Today, we’re talking about protective styling.
What is that??
It’s exactly what the name suggests. It’s a low manipulation hairstyle that protects your hair from harsh weather and general wear and tear. It is one in which the ends of your hair are moisturised and tucked away instead of rubbing up against your clothes or being exposed to wind and sun. Protective styling basically helps to keep your hair moisturised and helps you retain length. After I cut my hair very short, I wore protective styles until I was comfortable with the length and I really credit protective styles with allowing me to grow my hair.
So what are SOME types of protective styles?
- Buns (also the perfect style for when you’re having a bad hair day)
- Box braids
- Wrapping your hair in a silk/satin scarf
- Weaves (a word of caution with this one: if you leave any of your hair out, you will most likely be applying heat to those parts in order to make it blend with the rest of the hair so you might want to think about getting a closure)
|Box braids (with my bestie)|
BUT CAUTION! How do you make sure your protective style doesn’t turn into a destructive one?
- Choose a style that will fit well into your lifestyle – for example, if you work somewhere where there’s a lot of machinery, a waist length weave is probably not the best option
- Moisturise and seal your hair – when I have braids in, I spray my hair with a mixture of water, my favourite leave in and aloe vera (optional) then I seal with a light oil (e.g. coconut oil, grapeseed oil)
- Prepare your hair for the protective style – before installing the style (especially long term ones), make sure your hair is properly cleaned, deep conditioned, moisturised and sealed
- Take your time when taking down the style – you don’t wanna be ripping out your newly grown hair because you’re in a hurry
- Make sure to wash, deep condition, moisturise and seal adequately after you have removed the style
- If you’re not styling your hair by yourself, make sure to go to someone who really knows what they’re doing and who listens to you
- Keep the style in for too long – don’t try to keep the style in until the extensions are about to fall off your head or until they’re a little bit smelly
- Make your style too tight – so many women want laid edges so badly that they install their braids/weaves/cornrows too tight or they make their buns super-tight – DON’T DO IT!! This is a surefire way to destroy your edges. Traction alopecia (when you lose hair due to too much tension and pulling) is REAL and is a problem particularly within the black community. When traction alopecia occurs, most of the time, the hair can’t grow back because the follicles have been so badly damaged. If you do start to notice hair loss along the hairline, try applying Jamaican Black Castor Oil (this really helped me to revive my edges after excessive protective styling)
- Make braids too small – I know that braids last longer and usually look neater when they’re tiny but your edges will suffer for it
|A case of traction alopecia – as you can see, the hair is virtually gone in some places|
In conclusion, I would STRONGLY advise you to protective style your hair. Whether you’re doing it to protect your hair, to cut down on time in the mornings or simply because you’re two minutes away from shaving off your hair, protective styles, if done right, are highly beneficial for your hair.
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