Protective styling is a cornerstone in most natural hair care routines, especially if overall health and length retention are goals. In this post, I share with you some of the best types of styles to use when protecting the hair, and criteria that you should consider when you are determining which ones are best for you.
Some general guidelines:
- Versatile, meaning you can wear it in more ways than one.
- Easy and non-damaging to put in and take out. The style shouldn’t strain your hair in either process.
- Relatively easy to clean and moisturize.
- Protects your ends.
Beware of styles that place a lot of strain on your hair with heavy extensions. Some people think that the ‘pull’ helps to grow your hair when in fact it’s just weakening and straining your individual hair strands. If someone else is doing your protective style for you, make sure you pre-detangle your (wet, slippery) hair so it’s easy for them to work with. If your stylist has to comb or brush your hair while it’s dry, you could end up losing a lot of hair to breakage…which completely defeats the purpose!
Also make sure that you go to a stylist you trust who has dealt with natural hair before. Getting referrals from friends is a good way to find a stylist. My personal favorite protective styles are: braids, twists and cornrows. They all protect your ends very well and are easy to put in and take out. Cornrows aren’t very versatile once they’re done but you can get creative with the designs you choose.
I prefer to style my hair without the use of extensions only because I have a very fine hair texture. The added weight of the extensions tends to strain and break my hair. It’s also easier to wash your hair properly when you don’t have extensions in them and you won’t have to worry about your real hair getting knotted and tangled with the synthetic hair as you’re removing the style. If you remember the guidelines above, you want to make sure that your style is easy to maintain. For me, styles with extensions are low maintenance at first but then they become a hassle the longer I have them in.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to everyone but hopefully my personal experience will give you some insights on what may or may not be a good fit for your hair. A lot of people utilize styles with extensions and have no problems, but again it all depends on your hair and how well you maintain the style.
Again, I hope this post gave you some helpful insights and guidelines on choosing protective styles for your hair.
If you have any other questions or comments about this post, feel free comment below as well.
To your hair journey,