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Popular protective hairstyles in SA

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Photo by uncoveredlens Eze Joshua

Usually used in reference to ethnic or Afro-textured hair, protective styles include braids, wigs, locks and twists.

The team at well-known hair brand, Cantu, have provided definitions of some of the most popular protective styles seen in South Africa, one being box braids. Say the Cantu team: “These are low-maintenance, extremely versatile and suitable for any length of hair. Box braids are characterised by square or triangle-shaped hair divisions (also known as boxes). This style doesn’t require a lot of maintenance but using a few key products will ensure your hair and scalp stays healthy.”

Bantu knots are described by Cantu as being as trendy as they are practical. With this hairstyle, small, coiled buns appear all over the head.

As the Cantu team points out, cornrows are a popular style for both men and women. They say: “Cornrows protect hair and look great, but when they’re in, you’ll need to give your hair plenty of moisture to keep them looking good for longer and to maintain the health of your scalp. Before you start braiding, be sure to give your hair a good (but gentle) brush to ensure there are no knots or tangles. Once your cornrows are in place, you’ll need to moisturise your hair and scalp regularly to ensure its health. We recommend applying an oil between the cornrows and against the scalp to keep it moisturised.”

Described as one of the easiest protective hairstyles to create and one of the most flattering, the pineapple updo involves hair being gathered on top of your head (imagine you are about to tie it up in a high ponytail) and then securing it with a scrunchie or hair band.

According to the Cantu team, crochet braiding is achieved by looping synthetic hair extensions through one’s natural hair with a crochet needle. Stylish and versatile, crochet braids offer a variety of style options as you can wear them both long and short. Crochet braids should remain intact for around four weeks, with good care.


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