Protective styling is beautiful and diverse and can be done in many different ways. There are also different levels of protective hairstyles from fully protective to low manipulation styles. There is also variation in the styles themselves from complicated and time-consuming cornrow styles that you can wear for weeks at a time, to quick and easy loose up do’s, twists or braids that you wear for only a few days.
What makes it a protective style?
To be considered a protective style it needs to fulfill one at least one of the following: low manipulation, tucked away and protected ends and no heat used to attain the style.
Examples of protective styles are: cornrows, box- or flat twists, different types of up do´s, waves, wigs, box braids and yarn- braids or twists.
Why do protective styling?
The main reason for doing protective styling is to retain hair growth by preventing breakage. It is also a great time saver for the time that you wear it since it means little or no manipulation of the hair on a daily basis. Great for kiddies who don´t like to stay still for you to do their hair and also for us busy people that have other things to do than hair ;).
The low manipulation means no breakage from combs, brushes or just touching the hair a lot. If you do a fully protective style where the ends are tucked away you also protect the hair from the elements such as wind, heat, humidity as well as friction from rubbing on your clothes.
Do´s and don’ts
Be very careful when you are styling the hair so that you don´t make the braids or twists too tight so that they damage the hair follicles and in the long run cause hair loss and thinning edges!
Don´t leave the style in for more than three months if you are wearing extensions or weaves. The hair needs to “breathe” and get a proper wash, detangling and giving the hair follicles a chance to rest in between styles. Also, don´t make the extension braids or twists too long so that the weight pulls on the roots of the hair. Pick you extension hair carefully. Sometimes synthetic hair extensions do more harm than good, causing allergies or itchy scalp and sometimes even breakage.
If you want to be extra careful you can soak your extensions in a 50-50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water before installing them to prevent some of the problems that might occur from using synthetic hair extensions.
Wash the hair regularly even in protective styles to keep the hair clean and moisturized.
Check your scalp regularly for dryness and any sign of stress on the scalp. Dry patches can be treated or prevented by dabbing some jojoba oil along the part lines. Jojoba oil is the oil that closest resemble the scalps own natural sebum (oils).Stress bumps caused by too tight styling. They look like tiny white bumps at the roots. Another sign that means the style is too tight is a shiny and/or red scalp. If you see any of these signs immediately remove the style!
Check your hair for moisture needs and moisturize it between washes if needed.
Change your part lines regularly to avoid pulling the hair in the same direction for long periods at a time.