Scroll To See More Images
“Keep your ends tucked away.” It’s the hair advice that never seems to cease, especially for those of us with textured hair. Whether we want to grow our hair or simply keep it healthy, experts have always stressed the importance of opting for styles that make it less likely for us to manipulate our strands over a long period of time. To that same point, some of the styles deemed “protective” can be damaging when installed or maintained incorrectly. But first, let’s get back to basics. Protective styles are best defined as anything the keeps your ends tucked away and shielded from the environmental stressors that cause damage, breakage and more. Although most like to categorize braids as the primary type of protective look, the truth is there is so much more; just take a quick scroll down your Instagram feed and the inspiration is there.
For every classic look is an updated version or completely new ‘do we’re collectively obsessed with and dying to try. By the end of 2019, it was clear that passion twists had become the look of the moment while oldie-but-goodies like straight-back cornrows and blowouts were impossible to ignore during Fashion Month. Still, despite the fact that “trends” are constantly changing, what remains the same is how to care for all of them. Besides ensuring that a style is pulling out your edges or tugging too tightly if it’s an updo, moisture is key. For braids specifically, an oil-rich cream like the new braid cream from Pantene’s Gold Series makes it less likely for your hair to become dry and break off when it’s in two- or three-strand twists.
And if you’re wearing a wig or sewn-in, dry conditioner such as the one from Dove’s Go Active line, can curb buildup on the scalp and give your style that fresh-out-of-the-salon vibe after you’ve been wearing it for days or even weeks. Plus, knowing when to take out a protective style–because you can’t wear it forever–plays a big part in your hair’s overall health. But let’s get back to fun part.
Popular accounts like @protectivestyles and @naturallycurly are constantly showing us the versatility of black hair with styles that look good and keep ends from splitting and breaking. And with another spring season looming near, now is the perfect time to try out any of these looks and ensure that your strands can flourish when it’s time for a fresh start. Ahead, we’ve gathered over 50 double tap-worthy ones worth copying. From braids to locs and even the classic top knot, inspo is hardly in short supply.