30+ Protective Hairstyles That Look Timeless

Curly hair is often dry and brittle and can break at the drop of a hairpin, but protective hairstyles don’t have to be boring! Here are 30+ protective hairstyles that look timeless and do their job. Get your coconut oil and comb ready and get braiding! Wear them as they are for a casual look or accessorize for a glamorous evening style.

1. Box Braids Protective Hairstyles

By far the most recognizable style on this list, box braids keep your hair neat and tidy, protect it from dust and excessive washing. Wear them loose or in a practical bun and have fun!

2. Triangle Braids

The more geometric sister of the box braids, triangle braids have the bonus of mesmerizing patterns on your scalp. This protective hairstyle works great for everyone with long hair and some patience.

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3. Braids Braid Protective Hairstyles

If your box braids are too big to fit in a bun, try braiding them together in a mega braid. Can you say braidsception?

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4. Twists

Maybe you’re more of a fan of doubles or maybe you like even numbers. Either way, next on this list of protective hairstyles are twists. Guaranteed to strike your fancy and to keep your hair nice and tamed, they give a timeless look for people with shorter hair.

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5. Senegalese Twists

This protective hairstyle is the earlier twists pumped to the max. Ideal for long hair that needs love and care, but works great with extensions as well.

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6. Havana Twists Protective Hairstyles

Did someone say “go big”? Well, that’s exactly what these twists said and did. And if the color is more what you’re after, check out these ideas for dreamy blue hairstyles!

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7. Chunky Flat Twists

Keeping with the twists, this time take a look at these close-to-the-scalp flat braids. These are great for children as well, because making them takes less time and less pulling than cornrows.

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8. Thin Flat Twists

For more patient children and for adults alike, these thin flat twists protect your hair and give you a neat stylish look no other braid or twist does.

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9. Protective Half Wrap Twist

This simple, easy to do hairstyle looks classy and it will keep your mane in check for the entire day! Take advantage of the vintage air it comes with and pair it with a flowy dress for an impressive look.

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10. Halo/Crown Braid

Is that an angel or a queen? You can be both with this protective wrap-around braid! Add accessories and watch how it makes the hairstyle really “pop”!

11. Cornrows

Classic, simple and traditional, cornrows are the protective hairstyle choice of many people because they are so versatile. Make them small or big or mix, let them flow, or tie them together and they match every occasion.

12. Patterned Cornrows

Up your cornrow game with patterns and add a bit of something else to this classic protective hairstyle. Enjoy the amazement and don’t let yourself be mesmerized by them!

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13. Protective Dutch braids

A neat, organized hairstyle that works great for “back to school” and for back to work, but also for a fun party or for game night. Its simplicity is guaranteed to make anyone look put together and ready for work.

14. Chunky Box Braids

Triple the size of your box braids with added hairpieces to create this bulky look. It gives you fun and easy-going air while protecting your hair with the extra pieces that effectively hide it from the elements.

15. Wrap Around Twist

Start twisting behind one ear and keep at it until you run out of hair. This protective hairstyle does double the job by keeping the hair together and also covering the scalp and keeping the moisture close.

16. Braid Bun Protective Hairstyles

Similar to box braids, this one is specifically designed to be kept in a round bun on the top of your head so it doesn’t pull on the roots when put up. And you will have people guessing if you look straight out of a history book or right off the red carpet!

17. Dreadlocks

Also known as simply locks, this protective hairstyle has been around for generations and there are so many ways to make it! And don’t worry, there are ways to get your hair back once you want to take them out, you don’t have to shave it off.

18. Mix ‘n Match Cornrows and Twists

For a carefree, yet elegant look that can go from office to party with a change of earrings, try mixing cornrows close to the scalp and twists once the hair lifts. Secure in place with hairpins and you’re done!

19. Crochet Braids Protective Hairstyles

Crochet braids protect the hair from tangles and matts while preserving the natural look. You can barely see them on some hair types while they show nice and wavy on others, but they look great regardless!

20. Dreadlock Ponytail

Dreadlocks are a long term protective hairstyle. From taking care of them to wearing them, they require space to unravel, but sometimes they need to be out of the way. For that, use a large hair tie or even an elastic hairband to pull them back in this thick ponytail.

21. Reverse Cornrows Knot

Start planning this hairstyle before you start making it. With twists or braids, this knot pulls your hair to your forehead where you can pile it in a traditional looking knot.

22. Dreadlock Wrap

Use a silk scarf to pull your locks up on your head then let them flow back down like a protective fountain. This hairstyle is relaxed, classy, and professional at the same time, making it truly timeless.

23. Half Up Protective Twists

Your dreadlocks could do with some extra twists, so pile some up in one of these three half up dos for a cool, fun look that combines two protective hairstyles in one.

24. Extension Braids

This protective hairstyle can go on forever, or at least to the floor, it only depends on the extensions. Go with natural-looking hair or opt for contrasting colors for extra fun! And if you’d like some color added to your hair check out these ideas for hair colors for brunettes!

25. Twisted Faux Mohawk Protective Hairstyles

Did you get undercuts? No, you just cleverly braided your hair in this eye-catching pile that looks like a Mohawk. Stylish and fun, this is a look that can be adapted in many ways to create unique variants.

26. Loose Hair Faux Mohawk

If your hair isn’t long enough to braid it and style it and you don’t have the patience for extensions, take a look at this version of the Mohawk, with loose hair. For more ideas for short hair, check out these hairstyles!

27. Protective 100% Natural Hairstyles

This easiest hairstyle to do protects your hair from chemical relaxers, heat, and dyes. Rock the look mother nature gave you and show the world that natural is beautiful!

28. Pineapple Bun

When your natural mane gets too long, in the way, or just needs some extra moisture, pile it up in a fluffy bun on top of your head and add your favorite moisturizer at the roots.

29. Extended Bun

And if you really want to rock the bun look, chose extensions to match your natural hair color and add them on top of your bun for a very puffy bun that keeps your hair protected.

30. Bantu Knots Protective Hairstyles

Knot your hair up in these little buns and rock this resurfacing hairstyle! Popular with young adults, this is a fun, cute do that protects your hair from dust and sun and leaves access to the skin.

31. Faux Ponytail

You want to have a beautiful fluffy ponytail but you also want to protect your hair? Not a problem! Tie your hair in a small bun at the base of your neck and add a hairpiece that matches your type. Ta-dah, red carpet ready hairstyle!

32. Protective Wrap

Who said wash day has to be shadowed by messy hair? Use a stylish and soft scarf to wrap your hair and style it the way you want. Also great for the “I can’t deal with this today” days.

33. Bun Wrap

Hair, what hair? It’s neatly tucked under a scarf and wrapped into a bun. For these hairstyles, let your hair mix with the scarf and treat them as one entity.

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34. Half Wrap Protective Hairstyles

Wrap your scalp and let your mane flow free. Works great for winter days but also all year round when you feel like your roots could do with some love and care but you want to show your hair. Style the top however you want and change the look every time!

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35. Twisted Wrap

Try styling your wrap as you would your hair, with twists and braids, and get an elegant and protective hairstyle that looks flawless.

Bottom line

We hope we gave you some inspiration for your next look with these 30+ timeless protective hairstyles. Love your hair, take care of it, and enjoy it as it is! Which protective hairstyles would you like to try and which one is your absolute favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.

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