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If you love your tresses and want them to stay healthy and beautiful, then you’ll need to occasionally protect them from the elements.  Especially if you’ve got a head full of dense, kinky African hair. Although kinky hair is beautiful and can be worn in unique styles, it needs extra special tender loving care. This is because kinky hair can be susceptible to getting dry and brittle. The secret to long and healthy natural hair is, among other things, constant moisturizing.

Are there other reasons why you should wear protective hairstyles? Yes, there are.

  • To protect the hair from environmental factors.
  • To help the hair retain moisture.
  • To reduce incidences of hair breakage.
  • To look chic and stunningly beautiful.
What to do before you make a protective hairstyle.

Many naturalistas aren’t sure of how to ‘treat’ their hair before they make a protective style. In order to get the most out of your kinky hair, you must give it a lot of attention, love, and patience. Here are a few hair care tips that can give you better hair results.

  • Deep-condition your hair (if you want soft, smooth and silky hair, I recommend blended avocado pear, honey and probably, table mayonnaise).
  • Do a tea rinse (to reduce hair breakages and to cleanse an itchy scalp).
  • Massage your hair with oils and butter (shea butter and/or cocoa butter).
  • Use a good leave-in conditioner.
  • Always keep your hair stretched out before sleeping (cover your hair with a silk scarf).

Now it’s time to reveal the top most beautiful protective hairstyles on my list. First on my list is

Crochet braids
Crochet by Nubi Kinky

Crochet braids waltzed into the hair and fashion industry in 2015, and they won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Also known as latch hook braids, they took the world by storm having been inspired by the hair revolution of the 90’s.

As a protective hairstyle, crochet braids are stylish, beautiful and diverse. Not only are they easy to make, they take less time and last a lot longer.

What’s more? They come in different designs and styles. In fact, there are at least 31 beautiful crochet braids hairstyles you can make. This makes it impossible to run out of options. From the faux wash and go to the big wavy curls, crochet braids will give you that confident, fabulous look you deserve.

How do you install crochet braids? The most common method involves first weaving the hair into cornrows and then looping the extensions through the cornrows. This looping is done using a spoke-like hook. If you like to experiment with textures, lengths, colors and styles, then try some crochet braids styles.

Short kinky twists

Short kinky twists have been in vogue for a long time now. And it’s easy to see why. They are great hairstyles for the tropics and for summer break. If you want a hairstyle that doesn’t bother you with heat or itchiness on the neck and back, then you won’t regret the short kinky twists. Don’t feel discouraged if you have long tresses, hairstylists have devised a method of folding the hair so that it stays as shot as the kinky twist.

Before you install these twists in your hair, ensure that you do a tea rinse to strengthen your strands. This hairstyle can be work in a number of ways. You can do a three step twist, or a part Ghana weaving, part stand-alone twists.

Want to protect your hair during dry, hot seasons? Try short kinky twists. Not only will you protect your hair, you’ll look fabulous and beautiful.

Fulani braids and big cornrows Into A Ponytail

Both of these protective styles is safer than most all-back styles because it doesn’t put pressure on the fragile curls of hair in the front part of the hair. In fact, no hair enthusiast should omit Fulani braids from their list of protective styles. Not only are they beautiful and stylish, they are effective in helping frontal hair growth.  I also like the youthful look they give a face. Want to look young and innocently beautiful? Fulani braids or inner-matting are one way to achieve this. They look good on children and adults alike.

Beware of any braid that tightly pulls the front of your hair so that you don’t go bald in the front parts of the hair. Take steps to make bigger cornrows, rather that smaller tighter braids. The front part of the hair is not only fragile, it’s slower and more difficult to grow.

Why not try the trendy big cornrows pulled into a ponytail? It’s a fast and painless hairstyle that will make your stand out from the crowd.

Bantu Knots
Bantu knots via

You have to be super confident in yourself to pull off a very fine Bantu knot hair do. Straight from the 90’s this protective hairstyle is fab and simply stunning. If you have a fine long neck you want to show off, go for a Bantu knot hairstyle and you’re sure to turn heads.

Here’s how it is made- the hair is twisted around until it turns back on itself. Although this hairstyle protects your hair from damage, it can be quite uncomfortable to sleep in. But it is worth wearing for some time, especially when there is a type of cultural event to be attended. Bantu knots are the best.

Havana Twists

I love me some Havana twists. I loved the bold look they give a face. They are gorgeously unique and in a class of their own. Havana twist hairstyles are versatile and allow a lot of room for experimenting with pins, clips, highlights and even beads.

They can be worn in different unique, amazing styles.

So how are the Havana twists installed? The twists are formed with two strands rather than three (like the crochet braids). The preferred size of the twists determine how tight or lose the twists will be pulled.

Havana extensions tend to cost more than crotchet braids and most extensions. Do consider that Havana twists tend to require some preplanning and maintenance routines.

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This article was first published on 3rd May 2017


Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam writes creative non-fiction and prose fiction. Her works have appeared in Romance Meets Life, Flash Fiction Press, MTLS, Saraba Magazine, Sentinel Magazine and others. Her first novel is 'Finding Love Again'. She owns and manages

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