Protective Braided Hairstyles for Black Women: Where to Start As A Stylist


15 Jun, 2022 4 min read

We’ve all seen that beautiful black woman with her long and luscious braids walk in the room and capture everyone’s attention. As a beginner stylist, this is a goal we all want for our clients, but it can be difficult to know where to start to achieve this look.    Today, we’re going over all things protective hairstyles to ease your journey as a stylist. 

The first thing you need to figure out is the extent of the service you’re going to offer

Braiding hair can have your client sitting for up to 8 hours. To avoid extra time, make sure your client knows what’s expected before they come. Will you provide the bundles or will you require them to bring their own? Will you wash, detangle, and dry their hair or will they need to come with that already done? Figuring out the small things you will or won’t include in your service is the first step. Clients appreciate an organized and informative stylist to ensure a smooth and easy appointment with no confusion or problems. 

The next key is being upfront!

This may seem obvious, but it’s actually a step some stylists tend to skip. Stylists may feel pressure to say yes to clients to please them, but if you think a particular style is more than you’re ready to take on, then be honest! Every stylist starts off as a beginner, but it’s only fair to be upfront with your clients, and they’ll end up appreciating your honesty in the long run. Let’s be real, if you’re paying for services and spending all day in the chair, you’ll want to leave with not only a style you love, but also the style you asked for. We recommend mastering the basics first and expanding after. The two most popular protective hairstyles are box braids and knotless braids.


Box braids
When talking box braids, many people think Zendaya’s iconic look. (TBH, we don’t turn down a chance to think about Zendaya, either!) However, many braid styles fall under the box braid category. This category has a range of different styles and sizes—from jumbo braids to micro braids. Depending on the size your clients choose, they may need more or less bundles. 


There are also different parts. Typical box braids have square parts, while triangle box braids have triangle parts. The key to these braids are having equal and clean parts. We all know how satisfying it is to oil the scalp after a perfectly done box braid style. These braids are secured with a knot tying the braids to the natural hair.

Knotless Braids

Unlike box braids, knotless braids start by braiding the natural hair and then feeding in the bundles. This service can take some more time as you also have to part and braid the natural hair. Knotless braids are typically around one size, but it’s still important to know what the client wants so that you can let them know how many bundles they will need. It’s also important to note that the length they want will determine how much the bundles and the service will cost. When thinking knotless braid looks, we think about Jhene Aiko.

The last step is to keep your client informed. Providing your client with all the information they need to know will not only make them trust you as a stylist and be more likely to come back, but it will also ensure that their braids last longer. Let your clients know to keep their scalp oiled and to sleep in a bonnet to keep their natural hair protected and increase style longevity. Give them information about how to wash and clean their braids. Don’t forget to remind them to apply sunscreen to their scalp since the braided hairstyles will leave their scalp exposed. Lastly, let them know to reach out if they have any questions!