Protective ponytail styles for natural hair

Protective Styles: Ponytails for Natural Hair

If you chat with a professional hairstylist, they highly recommend considering a protective style ponytail to maintain the health and integrity of your natural hair while still rocking a chic look.

A model with ponytail posing in bed

What are Protective Hairstyles?

Protective hairstyles are styles that protect your natural hair from things like excess water, excessive heat and humidity, breakage, dryness, usage of hot hair tools, and split ends.

These hairstyles are usually tucked up in some sort of ponytail extension, updo, braids, or a loose bun.

Protective hairstyles are an excellent way to make your natural hair healthier as you allow it to grow out, regain moisture, reduce brittle, dry split ends, and cut back on the amount it takes to get ready and style your hair.

The Benefits of Protective Hairstyles

The key benefit of protective hairstyles is to seal in moisture which helps maintain healthy hair, retain length, and promote hair growth.

Protective hairstyles also allow you to reduce the time and frequency spent brushing and combing your hair or using excessive heat; all of which can lead to breakage and stunt growth.

These hairstyles work best for curly hair and allow the hair to grow and flourish since it is left alone to flourish.

A braided hair model in red

How Long Do Protective Hairstyles Last?

No matter what protective style you choose to opt for, make sure you keep it clean and keep your scalp hydrated.

Here is an approximate timeline of some of the most common protective hairstyles:

Protective ponytails

A protective style curly ponytail can last up to two weeks and is a low-time commitment. You can even add clip-in ponytail extensions to your protective ponytail.

Just make sure your ponytail isn’t too tight so that it doesn’t create tension on your scalp.

Protective Braids

Braids can be left in for six to eight weeks. Do not leave them in any longer than that since you can matte your hair down due to the build-up.

Boho braids using bulk hair continue to increase in popularity.

Moreover, as the braids loosen over time, they can weigh your natural hair down causing tension on your scalp.

Sew In Weave

A sew-in weave lasts for three to four months, but it is primarily dependent on the rate of your natural hair growth.

Whether you choose to put your hair up in a protective ponytail, braids with human braiding hair, or add in human hair weave or wigs, just make sure to take care of your natural hair and scalp health underneath to reap the benefits of these protective hairstyles.

Black hair extensions

Protective Styles Using Ponytail Extensions

Classic Ponytail Braid

This classic protective hairstyle is easy to achieve with your natural hair or by adding a ponytail extension.

Start by slicking your hair back into a sleek ponytail. Secure your ponytail extensions to your natural ponytail and start braiding your hair combined with the extensions.

Braid till the ends of the hair and secure with an elastic band.

To protect your hair, ponytail extensions like clip-ins and drawstring wrap ponytails can help protect your natural hair the most.

Bubble Ponytail

The bubble ponytail is another twist on the classic ponytail, where you brush your hair back into a high ponytail, smoothing out any flyaways.

Attach the ponytail extension to your natural hair and place bands or elastic at an equal distance down the length of the ponytail extensions.

The Simple Ponytail

Just pull your hair up in a ponytail making sure it is not too tight to avoid tension to the scalp.

Attach your ponytail extension to your natural hair and voilà, you have a simple yet protective hairstyle!

Braided Ponytail

This hairstyle is perfect for relaxed hair.

Pull your hair up in a ponytail and a simple cornrow into the ponytail from the front.

Smooth out the crown and add your ponytail extensions for more volume and a bouncier look.

This work is great if you don’t want to use too much heat on your hair.

Power Braid

This is a twist on the simple braid hairstyle to give it a bolder and more commanding look.

Simply wrap your classic ponytail braid into a fabric to accessorize it and get that power braid look.

Scissors cutting through brown hair


A classic bun is a protective hairstyle that everyone can easily achieve at home.

It is simple and chic, and you can try different variations, such as braided buns or chignons, low buns, or space buns.

You can use a ponytail hair extension to give your bun a fuller look.

Prep your hair by moisturizing and hydrating it, choose a part or slick it back, swoop your natural hair and ponytail extensions combined into a bun, and secure it with pins, but not too tightly.

Smooth down any flyways and add in fun accessories of your choice.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Hair

Even if your hair is in a protective style, you should be taking care of your natural and hair health begins from a healthy scalp.

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body?

Yes, that includes the skin on your scalp.

This means you should keep your scalp clean and healthy, avoid any product buildup, and use products and oils to keep your scalp hydrated and well moisturized.

Wash your hair at least 2-3 times a week based on the oiliness of your scalp, making sure to concentrate the shampoo on the scalp rather than the length of the hair.

Use a good quality conditioner on the length of your hair to hydrate it.

Make sure not to use hot water on your hair since it can be damaging to your hair.

After you’re done showering, run your scalp and hair through cold water to close the hair follicles and bring shine and luster back into your hair.

Try to use a hair mask once a week and a pre-wash hair oil every time you wash your hair to promote hair growth, stop hair fall, and hydrate and nourish your hair.

This will help you avoid lackluster, dry, and brittle ends that are more prone to breakage. Blow drying your hair on the cool setting is better for it than letting it air dry and causing water damage.

Do not sleep with wet hair, as it is more prone to breakage when it is wet.

All the wetness and moisture are like asking for a fungal infection on your scalp while you sleep, so blow dry it before you go to bed.

Lastly, sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase instead of a cotton one to avoid breakage and to keep hair smooth.

Stop by your local Private Label hair store to see the real hair ponytails in person. 

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