5 Protective Styles for Natural Hair Travelistas

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My hair is always a priority for me, especially when I travel. Whether it’s a winter holiday in Germany, Spring Break trip to Mexico, or spending a year abroad teaching English in Spain, my first concern after booking a ticket is usually “What am I going to do with my hair?” It may seem trivial, but as a (4C) natural this is an especially important factor. Our kinks and curls are extremely fragile and sensitive to many environmental factors. Anything from winter scarves to beach water can be detrimental to our strands. This is why I am a huge advocate for protective styling. Not only is it easier than dealing with the maintenance of my own hair, it protects my hair from elements and constant manipulation, as well.

Today I’m going to share 5 of my favorite  protective hairstyles that are ideal for traveling women with natural hair!



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Crochet braid tutorial by TheBrilliantBeauty on YouTube

I love crochet braids because they are simple and fast. You don’t need many materials, and it doesn’t require much skill. The longest I’ve spent installing them was about 1-2 hours, and they generally last me 2-3 weeks. You can use crochet to achieve any look: faux locs, long twists, kinky curls, or sleek hair! Because of their versatile looks and secure installation, crochet braids are perfect for any vacation. I most recently wore gorgeous Durban twists on a weeklong vacation in San Diego. They lasted strong throughout visits to the beach, gym, and even hiking trails!

How to Install w/ Crochet Hook | How to Install w/ Bobby Pin | How to Install Crochet Braids/Locs




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Credit: Ebony.com

Options for wigs and weaves are limitless! There are sew-ins, frontals, ponytails, quickweaves, lace wigs, half wigs, u part wigs and more! love to wear anything kinky textured, so I don’t have to worry much about blending my own hair. I’ve worn kinky straight weaves and kinky curly wigs that were so natural even my own mother was fooled! You can buy human or synthetic hair, depending on your preference. For sew-ins I definitely recommend virgin/human, though I wouldn’t recommend a sew-in for any swimming activities. It is difficult to wash your own hair while sewn down, and doing so can compromise the longevity of the hairstyle. Wigs are much easier to remove when necessary, so you can take it off to wash your hair after, say, a trip to the beach. Depending on the look and style you’re going for, human hair can cost you about $100+, while synthetic hair can be less than $20.


Sew-In Tutorial | How to Make Your Own Wig | My Favorite Affordable Wigs and Weaves




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Kilahmazing Turban Tutorial on YouTube

Can’t be bothered with your hair at all? All of us naturals have been there at some point in our journey. If you pack a few of your favorite scarves, you can have a new look single everyday! I find wraps to be so trendy and elegant, and they’re always guaranteed to turn heads. The best part is not having to worry about your hair underneath. You can literally have 4 dookey braids, nobody will ever know! Take the opportunity to deep condition or masque your locks. I did this last year while backpacking Europe to protect my hair from the harsh winter winds.




Jumbo box braids patra braids tutorial Youtube natural hair protective style

Jumbo box braids done by me

Braids and twists are great for just about any vacation. They are easy to maintain and require very little styling. Plus, they give great access to the scalp so you can stay clean and moisturized. Dozens of looks that can be achieved in these styles, like Marley twists, Senegalese twists, box braids, goddess braids, Ghana braids, and more. I especially recommend these styles for beach/nature travel. Their durability makes them perfect for these kinds of environments. Although installation can take up to 8 hours (depending on your desired look), the end result is beautiful and can last for 6+ weeks!

Box Braids Tutorial | Marley Twists Tutorial | Ghana Braid (Cornrow) Tutorial 



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I love natural updos, they’re so unique! Beauties like Teyonah Paris and Janelle Monae always kill it when they rock one. While they are harder to accomplish (in my opinion), their outcome is well worth the time and effort. There are styles for all lengths and textures, from TWAs to bra-strap lengths. If you don’t have enough hair for your desired look, use extensions like Marley or Xpressions hair. These aren’t exactly the most durable styles, so keep the purpose of your vacation in mind. I’d suggest this style for short trips and special occasions, like a destination wedding or romantic getaway!

Natural Hair Updo | Updo w/ Braiding Hair | Updo w/ Marley Hair



What’s your favorite protective style?

About Lauren Victoria 87 Articles
Lauren is a Chicago native and budget traveler obsessed with foreign languages, neuropsychology, dancing, and applesauce. She recently quit her full-time job in social services to be a human English dictionary in Madrid, Spain.