So, I had someone ask me a question the other day: What is a protective style? After explaining to her the answer, I decided that maybe I should do the same here. I apologize for not doing this sooner.
Most people don’t take into consideration that our hair is an extension of our bodies. So, what we eat, drink, do…it all can come out, and be exhibited, in our hair. The problem is this, our hair is not a LIVING extension. By the time you see the strand, it’s already dead. The goal then becomes preservation.
Don’t underestimate your hair though. It is pretty resilient to be dead. At the same time, it still needs to be cared for and it will still wear out. That’s where protective styling comes in.
Before I get into what the point actually is, I need to make a clarification. Sometimes, in the natural hair community, the terms “protective style” and “low manipulation style” are used synonymously. They are not the same thing.
A protective style is a style where all of your ends are tucked or covered. They are “protected”. Examples of this may be a bun, a tuck and roll, or a french twist. Your hair is usually moisturized before installing the style and the style is usually left alone for anywhere between a week and a month.
A low manipulation style is where you install some twists or braids that will help you not have HIH (hand-in-hair) syndrome. This type of style requires little maintenance and usually has to be re-moisturized every couple of days. It is also left alone for anywhere between a week and a month.
Now, what’s the point? Well, since the ends of our hair is the oldest, we need to protect it to retain length and health for our hair strands. When your hair is exposed to the environment, hats, scarves, pillowcases, your hands, it can wear out quicker. This can keep you from retaining any of your length and your hair will appear as if it’s not growing.
Most women protect in the winter since the air is drier, it’s colder, and we are constantly exposed to heated air inside. In the summer, you will see more WNGs (wash-n-go), twist outs and just more free hair all together.
If your hair is in a state where you know it’s weak or if you would like to retain your length, protective styling is the way to go. It can become challenging at times, especially when you are wearing the same style week in and week out (SN: Check out this great and easy protective style by WhoIsSugar!). That’s where this challenge comes in.
My goal is to not only keep you abreast on pertinent information but to also create a support system for you. I know that I am better at accomplishing a task if there is someone there to hold me accountable. Let’s do that for each other and at the end of the year, we will see how far we’ve come. What say you?
Until next time…
Make sure you check out my YouTube channel where I am uploading Protective Style Tutorials. If you have any ideas…SHARE!