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Protective Styles for Long Hair Growth

Are you ready to learn some special hair styles that can help you grow long, thick, and healthy hair? I thought so.

Protective hair styles, when done properly, are the most underrated secret for improved hair health and growing long hair. A good protective style protects the hair from frizz, tangles, mechanical damage, and helps your hair retain moisture for longer. All of this increase your hair’s rate of length retention which is an important factor in growing long hair.

Women have been using protective styles for hundreds if not thousands of years to keep their long hair out of the way and keep it healthy, while drawing out the time between hair washes. If you haven’t seen my first in-depth video on protective styles and their benefits, be sure to check that out. It will be linked in the description and in the cards of this video.

Over the past few weeks, I have been working steadily to create this protective styles demonstration video for you. This really has been one of my most requested videos in recent times. I will be showing you several of my favourite, attractive and historically inspired protective styles that I wear my hair in on a daily basis. I will also be sharing tips along the way for how to alter these styles for those with shorter, straighter, or finer hair than I have. I will even be sharing with you THE protective style that I used when my hair was at chin length.

I have pretty curly hair, and this winter I have actually been going about 2 weeks between wet-washing of my hair. I am going to refer to this circa 2 week period as my ‘hair cycle’ - because my hair changes in texture quite a bit during this time. It goes from feeling moisturized, having defined curls, to being more stretched and straightened out, as well as feeling more dry at the ends. So you will get to see the different ways I care for my hair as it changes during this cycle, and how I use simple, natural, and historical techniques to nourish my hair ends and keep my hair looking healthy as the time goes by.

Before we go any further into talking about styles, we need to talk about what state your hair should be in before beginning to style it. And the answer to that, in most cases, is that your hair and scalp should be bone dry before putting it up into a protective style. I will explain more about why that is in a moment, but this actually leads perfectly into thanking the sponsor of this article, TYMO and their new Airhype hair dryer . . .

TYMO Airhype Hair Dryer

TYMO specializes in creating innovative hair styling tools. Their newest product is a sleek and effective hair dryer known as the TYMO Airhype.

The TYMO Airhype is an innovative professional hair dryer that combines power, performance and high quality results, while being much more affordable than comparable brands such as Dyson. Having a good hair dryer has been a game changer for me, for hair health and hair growth. Let me explain why.

The TYMO Airhype dryer produces a uniquely calibrated blend of ion-enriched air and focused air velocity to quickly dry and style hair, while using much lower temperatures than your average hair dryer does.

I used to only ever air dry my hair, but as my hair has gotten longer, having a hair dryer is much more important for me. It prevents me from going around the house with wet hair and a wet scalp for 12 hours plus.

Hair is weakest when it is wet, so we want to minimize the time that it is in this state. It is also a great idea to not allow your scalp to sit soaking wet for many hours because this can breed bacteria that hinder hair growth.

If you know me and my hair care routine, you will know that I never use heat on my hair. With the TYMO Airhype I can select that I want only room temperature air, and then control the velocity of air that comes out, which is demonstrated by cool little fan graphics on the LCD screen.

If you want to use some heat, you can select which temperature you want to use which also appears on the LCD screen.

These temperatures don’t go as high as most other hair dryers because they don’t need to - the TYMO Airhype’s focused air velocity and quiet motor get the hair dry using much lower temperatures, or in my case, room temperature air. This is essential for hair health and hair growth.

The TYMO Airhype is able to get my hair dry using only room temperature air - It does this while being the quietest hair dryer I have ever heard. It gets my hair dry to the touch in about 10 minutes, and this way I don't need to worry about my scalp sitting in moisture for 12 hours plus which again, can breed bacteria.

I especially love how the TYMO Airhype diffuser for curly hair works - it has adjustable prongs which can get longer or shorter depending on your needs.

Using the TYMO Airhype and its adjustable diffuser which is especially designed for curly hair also gives me volume at my roots which would otherwise be flat and weighed down.

When I received my TYMO Airhype hair dryer, I was impressed by the sleek and sophisticated packaging. The hair dryer and attachments themselves are likewise very sleek and minimalist.

I have actually since donated my previous hair dryer because I love the TYMO Airhype - both for its functionality, gentleness on my hair, and sleek design.

If you would like to purchase a TYMO AIRHYPE hair dryer for your own healthy hair routine, you can find the links here:

*Use code KATHERINE30 at checkout for 30% OFF*

Valid Until: 28th Feb 2023

*Use code AIRHYPE66 at checkout for 20% OFF*

Valid Until: 28th Feb 2023

Hair Supplies and Tools for Protective Styles

Before we jump into the various types of protective styles, let’s talk about supplies you will want to have, and what condition your hair should be in before beginning.

