Protective Styles for Shoulder Length Hair

Bantu knots are an attractive and protective style.

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Having an arsenal of protective styles at your disposal is a smart way to retain hair growth. This is especially true for ladies with curly hair. This hair texture tends to be drier than straight hair, and keeping all the moisture you can helps your hair stay healthy. Protective styles help keep your locks hydrated and healthy because they keep your hair's ends up or out of sight, preventing them from rubbing on fabric or other rough surfaces, where they could catch or break.

Braided Styles

Braids are a protective style staple. You have a wide variety of options when it comes to braided hairdos. Sport individual braids, with or without extensions. Don't put rubber bands on the ends to secure them, however; rubber bands can pull and break your hair. Instead, if you braid your own hair, use metal-free elastics to hold the ends in place. Synthetic extensions are often singed to stay secure. Maybe you don't want loose braids. You can also wear cornrows or braided updos, which are elegant and a good hairstyle for the workplace.

Buns and Chignons

Easy and chic, buns and low-knot chignons look great in any environment. All you have to do is gather lengths into a ponytail, wrap loose hair around itself and pin into place. If you don't have the length just yet, look for bun additions that clip onto the back of your hair and look like the real thing. Wear a high bun for a different look, or twist your hair before wrapping into a bun for a youthful take on this age-old 'do.

Twists

While natural ladies can twist their hair with no additional aids, even relaxer wearers can try twists with the help of extensions. For a long-lasting style, fashion two-strand twists on small sections about 1-inch wide. Create even partings to keep the look uniform and neat. To make a twist, simply take a section of hair, divide it in two and twist the strands around each other to the ends. If your hair is very curly, it probably won't unravel. For extra hold, use gel-based products.

Updos

Natural or relaxed, you can sport an updo to protect your hair. French twists and French rolls are two options, but you can also create your own design. All you need is a bit of smoothing pomade for your hairline and hairpins. Gather your hair in the back and twist or roll toward your scalp until the ends are out of sight. Pin into place and you're ready for work or play.

Weaves

Weaves are a great solution to keep all of your hair hidden and protected. Avoid glue-in varieties and wear sew-in weaves instead. Cornrows are a base for many extension styles, so you have two protective styles in one. Wear weaves for six to eight weeks, and remove and let your natural hair breathe for at least a week before weaving it up again.

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