Protective Styles for Short Natural Hair: 15 Styles Beyond Braids

It's not just about braids. 

No matter what hair type you have, protective styling is vital if you want to maintain the healthy look and feel of your hair. It’s so easy to damage your locks with daily styling and with the use of color treatments. Natural hair is prone to damage just like any other hair type and hair length. Many women choose not to experiment with protective styles for short natural hair since they aren’t aware of the many options actually out there for them.

Ladies, braids are just one way to protect your natural texture; it doesn’t stop there! Below is a list of other protective styles for short natural hair for you to try. Read on:

protective styles for short natural hair:
Try a new style with a wig.

1. Bob Wig

One of the easiest and fun parts of protective styling is experimenting with wigs. Have you ever wondered how a short bob would look on you? Try it out with a wig while you protect your natural hair underneath.

protective styles for short natural hair: bun
Perfect style for lazy days.

2. Updo Bun

If you’re looking for easy protective hairstyles for short natural hair, this is a great hairstyle for both bad hair days and lazy-hair days alike. If you have hair that’s long enough to be gathered into a bun, use this as your protective hairstyle for short natural hair.

protective style for short natural hair: crochet
If you miss your hair, you can use crochet braids.

3. Crochet Braids

Just because you’re using protective styles for short natural hair doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to still wear fun natural hairstyles. Crochet braids offer you the flexibility to wear twist-outs, braid-outs and more.

protective styles for short natural hair: crown twist
The perfect twisted halo. Photo credit: Dvora

4. Crown Twist

This twisted style can be achieved in a matter of minutes. Opt for this hairstyle if you’re looking for something that requires minimal daily maintenance.

protective styles for short natural hair: curly wig
Miss your curls? Get a curly wig.

5. Curly Wig

While you tuck your curly hair in to protect it from damage, there’s no reason for any type of #FOMO. Wear a curly wig if you miss your curly styles. Protect your hair underneath by treating it with an oil, like TRESemmé Botanique Damage Recovery Oil Elixir.

protective styles for short natural hair: French braids
Use this look as a protective style.

6. French Braids

You can use this braided style as a way to preserve your braid out, or as a protective style. Use a gel, like Nexxus Exxtra Hold Sculpting Gel to smooth down any stray hairs. We also love this as a workout look.

protective styles for short natural hair: head wrap
Change up your head wrap to match your outfit.

7. Head Wrap

That same scarf you use to protect your hair at night is the same scarf you can use to protect your hair out and about. There are so many stylish ways to wear a scarf on your hair. Change it up from day to day!

protective styles for short natural hair: loose braids
Wear loose braids to prevent tension.

8. Loose Braids

If you are concerned about tight braids pulling at your hairline, opt for loose braids instead. If your hair to too short for braids, you can use braiding hair as an extension.

protective styles for short natural hair: pineapple updo
Wear it from night right into the next day.

9. Pineapple Updo

This updo can be worn every single day until wash day. To dress up your pineapple, pull out some hair at the front to create a curly fringe. If your curls need a touch-up, spritz with water and define with TRESemmé Flawless Curls Defining Gel.

protective styles for short natural hair: scarf headband
Protect your edges with a scarf.

10. Scarf Headband

Sometimes, women with natural hair, no matter their hair length, experience hair loss around their hairline from tight hairstyles. If protecting your hairline is your concern, use loose updo hairstyles as your hairstyle of choice. To conceal or protect your hairline, you can cover up with a silk scarf.

protective styles for short natural hair: box braids
Try a bob with braids.

11. Short Box Braids

If you’re used to having short hair, and rather this length when protective styling, one hairstyle idea is short box braids. Ask your stylist for box braids at bob length. If you plan to wear your box braids in other ways, go a little longer so you can create hairstyles like braided ponytails.

protective styles for short natural hair: space buns
Space buns for adults.

12. Space Buns

Want to play around with different bun styles? Make sure to throw trendy space buns, a.k.a. Bantu knots, into the mix.

protective styles for short hair: flat twists
The perfect protective style for any occasion. Photo credit:

13. Flat Twists

This is such a great hairstyle for any occasion that designers took it to the runway. Opt for this flat twist protective style if you have some fancy occasions on your agenda that call for an elegant look.

protective styles for short natural hair:updo
Protect your hair at the back.

14. Curly Half Updo

The traditional half updo calls for hair out at the back and up at the front. This protective style, however, is reversed. If you’re looking to protect just the back of your hair, try this version of the look.

protective styles for short natural hair: Bantu knots
Set your hair with Bantu knots.

15. Bantu Knots

Bantu knots can be done on short or long hair. Create these knots as a protective hairstyle or use it to create coily curls once you remove them from your hair.

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