The DevaCurl Blog

Guide to Protective Styles for Natural Hair

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m alllll about that long hair.

Wait, nope. Definitely not just me. There’s 32,000 posts on IG with #longcurlyhair.

How on earth did these beautiful creatures get their locks to grow so long?! They likely ate well, took really, really good care of their curls, and utilized protective styles.

What exactly is a protective style?

“When your hair isn’t worn out, the ends of your hair are not exposed, but instead are tucked away,” says Shari Harbinger, Co-Founder of the DevaCurl Academy. So why are these important? They protect your ends, and thus minimize and reduce breakage.

The ends of your hair are the oldest, and therefore the most fragile. The more you wash, style, and tug on that hair the weaker it gets. Protective styles are exactly what they sound like: styles that protect or preserve your fragile hair.

They’re uber important in the summer because you’re dealing with excess heat, humidity, exposure to salt water and chlorine, the list goes on.

Protective styles also reduce knots/tangles, promote healthy hair growth, and more!

So if you want to protect your curls this summer, what are your options?

You can wear a wig.

Yes, I just said that. Because it’s true. Tucking your hair up and into a wig, protects all of your hair from the elements.

One of the biggest benefits, is that it actually can protect your hair from the sun’s UV rays, which surprise, can cause heat damage. Your hair can get damaged from sunshine, just like your skin, but a wig acts as a shield.

You can turn to braids.

There’s tons of variations on this type of protective style. One of the most popular? Box braids, aka when you or a stylist, braids the hair coming from your scalp into extensions to create long beautiful braids that can be kept in for weeks, and sometimes even months. They’re called box braids because sections for each braid are divided into tiny boxes of strands, in a grid-like pattern on the scalp. Another similar style, uses twists instead of braids, often referred to as Senegalese Twists or Marley Twists.

Several of our favorite curly bloggers have rocked braids. Check out some of these pics for inspiration:

(From left to right: Alicia, Priscilla, Edgy, Ginny)

If you’re not ready to commit to braids or a wig, you can create simple styles at home that involve tucking away your curls. Here, we teach you how to achieve a few of our favorite looks using DevaCurl stylers:

Side Twists Into a Bun

Featuring: Ashlee W/Tyla

  1. Start by parting your hair down the center into two even sections.
  2. Starting at the top right of your temple, begin to gently twist the hair up and in towards the left, grabbing more hair as you make your way down towards the nape. Be sure to twist tightly to avoid any flyaways.
  3. Twist until you reach the bottom edge of your ear, then secure with a hair tie. Twist the remaining hair onto itself to form a tight bun, secure with bobbypins. Repeat on the other side.
  4. To help tame your edges, lightly apply Styling Cream along your face frame for added moisture, then gently smooth Beautiful Mess between your palms and apply over it along the hairline. For extended hold and to keep frizz at bay, use Flexible Hold Hairspray.

Mini Buns

Featuring: Dominique 

  1. Start by parting your hair down the center into two even sections.
  2. Take the right section of hair and begin to smooth the section down using SuperCream, pulling the hair up towards the top of your head, creating a ponytail. Secure in place with a hair tie. Repeat on other side.
  3. For added shine emulsify a dollop of B’Leave In in your hands, then take one of your ponytails and divide it into two sections. Create a two-strand twist by twisting the sections over each other from the base of the ponytail until you reach the ends. For a messier look, as shown, keep the twists loose. Twist the ponytail around the base to create the bun, then secure in place with pins. Repeat on opposite side.

High Puff

Featuring: Mary G

  1. Start on loose hair. If you’re going for more volume, it’s best to start on second, or third day hair. Mist the hair gently with Spray Gel then begin to smooth it upward.
  2. Bring all of your hair up to the top of your head and secure in place with a hair tie or bungee cord.
  3. Wrap your hair around the base of the pony to create a bun. Secure with a hair tie, then refine shape with bobby pins. To keep the bun from frizzing, spritz with Set It Free.

Bantu Knots

Featuring: Ronnie

  1. Start by spritzing No-Comb Detangling Spray to refresh, add slip, and add some moisture.
  2. Section hair with a wide tooth comb. The smaller the sections, the tighter the curls. Have fun with the different looks you can create.
  3. Begin with a small section then separate into two and twist.
  4. Wrap the twist around and either secure with a pin or a hair band. 

These are just a few of the many ways you can rock your curls while protecting them. Do you have a favorite protective style? Share with us in the comments below!



Dermatologist Tested -


Sulfates Free


Silicone Free


Paraben Free