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Curly Nikki

The Pits of Protective Styling

By January 27th, 2021No Comments

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I wanted to do something crazy with my hair. That “stuck in a rut” feeling snuck up on me out of nowhere, but instead of trying to stuff it down and ignore it, I decided to ride with it. But what to do with this hair of mine?

Was it time for a shocking new cut?

A brand new dye job?

Maybe a new straight look via careful flat ironing?

Then it hit me. It’s almost winter time. I’m obviously bored with my hair. Why not get a new look and keep my hair safe with a protective style? So, that’s what I did – and almost a week in, I’m pretty much over it.

I decided on getting long twists. Visions of low-maintenance, get-up-and-go hair danced in my head, and I couldn’t wait. I was ready for the days when I could get up, shake my twists out, and roll – and deliciously anticipated wearing majestic crown-like buns. I got the hook up on a stylist, talked to her about my vision, bought the extensions she advised, and was ready to go.

The Pits of Protective Styling
Me and my mass of twists

After about 6.5 hours of twisting, I left the stylist’s chair with a head full of ropey twists. Since I wasn’t used to the style, I knew that I’d need a day or so to be at ease with my new ‘do, but a week has passed…and I’m still trying to get used to it. I haven’t had my hair in a long-term protective style since I started transitioning 5 years ago, but I’m wondering if this was the right move.

First issue: I’m not used to fake hair. The kanekalon blend I was told to buy is great quality – but nothing feels as good as my own hair. Now I know what people mean when they start “missing” their curls hidden away in protective styles. Next issue: there are SO many twists – I told my husband I look like 2 Chainz’ circus freak twin sister. I feel like I’m drowning in hair, and it’s partly my fault. I wanted nearly waist-length twists, but I wasn’t expecting to have almost 9 packs of hair twisted into my head. Twists. Are. Everywhere. Speaking of 9 packs of hair, my head is so incredibly heavy that my neck muscles are getting a constant workout. Those dreams I had of majestic buns are gone, because I can’t even get my hands around all this hair in order to put it up. In order to shower, I have to put my hair in what I call two “camel humps” at the back of my head, and I do the same to sleep. Oh – and getting dressed in the morning? I tried to put on a turtleneck, promptly got stuck, and almost suffocated. Life ain’t no crystal stair when you don’t like your new hairstyle.

The Pits of Protective Styling
My camel humps for showering and sleeping

Now, I’m being a bit facetious – but this particular style probably isn’t for me at this point. Protective styling for me is just as much about easy management as it is about looking good. If it looks good, but adds unnecessary struggle to my daily life, that’s just not good enough for me. To save my neck and my sanity, I may have to undo the twists, find another new look, and just charge it to the game – but I’m glad I at least tried something new.

Have you ever had not-so-great experiences with protective styling?

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