My Favorite Protective Hairstyles

My Favorite Protective Hairstyles

Since childhood, I have struggled with my hair. From relaxers causing breakage to not knowing what products were right for my hair, chopping it all off, and going natural. My hair was a mess. I joined the Army at age 17, and it was from then, I learned the hair standards in the military. It was pretty much neat, above your collar, and nothing crazy. Simple right? Uhhh no.

Over the years, I have learned to understand the importance of caring for your natural hair, enjoying versatility and individuality while staying within the regulation of the military. As of this year, the Army is changing the current regulation when it comes to how we wear our hair. Here are a few of my favorite protective styles and what I like about them.

Senegalese Twists/Braids

I have always loved the elegant look of twists and the neatness of braids. I usually get them both in a medium-size and never longer than bra length. The longer you get any twists or braids, the bigger your bun, and a huge bun in uniform is sure to draw unwanted attention. Another tip that I use is asking my stylist to use less hair in my twists. I still get the look of fullness, but they are not as bulky. I suggest that when worn in a ponytail while in uniform, try not to pull your edges in the front and back too tight. This can and will cause hair breakage or thinning. After you complete your bun style, squint your eyes to feel where the braids or twists are tight on your head. Then loosen them gently. Something I do is wear them hanging when not in uniform to keep tension from my scalp. I do not leave my twists or braids in longer than six to eight weeks, and a shampoo, deep condition, hot oil treatment, and trim must follow removing them.


I have natural hair, so on a wash day after shampoo and deep condition, slicking my hair into a nice bun and tying it down is my go-to. A donut bun is a quick and easy style. To start, I put my natural hair into a ponytail (not too tight), slay my edges, and add a silk scarf. After my hair is laid, I place a donut sponge (you can order silk ones) around my ponytail and cover the donut evenly with my hair. I secure this with a thin hair tie. Too easy.


This is another favorite. When I get sew-ins, I leave my perimeter edges out and a leave out to cover the wefts. My go-to hair pattern for a sew-in is a natural body wave. Unlike twists or braids, you can get away with a little more length with a sew-in. This is simply because the hair is not as thick as braids, and it can be manipulated easier. While my twists or braids may stop at bra length, a sew-in can stop at my butt and still be styled in a bun within regulation. Like twists and braids, whenever I am not in uniform, my hair is loose not to cause tension on my edges. I do not leave my sew-in in longer than six to eight weeks. After removal, a shampoo, deep condition, hot oil treatment, and trim must follow.

So, these are my favorite protective styles that have worked for me over the past ten-plus years. Comment below and let me know your favorite Protective Styles.


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