Choosing a Protective Style for Summer

Black hair high bun protective style

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I want to wear my natural hair this summer.   It’s fun to visualize myself with a cute protective style even though the warm weather is dragging it’s feet here in Colorado. We’ve gotten hail storm warnings nearly everyday but it looks as though the sunshine is finally on it’s way.    

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Once summer hits, my family and I are planning on spending a lot of time outdoors.  A protective hair style would make the most sense because I don’t want to spend too much time on my hair everyday.  

What is a Protective Style?

The term, “protective style” has been used a lot in the natural hair community.   Here’s a brief explanation on what it is and why it’s helpful for hair growth.  

When you wear your hair in a protective style, your hair is essentially put away to avoid damage.  Pretty much any style that minimizes breakage and manipulation can be considered a protective style.  

This can be helpful for anyone who wants to grow their hair out.  That’s because it gives your hair a break while you maintain your length.  

I remember when I first heard about how to use protective styles to grow long hair.  My hair was at my shoulders and seemed to be stuck there.  I started wearing protective styles to get past that stage and thankfully it worked.  

That’s because at shoulder length the hair can rub against the clothing when worn down.  This can lead to split ends and breakage.  I wore it up using various protective styles during this time.  It allowed my hair to finally push past shoulder length after only a few months.  

Style Ideas

Here’s a list of styles you can wear to protect your hair this summer

The Bun

This style is so easy it’s almost a no brainer.  It’s considered a protective style because the hair is kept up and off of the shoulders.  

Remember to change the position of the bun every so often.  For example, wear a low bun and then switch to a high bun the next day. This way you aren’t applying too much tension to one area each day.

Added Bonus:  The ends of the hair can be tucked away while in a bun which means moisture retention. Healthy ends are important if it’s length you want.


When I was a kid my hair was up in braids 99.7% of the time.  I only saw my hair out on wash days but I knew it was long.  

Braids are a good protective style because you aren’t constantly combing through your hair each day.  Too much manipulation can lead to hair loss and breakage over time.  

A cute set of cornrows or indivdual braid extensions can give your natural hair a much needed break.  

Make sure you don’t keep them in too long because you’ll need to take them down to remove the shed hair. Also be sure to do that right when you take your braids out prior to washing or you’ll end up with knots like you won’t believe.  

Unfortunately I know this from experience.  I didn’t detangle my hair properly after it was in braids for over a month.  When I went to wash my hair the knots were insane!  

Pro Tip:  Be sure to keep your natural hair moisturized while in braids.  A good braid spray will do the trick or you can make your own leave-in spray.

The Puff

This one may not be considered a protective style by everyone but I wear this style whenever I need a quick up-do.  Technically it’s not “protecting” your ends because they’re left out.  However, if you make sure to seal in moisture with something heavy like an oil or butter I don’t think that it’s harmful to the ends.  The main focus here is keeping the hair up and off of your shoulders with this style.

I love to wear a puff for an easy, low maintenance up-do.

Bonus:  This style is quick and low maintenance.  This means you can wash, condition, style and get on with your day.  If you’re like me, you’ll want to get out there and do some fun summer stuff instead of spending all day doing your hair.

Crochet Braids

Of course, I love to wear my hair down but it can take forever to style.  That’s where crochet braids come in.  With this style your natural hair is braided down in cornrows and then extension hair is added in for a fun look.

You can play around with texture, color and length with this option. I’ve always wanted to try this for a fun summer style but haven’t yet. Thankfully there are plenty of step-by-step tutorials on YouTube to help me get started like this video by Breanna Rutter.  

Bonus Tip:  You can use a spray bottle to keep your cornrows moisturized with a braid spray.  Also you can use a bottle with a nozzle tip to use as an oil applicator for your scalp

There you have it!  A list of low maintenance protective styles that you can wear this summer.

As for me, I’ll be rocking a puff or bun during the week so I can focus on getting my vegetable garden started finally.   

Which protective style will you try this summer?  Leave a comment below.

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