Hey beautiful people!!
How are you all?? I am SOOOO sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I can’t describe how hellish uni has been lately. My degree is basically ALL coursework – that’s a good thing and a bad thing, but right now, it just feels bad lol! Like the other day, I honestly started crying in a lecture. It was pretty embarrassing but hopefully no one saw! *covers eyes*
Anyway, being super busy made me think of this blog post. For the last 4 and a half weeks, I’ve had braids (I just took them out this weekend). Now braids are my go to long term protective style because they’re pretty easy to maintain, they’re cheap (compared to a good weave or wig) and they last for quite a while. So they have reallyyyy saved me a lot of time when I’ve been writing essays lately. It got me thinking though, sometimes we get carried away with the idea of “not having to do our hair” when we rock protective styles that we actually neglect our hair! So instead of a protective style, we end up with a pretty destructive one that leaves our hair dry and damaged.
A protective style is pretty much any style that keeps your hair moisturised and your ends tucked away and hidden from the elements. So this can be braids, a bun, weaves, wigs, cornrows, wearing a scarf/turban etc etc – the list goes on and on. The idea of a protective style is to give your hair a break from all the manipulation that comes with wearing your hair out, thus allowing you to retain more length. That’s why people who protective style a lot usually have pretty long hair IF THEY TAKE CARE OF THEIR REAL HAIR.
It is SO important to make sure you don’t forget about your real hair (whether it’s relaxed, natural or transitioning) just because you have a beaut weave or braids. A lot of people take their braids out after 5/6 weeks expecting to see significantly longer hair, only to find that they have dry, broken hair. And the first question I always ask is “did you moisturise your hair while it was in braids?” The answer is almost always “no”. Think about it, if your hair is out, you’re (hopefully) deep conditioning once a week/every two weeks, you’re moisturising your hair at least 2-3 times a week and you’re probably washing once a week. Now, imagine not moisturising your hair ONCE in 6 weeks – DISASTER = DESTRUCTIVE STYLE ALERT! Especially if your protective style is done with synthetic hair (which most braids are!). Don’t do it to yourselves, brothers and sisters! It can cause a major setback in your hair journey.
Here are a few tips to make sure your protective style doesn’t turn into a destructive style:
- Don’t keep the style in for too long – for braids, I don’t recommend keeping them in more than 6 weeks; I never go over 4/4.5 weeks
- MOISTURE MOISTURE MOISTURE – whichever style you decide to do, please make sure you moisturise your real hair
- Make sure the style isn’t too tight around your edges – styles that pull your fragile edges too tight can cause permanent hair loss
- Keep your hair clean – a protective style is no excuse not to wash your hair, guys!!
- Remember to take care of your scalp – if your scalp is unhealthy, unclean or heavily irritated, it can hinder hair growth
- Do a protein treatment and deep condition before and after any long term protective style – if I’m doing a protective style that requires me using heat on my hair, combing my hair or hair extensions, I always make sure to use a protein treatment before, to strengthen the hair, and after, to repair any damage, and a deep conditioner to ensure my hair is at its maximum moisture level
- Protect your hair at night – a protective style doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind and stop using your satin pillowcase/bonnet/scarf! You still need to protect your hair at night! I just use my Nature’s Locks Satin Pillowcase to ensure my hair still stays healthy when it’s in a protective style.
That’s it, ladies and gentlemen!! Protective styling can be an amazinggggg tool for growing your hair out and retaining length. You just have to do it right!