What is Protective Styling?
Typically when we say “protective styling,” most think of specific hair styles such as braids, weaves, twists and so on but the concept of protective styling involves much more. While a protective style is a hairstyle that protects the ends of your hair strands, reduces tangling and aids with growth retention, protective styling is the practice of caring for the hair in such a way to avoid as much damage to the hair as possible. Protective styling includes using the right kinds of tools to style your hair that won’t cause breakage and not installing hairstyles such as braids and weaves too tightly. It means properly moisturizing your hair and cleansing your scalp. It means being gentle overall in the way that you manipulate your hair and keeping best practices in mind in every way that you carry out your hair care regimen. That includes everything from wrapping your hair at night with the right bonnet to avoiding products that contain harmful ingredients or chemicals.
How Not to Do Protective Styling
Since protective styling is all about supporting long, healthy natural hair, there are certain behaviors you should avoid at all cost. As mentioned above, do not install any hairstyle too tightly. Overly tight styles can be uncomfortable and lead to breakage and hair loss. Instead, be easy when styling your hair and don’t be afraid to let your stylist know to ease up on the tension too.
Do not forget to moisturize. I can’t stress enough how important proper moisture is to natural hair as it improves the hair’s texture, elasticity, resilience and appearance. Dry hair is brittle, unhealthy, hard-to-manage hair. I recommend using a leave-in conditioner such as my Intense Moisture™ Bamboo And Coconut Milk Strengthening Leave-in Conditioner to maintain daily moisture.
Do not forget to cleanse your scalp. An unclean scalp is not an environment in which hair can grow and thrive. Whether your hair is worn loose or underneath a protective style, your scalp must be properly cleansed if you want your hair to do well. That’s why I offer my Refresh And So Clean™ Bamboo, Avocado And Peppermint Dry Gel Shampoo to keep the scalp clean even while wearing a long term style.
However, though you might be tempted to stretch your braided style for months, do not leave any protective style installed for too long. Six to eight weeks should be your limit to prevent your hair from drying out, collecting build up and/or looking unkempt. And while you're rocking that long term style, I suggest using my Ditch The Itch™ Bamboo, Basil And Peppermint Anti Itch Serum to get rid of "the pat."
Ways to Save Money on Protective Styles
Braids, weaves and other protective styles involving visits to a stylist or purchasing hair can add up. However, there are many ways to sport a style that protects your hair without breaking the bank. First, no matter the length of your natural hair, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube that show you exactly how to create your own protective styles using twists, buns and other updos. Although many of these styles look super ornate, you’d be surprised how simple and quick they are to execute once you learn how to do them. This video here is a perfect example of a quick, gorgeous style.
Wigs are another a great way to save money on protecting natural and transitioning hair at every stage. A synthetic wig can cost as little as $30 and give you another styling option while protecting your natural or transitioning hair from both the weather and wear and tear. The most important note about wig wearing is making sure to properly care for your hair underneath a wig. This video here shows you how to pamper your natural tresses while wearing a wig.
I'm all about protecting and maintaining healthy hair, so check back soon for more info and more protective styling tips. If you have any questions related to hair care, please feel free to email me at [email protected]