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12 Cute Protective Natural Hairstyles for Back to School

Make a entrance the first day!

It’s that time of year again – back to school! This year back to school is more special than ever as many students are returning back to school in person for the first time in over a year! If you are one of those students, then it’s only right that you look and feel your very best as you approach in-person schooling for the first time again. This means it’s time to try a fresh, new, protective hairstyles for natural hair.

As a busy time is starting up in your life again, chances are you don’t want to wake up and have to worry about styling your natural hair every day. Here are 12 protective hairstyle ideas you can wear on your natural hair throughout the course of this school year!

1. Bobble Tie Twists

Cute Hair Twists
Bobble ties are cute regardless of age. Photo by Shingi Rice

Who says Bobble Ties are only for toddlers? You can and you should rock them too this back-to-school season!  Twists are a gorgeous and effortless way to protect your natural hair. Make them even more fun and special for school by adding bobble ties and hair clips! This is also a great way to revamp a set of twists that you’ve had on for a while for increased longevity. 

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2. Wavy Faux Locs Hairstyle

Girl with wavy faux locs
Put a twist on faux locs by wearing them wavy. Photo by Andre Adjahoe

The look of locs are so sleek, and the beauty of this hairstyle is that you can wear it in so many different updos. Put a twist on the faux locs style by wearing them wavy. Your natural hair is bound to thrive under this protective style, all while you are able to rock a multitude of looks while wearing the locs for an extended period of time.

3. Large Box Braids Protective Style

large box braids
Box braids are so versatile for back to school. Photo by Gustavo Laneson

Another versatile style you should consider for this school year is large box braids. For a hairstyle that lasts even longer, has less installation pain, and is more protective, consider getting this style in the form of knotless braids. To maintain these braids use a leave-in treatment such as Dove’s Hair Therapy Dry Scalp Care Leave-On Scalp Treatment to increase the longevity of this back-to-school hairstyle. 

4. Jumbo Box Braids

Girl with jumbo braids
Jumbo braids are a great way to experiment with styles. Photo by Mikey Struik

For box braids that are even quicker to install, consider wearing jumbo box braids as your protective style. Because Jumbo braids tend to be worn for a few weeks less than your average box braids, you can truly have some fun with this style! Try being experimental with this natural hair protective style by adding fun colors, waves, curls, and//or accessories!

5. Jumbo Twists Protective Style

Natural hair jumbo twists
Jumbo twists are quick to install and lightweight.

Speaking of quick and jumbo hairstyles, jumbo twists are quicker and easier to install. This makes the style perfect for on-the-go students with hectic schedules.  With how lightweight this hairstyle is, you’ll even forget that you are wearing a protective hairstyle! 

6. Trendy Passion Twists Hairstyle

Girl with purple passion twists
Passion twists are trendy and chic for back to school. Photo by Yonas Bekele

If you love the idea of wearing twists as a protective style of your natural hair, then you should also consider getting passion twists. Passion Twists are one the trendiest protective hairstyles in the natural hair community at the moment. Therefore, this is the perfect style to wear if you are looking for something effortless, yet so chic for back to school. 

7.  Barrette Puff

Girl with large puff
Dress up your natural hair puff. Photo by Vladimir Yelizarov

Running out of time to get braids/twists before going back to school? Try putting a twist on your natural hair puff. You can use a puff hair extension to tuck away your own natural hair for protection, or so you don’t have to worry about styling it every morning. You can even make your puff look more unique by adding cute hair clips and barrettes to your hair. 

8. Sleek Gelled-up Hair Puff

Slick hair puff
Gel up your hair for a sleek hair puff

Another beautiful way to wear your hair puff is to wear it slicked up. When slicking your natural hair up in a neat puff with a hair gel. To help protect your hair from damage, use a lightweight and natural hair gel such as Dove Amplified Textures Define N’ Moisture Styling Gel.  When wearing this style, you can make it last up to a week with quick 5-minute touch-ups every morning.  

9. Textured Natural Hair Bun

Girl with textured bun
This is the perfect natural-looking bun. Photo by Mike Von

If you want to try a more reserved and natural-looking hairstyle for back to school, then try a textured natural hair bun. Achieve this style by adding a textured weave ponytail or bun extension to your natural hair. To maintain the look for up to a week, use a holding spray such as TRESemmé’s TRES Two Freeze Hold Hair Spray. 

10. Closure Wig Protective Hairstyle.

girl with lace front eig
Closure wigs can be styled in a variety of ways. Photo by Aina Vine.

When you invest in a good lace front wig, it can be dressed up and worn in a variety of ways, all while you protect your natural curls and coils. The easiest to manage the type of lace front wig is a closure. A closure wig will make your back-to-school morning hair routine nearly effortless as it requires little to no installing. 

11. Lemonade Braids

Girl with cornrow lemonade braids
Rock your lemonade braids all semester long. Photo by Etty Fidele

Lemonade braids are not just a summer style! Transition them into a back-to-school hairstyle as well. As you find your cornrows becoming older, refresh them using  Emerge Edge Control to style your edges. 

12. Medium Length Beaded Cornrows

Cornrows with beads
Throw it back with beaded cornrows. Photo by Benigno Hoyuela

As a naturalista, chances are you have been rocking beaded cornrows since you were a young child in elementary school. Take a road down nostalgia’s road by recouping this fun and whimsical protective style as you enter a new level of schooling

We get it, back to school can be an extremely stressful time. Especially after online schooling for over a year. However, as you embark on this new chapter of schooling, looking and feeling your best will help make you a lot happier. A fresh new hairstyle can go a long way in terms of helping you perfect your desired look. Not to mention it is a great way to embrace protective hairstyles while saving you time before class!

Which protective hairstyle will you be trying on your natural hair for back to school? Show us by tagging @AllThingsHairUS. For more protective hairstyle ideas, subscribe to our newsletter below!

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