Are protective styles really protecting your hair? Some natural hair stylists would say no, a protective hairstyle doesn't protect your hair and even go as far as saying that there is no such thing as a protective style. They are just hairstyles. But what is the real answer to this question? let’s find out.
What is a protective hairstyle?
According to Wikipedia, A protective hairstyle is a hairstyle that tucks the hair away and keeps it free from manipulation. Protective hairstyles include braids, wigs, locks, and twists.
Any time we manipulate our hair, for example, brushing or washing hair causes some damage, then giving our hair a
break from these things would help it. Our afro-textured hair, tends to be more fragile and can break more easily, then protecting it in these styles should reduce breakage...right?
So what is the problem with so-called protective styles?
1. You Can Get Product Buildup
When you add your leave-in to your hair to moisturize it, and constantly do this without washing your hair, it causes the conditioners and oils in your product to build up on your hair.
2. Protective Hairstyle Traps Shed Hair
We shed 50-200 strands of hair per day. While your hair is in a style where your hair isn't loose, those strands will stay trapped. So when you finally take your hair down after a protective hairstyle, all the shed hair will come out at the same time, sometimes taking regular strands with it.
3. You Might Be Leaving it in too Long or the Style is too Tight.
Sometimes you'll put in a style tight with the idea that it will last longer. This type of protective hairstyle creates tension which can weaken your hair follicles to the point that you can no longer grow hair. That is called tension alopecia. Sometimes the follicle will heal, but if it's severely damaged, it is permanent. And leaving your style in too long can cause your hair to become dry and brittle
4. You Can Shampoo Your Hair While It Is in a Protective Hairstyle
You can shampoo your hair while it is in a protective style, but you can't get all the dirt and pollutants out of your hair.
Keep in mind that if you're using added hair that synthetic hair can suck the moisture out of your natural hair.
What can you do to keep your hair protected while keeping it low maintenance?
Well, you want to do a protective hairstyle that allows you to effectively wash your hair and scalp as well as condition it thoroughly after. You should be washing your hair at least weekly, sometimes every other week. If you are doing long-term styles, then you shouldn't leave it in any longer than 4 weeks.
Speaking of long-term styles, and that's like braids, weaves crochet braids. You shouldn't be doing them back-to-back. Meaning as soon as you take them out, you put them back in. You should give your natural hair a break.
Twists, braids, Bantu knots, and buns using your own natural hair will reduce friction on your hair and can easily be taken down weekly to wash your hair.
Use thicker creams such as the Sealing Hair Butter to reduce moisture loss so your hair will stay hydrated while in those styles.
Do you believe in protective hairstyles for your hair, or have a story where it didn't work for you? Let me know in the comments below, and I'll see you in the next video.