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Curly Nikki

Protective Styles for Naturals with Shorter Hair

By January 27th, 20212 Comments

Lydiah asks Jamila of College Curlies;

I recently did my BC (last Friday) and I have realized that I don’t have too many options with protective styling. My twists look funky because hair is so little right now. The twist out next morning is SUPER but I don’t know what to do when I want to give my hair a break from staying out. What protective styles are there for TWAs (excluding braiding with extensions)?

Jamila responds;

For shorter hair, the best protective styles are going to be Low-Manipulation. These are styles that do expose the ends to some degree, but are protective in that they require no heat and drastically cut down on manipulation (via combing/handling the hair).

If you can rock a twist out, do so…then leave it alone! Moisturize properly in between styling sessions, but don’t stress yourself out about not being able to wear buns all the time. Protective styling is mostly intended to protect the ends of your hair, the most delicate part of the strand. Since your ends don’t touch your shoulders, they don’t experience friction from rubbing against your clothing. As with any length, protect your hair at night with a silk scarf, bonnet, or pillowcase, and deep condition regularly.

Low Manipulation Styles include:

  • Twists
  • Twist outs, Braid outs, Bantu Knot outs
  • Braids
  • Cornrows
  • Finger/Comb Coils
  • Shrunken Fro
  • Rollersets
  • Pinned Up Styles
  • Updos

Here are some lovely protective style tutorials from Youtubers with shorter/medium length natural hair:

Stay fabulous!


  • LBell says:

    I realize what I'm about to say is going to fall on anxious deaf TWA newbies' ears, but take it from a 15-year veteran: RELAX (not talking about the chemical, lol). If your hair's not long enough for the styles mentioned, the shrunken 'fro will work just fine until it is. If you start experiencing major tangling, that's when you can look at some other options.

    Low manipulation on my loose TWA, along with regular moisturizing and sealing, has allowed me to retain almost all my length.

  • Anonymous says:

    I BC last Saturday after 10 months of transitioning and have enough hair to make a small puff. I have done tons of research but found my ends to be extreemly dry. Also Im trying to create a curl pattern with braiding/ twist and my hair is FRIZZY! Help

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