly Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair Growth