Protective styling can cut down on your morning routine, help you retain length and give you a temporary cure for the infamous Hand-In-Hair Syndrome! They definitely add fun and personality to your look while giving your hair a break. But does this “break” really mean you don’t have to do ANYTHING to your hair while wearing the style?
What is a Protective Style?
A Protective Style is one that requires little to no manipulation, (combing, brushing, etc.) which will protect the hair, particularly the ends, from unnecessary breakage or damage that constant combing and brushing can cause. These styles can include anything from braids, twists, cornrows, sew-in weaves to simple buns, roll ‘n’ tucks and more.
Here are five things to keep in mind before, during and after.
1. Handle With Care
The purpose of a protective style is all in the name! So it’s important that the style is done with care, whether you do it yourself or you hit the salon, or else it defeats the whole purpose. Speak with your stylist about the amount of tension used when styling braids or the like. Even if single braids or twists are done rather loosely, you can still do a number on your edges by pulling them back or up too tightly to style. Headaches and zero edges- no bueno! So, take it easy. 😉
2. Moisturize Your Hair
Some mistakenly think that having braids, twists and such mean they’re free from doing anything with their hair. Negative! You DO still need to moisturize for the style to be most effective.
Regarding the importance of this, stylist Rochelle C. Taylor of Hair Art Studio in Maryland explains,
going a month or more at a time without adding moisture to your hair will cause dryness that could lead to breakage. So when you have braids, a weave or twists, you must use moisture for your protective style to have the best result. Something as simple as spraying water and sealing with oil will make a world of a difference when you take your hair out of the style.”
Whenever I wear braids or twists, I use some sort of moisturizing spray — either store-bought or a DIY version — which ultimately makes the take-down process a breeze!
3. Cleanse Your Hair & Scalp
I’ve found that many aren’t aware that they can actually cleanse their hair while wearing a protective style like braids, twists or cornrows. Or, they know that they should but just don’t know how to do it. Well, here’s a suggestion:
Dilute your favorite shampoo with water in an applicator bottle for easy application throughout parts of the hair, gently massage the scalp and rinse. This technique has worked great for me thus far!
4. Take Your Time With the Take-Down
If the protective style you’re rocking happens to be braids or twists that you’ve had in for a while, don’t be in such a rush to remove the style that you damage your hair. To help minimize breakage in addition to keeping your hair moisturized, take your time removing each braid or twist.
5. Shedding Will Happen
Don’t be alarmed when you see a bunch of hair falling as you take down your style!
“Shedding will happen every day (up to 150 strands per day), so when we have our hair in twists or braids, it may seem like a lot of hair has been lost. It’s just a collection of all the shed hair for that time”, says Taylor (mentioned above). That said, after your take-down, be sure to detangle and remove shed hair before washing. A nice, moisturizing deep conditioning treatment afterwards isn’t a bad idea either! 😉
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Photo Credit: DFinney Photography