Protective Styling 101

ImageSo, I’ve decided to make Monday’s Hair day! If any of you already follow my blog, you already know that I’m usually all over the place. Designating a day for each of my interests will help me keep it organized (whatever that means!).

One of my hair goals for this year is to keep my hair in some sort of protective or low manipulation style for 90-95% of the year. In doing this, I thought it would be a great idea to open this up as a challenge to my YouTube subscribers and personal friends alike.

The point of protective styling or low manipulation styling is to keep the ends of your hair from being exposed to the harsh environment. This is usually done in the winter time since the air is dryer and colder but, the summer months can wreak havoc on your hair as well.

With this being said, I wanted to discuss the top five things I think every natural or transitioner should keep in mind while protecting their hair. These are in no particular order:

1. Moisturize! Although I’m not placing too much significance on any one thing, moisturizing is extremely important to anyone wearing their hair or transitioning their hair to its natural state. Wearing your hair in a protective style does not exempt you from this. It is very important that you take the time, as needed, to properly moisturize your hair. I personally like the L.O.C. (Liquid, Oil, Cream) technique and will do this on my twists/braids every other or every three days. Typically, I use water as my moisturizer, caster oil (winter) or jojoba oil (summer) as my oil, and Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie as my go to cream.

2. Be creative! Most naturalists shy away from protective styling thinking that it will stifle their creativity. It is soooo the opposite! I love coming up with different updos or finding a cool and different twist or braiding method. It was my search for protective styles that led me to the infamous yarn wrap! (see video here!) You are only as limited as your imagination is! Check out different YouTube pages (CharyJay is one) and jump in there. Keep in mind though, as you are trying new things, your hair may be a different texture or a different length as who you are inspired by so your hair may not turn out EXACTLY like theirs. Embrace your own style and rock it!

3. Don’t ignore your ends! A lot of women think that protecting their hair means ignoring their hair. Oh, quite the contrary! Protecting your hair means just that, protecting it. However, part of protecting your hair involves you removing any damaged ends including single-stranded knots and split ends. If your hair is long (shoulder length and below) you can analyze your ends and see when they need to be clipped. Hair that is shorter will have to be looked at by someone else. I can tell when my hair needs to be clipped just by how the ends feel. If they feel like straw and you can feel SSKs in your hair, it’s time for a clipping. Make sure that you go to someone that you trust; someone that will honor your hair goals. I typically go for a trim once every four months.

4. What’s up with your scalp? Hey, your scalp needs love too! Usually, protective styles involve some sort of twists or braids. This provides a great opportunity to nourish and baby your scalp. This is where it all begins. If your scalp is not healthy, your hair won’t be either. If your a putting in a protective style for longer than two weeks, make sure that you are properly cleaning your scalp. I like to use witch hazel and a q-tip along my parts. Also, weekly scalp massages are a must. They promote blood circulation which can promote hair growth and hey…they feel great. They feel even better when you get someone special to do them…. o_0

5. You! Protective styling not only gives your hair a break from you, it gives you a break from it. Get out and do somethings you’ve always wanted to do but never could because you were stuck at home doing your hair. Catch up on some great books or better yet, some great sleep! One thing you need to make sure of is this: Take care of yourself. Eating healthy and exercising is not just good for your body, it’s good for your hair. Your hair is an extension of yourself.

I hope that helps! If you are interested in doing this challenge with me, email me at staywoo.art@gmail.com. I will send you some questions and you may be featured on next Monday’s blog!

Until then…

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