Ms Afro Chic

Posted on October 22 2020



Protective styling is the best way to reach your hair growth goals. There are a lot of protective styles to choose from and we will help you find the style that meets your needs.                             

Healthy hair care regiment building - we are still at it. Our fave, protective styling!

If you are one of those that get to hit the shoulder length and stays there for the next ten years type person? This post is for you! Let's get to it then.

Now, once you have detangled, shampooed, conditioned/deep-conditioned, apply your leave-in conditioner and styling product, oil then creams or butter to seal in the moisture (we know! Lol), the next stage is styling.


There are many ways to style, but for length retention, the best way is to do protective styling - a method used to preserve the ends of the hair to retain more length. Keeping the ends tucked away reduces moisture loss, rubbing and exposure to the elements that wear and tear away the hair.


Protective styling must be done over time to see a significant difference in length. Hair generally grows between ¼ inch to ½ inches per month. It can mean between 4 to 6 inches of hair growth in a year! 

So how long do you need to do protective styling to get the length you want? It may take a year or 2 to get there babe. But if you know your hair better it's easier to work with it rather than against it to gain more length.


2 SECRET INGREDIENTS: Be patient and be consistent! 

There is no grow your hair quick when doing it the natural way. Your hair journey may take longer, but it will be worth your crown when you reach your hair length goal.

DO NOT leave your protective styles longer than suggested. While your hair may look gorgeous and you want to preserve it the longest you can, keeping it past the time to take it out will give the opposite results of hair growth.

Even with the oils and moisturizing products, the natural moisturizer of the scalp and roots of your hair will run out, resulting in more damage, dryness, tangling and breakage.


There are tons of available protective styles online. We see buns, twists or twist-outs, pin and tuck hairstyles, weaves, wigs, head wraps and hats, braids or braid outs. We even see 20, 30, 50 or 100 protective styles you can use on your hair, but let's narrow them down into their main styles shall we?

1. Box Braids

The name comes from the square-shaped hair sections created for braiding. It is a popular choice in the natural hair community. It's more of a style emphasis on the scalp. Other braiding style renditions are the spiral braids, triangular braids, and the cornrows.

Box braids on african boyBox braids on little girl
This two adorable little ones beat us in the box braids trend. 

History will tell you that braids originated in African tribes. They use braiding patterns to distinguish tribe, social status, wealth, religion and their age. But many credit R&B singer Janet Jackson for popularizing the style in the 90's.

How long does this style last? 
Box braids take longer to install ranging from 4-10 hours or longer, depending on the level of braiding expertise. You can only wear this style for 6 to 8 weeks at a time.

2. Cornrows (also Canerows/Scalp braids)

is a braiding style where the hair is braided closely to the scalp, and leave elevated rows of braid like a cornrow field. There are many versions of this style. Hairstylists have become creative and deviated from the common straight lines, now you can also use geometric or spirally patterns.

A major difference between Cornrows and Box braids is that Cornrows are attached to the scalp covering the entire head. Box braids let the braids hang loosely from the scalp.

Traditionally of African descent, this style is for both men and women.

How long does this style last? You can wear this style for a maximum of 8 weeks. Any longer than that can lead to traction alopecia. Lack of hair moisture, tightly knit braids and too much pulling on the scalp are all contributing factors.


Geometrical cornrows     Sprial Cornrows
ombre box braids       Cornrow buns


3. Faux Locs

If you like dread locs but not brave enough to have your hair go through the heating and burning process, then this style is for you. The extensions are substituted for locs so you don't need to worry about going back to square one of re-growing your hair.

How long does this style last? You can only wear them for 4 to 6 weeks at most. When the natural hair is loc'd you can regularly re-twist hair when it grows out but you cannot re-twist a faux locs.

 faux locs    

 4. Senegalese Twist

Senegalese twists or Twist braids. A favorite go-to protective hairstyle because you only need two strands to work with per section of the braid. The braid finish should be small and is perfect for long hair. 

Another twist style you can try is the Kinky Twist. It's similar to Senegalese twist but use kinky braids for twisting the hair. The kinks are for adding volume, making the braids larger than Senegalese twists.

Kinky twists



Here is an example of Kinky Twists.
At first glance, you may classify this as faux locs, but the distinguishing factor is that loc'd hair is drier due to the heating process and looks like a thick chunk of straight hair. Unlike in this photo, you can still see the Twist.



How long does this style last? It can last from 8 to 16 weeks, depending on how you do hair care.

Pro tip: Wrap your hair every night using a satin scarf or bonnet to keep your edges from unravelling. It will help preserve the style longer.


Here's a video tutorial on how to do Senegalese twists the right way.

5. Bantu Knots

Like the Senegalese twist, you will use the twisting method to achieve this hairstyle. First, you divide the hair into sections then twist the hair per division into tiny knots. You can play with the knot sizes as desired, placing into consideration the length of the hair.

How long does this style last? You can wear this style for up to 2 weeks only. Bantu knots is a great protective style because it keeps the hair tips tucked away. Plus, you get instant curls after the two weeks is up. 


 6. Crochet Braids (or Latch Hook Braids)

For this protective style, you will need a latch hook or a crochet hook to achieve the look hence, the name. Using the hooks, you crochet synthetic hair into one's natural hair and can wear it straight, curly, twisted or braided.

Here's a short video tutorial on proper Crochet Braiding technique.



And here is another where the hair is let loose. 


So now that we've pointed out the differences between the protective style choices, it would be easier to pick one that will work for your current hair length and to meet your hair goals.

These protective techniques aren't limited to their braiding style, we often see a mix of styles, and they work so well together.

So, which one do you like best? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for following Ms Afro Chic. See you on our next post! Heart yah!




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  • Waynemam: May 13, 2021


  • Denise: October 26, 2020

    My favorite is the senegalese twists! and ombre really looks great on crochet braids 💕

  • Camille R: October 26, 2020

    Wow, I had no idea that leaving it untreated and long was actually having the opposite effect I was hoping for!

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