What does protective styling natural hair mean to you? To me, it means a hairstyle that keeps the ends of your hair tucked away from the atmosphere. A good example is a hair bun. If the ends are exposed in any way, shape or form, the hairstyle is not a protective style. A good example is a twist out, braid out or styles such as that. Because the ends of our hair is the oldest, the most fragile and usually the driest, wearing a protective style will help you retain moisture, retain length and combat dry, brittle ends. Therefore, protective styling natural hair is a great way to keep your hair moisturized during the cooler months which we are fast approaching.
My Experience with Protective Styling Natural Hair
When I first started protective styling my hair, it was done out of desperation to help my acne prone skin. I thought pulling my hair back and off my face would somehow help the situation. It never was an attempt to grow longer hair but that’s exactly what happened and I soon became hooked. [Journey in Photos]
While my skincare issues were not fully resolved, it certainly improved. There are seriously no bad hair days in protective styling and of course there’s increased hair retention as previously mentioned. However, protective styling natural hair (and relaxed hair) only works when done right. Therefore, I’m sharing with you my 4 tips for protective styling natural hair.
No Tight Hairstyles
Back in day when I got my hair braided, it was braided so tightly that I had headaches for days thereafter. What was I thinking? That’s the point, I wasn’t. Even now though, having styles appear nice and neat is my weakness. However, pulling styles too tightly creates unhealthy tension on the hair line and can lead to breakage and thinning. Therefore, I make sure the hair is taut but not tight. There’s a difference. If you feel your hair tugging or pulling in the slightest way, loosen the style.
Don’t Neglect Your Hair
Protective styling does not give you a pass to neglect your hair. I’ve been guilty of keeping my braids in for months – like 3 months or more. I had so much new growth showing that the braids were merely dangling from my scalp. Hey, listen up, after sitting for 8+ hours to get my hair braided, I wanted to wear that style until the wheels fell off. Now that I know better, I definitely would not encourage you to keep your protective style in for any more than 6 to 8 weeks and even that might be pushing it a little. Four to 6 weeks would be a safer bet.
Establish a Protective Style Hair Regimen
Some wash their hair while in a long-term protective style but I never did – go ahead, clutch your pearls. In hindsight, that might not have been the smartest move but somehow my hair always flourished. I really do think some neglect is acceptable although total neglect is not. Ideally though, you should wash your hair every few weeks to keep the scalp clean and free from product buildup.
Keep Hair Moisturized
I keep my hair moisturized whether I’m wearing a hair bun or some other protective style. I use a spray moisturizer as a daily refresher and then follow up with a cream based moisturizer every 2 to 3 days. My favorite spray moisturizer is Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Hold and Shine Moisture Mist. I keep several moisturizers in rotation but I share some of my favorites in the following article: 5 of The Best Moisturizers to Retain Moisture.