Protective hairstyles are hairstyles that require low-manipulation and shield your hair from physical or environmental agitation. So basically, it is a hairstyle that can stay in place for a while without the need to re-style the hair, anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks (or months). A protective hairstyle should focus on protecting the ends of the hair, which is the oldest most fragile part of your hair.. Now it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all disturbances to the hair, but it is possible to limit them. What protective styling really does is limit these damages to our hair, and it gives our hair a ‘break’ and a chance to grow without disturbances. While many women can grow out their hair and retain length without doing much protective styling, it can be seen as another way to achieve this goal. But note that protective styles if not done right can cause damages to our hair..
Ways to retain length with protective styling:
Prep your hair properly before installing a protective style. Personally I like to save my protein treatments till I’m about to install a protective style to strengthen my hair.. And once you take it down, shower your hair with love just like I described in this post..
The way to maximize the benefits of this is for the protective styles to require low manipulation.. These styles should require minimal effort in caring for them because the less manipulation involved, the better.. Any style you’ll install that will cause more damage either during or after installation or even during take down, should be clearly avoided because then the goal is defeated..
Stick to styles that will allow moisture penetrate in to your hair.. That’s why I will pick wigs over and over as my favorite protective style because that way I can moisturize and basically care for my hair underneath. But when it’s entwined or really covered up like in braids or sew-in weaves, it may be harder to maintain. Think about deep conditioning and other stuff.
Make sure you avoid wearing tight styles.. Don’t make your bun too tight, don’t wear wigs with really tight bands, don’t wear your braids too tight (especially at the edges) etc. Remember that blood circulation promotes hair growth so don’t hinder that..
If your preferred style is braid/twist outs, make sure to properly detangle your hair when taking down the style.. And if your hair easily forms locs when twisted like mine, then know not to leave in your twists for too long because although it may be pretty, matted hair will be tougher to detangle.. Opt for knotless box braids or crochet braids to save your edges from forming a knot after a while.
The major issue people have with protective styling is that it gets boring after a while. I love switching up my look from time to time so I find it hard to leave in a style for more than two weeks at a stretch except I have to.. But a two weeks break for my hair goes a long way compared to daily styling.
Alternatively, you can wear twists for about two weeks and then follow it up with twist outs.. This can be styled in up dos, buns etc. just as long as you’re not combing, brushing, or using heat on your hair consistently and you’re not neglecting your hair underneath, then you’re good to go..
As usual, I hope this was helpful.. Till next time, loads and loads of love..