Simple Protective Hairstyles for Short Natural Hair

Megan Dominion

So many of us have opted for the ‘big chop’ when starting out the curly girl method, or transitioned from constantly straightening our hair to wearing it naturally. Cutting off all that unhealthy, heat damaged hair in order to grow happier, healthier, naturally curly hair. Or perhaps, like me, you prefer shorter hair because your hair takes such a long time to dry, and sitting with wet hair in winter is no fun. Whatever the reason, it can sometimes be tricky to find a protective hairstyle that works with shorter hair lengths. Having short natural hair does not need to limit your options, here are a few protective styling for short hair ideas. 

Our top 7 protective styles for short natural hair

1. Finger Coils 

This hairstyle is an excellent one for short hairstyles and you do not need too much to get it installed. They can complement whatever dress you have on and are great for a variety of occasions.

2. Box Braids for short hair

Box braids are great protective styles for your short hair. They are best suited for harsh weather conditions and do a great job of maintaining your hair’s health and integrity. Here’s more info on how to best sleep with braids without damaging your hair.

Marley twists are another great protective style. 

The key is to make sure that you do not wear them for too long. 

3. Wash N’ Go 

Do not take this hairstyle as its name comes. If you wash your hair and leave the house immediately without trying something nice on your hair, you may eventually not look your best. 

Wash N’ Go is simply a style done on wet hair. It is usually curly and can be carried as pineapple or even in various other ways. 

It is simple and can be done by simply soaking wet hair, shingling and (finger) coiling, styling with organic gel and allowing to dry. 

4. Bantu Knots 

Bantu knots have a classy Africanness to them and so it is common to find many black women rocking this style in celebration of the African culture. Even Lupita Nyong’o rocked this gorgeous style for short hair.  

The hairstyle is easy to do and is great for styling your TWA (teeny weeny afroStart by dividing your hair into two sections. Next, tie them into half buns, leaving the ends to hang down. The shorter your hair is, the smaller your knots will be. If you want larger Bantu knots, use extensions and clip-ins to make them bigger.  


5. Finger waves 

This sleek style will get heads turning!  

Start by parting your hair, placing your part deep to one side. This should typically be a little deeper than you normally would but make sure that your part is very straight. 

Create your first section by making a line with your tail comb.  Use smaller sections for really thick hair. Using a duckbill clip, secure your section down. 

Repeat this but in the opposite direction and continue in this fashion until you are close to your ear. 

6. Twist styles for short natural hair 

Twist outs are great for fab looks.  

First section your hair, then hydrate and moisturize. Make sure to detangle the hair properly. Then twist your hair in sections, applying a curl holding crème to each twist. Dry and maintain overnight. You can even secure twists in satin or silk scarves or bonnets for the best results.  

Unravel twists gently and properly for your awesome twist-out look. 

Try smaller twists for better texture.  

7. Faux-hawk 

Gorgeous yet simple to install.  

Start by dampening your natural hair. Then secure a section of hair from your frontline, clipping it aside with a clip. Next, go for the hair at your temple and move them towards the back of your crown. Secure what you have just done by sliding a comb through your hair. Repeat about 2-3 times until you get to your nape. Repeat this process for the other side of your head. Undo the bun and then fluff your hair out.  



Do protective styles help hair grow?

They are meant to encourage hair growth, but the main reason for protective styling is to tuck away the ends of your hair in order to avoid excess breakage. Here’s a top tip when choosing a protective style – not all of the many styles out there are actually protective! Keep it simple and don’t try go too small or tight in order to make the most out of the protection these styles bring in order to get that hair health and growth.

Our top 3 tips for Protective Styles for Short Hair

  • Moisturize! These styles are only protective and beneficial if you’re looking after your hair, and because type 3 hairtype 4 hair is generally more prone to dryness, make sure your coils are deliciously moisturized before tucking them away.
  • Don’t leave your protective style in for too long. Once again dryness can become the enemy of a good protective style, and if left too long, your hair can become brittle and damaged. Try a conditioning spray while your style is in place to help with dryness.
  • Another reason to not leave your protective style in too long is your scalp health. Not ensuring you are cleaning and looking after your scalp may lead to hair and scalp health issues and… undo all the protection your protective style may be doing in the first place.

Happy styling!

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.