I'm asked, quite often, about my protective styling habits: If I do it, How often, and If I think it's necessary… So I figured, it's a good time for me to talk about it in a post!
First of all, what is "Protective Styling"?
Well, "Protective Styling" can mean a lot of things! But in general, it's any hairstyle that when created, shields the hair from a variety of elements and harmful situations! This includes extreme weather, both hot and cold, to prevent the hair from drying out, as well as stress caused to the hair follicles from daily styling and manipulation. In order to give your hair a "break," you can install a protective style so that you can go a certain amount of days, weeks, or months without having to pull, comb, brush, or tug on your hair! This reduces the amount of damage to your hair, and gives it the opportunity to grow out stress-free!
It's usually a style that can be worn for long periods of time without having to be taken out, such as braids or twists. But it can also be a style that focuses on strategically hiding, tucking, and protecting only the ends of your hair, made to last anywhere from a month to even just one day.
For example, braids and mini twists are protective styles that last for months at a time. They protect the hair from the stress of daily styling, tugging, combing, and brushing. On the other hand, a French twist, bun, hat or scarf style can also be considered protective styles, even though they are usually made to be worn for one day and removed at the end of the night. Although their wear is brief, it's considered "protective" because the ends of the hair have been completely covered or hidden!
Note: The ends of our hair are the oldest and therefore, the most fragile, so tucking or hiding it into younger, less-weathered hair closer to the scalp, such as in French twist styles and buns, or tucking it into a scarf/hat helps to shield and protect it from the elements! So, a "Protective Style" can be one or all of the above; the possibilities are endless!
So what do I think of Protective Styling?
Well, I think they're great! (Tony the Tiger!?) Although, I do enjoying wearing my hair out most, and will usually have it hanging free about 90% of the time. However, the other 10% of my time is spent wearing buns and other styles that allow me to tuck in the ends of my hair, which usually only last the day. In the time that I happen to be wearing a protective style, it's most often for the sake of style, and the "protection" factor is usually a second thought for me. But I have had occasions when my hair felt extremely dry, so I would purposefully wear a hat of scarf to protect it, but those times are few and far between (usually on extremely frigid winter days when I'm fearful of extreme weathering).
In terms of long-term protective styles, I really don't do many of those. It's just because I enjoy wearing my hair free and loose! But as you guys know, I LOVE my mini twists! They're my favorite protective style, although the hair can be pretty fragile when twisted in such small sections, they do protect the hair from daily stress caused from styling.
So in a nutshell, I am a fan of protective styling. I think that sometimes the hair needs a break from daily styling and that the ends need to be protected from time to time! Is it completely necessary? Mmm,… I guess I'd say yes! I don't like having to say that anything having to do with hair care is "required" or "necessary," but I do think that the hair will benefit immensely from a day, week, or month of protective styling. I've seen the benefits of protective styling and know for sure it works. I really should try and wear more long term protective styles for my own hair just to keep it healthy and strong, hmm… maybe!
Okay, so I hope it helps guys! Let me know what your favorite protective style is in the comments below!
Talk to you soon!