First, let’s talk about materials and supplies. You don’t really need anything but you may want to have on hand:

  • Natural dry shampoo, or hair powder - you can make your own by mixing corn starch with a little cocoa powder for colour. You could probably even use dry rhassoul clay powder!

  • A light oil like jojoba oil to moisturize your ends

  • Shea butter or natural hair pomade.

  • Optional: Ayurvedic herbal hair spray (recipe below)

  • Optional: Apple cider vinegar hair spray (recipe below)

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Spray Recipe

2 cups filtered water

1/4 to 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar


optional - essential oils

*If you are new to using ACV in your hair, start with less. Generally oily hair prefers a little more vinegar, and drier hair prefers less. If you only plan on using this spray only on your hair roots, you can use a slightly stronger concentration of vinegar to water.

Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Spray Recipe

2 cups filtered water

1 tsp- 1 tbs henna powder (can sub with cassia if you are worried about hair colouring effects)

optional: 2 tsp aloe vera powder as a moisturizing balancer

Boil water and add powdered herbs. Allow to steep overnight, then pour through a fabric coffee strainer or nut-milk bag. Add essential oils and pour into a brown glass spray bottle. A little goes a long way! If you are new to this spray, only use it on your hair roots

In terms of hair care tools to create these styles, you will want:

What is "Holdi-Locks"?

It's an amazing little inexpensive hair tool for putting the hair up in protective styles safely. I will be showing how to use this tool in depth in my protective styles demo video, so be sure you watch that when it is posted. This tool is something I became aware of recently, and it has changed my hair styling life in some significant ways. It’s called “Holdi-Locks” and it is a small but effective tool for putting the hair up in all kinds of different styles, but very gently and without the potential damage that things like hair elastics and bobby pins can cause. It was invented by a woman named Hilary, who has beautiful long fine hair, that she needed to put up daily in her work as a machinist. After struggling for years with all of the modern available options for doing this, she invented her own.

Be sure to watch the included video for this post where I show you step by step how to create these lovely comfortable hair buns using Holdi-Locks.

I love the huge but comfortable buns I have been able to accomplish by using my Holdi-Locks tool and a hair stick, while keeping my hair protected and tangle free.

Definitely check it out, and use the code "KAT10" at checkout for 10% off your order. I will be demonstrating how to use this tool in the protective styles video, coming soon.

Condition of Your Hair Before Styling

Let’s talk about what state your hair should be in before attempting to create a protective style. First of all, for all hair types, you will want your hair and scalp to be bone dry before being put up into a protective style. Why is this? If you put your hair up in a style when it is wet, what you are doing is prolonging the amount of time your hair and scalp remain wet for. This is no good!

Hair is weaker when wet, so we don’t want to keep it in a wet state for longer than it needs to be. If our scalp is wet and is not able to breathe and dry properly from having a hair style on top of it, it is liable to grow bacteria that can hinder hair growth, or to otherwise have more inactive follicles. Leaving your hair trapped in moisture for prolonged periods can also leave it feeling mushy and lifeless because moisture needs to be balanced with strength and protein in the hair. Too much moisture makes your hair feel like overcooked spaghetti. So, start with bone dry hair!

Straight or Fine Hair

The only possible exception to this rule is for those with extremely straight or fine hair types. If you struggle with your hair ends poking out of styles you try, you may want to lightly spritz your hair ends with a little filtered water, to just get them slightly damp before styling.

You can also use a little jojoba oil mixed with a little shea butter to form a type of pomade for your hair to apply before styling. Or if you are feeling adventurous and want to try historical pomade and powder from Abby Cox’s video, that can be great to use at this point to make your hair more malleable and give it more hold.

Finally, another trick for straight or fine hair is to add some texture into it the night before. You can do this by lightly spritzing your hair with filtered water so it is slightly damp, and then sleeping with your hair in at least 2 braids. If you can do french or dutch braids, these are great for creating stunning heatless waves. Techniques like these are what historical straight haired women used to add texture to their hair.

As the days between washes progress, your hair may feel more limp and greasy. Rather than immediately washing your hair again, you can use DIY dry shampoo, or the ACV or Herbal hair spray recipes I mentioned to cleanse your hair and scalp. These techniques can all be combined with the use of a clean boar bristle brush to remove visible oil from your scalp. For more information on this, watch my previous video on boar bristle brushing, linked in the description and the cards.

