Caring for your natural hair with a protective hairstyle is always a good call. It allows your locks time to grow and recover from relaxing or wearing a weave, plus helping to shield them from the elements! Yet while you might think that having short hair would limit your options, in reality, there is an abundance of protective styles for short natural hair that are equal parts convenient and chic.
So, whether you’re rocking a TWA (AKA a teeny weeny afro) or longer, bob-length curls, grab some snacks, get comfortable and prepare to discover some of our favourite protective styles.
Bob Box Braids
We couldn’t do a natural hair roundup without including box braids now, could we? Neat and uniform in size, these medium box braids are just what you need to protect your natural hair. And by stopping them at chin level, they’re the perfect way to channel the much-coveted bob trend. Credit: @deartolu
Tried box braids and now feeling a bit over it? Then consider Senegalese twists the next time you hit the salon. Similar to box braids but using the Senegalese twist method instead, this process is quicker to do, gives the look a totally different texture and provides a super shiny finish. What’s not to love?
Psst: We also love the way that this Instagrammer has tucked one side of her hair back behind her ear, giving the look a sleek, asymmetric effect. Credit: @saythelees
Editor’s tip: Love the way this girl has tamed her baby hairs around her hairline? You can get this result by applying a small amount of hairspray or gel (the VO5 Wet Look Styling Gel is great if you prefer a wet look) to a comb or toothbrush, then styling them into place.
Need protective styles for short natural hair that don’t require crazy maintenance? Not only do locs look ah-mazing, they’re also ridiculously easy to look after, as your natural hair is completely covered. Plus you don’t have to style them either, so they’re a dream on mornings where you’re short of time (AKA every day, right?) Credit: @kianacurtiss
We’re going to let you in on a little secret… You don’t have to be a braiding pro to be able to pull off a 2-strand twist updo! Yep, it’s true, these gorgeous twists are the perfect low manipulation look to keep your mane under control during the day.
Depending on how long your hair is will obviously impact how much hair you have left out at the nape of your neck, but tying any extra length into a chic low bun makes for a quick and easy updo. Credit: @kaaatwalk
Editor’s tip: To keep your 2-strand twist neat and frizz-free, apply an oil or serum to each section of hair, such as the VO5 Invisibly Light Hair Oil, before you twist. This will smooth the hair ready to be twisted and keep it looking fresh for longer.
Bantu knots are great for all hair lengths and they’re easy enough that you can DIY. For smaller Bantu knots, divide your hair into lots of tiny sections; and for larger, more voluminous buns, use less sections.
Tempted? Check out our step-by-step tutorial to find out all about how to install them yourself. Credit: @ms.yetunde
Classic cornrows might not seem like the most exciting style, but if you’re wanting to make your braids pop, one thing to try is incorporating braids of varying sizes into your look.
While this is every bit as practical as traditional cornrows, the different thicknesses will give the look added detail and look more thought-out. Credit: @curlbellaa