11 Protective Hairstyles For Natural Hair That Will Save You Styling Time

If you have natural hair, you know: styling your hair every day can be extremely time consuming. From detangling and blow-drying to hydrating and oiling — even thinking about a different hairstyle every single day is a lot. That's why we love protective natural hairstyles.

Though we've come a long way with properly caring for the health of natural hair, sometimes you just want something low-maintenance that's also going to look good. Enter: protective hairstyles for natural hair. By definition, a protective style is any hair configuration that keeps your ends safely tucked away. These hairstyles require very little daily upkeep and help your hair remain moisturized while promoting hair growth thanks to low manipulation. When you get a new protective style, gone are the days of pulling and yanking at your hair in the name of vanity. An added bonus? You can ditch the arm work that comes with all the parting and lifting.

Luckily we now have plenty of hairstyle options to choose from. Everything from knotless braids and cornrows to sew-ins are protective hairstyles that will keep us looking put-together with very minimal effort on our part. If you're looking for a new go-to look that will keep your natural hair out of the way for a little while, we went ahead and gathered some of the best options we could find. Whether you need something to hold you over until washday or you're looking for a longer-lasting style, get ready, because your mood board is about to undergo a major transformation. Check out all the best protective hairstyles for natural hair ahead.

— Additional reporting by Ariel Baker

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Cornrows

Cornrows are one of the easiest protective natural hairstyles to achieve. Whether you get them small, medium, or large, the style can be installed in a number of ways, and you can even incorporate designs or colors, as seen here.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Braided Bangs

Want to know how to take your bangs up a notch? Braid them. This protective natural hairstyle can be combined with a high bun or left down.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Hair Wraps

Hair wraps make it easy to achieve protective hairstyles for natural hair. This style is mostly covered, which is both trendy and functional.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Braided Bantu Knots

Bantu knots are an easy way to achieve heatless curls, especially if you don't feel like drying your hair after washday. The style can also stand on its own as a look, so why not incorporate braids for one of your protective natural hairstyles?

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Halo Braid

This halo braid keeps the volume to a minimum by tucking the hair as you braid. This allows for the braid to remain tight without causing too much tension on your scalp.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Twisted Updo

If you can't deal with how long it takes to take down your braids but you love the look, twists might be your next best bet. Not only does this protective natural hairstyle offer the same versatility of the aforementioned style, but they are often much easier to take down and less heavy on your head.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Low-Ponytail Twist

There's nothing like a low-ponytail twist to get you through the warmer months. This protective hairstyle for natural hair is super simple: just put your hair in a low ponytail and twist the ends — that's it.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Vertical Twisted Puffs

A fun play on the traditional Afro puff hairstyle, these vertical puffs are one of the most elegant protective hairstyles for natural hair. Accessorize with small cornrows and flowers like the picture seen here for a hairstyle that is formal-event-ready in an instant.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Plaited Pompadour

What do you get when you combine cornrows with a pompadour? This masterpiece. The pompadour is one of the most low-maintenance protective hairstyles for natural hair, and the ease of styling is taken to the next level with the addition of small cornrows. Just sleep with a bonnet or silk pillowcase and you're set for a few weeks.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Hidden Halo

You can achieve braided halos with braids too. This is one of those protective natural hairstyles that combines two looks into one, so it will not only last you a long time, but you can be extremely versatile.

Protective Style Ideas For Natural Hair: Rolled Waves

These rolled waves are one of the more intricate protective natural hairstyles, and you won't want to stop wearing it. Horizontal twists are gathered into vertical buns for a style that is nothing short of a work of art.