Friday, August 16, 2013

Protective Styling 101 - the basics

A Protective Style is any hairstyle that keeps your hair (especially your ends which are the oldest part of your hair) safely tucked away or protected from:
- outside elements (extremely cold or hot weather) 
- rubbing on your shoulders or clothing 
both of which can cause weathering or wearing down of the hair strands and thus breakage. 

Many times we feel like our hair is not growing, when in reality our hair is breaking off at the ends, so that we are not retaining length. Ideally a protective style is something that is low-manipulation or doesn't require you to mess with your hair too much everyday, reducing the breakage that can occur from daily combing/styling. 

Some protective styles include twists, flat twists, finger coils, box braids, cornrows, buns, wigs and extensions (braids, crochet braids and weaves).

Are weaves a protective style?
There's been a lot of discussion about whether extensions, and weaves in particular, are truly protective styles. Simply wearing a style which is deemed ‘protective’ but not taking the time to care for your own hair during that time is where the danger lies. You can't just throw your hair in a weave for 6 weeks and call it protective styling - if you don't have a proper moisture regimen during that period, or you never wash your hair or at least cleanse your scalp, then you may not have the positive result you were expecting from the protective style. In a case like that, the weave is not the culprit but the fact that you neglected your own hair during the process. 

large parts, loose braiding and a solid cleansing
& moisture regimen help keep braids 'protective'
The manner in which a protective style is done can also determine whether it works for you or not. If you put your bun or cornrows in too tightly, or you twist your hair using a drying hair product like gel which contains alcohol, or glue the weave to your scalp, then it ceases to be "protective". I've had great success with braids (using synthetic hair) as a protective style because I never make the parts smaller that half inch squares (even if it looks spacey!) and I do not braid the hair tightly. Do my braids get fuzzy faster? of course, but they don't rip the hair out of my head either!

Protective styling can help with retaining length and maintaining the overall health of your hair (I find that my hair is less dry/brittle when I protective style more regularly than go loose/fro'd out) but be sure that you take the time to maintain your hair while in 'protective mode', you may also want to experiment with a few protective styles to see which ones are best for your hair type and your lifestyle.

twists - my 'go to' protective style
Do you do protective styling? What are your 'go to' protective styles?


  1. you are looking fabolus i like your style very much thanks for sharing it.

  2. Wow what a fantastic style you have wear. I love it looking nice.

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