When you hear “protective styling” what comes to mind?
I know when you hear the words protective styling, you are probably envisioning braids, twisted updo styles, or hair buns. But what if I told you protective styling is more just preconceived limitations in the way you wear your hair. Its an overall approach to your entire styling process.
The purpose of protective styling is to decrease breakage and moisture loss. The entire maintenance and care of your hair should include more protection. This excerpt from a great article on protective styling may change the way you think about this term. Kenneth Byrd of Curl Centric provides further insight on the issue:
“The term protective styling is often used in a limiting fashion. It should really refer to the process used to style your hair and not the actual style that you choose to wear. The actual style that you decide to wear should be referred to as a protective hairstyle.”
He then clarifies his definition by adding:
“Let’s look at an example of how you can incorporate more protection into your natural hair regimen. If you fail to take your time and be gentle when combing your hair, it’s relatively easily to stress your hair strands and cause unnecessary breakage. To mitigate this potential cause of hair damage, you can incorporate more protective styling. For example, use wide tooth combs, seamless bone combs, or incorporate finger combing into your regimen”.
Although the terms protective styling and protective hairstyle are used interchangeably there definitely is a distinction between the two if you take the time to think about it. It is also very important that both are incorporated into your natural hair care regimen. You can live in protective hairstyles but still have breakage problems if you don’t take use a protective styling approach.
Implement these items as a part of your protective styling process:
- Dampening your hair with a moisturizer, water, or oil to provide slip as you detangle.
- Try finger combing your hair if your hair easily breaks and is susceptible to those horrible wisps of tiny broken pieces of hair (this is common in kinky hair types).
- Use heat protectants if you plan on using direct heat sources like curling irons, flat irons, or a blow dryer.
- Use protein treatments to help strengthen your hair and reduce breakage.
By opening up our minds and expanding our horizons on the definition of protective styling we can see it is more than just a hairstyle but the precautions we take to keep our hair protected.
What are your thoughts? Should we continue to use these terms interchangeably or separate them completely?