As the name implies, a protective style is supposed to protect your hair by relieving your hair from the stress of daily manipulation. Most people are not aware, however, that how you install your protective style and your hair practices while wearing a protective style still matters, especially for long-term hairstyles. When a style is installed improperly or when your hair is not cared for while in a protective style, the result is a ton of breakage when taking your hair down from the style.
Installing the Protective Style
There are three aspects of installing a protective style to consider the Tightness, Tools, and Products.
Tightness: Whether you are going to a hairstylist or doing your hair yourself, make sure to stress that you do not want the style to be too tight. If you cannot scrunch your face without your hair pulling your face back, then the style is too tight. This is also very important around your edges. The edges of your hair are fragile because there is less hair around it to support the tightness of some styles.
Tools: Hairstyles that require the use of combs, brushes, tangle teezers, and other tools that cause your hair to break is a sign that if you want to wear that style you will need to look for another tool that works better with your hair. By using tools that usually do not work well with your hair, you run the risk of causing breakage and that breakage may never get addressed while your hair is in a protective style.
Products: Since the products you use are going to sit on your hair for the duration of your style look for products that maintain moisture and avoid products that easily cause build up.
Wearing the Style
Maintaining the cuteness of your hairstyle is important, but be careful not to sacrifice the health of your hair for looks alone. It is important to listen to your hair even if it may affect the fresh look of your style.
Wash/Condition When Necessary: It is so easy to put off washing your hair when it is in a protective style because you want your style to stay fresh. But the health of your scalp is important in order to grow your hair. If your scalp starts to flake and feels itchy, then wash your hair. The same applies to your strands. If you know you applied many heavy products that can coat your hair, then cleansing your strands is a necessity to avoid the adverse effect of product build-up. Product coating the strands also blocks the hair from receiving moisture, and since moisture retention is an issue many naturals face, you want your strands to always be able to receive moisture. (If you are struggling with dry hair check out Curly Hair School’s free Dry Hair Remedies Course for help)
Deep Treatments. For prolonged styles, if you were struggle with dry hair then it is vital that you continue to deep condition your hair even while its in the style. This gives your hair the intense benefits that deep treatments provide your hair.
Protect at Night: Just because your hair is in a protective style does not mean it is invincible. It is still important to protect your hair at night using a satin bonnet, scarf, or satin pillowcase to avoid moisture loss and even tangles from rubbing against a cotton pillowcase.
What are some ways that you protect your hair while in a style? What is your favorite protective style?
Kimika Hudson is the founder of www.curlyhairschool.com a platform that helps women with kinky curly hair find the right tools and methods for your individual hair needs through online hair courses and community.