Curly, Thick Hair Types

For hair types like mine or even curlier, here are my tips for what state your hair should be in before beginning.

If you are like me and you enjoy having more defined curls on the first couple days after a wash, then I would avoid strict protective styles on those days. In a moment I will be demonstrating the more loose easygoing styles I use on these days when lounging around the house or sleeping to keep my curls piled on top of my head and protect them from getting frizzy and flattened out.

Later in the week or hair cycle, curly hair tends to become more stretched or straightened out, and to struggle more with frizz, dryness, and tangles. The way I deal with this is by progressively getting my hair more and more detangled throughout the days by doing some dry finger detangling each night. I don’t start this until at least day 3 after my wash day. Once you have worked through the tangles with your fingers (this may take 2-3 evenings of working on your hair if you are like me) then you can begin incorporating a boar bristle brush into your hair styling routine.

The boar bristle brush majorly helps to smooth and soften the hair, decrease frizz, increase shine, and most of all, it helps my ends become moisturized again by drawing the oil down from my scalp to my ends. Only if my hair is in a very stretched out and detangled and smooth state do I attempt braided styles like milkmaid braids. This essentially means that I save those styles for later in my hair cycle, shortly before a wash day.

Finally, if my ends are feeling dry, I like to spritz them with my Ayurvedic hair strengthening tea spray, then “sealing” this in with an oil like jojoba, coconut, or shea butter.

My Favourite Protective Styles

For the full instructions on how to create several different protective styles, be sure to watch the video. There are instructions included for the following styles:

  • Milkmaid Braids

  • "Chin-Length" Hair Updo

  • Easy Braided Bun with Hair Sticks

  • Basic Twisted Bun with Bobby Pins

  • Holdi-Locks Hair Bun

  • How I Use Holdi-Locks to Preserve my Curls

  • Silk Scarf Headband Bun

  • Historical Zero Tension Bun

  • Historical Holdi-Locks Bun

  • French Twist

  • Gentle Chignon


I hope you found this article wildly helpful! If you are feeling inspired to try any of these styles or practices, be sure to let me know in the comments!

If you feel inclined to say thank you, you can virtually “buy me a coffee” through the buttons on this page. Thank you - I so appreciate it!

If you enjoy historical hair care content, as well as historical hand-made fashion, be sure to subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter. I have lots more ideas for historical hair care and skin care videos that you won’t want to miss.

For the hair care products I recommend that you can buy on Amazon, I will have several of those linked in the description and the pinned comment. For my full list, visit “Hair Care Products I Recommend”.

If you would like to learn the recipe for my favourite hair growth oil of all time, you can learn that here.

9,194 views12 comments


Any suggestions for protective styles for thin fine slightly wavy almost waist length hair when it has to fit smoothly (without any raised parts, which rules out french/dutch braids and other on-the-head styles - raised parts trigger migraines when worn under a helmet) under an equestrian helmet? The best I've been able to come up with is just a simple braid (or 2 braids), but I was wondering if you had any other suggestions.


Nov 23, 2023

I stumbled on your videos and have throughly enjoyed them! Thank you for making them for all of us! ;) I have thin hair, but a lot per square inch (so my hairdresser friend says). I bought the boar bristle brush linked in this post. I like it, but it only gets the surface of my hair. I can feel it slightly on my scalp, but it won't get tangles out. Other boar bristle brushes that are listed for anything other than fine hair also have nylon bristles. What are your thoughts on these kinds of brushes? Can you recommend a boar bristle brush for medium/dense hair? Thank you for your help.

Katherine Sewing
Katherine Sewing
Nov 29, 2023
Replying to

Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out, I'm glad you are enjoying the videos. I don't know if you've seen it but I do have a video all about boar bristle brushes linked here:

I do share my exact thoughts on the dilema about 100% boar bristle brushes vs the mixed brushes which also contain nylon bristles, and why I only use and recommend 100% boar bristle brushes. I also share the proper technique for using this product, even when you have thicker hair. Check out the video and let me know what you think.



Cherie Spite
Cherie Spite
May 12, 2023

Also, which oils do you add to clay wash?


Cherie Spite
Cherie Spite
May 12, 2023

You mentioned in your video that you use a natural conditioner in your wash process. Which one do you recommend?


Emrin Alexander
Emrin Alexander
Mar 10, 2023

My wavy/curly hair is now just past my shoulders. It's fine textured and slides right out of bobby pins and braids - especially at night. Is there something else I can try to protect it until it (hopefully) grows longer?

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