Protective Braided Hairstyles for Natural Hair

May 20, 2021 5 min read

Girl with braided hairstyle and sensual look against dark background

 By Tiffany Walker

Braided hairstyles are it right now, and are the perfect way to protect your natural hair. There are so many different options when it comes to protective hairstyling, but braided hairstyles for natural hair are easy to install, manage, and there’s so much room for creativity. From lemonade braids, knotless braids, fishtail braids, and goddess braids, there are many braid hairstyles out there! 

Protective styling is one of the best ways to achieve longer natural hair, keep your hair protected from damage, and environmental factors, and maintain hydration. Braids will also save you so much time. Instead of dreading how many steps you have in your curly hair routine, your hair will already be laid, with little to no work or manipulation. If you’re looking for some of the best protective braided hairstyles to rock this summer and all year round, then you’re in the right place. 

Preparing Your Hair for Braids

Before installing any type of protective braided hairstyle, there are some steps you should take to make sure your hair will get the most out of the style. 


Make sure your hair is thoroughly washed and moisturized. Try Mielle Organics’ Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo for the best results. This product will not only remove any build-up, dirt, and oil but will also nourish and strengthen your hair. This scalp-tingling hair strengthening shampoo is infused with organic seed oils and biotin to give your hair the life it needs, in perfect timing for your new look. 

Deep Condition 

Giving your natural hair a deep conditioning treatment before installing your protective braids will give your hair slip and help with the installation process of your natural hairstyle. We recommend using our Rosemary Mint Strengthening Masque. With ingredients like rosemary, honey, coconut oil, and biotin, your deep conditioning treatment is going to give your hair everything it needs to be strong and long while it's in the protective style. If you’re unsure how to moisturize the scalp or what causes dry scalp, deep conditioning is a great first step to adding the moisture that your hair needs.

Get a Trim

If you haven’t gotten a trim within the last 3 or 4 months, then try to get one before getting your braids. If you notice any damage or split ends, you should also get a trim, even if you got one within the last few months. This will help your natural braids to have a smooth appearance and helps to avoid breakage or damage while the hair is in the protective style.

Protective Braided Hairstyles

Braided hairstyles are the perfect way to protect your natural hair and express your creativity. Get inspired and find out all the different looks you can try out with braided hair!

1. Box Braids 

Box braids are three-strand twists that are created by parting hair into square-shaped sections. This style is for all hair types and all lengths. Depending on your preference and the look you’re going for, you can add hair extensions or wear them with your natural hair. However, it is very common to add hair extensions, as they can help to protect your natural hair more and give you a more striking look. Or, try adding different color extensions and hair accessories so that your braids look unique. 

After you’ve installed your braids, smooth down your edges using Pomegranate & Honey Blend Super Hold Edge Gel. This natural hair product is especially perfect for the type 4 naturalista. This gel smells great and is long-lasting, to keep your edges laid throughout the day. With the right amount of TLC, this style can last you up to 8 weeks. To keep your hair hydrated and healthy while it's in box braids, try using a hair strengthening oil. Whether you’re deciding between braids vs twists, strengthening oil will be a game-changer when installing any protective hairstyles for natural hair.

2. Crochet Braids

Crochet braids, also known as latch hook braids, is a special technique of braiding that builds off of your natural hair that’s been cornrowed, to which hair extensions are added, using a crochet needle. This style of braiding has so much versatility. You can switch up the length, color, style, and texture. The best thing about crochet braids is that they are quick to install, and are one of the most easily manageable and maintainable protective styles. 

With crochet braids, you can try out different kinds of looks, including crochet box braids, crochet twist out, faux locs, crochet Senegalese twist, water wave crochet braids, straight crochet braids, and more. To prepare your cornrows before installing your protective style, support your hair with natural hair products that prompt strengthening. First shampoo your hair, using Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo. Then follow with our hair strengthening oil, great for a hot oil treatment. Then follow it up with the Rosemary Mint Strengthening Masque, to give your hair the strength and moisture it needs before being tucked away.

3. Cornrows 

Cornrows are a popular and versatile protective hairstyle that can be worn on any hair type or length. Cornrows are a special technique of hair braiding in which the hair is braided close to the scalp, in vertically sectioned rows. Many people think that a cornrow braid is the best braids for short natural hair!For this reason, cornrows are a braided style that can be worn with different color hair extensions, lengths, and design patterns. 

The many different kinds of cornrows include side cornrow braids, cornrows braided into a bun, jumbo cornrows, small cornrow braids, half cornrow braids in the front and weave, a ponytail, or box braids in the back. To moisturize and soothe your scalp of any dryness or itchiness, try out a hair strengthening oil. To maintain and care for your hair while it's braided, we recommend a leave-in conditioner. You can mix the leave-in conditioner with the strengthening oil and water in a spray bottle to moisturize your hair scalp every 1 to 3 days.

4. Braided Updo

Braided updos are for sure a conversation starter. They are low maintenance and can be dressed up for a night out. This protective braids hairstyle is great for all hair lengths, even short hair or thin hair. The options are endless when it comes to braided updos, some styles to look into are:

  • Braided and twisted mohawk
  • Braided ponytail
  • Feed-in braids
  • Braided crown 

Each of these styles is so versatile and will protect your hair while giving you a bomb look at the same time. 

The Bottom Line

Protective styling is a great way to achieve longer hair and to keep your hair protected from damage. Remember to thoroughly wash and moisturize prior to installing any style for the best results. With these tips, tricks, and styles you are ready to pull off beautiful looks all summer while maintaining your curls!


  1. Cosmopolitan. 30 Box Braid Styles and Ideas to Try Immediately.
  2. Marie Claire. Gorgeous Twists Styles for Natural Hair.
  3. Better Lenght Hair. 7 best protective hairstyles that actually protect natural hair for black women.


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