Protective styling is crucial to your natural hair regimen when you just need a break or when your hair needs a break from you. However with the growing popularity in the natural hair community protective styles can be a bit pricy. Especially when you live in a natural dense city like New York or ATL the protective styling prices can be astronomical depending on what you are getting done. Most hit the 85 and up bracket. And while I never recommend to skimp on your hair , or devalue the importance and merit in a professional stylist, our pockets can’t always get what it is that we want or think we need. This is why I’ve compiled this list for you lovely ladies (I also compiled it for myself) to help guide you towards a more monetarily friendly option that still gives you the protective styling you want to achieve.

5 Most Cost Effective Protective Styles

1. HeadWraps: I’m starting to get more and more interested in the art of tying up my hair in beautiful head scarves. Mostly because I’m getting really lazy and frustrated with my hair, and also because it is very cost effective to protective style in this manner. Many people get caught up in the idea that in order to protective style you must add hair or do something extremely difficult. The main point in protective styling is hiding/protecting your hair from the elements and constant manipulation. Two strand twisting up your hair for a week and trying different styles, shapes and colors with head wraps can be a much needed break for you and for your hair.

2. Clip Ins: Clip in hair has become extremely popular in the natural hair community as people further and further away from conventional sew ins. Clip ins take out the middle man in terms of installation and has a much easier install and take down process than a sew in weave with the same exact look. Some companies are selling Clip Ins at a very very high price, but the moderately priced clip ins that are high quality will last you well over a year. When you add up how much hair costs per bundle and the payment that has to go to the person installing it into your head, you’re definitely saving loads more money by just purchasing or making yourself a set of clip ins. My two personal faves are Kurly Klips and Kinky Curly Yaki’s line of clip ins.

3. DIY (Braids/ Twists/ Crochet Braids/ Faux Locs): DIY has been one of the best and cost effective parts of being a natural period. From making my own products to styling my own hair, DIY has been one of my biggest natural hair positives in my journey. Learning and playing with my hair has helped me learned it more efficiently and fall in love with it (though I’m currently out of love with it). The cost of getting these styles done in a salon have sky rocketed but with the help of Youtube of course… naturalistas have mastered the art of the DIY protective style with great ease (and much practice). Purchasing the hair and spending the time completing the process are the only two steps that are required. Once you’ve gotten the technique down you are unstoppable. I’ve been able to cut down on protective style costs in major way by doing my own box braids, marley twists, and faux locs. I’m still figuring out the crochet braid process (I’m a terrible cornrower) so I still pay to have that done from time to time.  If you are looking for a quick and easy Faux Locs tutorial we’ve got you covered here along with the pros and cons of this edgy protect style.

4. DONT ADD IN HAIR: Protective styling doesn’t require you to add in hair to your head every single time. There are loads of other protective styles that are just as effective. From buns, to two strand twists, to roll tuck pin styles the possibilities are endless with your trusty Youtube search box at your disposal. For a few months last year my only means of protective styling were these cute dope roll tuck pin styles/shapes I was creating with my hair. These styles are achievable at all hair lengths (except TWA… sorry lovelies) and takes a few minutes and a few bobby pins. Don’t get caught up in the hype that you have to buy loads of bundles, or marley hair to protective style.

5. Synthetic Wigs : The price of human hair wigs are pricy. But sometimes I really just don’t want to have my hair out, and no other style is working. That’s when I turn to my trusty box of wigs that all cost me under 100 bucks. (Most cost me under 30!). Synthetic wigs do not last as long as human hair wigs, do not have as much versatility, and can’t stand up to every day wear and tear… however if you are looking for a quick protective style to rock every now and then, then synthetic is your best bet. The huge leaps that synthetic wigs have made over the years have been remarkable to witness and we naturalistas get to benefit. Don’t turn away from the thought/idea because you’re picturing your grandmas wigs from back in the day. Save your time and your wallet some stress by looking into it further online or at your local beauty supply store.

What types of protective styles have you tried that have saved you money? Share your answers below!

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