There’s nothing like having the option of switching up your look when the whim takes you. That’s what most women love about having their hair in a protective style – the freedom to be as versatile as you want with as little damage to your natural hair as possible.

And it gives you options – you can go from having a sleek weave one month to rocking up with waist-length braids a few months later. For those transitioning from heavily processed to natural hair, protective styles allow you to take care of your growing hair during the unpredictable stages of transitioning.

Here are some of our favourite looks.

Faux locks


We’ve seen this look on stars like Megan Goode, Ciara and our very own Terry Pheto and Nomzamo Mbatha. The key to long-lasting locks is choosing the right texture and taking care of your natural hair. Oil your scalp daily and wash your hair at least biweekly to keep your natural tresses clean.


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Nothing beats the versatility of opting to wear a wig. Go short, long, curly, blonde or pink – it’s all up to you. Take some inspiration from blogger Oroma Elewa with her cute bob wig or Kelly Rowland, who switches from Diana Ross-inspired curls to a razor-sharp bob.

Box braids

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Long braids and a happy heart.| shot by @elisoul01 #hmsouthafrica

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The ladies of RnB popularised this look in the ’90s and decades later it still remains one of the most popular braid styles. Keep it long and chic like Lulama Wolf or funky with some colour like Keke Palmer.

Creative rows

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Give your cornrows a creative twist with African-inspired plaits. Shani Crowe turned braids into works of art when she created headpieces for Solange Knowles for her performance on Saturday Night Live last year and for their collaborative Braids exhibition, which took place in January this year. The key to creating these braids is going for different patterns and adding beaded accessories.


Crochet braids


This method of braiding is relatively new, with tutorials popping up on Youtube on how to achieve this easy look. Cornrow your hair and fix the pre-twisted extensions with a crochet needle. Big bonus: it’s quick to install.