Protective hair styles help to protect your hair from over-handling which results in breakage. The ends of your hair are the oldest and driest parts of your hair which puts them at a higher risk of breaking off. Protective styles help length retention because they put your hair away and keep it protected so to speak. Protective hairstyles are styles that are twisted, braided, covered up or placed in a bun. Here are some examples of protective styles that can be used to aid length retention.
- Braids can help rest your hair from chemicals, and daily manipulation such as combing and brushing. If you are trying to avoid heat damage to your hair braids are also a great way to give your hair a break from the heat. Braids don’t have to be done with extensions for it to protect your hair. When your hair is braided it is still important to shampoo, condition and moisturise your hair and scalp regularly.
- Two strand twists are excellent for natural hair because they hold better without unravelling, something that may happen with relaxed hair. You can leave the twists in for a few days to a week before untwisting. This gives you a style for longer and when you do undo the twists you will have a more defined twist set. Flat twists are similar to cornrows but are created with two sections. Flat twists work well on relaxed or natural hair.
- Buns are a great way to style you hair and can either be dressed up or dressed down. Use hair pins and a covered elastic band to accessorise. Buns work well on both relaxed and natural hair and you can mix things up by including a side or middle parting. Be very careful when placing and removing the pins you use to secure your bun to avoid snagging your hair. Do not make your bun too tight as it will place too much tension on your ends.
- Sew in hair extensions are considered by many to be a protective style because your hair is braided and covered with hair extensions. It is not manipulated on a daily basis and is protected from the environment. The mistake a lot of people make is to ignore their hair under the hair extensions and this in itself can cause your hair to break. You must care for your hair under the extensions by regularly washing, conditioning and using deep conditioning hair masks. A great hair mask for hair extensions and natural hair is the Silicon Mix Bambu conditioner. While it hydrates and repairs your own hair, it will also detangle and breathe new life into your hair extensions. Especially if you’ve been wearing them for a while. If your hair and extensions are cared for properly you will definitely notice hair growth when the weave is taken off. A very important note of caution when using sew in hair extensions as a protective style is to NOT make them too tight. If they are too tight they will literally pull your hairs out of their follicles and doing this repeatedly will cause traction alopecia, if you don’t believe me look at Naomi Campbell’s hairline. Enough said.