Protective Styling, a natural’s best friend! If you are on a hair journey, whether you’re transitioning or are natural, chances are you’ve had your fair share of protective styling.
I am no stranger to protective styling. In fact, I’ve grown to really appreciate them within the past few months. Protective styles have saved my life when I had no idea what to do with my transitioning hair.
What is protective styling?
Protective styling is when you style your hair in a way that your ends are protected against the elements that can cause tangles and breakage such as your clothes, your cotton pillowcase, your phone etc… (I think you get the picture).
Examples of protective styles are weave, wigs, twists, braids. Protective styling is also the best way to protect your hair from over manipulation.
When I get tired of dealing with my natural hair, or when I feel like it needs a break from daily manipulation, I turn to protective styling. My favorite type of protective style is braids.
I usually braid my hair then leave it on for 3 to 4 weeks. I never go over 4 weeks with my braids on. When my hair is in protective style I know it is getting a well-deserved break, but also I make sure not to leave them on for too long.
As beneficial as protective styling can be, did you know it can also be damaging to your hair?
Some protective styles can be dangerous for your hair and can cause temporary to permanent hair loss, which is counterproductive. I can see you wondering right now how can protective styling be damaging to your hair.
Let’s take a look below at how protective styling can be dangerous to your hair.
First, keep in mind that not all protective styles are dangerous, only some of them are. And they are dangerous only if you fail to care for them properly or you install them wrong. The kinds of protective styles I’m focusing on for the purpose of this post are braids and twists.
Below is a list of the dangers of protective styling
Danger 1: Keeping the braids on for too long.
Some people never let their natural hair breathe. They braid and braid their hair over and over without taking a break. The braids are left on for months at a time, only to take them out and re-install them. How can you give your hair the care that it needs to grow if you constantly have it hidden under braids or twists?
When your hair is braided, the washing process becomes harder and you tend to neglect to do what’s necessary to nurture your hair. Things like deep conditioning, moisturizing, sealing, scalp massages become things of the past. These are all things your hair needs to get healthy and grow. Unkept hair equals damaged hair.
The Solution to this problem.
Solution 1 is to make it your duty to care for your hair under your braids. Make sure you take some time to moisturize and seal your hair under the braids as if it was your own hair. Wash your braids at least every couple of weeks. Here are some tips on how to properly wash your braids. Last, make sure your braids are protected at night under a satin bonnet as if it was your own hair.
Solution 2 only keep your braids on 3-4 weeks at a time. Some can go longer, I personally don’t recommend it. When you take them off, give your scalp 1-2 weeks break (preferably 2) before braiding or twisting again. Trying out a different protective style at this point is also a good idea.
Danger 2: You hair is braided too tight.
A lot of times the hair is braided too tight. I experienced that first-hand last month when I tried the feed in braids. I had to un-braid my hair as quickly as I got them braided because my edges and napes were screaming for mercy. Read about my experience with tight braids. Had I not un-braid my hair, I would’ve had major issues with hair loss.
Tight braids will cause hair loss which sometimes can be irreversible. You don’t want to be walking around without your edges and napes now, do you?
Make sure that your hair is not being braided too tight. The ultimate test for me to make sure my braids aren’t too tight when my hair is being braided is to move my face muscles. I try things like smiling, laughing. I frown just to make sure I am comfortable doing so with ease. If I can’t move my face muscles without difficulties, there’s a problem. And at this point, I ask my hair stylist to redo it. Remember, it’s your hair, so you make the rules.
You may be damaging your hair with your protective styles. Find out how you can fix it.
Danger 3: The hair is too heavy. Certain styles require the use of a lot of extensions which causes tension on your hair. That means the braids are so heavy that they weigh down your hair. When your hair is being pulled down, you are bound to experience hair loss, which again can be irreversible.
Have you ever noticed bald spots after taking out your braids? I’m sure some of you are thinking “yes I have”. Well, it happened because there was too much hair used in the braiding or twisting process.
Stay away from hairstyles that require more than 10 packs of hair to achieve. For me 8 packs of hair are sufficient. I can push it to 10 if really necessary. But anything above that is a huge NO.
The Truth is ladies, there is nothing wrong with protective styling but only when it’s done properly.
If you follow these tips, you won’t have to deal with the downsides of protective styling. So make sure you don’t jeopardize the health of your hair and do what’s right for it.
I hope this article was insightful for you. If you found this post useful, hit the share buttons to share with your friends. Sharing is caring!
Your turn. Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? Have you ever had a bad experience with protective styles? Share with in the comments below ⇓