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5 Cool protective hairstyles you'll want to wear this year.

Whether you’re trying to grow your hair, restore it or prevent damage, protective hairstyles go a long way in helping you achieve your hair goals by keeping it healthy. Protective hairstyles are ways to wear your natural hair to protect it from the elements (the cold, the sun and the heat) as well as from over-manipulation. A protective hairstyle can help your hair maintain moisture and retain length, all while looking great.

Try to get your hair into its best shape possible before getting a protective style. A good trim is a must. Once you’ve settled on your look, be mindful of the tension – a protective hairstyle that pulls on hair at the roots can lead to breakage and hair loss, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

You can maintain your protective hairstyle by wearing an Evolve silk scarf or bonnet (from R89.95) when you go to bed at night, as well as using good quality products to moisturise and nourish your scalp.

Here are the top five protective hairstyles we think will make it big in 2021:

Box braids

Box braids are a popular protective hairstyle because they’re low-maintenance and extremely versatile. As the name suggests, box braids are characterised by square or triangle-shaped hair divisions (boxes). Box braids are suitable for any length of hair, but is a particularly great choice for medium-length and long hair in order to reduce tension. This style won’t require as much maintenance as some of the others, but using a few key products will ensure your hair and scalp stays healthy. A creamy shampoo like Cantu (from R129.95) or a co-wash like Cantu Complete Conditioning Co-Wash (from R199.99) will cleanse the scalp without stripping it of moisture and contain lots of moisturising ingredients. To keep your moisture levels up, spritz a mist like Cantu’s Coconut Oil Shine & Hold Mist (from R199.99) or light weight oil like The Perfect Hair’s Grow on the Go Oil Spray (R149.99) daily.

Flat twists

Flat twists are versatile, allowing you to mix and match different styles (such as cornrows or Bantu knots) with a traditional twist to achieve a unique look. Before twisting your hair, we recommend applying a good quality styling product like The Perfect Hair’s Mango & Marula Luscious Leave-In Styling Butter (R99.99). You can then proceed with either the two, or three strand method, and use the roll and tuck method to achieve the perfect flat twist. Once all the sections have been twisted, finish off your look by applying The Perfect Hair’s Grow on the go Edge Tame (R59.99) to tame and neaten the edges. You can also use an edge control product like Crème of Nature’s Perfect Edges (from R139.95) for hold and control Frizz.


Before you start braiding, be sure to give your hair a good (but gentle) brush to ensure there are no knots or tangles. The Evolve Flow Thru Detangler (R49.95) bristle rows separate for gentle detangling and smoothing ease with no snagging or pulling gently remove tangles without tearing, ripping or breaking the hair. Start at the front of your head and separate each section into three even parts. Braid as you normally would, and add hair to each strand as you continue braiding down the back of your head and secure the hair with a clear elastic band. Before braiding, apply a leave-in conditioner to lock in moisture and protect your hair. We recommend Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Cream (from R139.99).

Bantu knots

A major trend in the 90s, Bantu knots have made a comeback. Take a section of your hair and twist it from root to tip until your hair starts to twist into itself. Secure these twisted buns on top of your head and voila! When preparing this style, apply an oil spray to the scalp and hair to nourish the hair and scalp and stimulate hair growth. We recommend The Perfect Hair’s Grow on the Go Oil Spray (R149.99). You can follow this by applying The Perfect Hair’s Grow on the Go Creamy Conditioner (R99.99) to each section and rake through from root to tip. Once your Bantu knots are secured, we recommend applying a leave-in hair treatment for moisture, or a curl definer if you want some added definition. Try Crème of Nature’s Leave-In Conditioner (R149.95), a unique two-phase formula that combines Argan Oil liquid shine and a strengthening protein complex that detangles hair, improves hair strength, moisturises and protects hair against damage.

Pineapple updo

One of the easiest protective hairstyles to achieve, the pineapple updo can be worn to bed, or on a night out! You simply have to gather your hair on top of your head (imagine you are about to tie it up in a high ponytail) and secure it with a scrunchie or hair band. You can then tease your curls as you please to create the desired effect. Cantu’s Avocado Styling Gel (from R149.95) is the perfect product to smooth your hair down at the base of your head and keep it in place. Apply Cantu’s Daily Oil Moisturiser (from R169.99) or The Perfect Hair’s Mango & Marula Curl Activator Gel (R99.99) to your pineapple updo daily to keep your curls hydrated and soft.

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