The biggest problem associated with natural hair, is the assumption that it’s boring and you can’t do anything with it.
People are still stuck on the Afros from the 80’s people used to have on. Wake up everyone it’s 2016 and having natural hair doesn’t automatically mean you’re supposed to carry it in Afro for eternity.
Say hello to protective styling. It’s just any hair style that doesn’t consist of your natural hair being out loose. Hence the word protective, because not only do you get to change up your look with a hot new hair style but it also protects your hair strands which can be damaged through regular washing, combing, styling and detangling.
Your ends are the oldest and also the most fragile part of your hair. Notice how your hair never breaks from the roots but from the ends. And as much as I love my twist outs, flats twist etc , it all requires combing and continious tugging on your hair to get the look.
Protective styling isn’t just for natural hair, it’s equally good for permed hair.
These are a few examples some protective styles I’ve done in the past:
Wearing natural hair is exciting and full of endless styling possibilities. Protective styles are ones that don’t consist of the hair being out loose, which is where the ‘protective’ part comes in.
Braids can be individual, freeforming plaits with the freedom to fall down loosely. They can also be sections of hair gathered together along the scalp, laying closely to the head with no room for movement. Both types of braids effectively hide your ends from potentially harmful effects of regular styling, manipulation, and the environment.
*Now I try not to do braid too often, because I notice when done too tight my edged would begin to fall out.
Popular types of braids
Many of these styles use a two-strand braiding technique in which, like some braided styles, allow the hair to be separated in freeform sections that have the freedom of movement. Twists are versatile enough to be combined and pinned up, also qualifying them as updos (the third type of protective style).
Faux Locs (Yarn)
A hairstyle that calls for your curly, loose hair to be tucked away, smoothed down, and out of your face is known as an updo. This look tends to be favorable during special occasions and formal events; nonetheless, it’s still the
Why not cover your natural hair up from root to tip? If you’d rather give your entire head a break from constant manipulation and styling, opt for a wig. There are different types of wigs, most of them considered protective styles.
What I love about this style is that I left out my edges, so I could twist it out and blend it in with my hair. It’s also a way to protect my edges. (Lord knows losing them is any girl’s nightmare).
What a difference a new hair style makes right? It’s probably one of my favourite things I love about protective styling, I can totally change up my look whenever I feel like it.
Now apart from the obvious benefits which is protecting, below are also some benefits of protective styling.
- Low Maintenance
The less you do to natural, the better it flourishes. Our hair can rarely stand the type of manipulation so often depicted in commercials: the piling of the hair on top of the head to shampoo, the 100 brush strokes, etc. Instead, natural hair tends to grow longer when left alone. Protective styles offer the low-maintenance that so often benefits this hair type, especially if longer lengths is one of your aims. Once you style hair in one of these ‘dos, daily maintenance is a breeze, which is perfect for anyone who’s not into a high-maintenance mane.
- Retains Growth
Growing longer hair is one of the most-cited reasons for choosing protective styling. Forget that prevailing myth that black hair doesn’t grow — it most certainly does. However, it can also break off at an alarming rate because loose ends catch on fabric, car seats, cotton pillowcases and more. When hair constantly breaks, it’s difficult to see and measure growth. Putting your tresses up and keeping them protected prevents a large amount of breakage. Over time, you’ll see longer, stronger hair that’s not compromised by everyday stressors.
- Time Savers
Maybe you’re not the type who has unlimited time in the morning for hair styling. If so, protective hairstyles may be your solution to getting ready more quickly, making for a smooth start to your day. Once you style twists and braids, you don’t need to do much to them, besides the occasional touch-up with a loose twist or a daily spritz with natural oils. Just make sure you secure your hair at night before bed and in the morning, you may be ready with a gentle shake of the head. More »
- Keeps Hair Soft
If you’ve ever worn your hair up for the day versus wearing it out, you may notice a difference at the day’s end where softness is concerned. Take down a chignon and you’ll usually find it soft and supple because it’s held in much of the natural oils that get soaked up by dry air and clothing. A well-moisturized mane, one that feels soft to the touch, is less likely to suffer breakage and dryness, which in turn leads to growth retention, just another benefit of wearing tresses up and out of sight, even if for a little while.
Unfortunately, many people have formed the idea that daily protective styling is boring. Nothing could be further from the truth if you only use some creativity when doing your ‘do. Individual braids can be worn loose, with a headband or scarf, pulled back with an attractive elastic, worn half-up/half-down — see where this is going? The same can be done with two-strand twists. The style that’s probably caught the most flak for being “dull” is the bun. Why not dress your bun up with a feathered hair accessory or sparkling pins? Try a double bun instead of a single one, or a braid and bun combo. There’s no lack of versatility, even with these hairstyles, when you put some imagination into it.
Now this doesn’t mean that your hair has to be constantly hidden underneath some protective style 24/7, I mean what’s the point in taking care of that beautiful hair and not being able to show it off.
So whenever you feel like it, don’t let anything stop you from letting your hair out and showing it off to the world. You’re guaranteed to turn a few heads.
*note : Too much of everything is bad, and protective styling is no different. Over the years I’ve noticed that some protective styles, particularly braids, when over done can damage your edges. This usually occurs when the braids are done too tight. If you’re not doing your hair yourself, always ask a professional; and if at any point you feel they’re too tight be sure to speak out on it.
Also note that having your hair in protective styling doesn’t mean you don’t need to maintain it at all. Most style allow you to condition and treat your hair under the style, you just need to find out what works for the style you have on.
By : Lydia Forson
*additional information sourced from : blackhair.com and naturallycurly.com