10 On-trend Low Manipulation Hairstyles for Natural Hair

Styles that are easy on your hair.

If you have natural hair, you probably know the struggle of figuring out low manipulation hairstyles that look cute and won’t damage your hair. Since short natural hair can run on the dry and fragile side, many styles might involve heavy use of heat or intricate styling that can cause more harm than good to your stands. As much as we love protective styles, low manipulation hairstyles are another great option for natural hair types since they require little to no upkeep after you create them.

Low Tension Protective Styles for Short, Natural Hair

To inspire you to try something new, we’ve collected seven low manipulation hairstyles for short natural hair that are perfect for your specific hair type and texture. Read on:

1. Easy Curly Ponytail

low manipulation styles for short natural hair you need to try
A mini ponytail you can’t help but love, so chic, so fun, and one of the great low manipulation hairstyles you can try. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

Told you these styles were easy! You don’t need long hair to do a ponytail, one of the easiest low manipulation hairstyles you can do on the fly. All you need is a good hair tie and a headband (or some pins) to hold in any free-flying hairs. Simply pull your hair up into a high ponytail and secure it into place using a hair tie. We recommend covered hair elastics that are metal-free to ensure that they won’t tug or rip at your hair. The headband on top makes sure this style is extra cute and can hold any baby hair strands you may want out of your face.

2. Sleep-Set Curls

low manipulation styles for short natural hair you need to try
Cute curls while you sleep? Low manipulation hairstyles that work while you sleep. Sign us up. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

Heatless curls? Kind of our favorite thing ever. We love using foam rollers for a tightly coiled look or flexi-rods for a looser curl. You can follow our step-by-step tutorial for setting your hair into flexi-rods. When you wake up, your hair will be set into perfect spring coils. Who doesn’t love a hair manipulation hairstyle that works while you sleep? Unravel all those flexi-rods and give your hair a little extra love with a styling oil, like For Every Hair Type Revitalizing Hair Oil that helps add shine and hydration to your ends.

3. Topknot

low manipulation styles for short natural hair you need to try
Safe from splitting ends, the top knot is one of the low manipulation hairstyles that are so gentle for your hair and cute too.

You’ll want to watch out for rough materials, like wool and knits, that can catch the ends of your hair and cause breakage and knots. This makes topknots one of the best low manipulation styles for day or night! If your ends can’t touch anything, they’ll be sure to stay safe.

4. Tucked Braid

low manipulation styles for short natural hair you need to try
The shorter your hair the easier it is to tuck away in low manipulation hairstyles. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

Another way we like to keep our ends hidden away is with braids. This braid is a simple enough style that you could do it in the morning before leaving for work or school. We suggest prepping your hair with an oil or a conditioner, like Nexxus Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist. It helps keep your hair hydrated and easier to style. Next, just braid your hair back and secure it all the way at the ends. You can then tuck those ends right up into the space between the braid and your scalp to keep them safe.

5. Crown Twist

low manipulation styles for short natural hair you need to try
The most romantic style of all of the low manipulation hairstyles.

Another way to keep those ends tucked away is to go for the crown twist. This style is a bit easier said than done and is much easier to do with a friend on hand to help create an even look. We do adore this style, though, because it works on shorter hair, and it’s just so romantic.

6. Pineapple Bun

low manipulation styles for short natural hair you need to try
Who doesn’t love a good pineapple ‘do?

A much more casual style is the always popular pineapple hairstyle! Not only do your ends stay safe, but this funky style is easy to do. We always recommend two things when wearing pineapple hair: oils and scarves. Scarves are great because they tie together the whole look and keep your roots safe. Bonus points for using a silk scarf that will glide against your hair.

7. Frohawk

low manipulation hairstyles for short natural hair you need to try
Rock that frohawk!

One of our favorite cool-looking, low manipulation hairstyles is the frohawk. This style looks so much more complicated than it really is! At the end of the day, it’s just a series of ponytails. You can see how to create this style with our frohawk video tutorial. It’s easy, edgy, and effortlessly cool!

8. Knotless Braids

boho black knotless braids
The hairstyle looks better over time. Photo by Korie Cull

Knotless braids are a braided hairstyle that creates less tension on the scalp. It starts from your natural root and adds extensions as the braid grows. They can last up to three months, so they’re the perfect hairstyle to keep your natural hair beautiful for a longer period of time.

9. Crochet Locs

protective style goddess locs

We love crochet locs: they mimic box braids, goddess locs, and passion twists while causing less tension. The hair is cornrowed then individual looks are looped into cornrows through a hook.

10. Halo Twists

halo twists
Photo Credit: @reneebigtime

This low tension protective hairstyle can be dressed up or down. Plus, when you take it off, it will give you amazing waves. You can even decorate it with charms and beads, like in the photo.

Looking for more hair inspiration? Be sure to follow us over @AllThingsHairUS!

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